Tag Archives: Homes of Civil War Veterans

Home of Georgia’s Last Confederate Veteran, Fitzgerald

This was the home of William Joshua Bush (1845-1952), Georgia’s last surviving Confederate veteran. For his service to the Confederacy, he was afforded the honorific “General” in his last years. The historic marker at the site, first erected in 1954, reads: This was the home of General William Jordan Bush, last survivor of the 125,000 heroes from Georgia who fought for the South. Gen. Bush was born near Gordon, Ga. July 10, 1845, and died here Nov. 11, 1952. In the War Between the States he was a private in Co. B, 14th Ga. Infantry, under Capt. Tom Wilcox and Gen. John B. Gordon. His title of General was won through offices held in the United Confederate Veterans. Active until a few weeks before his death at 107, Gen. Bush attended all UCV reunions and danced at public functions.

His stepdaughter Janie Law was a classmate of my grandmother and on several occasions in the late 1980s and 1990s shared her memories of him with me. They were similar to the following article by Wylly Folk St. John, published in the Atlanta Sunday magazine on 24 April 1949:

Georgia’s last Confederate is a spry old soldier of nearly 104, who lives in a little confederate-gray house in Fitzgerald, Georgia. He is “General” (an honorary title) William Bush, of Company B, 14th Georgia Infantry. He was a teen-aged private when he fought the Battle of Atlanta. He is regarded with appropriate awe throughout the state, as the last living Georgian who wore the gray during the War Between the States – the only flesh and blood contact with the Lost Cause that is left to us on this Memorial Day.

The General is Fitzgerald’s most famous and most carefully taken care of citizen. The UDC offers him everything he could possibly want to make him comfortable, the State Patrol drives him home in state when he’s out late, the Ordinary not only brings him his pension check but also the $75 to cash it with, he is always being asked for pictures and autographs, and he gets sheaves of fan mail. He is senior deacon of his Baptist church, and received his “diploma” as a Mason in 1888.

For a man who’ll be 104 next July 10, he is astonishingly vigorous. He can read his Bible without his glasses, he can hear well with no artificial aid, his blood pressure is perfect and his heart is okay. He can still dance a jig if you dare him to, and sings “Dixie” in his quavery brave old voice. Until a few years ago, he walked downtown every morning to talk over old times with his friends. Now he has to call a taxi when his wife’s back is turned. Sometimes, when Mrs. Bush, who teaches the sixth grade, misses him, she finds out he has dressed up by himself and “gone out with the girls” to the UDC meeting. Mrs. Bush has celebrated her 27th wedding anniversary with the General, whom she married when he was 76 and she was 34. He lived with his first wife 48 years before she died, and had six children.

Bush was a bare 16 when he joined the Gray army. “I told a lie to get into it, and I’d have told another to get out,” he says, and then immediately retracts “No, I wouldn’t either. I fought to the end and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” He was “near-bout” the whole time with General Gordon, but part of the time with General Johnston. When asked if the young army did much training before it went into battle, he replies “We didn’t waste no ammunition practisin. When we shot, we shot to kill – it was hand to hand fightin” He brought home a big Confederate flat from the last Gettysburg reunion that he carries in all the Memorial Day parades.

Until a few years ago, there was also one Union Veteran left in Fitzgerald, Henry Brunner. On Memorial Day, the two old soldiers would go to the cemetery together and put flowers on the graves of their fallen comrades, General Bush decorating the Northern graves and General Brunner the Southern. When his friendly enemy died, General Bush sent a wreath “from the last of the Gray to the last of the Blue”.

Now General Bush has to place, tremulously, the flowers and laurel wreaths for both of them. There will be tears no doubt, when emotional Southern ladies see his lone indomitable figure in the parade this year, the Last Confederate, wearing his Gettysburg medal and carrying his Confederate flag.

The other men in Gray are all gone. Now at the cemetery, when the bugle softly plays Taps, it is for ALL the Confederates – except Josh Bush. There is no other man left alive in Georgia today who fought in ’61. It is a lonely emenence.

Here is Georgia’s Last Confederate.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

Josiah Davis House, 1869, Emanuel County

This well-maintained landmark was built by Confederate veteran Josiah Davis. Davis was a farmer who raised cotton and corn. Upon his death, his widow lived out the rest of her life here. The Peacock family purchased the home after Mrs. Davis’s death.

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Filed under --EMANUEL COUNTY GA--

Colonel Edward Bird House, 1870, Guyton

Colonel Edward Bird (1825-1893) was a successful timber and turpentine operator before the Civil War. He joined Company A, Squadron B, Georgia Cavalry, as Captain. It was nicknamed Captain Bird’s Mounted Company, 2nd Battalion, Georgia Cavalry. Captain Bird was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 17 May 1862 and took command of the 2nd Battalion. He transferred to the 5th Regiment, Georgia Cavalry on 20 January 1863 and was promoted to Colonel in 1864. He commanded the 5th Battalion until surrendering at Greensboro, North Carolina on 26 April 1865. After the war, Colonel Bird resumed his business and remained a prominent citizen of Guyton until his death.

Guyton Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --EFFINGHAM COUNTY GA--, Guyton GA

Dr. W. C. Paschal House, Circa 1875, Dawson

One of the grandest in Dawson, this home was built in a much simpler style for Dr. W. C. Paschal, a Confederate veteran. Dr. Paschal commissioned F. A. Ruggles to re-imagine it as an elaborate Queen Anne in the 1890s. It was sold by the Paschal family to the Edwards family in 1936. It was subdivided into apartments in the following years. Thankfully, Gail and Paul Rakel purchased it in 1988 and spent years restoring it to its original condition.

Dawson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

 

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Filed under --TERRELL COUNTY GA--, Dawson GA

Wilkins House, Circa 1900, Waynesboro

This home is as difficult to photograph as its architectural style is to define. It has Queen Anne influences but is much more Eclectic than Victorian. Built for William Archibald Wilkins, who was a Confederate major and  mayor of Waynesboro, it hosted President William Howard Taft during a visit to the city in 1910.

Waynesboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BURKE COUNTY GA--, Waynesboro GA

Woodland, 1877, Wheeler County

Passing through rural Wheeler County from Lumber City (Telfair) to Alamo, one cannot miss this Eclectic Victorian with Carpenter Gothic details. An exquisite two-story arcade (not visible in this photograph) connects the main section of the house to a rear addition. More than one friend has commented over the years that the sight of the house stopped them in their tracks. It is a standout in South Georgia, out of place in a landscape most characterized by simple vernacular dwellings.

The McArthur family owned portions of the land around the house beginning in 1827. From the shambles of the cotton economy Walter T. McArthur (1837-1894) developed his father’s farmland into a thriving timber plantation and completed Woodland in 1877, the year of his father’s death. A Captain Renwick and Johnus Thormaholon are listed as the architects/builders. Walter was a Confederate veteran and served in the Georgia legislature from 1868-1871. His son Douglas later maintained and managed the property. It was sold in 1917 to Emory Winship (1872-1932). Winship was a career naval officer from a prominent Macon family and primarily used the house as a hunting lodge during his ownership.

The property is currently on the market.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --WHEELER COUNTY GA--

Mitchell J. Green Plantation, 1878, Evans County

Intact historic farms survive only through the care of generations of families; the Mitchell J. Green plantation in Evans County is an excellent example. In 1868, after service in the Confederacy, Mr. Green built a log cabin  on the property and commenced farming. The thriving operation became the center of a small community known as Green and had its own post office from 1882-1904. Mr. Green served as postmaster. A Plantation Plain farmhouse with Victorian accents, built in 1878, anchors the property. Numerous dependencies remain.

Commissaries are iconic components of Georgia’s plantations and many remained in use on larger farms until World War II. The Green Commissary appears to be in excellent condition; the shed protrusion is likely a later addition.

The stock/hay barn is the largest outbuilding on the property.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--

General Clement Evans Boyhood Home, Circa 1835, Lumpkin

One of Georgia’s best-known citizens during his lifetime, General Clement Anselm Evans (1833-1911) was born near Lumpkin to Anselm  & Sarah Evans and grew up in this house. He was admitted to the bar at the age of 18 and married Mary Allen “Allie” Walton in 1854 . He was soon thereafter elected to a Stewart County judgeship and five years later was elected a state senator on the Know-Nothing ticket.

In April 1861, Evans resigned his legislative post and joined the Confederate army as a private. He became commander of the Bartow Guards (Thirty-first Georgia Infantry) in 1862, fought at Shenandoah and was present at nearly every battle of the Army of Northern Virginia. Evans was promoted to brigadier general in 1864.

After the war, General Evans was ordained a Methodist minister. He served at least six congregations in North Georgia over the course of 26 years. Upon the death of his wife in 1884, he married Sarah Ann Avary Howard. After retiring from the ministry, he edited the 13-volume Confederate Military History and coedited the influential Cyclopedia of Georgia. He was a co-founder and Georgia Division commander of the United Confederate Veterans and served the organization as commander-in-chief  from 1909-1911. His body lay in state in the state capitol and his funeral was heavily attended. Evans County was named in his honor in 1914.

Pigtail Alley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--, Lumpkin GA

Cobb House, 1850s, Americus

The central portion of this house, thought to date to around 1850, was originally located in the nearby town of Oglethorpe. A terrible epidemic there in 1862 left as many as 100 dwellings uninhabited and the house was purchased by Colonel Charles J. Malone and moved to Americus. Captain John A. Cobb, a Georgia legislator, bought it in 1883 and it remained in his family for well over a century.

Americus Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--, Americus GA

Brewton-Hendrix House House, Circa 1858, Evans County

Oral tradition suggests that this Plantation Plain farmhouse was built for Jonathan Bacon Brewton (1827-1897) by Amos Hearn, the builder of the nearby A. D. Eason House. Brewton was the son of one of the area’s earliest settlers, Benjamin Brewton, who came to Tattnall County (now Evans) in 1794 from Warren County. He married Margaret Everett in 1848 and one of their sons, John Carter Brewton, was a co-founder and the first president of Brewton-Parker College.

Jonathan served as Clerk of the Superior Court of Tattnall County and two terms in the Georgia House of Representatives . From late 1862 until early 1864 he was active in the 5th Georgia Cavalry but returned before war’s end upon his  election as clerk of the court. In 1865 a foraging party of Union troops passed through the area and ransacked the house. After the war, Brewton continued his enterprises and also operated a general store and post office.  The community around the house and store was known as Haw Pond at the time. Brewton also owned a gristmill, lumber mill and cotton gin. Brewton’s heirs sold the house to one of their former sharecroppers, James A. Hendrix, in 1936. The Willcox family has owned it since 1990.

Source: Pharris DeLoach Johnson,  Houses of Heart Pine: A Survey of the Antebellum Architecture of Evans County, Georgia.

 

 

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Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--