Tag Archives: Slave Construction in Georgia

Mulberry Grove, Circa 1832, Houston County

James Averette Bryan (1801-1847) and his wife Catherine Holloway Rix Bryan (1803-1861) were pioneer settlers of the long forgotten Wilna community. James A. Bryan migrated to Georgia from North Carolina, settling first in Twiggs County, and later in Houston. He was instrumental in the establishment of Houston County and in the layout of Perry [originally Wattsville]. Bryan originally built a log dogtrot house [pictured above] from timbers cut and milled on a site a few miles from Mulberry Grove. The original homestead was later occupied by Bryan’s oldest son, Dr. Robert Campbell Bryan, and his wife Eliza. [It survives but is not accessible to the public]. As his fortunes improved, Bryan constructed a more formal dwelling, known as Mulberry Grove, circa 1832* [pictured below, and in all subsequent photographs]. *-Some sources date the house to 1850, but discussions with two architectural historians and preservationists support the earlier date.

Mulberry Grove later became the home of Bryan’s third son, Abner Council Bryan and his wife, Harriet Taylor Bryan. Their son, John Averette Bryan and his wife, Linda Lee Bryan, eventually inherited it. Many members of the Bryan family are buried in an adjacent private cemetery, alongside the slaves who built and worked the plantation.

The most notable feature of the house is the rain porch (also referred to as a Carolina rain porch). Originally, there were only four stucco-covered posts but at some point two more were added for stability.

Rain porches are a very rare architectural element in Georgia.

The original kitchen is attached to the house by an enclosed breezeway. The addition of modern steps are one of the few overall modifications visible at the rear of the house.

Rear elevation (southeastern perspective)

Southern elevation, with double chimneys

 

PLEASE NOTE: Mulberry Grove is private property and is monitored closely by physical and digital means. I am grateful to have been invited by the new owner to photograph the property. He is very interested in making accurate historical renovations to the house and I believe he will be a good steward.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --HOUSTON COUNTY GA--, Wilna GA

Tomb of Governor Troup, Lothair

This sandstone enclosure is the de facto memorial to one of early Georgia’s best known politicians, Governor George Michael* Troup (8 September 1780-26 April 1856). The obelisk was placed in 1848 upon the death of Troup’s brother, Robert Lachlan Troup (1784-1848). The enclosure was built by slaves from sandstone quarried nearby at Berry Hill Bluff of the Oconee River.

*- Some sources assert that Troup’s middle name was actually McIntosh. This is due to the fact that Troup’s mother was a McIntosh and he was born at McIntosh’s Bluff on Alabama’s Tombigbee River, which was part of Georgia at the time of the governor’s birth.

Detail of engraving of George Troup from The Life of George M. Troup by Edward Jenkins Harden, 1859. Public domain.

Governor Troup spent most of his time after his 1833 retirement at Val d’ Osta, his home in Dublin. He died while visiting Rosemont Plantation, one of numerous properties he owned in Laurens and Montgomery counties. A man of his time, Troup was a fierce supporter of slavery, owning around 400 human beings during his lifetime. It is also suggested that, like many slave owners, he fathered children with some of his female slaves.

Troup served as a state representative, member of the House of Representatives, United States senator, and two-term governor of Georgia (1823-1827).  Georgia’s best-known politician of the era, William Harris Crawford, encouraged Troup to run for governor. His first run was unsuccessful, due largely to the deep divide between the aristocratic planter class (by now known as Troupites) and the common farmers and frontier settlers (known as Clarkites, for John Clark) that had dominated state politics since the late 18th century. The state largely favored the Clarkites, but when Clark chose not to run in 1823, Troup was elected as an alternative. As a Democratic-Republican governor he ensured the removal of the Creek peoples from Georgia, a dubious achievement from a modern perspective. His endorsement of the Treaty of Indian Springs was met with an amended version from President John Quincy Adams, who favored allowing the Creeks slightly more land, but Troup ordered the militia to enforce his version. President Adams capitulated, not wanting to go to “war” with Troup over the Indian issue. He eventually became a strong Jacksonian Democrat and was nationally recognized for being a champion of states’ rights.

The ornamental iron gate was designed by Savannah blacksmiths D. & W. Rose.

Governor Troup was the namesake of Troup County, and Troupville, the first permanent county seat of Lowndes County. The present county seat of Lowndes County, Valdosta, is named for his plantation, Val d’ Osta.

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Filed under --TREUTLEN COUNTY GA--, Lothair GA

Ephraim Ponder House, 1856, Thomasville

Built for Ephraim G. Ponder, a slave trader, this house originally featured a square cupola at the center of the roof. Ponder enslaved the Flipper family and one of their children, Henry Ossian Flipper (1856-1940), was the first black cadet to be admitted to the United States Military Academy at West Point, in 1877.

Detail of albumen cabinet card of Lieutenant Henry Flipper by Kennedy of Wilberforce, Ohio, circa 1877.  Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives. Committee on Military Affairs. Public domain.

Flipper earned a commission as a second lieutenant in the U. S. Army. He was also the first black officer to lead the buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. He went on to serve in the Apache Wars and Victorio’s War but was troubled by rumors that led to his eventual court martial and discharge. He continued to work for the United States, as an assistant to the Secretary of the Interior in Mexico and Central America. Flipper’s family sought and received a complete pardon in 1999. It’s a nice irony that the slave trader is largely forgotten today while Mr. Flipper is honored with an annual award in his name at West Point.

Dawson Street Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --THOMAS COUNTY GA--, Thomasville GA

Hayes House, Circa 1851, Thomasville

This home was built by Thomas Jones of Greenwood Plantation as a wedding gift for his daughter Harriet and her husband, Dr. David S. Brandon, a prominent surgeon. [It’s referred to as the Dr. David Brandon House in the National Register of Historic Places]. Dr. Brandon sold the house to Mrs. John R. Hayes in 1862. In the last days of the Civil War, Professor Joseph LeConte of Liberty County was granted refuge here by the Hayes family.

Originally a one-story brick house, the second floor and mansard roof were added in the 1870s. The brick was stuccoed at that time. The roof is covered with octagonal slate tiles, featuring a decorative flower design.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --THOMAS COUNTY GA--, Thomasville GA

Hardy Bryan House, 1833, Thomasville

Built for one of Thomasville’s early settlers, the Hardy Bryan House is among the most important surviving antebellum structures in the region. When it was built, Thomasville was still quite rural and the house served as the center of a working plantation. Bryan died in 1859 and the house had several subsequent owners, including the Cater family. Today, it serves as the headquarters of Thomasville Landmarks, an organization at the forefront of local preservation since the early 1960s.

The cross pattée on the pediment has become an iconic architectural symbol of Thomasville.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --THOMAS COUNTY GA--, Thomasville GA

Ways Baptist Church, 1851, Jefferson County

Ways Baptist Church was organized in 1817 near the present-day community of Stellaville, about three miles east of Wrens. It was named for Bill Way, who donated the land on which it was sited. The members were originally part of Brushy Creek Baptist Church but were dismissed for some reason, perhaps because they had slaves. Enslaved persons were among the first members of the new congregation. A log cabin was built first, then a more formal structure, replaced by this church in 1851. It features what appears to be a slave gallery (common in churches with slave members) and was likely built by the slaves themselves. After emancipation, they founded their own congregation nearby, known as Ways Grove Baptist Church.

It is a beautiful church and churchyard, and there is an historic cemetery across the highway.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Stellaville GA

Birdsville Plantation, Circa 1789, Jenkins County

Birdsville Plantation Jenkins County GA Antebellum Landmark Royal Land Grant Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Birdsville Plantation has been owned by the Jones family since the mid-1700s and is one of just a few well-documented 18th-century residential structures still standing in the interior of Georgia. Modifications giving the house its present appearance  were made circa 1847. Somehow, it was miraculously spared by Sherman on his March to the Sea. Mary F. Andrew clarifies the history: For the record*, this was not the home of Francis Jones. F Jones settled south of Rocky Ford. His son, Philip, most likely built the older part. He acquired the land in 1785 for his services in the Revolutionary War. He died in 1789. His son, Henry Philip Jones, is responsible for the front addition seen in the picture. See Bell-Parker above. I have researched it as thoroughly as I can and know this to be accurate. HPJones’ youngest son, Wm B Jones, lived there during the Civil War. The twins were his. Gen. Sherman stayed briefly at the magnificent home of his brother, Jos. Bertram Jones, near Herndon. Unfortunately, JBJones’ home, which was visited by many important people of the day (latter half of the 19th century) and the site of much social activity, burned in the early 1900’s.

*I was initially of the impression that this was first the home of Francis Jones. I’m grateful for Mary F. Andrew’s research and for her sharing it here.

Birdsville Plantation GA Commissary Building Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

This is the old Birdsville commissary, which served the plantation for many years. I would guess that it served as a schoolhouse or chapel at one time.

The entire plantation and all structures located thereon are on private property. I’m grateful to have been given permission to photograph and greatly enjoyed my brief visit there.

Bill Hozey recently wrote: I lived in the newer house just down the lane from the main house as a child. I have spent many a day in the Franklin house and with the family. I remember vividly the human skull in the basement and was told by the Franklins about Sherman sparing the house due to the death of the twins. Mrs. Grizzard lived in the old Post Office during this time. She was the piano teacher at the private school, Buckhead Academy.
Wonderful memories of Birdsville.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JENKINS COUNTY GA--, Birdsville GA