Tag Archives: South Georgia Commissaries

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



Filed under --EVANS COUNTY GA--

West Hill, Circa 1836, Stewart County

The land which today comprises West Hill was first acquired by William Cunningham of Pulaski County in the Land Lottery of 1827. Cunningham never occupied the property and sold it to David Harrell about 1836, when the Greek Revival main house* is thought to have been constructed. He sold the property to William West (1799-1873) in 1853. By 1860, West had 3500 acres in cultivation and 2000 acres in timberland, making him one of the largest plantation owners in Georgia. He was also a leading cotton producer, with a record of 430 bales produced around 1860. Slave labor was integral to the operation.

West deeded the property to his daughter, Annie Crooks West, in 1867. She later married James Nelson McMichael and they lived in the main house the rest of their lives. After Mrs. McMichael’s death in 1915, estate administrators operated the farm until it was purchased by her nephew, L. M. Moye, Sr., in 1929. His descendants continue to own the property. I’m most grateful to Mac Moye for a generous tour of the grounds. The property is inhabited and private.

*-Mac Moye notes the similarity of the main house to the Bedingfield Inn in Lumpkin, suggesting they were likely designed by the same builder. This must be considered more than coincidental, considering the rural nature of Stewart County in the 1830s.

West Hill Dependencies

The historical importance of West Hill is most evident in the surviving dependencies that were the hallmark of self-sustaining plantation life. That the West descendants have maintained these structures in such authentic condition for more than a century-and-a-half seems nothing short of miraculous. Other than the absence of the original wooden shingles, the outbuildings are true to their original condition.

Schoolhouse, Circa 1853

Perhaps the most significant of the remaining dependencies at West Hill is the plantation schoolhouse. One of the first schools ever built in Stewart County, its use by neighboring children was strongly encouraged by William West, who even brought a tutor from New York to teach his children here.

Schoolhouse- Foundation Stones

Schoolhouse- Dovetail Joinery

Commissary/Meat Storage House


Cook’s House

Blacksmith Shop


Privy- Interior, showing the unusual five-seat design.

West Hill Dependencies- Slave Dwellings of “The Grove”

Few properties in Georgia retain the dwelling places of enslaved persons, so the survival of these three at West Hill is extraordinary. Though they have been maintained by the family for their historical value, they are the most endangered, and arguably the most important structures on the property. About a quarter mile from the main house in an area referred to as “The Grove”, these single-pen houses were used as tenant homes long after emancipation. As a result of their later use, two were slightly modified. One has an extra room and shed room, while another has a shed room. Like the dependencies at the periphery of the main house, these structures were of log construction with siding and would also have originally featured wooden shingles.

Slave Dwelling No. 1

All of the slave dwellings are believed to be contemporary to the construction of the main house, dating them to circa 1836.

Slave Dwelling No. 1- Interior Detail

Slave Dwelling No. 2

Slave Dwelling No. 2- Interior Detail

Slave Dwelling No. 2- Hearth

Slave Dwelling No. 2- Rear Perspective

Slave Dwelling No. 3

Slave Dwelling No. 3- Rear view showing shed room

National Register of Historic Places









Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--

Turpentine Commissary, Toledo

Joe Hopkins writes that this the was commissary for the turpentine operations at Toledo. I would go there on Saturday mornings when I was a kid with my great uncle to pay off the turpentine employees. The store housed basic staples and dry goods for the workers living at the Toledo settlement and the business records of the company. The dirt road on the porch side of the commissary was the original road running from Folkston to St.George.



Filed under --CHARLTON COUNTY GA--, Toledo GA

Parker Cabin & Commissary, Wefanie

While I was out photographing with Mike McCall today, we ran into Jimmy Parker, who noted that he was born in this cabin and restored it in recent years.

This commissary was part of the family’s timber and turpentine operations and was at its busiest during World War II.

South Georgia Snowstorm, 2018



Filed under --LONG COUNTY GA--, Ludowici GA

Commissary, Glenwood

Glenwood GA Unidentified Vernacular Building Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2016

I’m told this was a commissary but I don’t have any further information. I was unable to photograph the other side, as it’s in someone’s yard. It’s an important survivor.



Filed under --WHEELER COUNTY GA--, Glenwood GA

Tison Naval Stores Commissary, Tattnall County

Tison GA Tattnall County Store Building Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This was part of the Tison Naval Stores business which gave its name to the surrounding community and served as a commissary/general store. Thanks to Charles Tillman, a descendant of the Tison family who now operates Watermelon Creek Vineyard on the property, this and the naval stores warehouse across the highway remain intact for future generations.

Tison GA Tattnall County Store or Commissary Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --TATTNALL COUNTY GA--, Tison GA

C. H. Burt’s Store, LaCrosse

LaCrosse GA Schley County C H Burt Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This iconic commissary/store at the intersection of LaCrosse Road and Georgia Highway 271 served as the center of a large farming operation for many years.  Jean Harrison, whose family owns the property today wrote: Gertude Burt Strange grew up at Lacrosse and her family ran the store until about 1947 when my parents bought the farm including the store which was closed and used for farm storage etc. Every time there was an election my Father would clean out the store so people could vote there.

A plantation at LaCrosse was first established by Stinson J. Rees in 1856. The property is beautifully maintained today but please note it’s not open to the public and trespassing is strictly prohibited.  I was interested to see that the LaCrosse name on the side of the building was recently repainted in a different style. Linda Adams, who painted the wonderful murals in Ellaville wrote to say that she repainted the sign, as well as the great Coca-Cola sign on the front of the store. Below is a shot I made in 2009.

LaCrosse GA Schley County Burt Store Mural Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2009


Filed under --SCHLEY COUNTY GA--, LaCrosse GA

Dixon Commissary, Walkerville

Walkerville GA Pierce County Old Dixon Commissary Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

I had a brief visit with the owner of this structure today, who graciously allowed me access to the property. He noted that it was once a commissary, owned by Alvin and Lizzie Dixon, the grandparents of well-known WTOC-TV anchorman, Sonny Dixon. It served as a general store and post office for Walkerville, as well. Stabilization and basic restorations have been made to insure its survival.

Walkerville GA Pierce County Ghost Town Old Post Office Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --PIERCE COUNTY GA--, Walkerville GA

Jordan, Georgia

Jordan GA Wheeler County Ghost Town Old Country Store Filling Station Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This commissary is what survives of the settlement of Jordan.

Jordan GA Wheeler County Ghost Town Old Country Store Gas Pump Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014



Filed under --WHEELER COUNTY GA--, Jordan 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


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