Tag Archives: South Georgia Ghost Towns

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

Machine Shop, Bullard

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--, Bullard GA

Historic Storefront, Bullard

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--, Bullard GA

Holliday Food Store, Higgsville

This store was owned by Marion Vinson “Doc” Holliday (1902-1987), who also served on the county commission and drove a school bus for many years. I believe it was open until the late 1980s. Thanks to Ladonna Johnson for the identification.

I’ve not been able to find much information about Higgsville. A post office was established here in 1833 and A. B. Higgs was the first postmaster. The post office closed in 1843. It’s not on any map today, but the name lives on through an historic African-American church in the community. I suspect it was a plantation community and may have been a ghost town by the end of the Civil War. It appears on census rolls at least until 1940.

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Filed under --TWIGGS COUNTY GA--, Higgsville GA

Capron, Georgia

I first thought this are to be a community known as Jalappa, since the road is named Jalappa and a list of U. S. post offices makes reference to a post office at Jalappa from 1851-1855. Further research is required on Jalappa. However, as to the places seen here, Sammy Lester writes:  This is my family home. It was a plantation at one time. The mail came from Montezuma by horseback. The name is Capron. My Grandfather named the post office after the first officer that fell going up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt. Once there was a cotton gin, grist mill, a shingle mill and blacksmith shop along with the general store. The wooden building (above) is the original store and you can still see the mail slot. Capron circa 1898!

The brick storefront (below) dates to 1910, and most of the structure is gone.

 

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Filed under --DOOLY COUNTY GA--, Capron GA

Findlay, Georgia

Other than the fact that a post office known as Findlay operated here from 1889-1905, I’ve not been able to track down more information about this lost community. Today, the only visible reminder of its past is this abandoned commercial structure, likely a general store, built by A. C. Bullinton in 1914. A large agribusiness operation, Finley Gin Company, dominates the area today. Of course, there are variations in the spelling of the settlement’s name.

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Filed under --DOOLY COUNTY GA--, Findlay GA

Bo Ray’s Store, Telfair County

Thanks to Royce Neal for the identification. He notes: (this) was Max “Bo” Ray, Sr’s, store. He was our barber and a mechanic/handyman for the community.

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Filed under --TELFAIR COUNTY GA--

Dodge Guest House, Circa 1870, Suomi

Built by William Earl Dodge (1805-1883) for use by executives of the Georgia Land & Lumber Company circa 1870, this is the oldest known house in Dodge County*. One of the “Merchant Princes of Wall Street” and a former New York congressman, Dodge’s association with the area came at the invitation of William Pitt Eastman (1813-1888), a New Hampshire industrialist with large landholdings in Georgia and the namesake of the town of Eastman. Eastman brokered a deal with Dodge to have the county named for him in exchange for Dodge’s funding of a courthouse. The only time Dodge ever visited the area was when the courthouse was dedicated. His sons administered his timber interests in Georgia and this community (present-day Suomi) was named Normandale for Norman Dodge. It was the site of the company’s massive lumber mill and once boasted a population of nearly 600.

Throughout the 1870s Dodge’s Georgia Land & Lumber Company purchased, through questionable deeds, 300,000 acres of prime virgin timberland in the area. Hundreds of rightful owners were evicted from family lands and for 44 years a series of armed conflicts, assassinations, and protracted court battles embroiled the local folk in what came to be known as the Dodge Land Troubles. At least 50 people lost their lives during this turbulent period and by the time the debated deeds were finally settled in 1923, putting an end to the Dodge Land Troubles, the land was completely barren. Though owners slowly replanted or converted their lands to agricultural use, animosities remained.

*-A nearly identical house located next door (now demolished) was the home of company agent Captain John C. Forsyth, who was assassinated there at the height of the Dodge Land Troubles in 1890. A group of about eight local men hired a notorious North Carolina outlaw named Rich Lowery to carry out the deed. The conspirators were found guilty in a trial which garnered attention in all the national media, but Rich Lowery was never found, believed by some to have been murdered by some of his co-conspirators and disposed of in a cypress swamp.

 

 

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Filed under --DODGE COUNTY GA--, Normandale GA, Suomi GA

Turpentine Cabin, Tetlow

This is about as good a view as can be had of this shotgun house in northwestern Wayne County. It’s located in the vicinity of Tetlow, which still exists on the map and in a nearby road name, but seems lost to history otherwise. Because there are the remains of several nearly identical shotgun houses at the site, I presume this was a turpentine camp at one time. The area in which its located was heavily involved in the naval stores and timber industries throughout much of the twentieth century; the camp was likely abandoned by the 1960s.

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Filed under --WAYNE COUNTY GA--, Tetlow GA

Folk Victorian Farmhouse, Sumter County

There are two ghost towns in Georgia named Pennington. One is in Morgan County, near Madison, and the other is here in Sumter County, just a mile or two from Andersonville. A large plantation was once located here but it has long since vanished.

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Filed under --SUMTER COUNTY GA--