Tag Archives: South Georgia Log Structures

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

Kitchen

Cook’s House

Blacksmith Shop

Privy

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--

Timber Protection Organization Office, Homerville

This is presently home to the Ware Visiting Nurses Service, but Tom Chandler notes that it was originally the Timber Protection Organization (TPO) office.

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Filed under --CLINCH COUNTY GA--, Homerville GA

Log Tobacco Barn, Colquitt County

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Filed under --COLQUITT COUNTY GA--

Log Barn, Brooks County

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Reconstructed Blockhouse, Fort Gaines

In August 1814, the Treaty of Fort Jackson opened 24 million acres of Creek lands to white settlement, a result of the Creek War of 1813-1814. Cemochechobee Creek, which marked the border with Spanish Florida at the time, crosses the Chattahoochee River near this site. The government ordered the establishment of a fort in the area and in 1815, Major General Edmund P. Gaines and Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Lamont Clinch, with a battalion of the 4th U. S. Infantry, selected this site, on a bluff 130 feet above the Chattahoochee, just north of the Cemochechobee. The fort they built, rectangular with two blockhouses, was named in honor of General Gaines. It also served as a supply depot in the First Seminole War of 1817-1818.

A new fort was constructed as a defense during the Creek War of 1836. The war was short-lived and the fort was soon razed.

The third and final fort was built by the Confederates during the Civil War to protect Columbus from Union gunboats. An original cannon remains in one of the gun emplacements.

 

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Filed under --CLAY COUNTY GA--, Fort Gaines GA

Frontier Village, Fort Gaines

Frontier Village is a collection of publicly accessible historic structures located adjacent to the replica of the 1816 blockhouse. There’s no admission cost. The two houses below are a good general representation of early styles common in the area in the 19th century.

Newt Engram Dogtrot House. Originally located in Lightard Knot Springs near Zetto, this is thought to have been built by Seaborn P. Engram and passed to Newt Engram. (Some Engrams in Clay County spelled their name with an “E” while others in the family spelled it with an “I”. Since I’m not a genealogist, I’m not quite sure the distinction).

Herbert and Liza Ingram House. This single-pen log house was originally located near Sutton’s Corner.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --CLAY COUNTY GA--, Fort Gaines GA

The Scout House, 1928, Fort Gaines

Under the leadership of Methodist minister Emmett Emerson Gardner, the local Boy Scout troop cut, notched, and scraped the logs and erected this cabin for use as their lodge.

Originally consisting of two rooms, the cabin was later remodeled for use as the first library in Fort Gaines.

It’s located adjacent to the Toll House.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --CLAY COUNTY GA--, Fort Gaines GA