Anne Chamlee made this photograph just south of Oconee in March 1991. She shares my fascination with old log structures.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Log Structures
This amazing survivor was built as a single-pen log residence in the 1850s by area pioneer David Reddish (1824-1902). Thanks to Mr. Reddish’s great-great granddaughter, Amanda Farmery, for bringing this highly endangered pioneer home to my attention. Mr. Reddish lived in the house until his death in 1902.
The hearth was located on the end pictured above and has collapsed and some of the brick was salvaged or removed.
This view of the interior illustrates the condition of the house, which is so compromised that I wouldn’t even step inside.
Typical of construction of this era in Georgia, the logs are held in place by dovetail joinery.
A rear view of the original section of the house illustrates just how utilitarian structures of this type tended to be in early rural Georgia.
At some point, a board-and-batten addition was made to the house. It’s possible that this was done after Mr. Reddish’s death. Amanda Farmery notes that a well on the property displays a date of 1912, suggesting it continued to be used a residence for some time.
This view from the board-and-batten addition looks toward the original single-pen log section.
Though there is likely no hope for saving the structure, it is wonderful that the family has allowed to stand all these years. I am very grateful to Amanda Farmery for not only recognizing its importance to her family history but her desire for documenting it and sharing it for posterity’s sake.
In Houses of Heart Pine: A Survey of the Antebellum Architecture of Evans County, Georgia (3rd printing, 2014), Pharris DeLoach Johnson notes that this house*, one of the oldest in the county, originated circa 1856 as a single pen log structure joined by full-dovetail notches. It was later expanded to the Plantation Plain style it now exhibits (probably within a decade of its original construction) and weatherboards were added. The house was lowered slightly during a later renovation which was necessitated by replacement of the original chimneys. The roof and windows were also replaced but the original log walls and interior architectural features remain strongly intact.
James Bell Smith (1823-1891), whose mother Fannie Bell was the namesake of Bellville, purchased this property from Benjamin Brewton in 1851. His family came to Georgia from North Carolina after the Revolutionary War, settling in the 1820s in the section of Tattnall County that later became Evans County. Upon his death in 1891, the house was inherited by his son, Pulaski Sikes Smith. When Sikes died in 1894, his widow Mary Eliza Tippins Smith continued to reside in the house. Later, Sikes’s daughter Helen Daniel acquired the undivided land holdings of her siblings, including the house. Helen sold the house and surrounding land to her son Walter Emmett Daniel in 1954, and they own the property to this day. It is presently used as a guest house.
*-also known as the Smith-Daniel House