William John Wren was the founder and namesake of the town of Wrens. This memorial is located beside the post office, with the Wren House visible in the background. I’m not sure when it was placed here, but it was likely around the time of Mr. Wren’s death.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Monuments
The two most famous residents of Montezuma’s historic Felton Cemetery are the Lewis Brothers. Elijah John Lewis (11 February 1879-8 August 1893) had an attack of appendicitis traveling to New York with his uncle William “Minor” Lewis to buy stock for their store. He died in Chester, South Carolina while awaiting medical attention. Robert Landrum Lewis (16 January 1881-18 March 1895) saved an eight-year-old boy named Frank Hague from drowning in Beaver Creek and on the next day was accidentally shot by Leo Hertz. It was first though that he would survive but he died in his sleep. The boys’ father, Elijah Banks Lewis, was so saddened by the loss of his sons that he ordered marble statues from Italy in their likeness. There are many other wonderful monuments and memorials in this cemetery.
Besides its fascinating history, Orphans Cemetery is a real gem of landscape architecture and cemetery design. It’s one of the most beautifully maintained in the state, and the rare cedars and other trees make it feel more like an arboretum than a burial ground. Interred in the mausoleum are Albert Genavie Williamson (1 August 1854-4 December 1925) and Martha “Mattie” Jane Buchan Williamson (10 April 1858-11 May 1938). Jay Gould Williamson, the nephew and adopted son of the Williamsons depicted as a young boy in the memorial, was born on 17 August 1893 and died on 23 September 1982. He spent his last 35 years on St. Simons Island and is buried at historic Christ Church Frederica.
From the marker placed by the Georgia Historical Society, Orphans Cemetery Association & Dodge County Historical Society in 1999: Albert G. Williamson, a Dodge County entrepreneur, donated land for a burial place in Orphans community following the death of a neighbor´s child, George P.A. Barnes, in 1887. The community was named in honor of the six orphaned Williamson brothers who moved here in 1873-74 from North Carolina. The earliest burials were children of the Thomas, Weldy, and Lashley families. Other common names in the original acre are Hardy, Manley, Steele, Stuckey, and Williamson. The statuary above their mausoleum depicts A.G. and Martha Buchan Williamson and their nephew, Jay Gould.
The mausoleum was erected by the Cordele Consolidated Marble Works on 17 August 1912. The statuary was cut from a photograph made in 1903. The details and life size depiction of the Williamsons is a stunning work of public art. Mr. Williamson’s Magnolia, as this giant tree is known, was planted in 1887. Today it provides a spot for refuge and reflection, with two swings hanging from its branches.
Mr. Williamson’s obituary provides more background as to his life and activities in Dodge County: Hon. A. G. Williamson, for fifty years one of Dodge County’s prominent citizens, died at his home in the city Friday night about nine o’clock, following an illness of more than a year, during which time he was practically an invalid. Mr. Williamson’s body was embalmed by J. W. Peacock Co., undertakers, and according to instructions previously given by him, was deposited in a vault at Orphans Cemetery at sundown Sunday afternoon. This vault, above which rested life-size statues of Mr. Williamson, Mrs. Williamson and J. Gould Williamson, a nephew and adopted son,, was erected by Mr. Williamson about fifteen years ago, and full directions were given by him as to the disposal of his body at death. The body, lying on the left side, reposed on a cedar cot, which had also been provided by Mr. Williamson, and in this position was deposited in the vault. The funeral service, which was conducted by Rev. Frank Adams, of the Christian church, consisted only of scripture reading, prayer and two songs. The scripture was from the 14th chapter of St. John, the second to fourth verses, inclusive. The songs ” I Shall Know Him, ” and “Asleep jn Jesus, ” were rendered by a double quartet composed of O. V. Lashley, Henry Manley, Robert Bennett, Mrs. Jeter A. Harrell, S. H. Goolsby, H. E. Dickens, John Parkerson, Mrs. C. F. Coleman. The active pallbearers were the following: W. Fitzgerald, W. H. Smith, C. F. Coleman, C. H. Peacock, R.G. P. McKinnon, C. C. Burch. An honorary escort was composed of C. D. Phillips, W. J. Deffinall, C. B. Murrell, J. H. Rogers, W. W. Puett, J. C. Wall. The floral offerings were banked about the mausoleum in abundant profusion and were magnificently beautiful. A throng of about one thousand people was in attendance.
Mr. Williamson was born in Columbus County., N. C., and was 71 years old August 1st. He came to Dodge County 52 years ago and secured employment as woods-rider for Coleman & Sessoms, a naval stores firm. Soon afterwards he was married to Miss Mattie Buchan, daughter of Dr. James Buchan, by whom he is survived. Being a man of keen and accurate judgement, he early realized the value of lands in this section of Georgia, and through this judgement and his untiring energy, he acquired as the years went by, 8,000 acres of Dodge County land, also large holdings in Eastman city property and government bonds. His estate is valued at between $400,000 and a half million dollars. Several months ago he deeded a large part of this property to relatives, his wife and adopted son being the principal beneficiaries.
Mr. Williamson united with the Christian church when quite a young man, and as long as his health would permit, took a very active interest in its affairs. He built the Christian church at Orphans and was an important factor in the erection of the Christian church in Eastman. To both of these institutions he was a strong pillar and liberal contributor.
Mr. Williamson was Ordinary of Dodge County two terms, beginning about 1895. His administration of this office was marked by splendid efficiency and admirable economy, he rendered to the people the same fine business management that characterized his personal affairs.
Mr. Williamson’s life and character constitute a remarkable demonstration of what a man may accomplish through the exercise of economy, energy and industry, coupled with the practice of hat rigid honesty and justice that marked all of his transactions.
Source: Tad Evans, Dodge County Newspaper Clippings Volume IV1920-1928.
National Register of Historic Places
Located on the grounds of the historic courthouse, Marion County’s confederate monument was dedicated by Mrs. Minnie S. Weaver, local UDC Chairman, on 23 August 1916. A crowd of over 2,000 came out to hear the Honorable W. B. Short and Lucian Lamar Knight deliver the keynote addresses. This was the last Confederate monument dedicated in Georgia in the Confederate commemoration era. The 12-foot-high ornamental bench, known as an exedra, is unique among Georgia’s official monuments.
Erected by the Ladies Memorial Association of Sumter County and the United Daughters of the Confederacy at the intersection of Lee & Forsyth Streets in 1901, this monument was moved to Rees Park after World War II due to traffic concerns at its original location.
Americus Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Located in Rees Park, this monument honoring the soldiers of World War I was actually designed while its creator, Indiana native E. M. Viquesney, was living in Americus, though the first one to be manufactured was placed in Nashville, Georgia, prior to the erection of this one. The design was mass-produced in the 1920s and 1930s and is the most popular of its kind, with hundreds located in parks throughout the United States. It’s known as the Spirit of the American Doughboy.
Americus Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Passersby often mistake this for the Confederate Monument, but instead it honors Jared Irwin, one of Washington County’s best-known politicians of his time. The monument was moved from the earlier courthouse square to its present location some time after the Civil War. Today, Irwin is barely known, but he lives on as the namesake of Irwin County, Irwinville, and Irwinton. It’s a sad fact today that he isn’t considered one of Georgia’s greatest heroes; his rescinding of the Yazoo frauds alone should place him high above most any Georgia politician of any time. Other than the namesake places, this is, to my knowledge, the only monument honoring this great Georgian. Governor Irwin is who brought me to Washington County on this trip; I was determined to find his grave and pay my quiet respects. The monument’s base, heavy with text on all four sides, describes the varied career of Irwin, albeit in the flowery, adjective-laden style of the mid-19th century.
South Side: Erected by the State of Georgia to the memory of Governor Jared Irwin, who died at his residence, Union Hill, Washington Co., on the first day of March 1818 in the 68th year of his age.
East Side: A true patriot. He entered the service of his country as Captain and soon rose to the rank of colonel in the Revolutionary War. As a soldier, he was brave and gallant. He distinguished himself a the sieges of Savannah and Augusta and in the battles of Camden, Brier Creek, Black Swamp, and several other engagements, he was at all times foremost leading his gallant band to victory. And not with his sword, and in his person only did he do service for his country. From his private means he erected a fortress in Burke County for protection of the people of the surrounding districts.His pure devotion to the cause of liberty marked him in the eyes of the enemy, and on more than one occasion was he plundered of his property, and his premises reduced to ashes. At the close of the War of the Revolution, with the rank of General, he was actively engaged in the service of the state, in repelling the attacks and invasions of the hostile Indians; and here, again, was his liberality called into activity. He, at his own expense, built a fort at White Bluff, for the security and protection of the frontier inhabitants against the savage attacks of the merciless foes.
A band bearing Irwin’s initials, surrounds the obelisk.
North Side: General Irwin was one of the convention which met at Augusta in 1788, and ratified the constitution of the United States. He was a member of the convention in 1789, which formed the constitution of the State of Georgia. In 1798, he was president of the convention which revised the constitution of the State of Georgia. He rendered distinguished to his country as commissioner, in concluding several treaties with the Indians. At the close of the war of Independence he was a member of the first legislature under our present form of government; a position which occupied for several years. He was elected president of the senate frequently, at various periods from 1790 to the time of his death. He was governor of Georgia from January 17, 1796, to the 11th of January, 1798, and again from the 23rd of September, 1806, to the 7th of November, 1809. His administration was distinguished for his justice and impartiality; and his was the honor, after several years’ labor in the behalf, of signing the act rescinding the Yazoo Act.
West Side: In his private relations Governor Irwin was beloved by all who knew him. The spotless purity of his character, his benign and affable disposition, his widespread benevolence and hospitality, made him the object of general affection. To the poor and distressed he was ever a benefactor and friend. In every position of public life, as a soldier, a statesman, and a patriot, the public good was the object and the end of his ambition; and his death was lamented as a national calamity. But his memory will ever be embalmed in the hearts of his countrymen; and the historian will award him a brilliant page in the records of the country. Peace to his ashes! Honor to his name.
The monument is quite difficult to photograph. I’ll work on a better image next time I’m in Sandersville. I’m grateful to Ray South Irwin for historical background.