Tag Archives: –STEWART 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

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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Harvey’s Garage, Lumpkin

Harvey’s has been in business for many years but I believe this structure was originally a general/grocery store. The old RC sign looks like it’s been around for a long time.

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Folk Victorian House, Lumpkin

Uptown Residential Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Cross Gable House, Lumpkin

Pigtail Alley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Hester House, Lumpkin

Pigtail Alley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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General Clement Evans Boyhood Home, Circa 1835, Lumpkin

One of Georgia’s best-known citizens during his lifetime, General Clement Anselm Evans (1833-1911) was born near Lumpkin to Anselm  & Sarah Evans and grew up in this house. He was admitted to the bar at the age of 18 and married Mary Allen “Allie” Walton in 1854 . He was soon thereafter elected to a Stewart County judgeship and five years later was elected a state senator on the Know-Nothing ticket.

In April 1861, Evans resigned his legislative post and joined the Confederate army as a private. He became commander of the Bartow Guards (Thirty-first Georgia Infantry) in 1862, fought at Shenandoah and was present at nearly every battle of the Army of Northern Virginia. Evans was promoted to brigadier general in 1864.

After the war, General Evans was ordained a Methodist minister. He served at least six congregations in North Georgia over the course of 26 years. Upon the death of his wife in 1884, he married Sarah Ann Avary Howard. After retiring from the ministry, he edited the 13-volume Confederate Military History and coedited the influential Cyclopedia of Georgia. He was a co-founder and Georgia Division commander of the United Confederate Veterans and served the organization as commander-in-chief  from 1909-1911. His body lay in state in the state capitol and his funeral was heavily attended. Evans County was named in his honor in 1914.

Pigtail Alley Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Zeph Mathis House, Lumpkin

This historic Plantation Plain house has been unoccupied for some years but has recently been gifted to the county. There is hope that it will be restored or at least stabilized. It’s likely antebellum though I haven’t been able to locate a date for it.

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Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--, Lumpkin GA

Jared Irwin House, Circa 1830, Lumpkin

Thought to be the oldest house in Lumpkin, this was originally a log dogtrot to which siding was later applied.  It was the home of Jared Irwin, namesake nephew of the early Georgia governor. Upon the death of the younger Irwin’s parents, Alexander and Penelope Irwin, he was adopted by his uncle. He was in the first graduating class of Franklin College (now the University of Georgia), was an original settler of Lumpkin and served as clerk of the inferior court of Stewart County. During the Creek War of 1836, he was killed in the Battle of Shepherd’s Plantation and was tied to his horse, which returned his body to Lumpkin.

The house has been modified over time but the interior remains in largely original condition. The shed room along the rear and the front porch are later additions. It is also known as the Irwin-Partain House.

National Register of Historic Places

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Erasmus Beall House, Circa 1836, Lumpkin

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Stewart-Webster Hospital, 1950, Richland

The cornerstone of the hospital is dated 1949 but I understand it wasn’t completed and occupied until 1950. It was sponsored by the Richland Lions Club and Dr. J. T. Phillips was the hospital authority chairman. This is just one of numerous rural hospitals that have closed in recent years, leaving many without accessible major medical care. The politics around the issue go back and forth, but when your county loses a hospital, that’s irrelevant. This particular hospital served two counties.

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Filed under --STEWART COUNTY GA--, Richland GA