Tag Archives: Vidalia GA

Peterson-Wilbanks House, 1916, Vidalia

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Ava McArthur Peterson Wilbanks bought the lot for this house, a half-acre cotton patch at the time, in 1911. She first married A. A. Peterson, Jr., one of the largest landowners in Toombs and Montgomery counties. Upon Mr. Peterson’s death she married H. P. Wilbanks. The house was lost to foreclosure in 1936, at the height of the Great Depression.  It was purchased by W. Frank Jenkins in 1940. Jenkins was a grandson of W. T. Jenkins, who founded Vidalia in 1890 and was the namesake of its predecessor, Jenkins Station. He and his wife Katharine were the last residential owners of the house, living here until the 1980s.

The architect, Ivey P. Crutchfield (1878-1952) was responsible for commercial and religious work in Soperton, Glennville, Reidsville, Mount Vernon, Cochran and other nearby towns. He also built several other homes and commercial structures in Vidalia, including the town’s first bank. Crutchfield, a native of Wilkinson County, never received formal training in architecture but was a working architect by 1916. He left Georgia and was a successful architect in Fort Myers, Florida, until his retirement.

National Register of Historic Places

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Hip-Roof House, Vidalia

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Vidalia Primitive Baptist Church

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McMillan Burial Ground, Vidalia

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From the historical marker placed by the General Robert Toombs Camp 932, S.C.V.: An early settler to the area that is now Vidalia was Malcolm McMillan, who pitched his camp near this site circa 1800, and built his pioneer home. In the following years, he and his cousin, the Rev. Murphey McMillan, established a Presbyterian church and cemetery on this site. For the next 100  years, this served as the principal cemetery  for the loose community of farmers, loggers and sheepherders that populated this area of what was then eastern Montgomery County. — The McMillans are believed to be buried here in now unmarked graves. Many of the older wooden markers which were once prevalent here no longer exist. The large open areas of the cemetery are not vacant of graves, only markers. — One of the first towns established near this site was Sterling in 1850, and many of its residents are buried here. — With the coming of the railroad in the late 1880s, this cemetery served the nearby communities that sprang up along its route, including: Aimwell, Appleton, Bandanna, Jenkins Stations, Stacers, Straw and Tosh. — After the founding of Vidalia in 1890, these early towns gradually ceased to exist. With the creation of Pinecrest Cemetery in 1907, this site ceased to serve as the area’s primary cemetery, and has often been known as the Church Street cemetery, the Primitive Baptist cemetery, and the Old Vidalia City cemetery.

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A brick arch marks the entrance to the burial ground.

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James McLeod (1789 – 1 November 1821) I believe this is the oldest headstone in the cemetery.

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Peterson Family Cenotaph

In Loving Memory of Malcom Peterson (28 December 1772 – 26 April 1842) & Flora McNiel (? – 26 April 1855) Married 30 August 1804. They migrated to Montgomery County, Georgia, from Cape Fear River Section, North Carolina About 1825 and are buried in this cemetery near this spot. Children: John Peterson (Born 23 February 1806); Archibald Peterson (Born 12 March 1808); Rose Peterson (Born 4 August 1810); Flora Peterson (Born 26 October 1812); Mary Peterson (Born 18 September 1815); Malcom McMillan Peterson (Born 11 December 1817); Alexander McNiel Peterson (1 December 1819 – 31 March 1877) Erected in 1938 by descendants of Alexander McNiel Peterson. Names and dates obtained from his family Bible.

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There is a row of nine McIntosh headstones in the cemetery and each features a different symbol on the reverse side. These two {from the headstones of Daniel McIntosh (1 April 1810 – 23 August 1874) and Kinneth McIntosh (10 March 1814 – 9 August 1879)} leave little doubt as to the profession of the decedents. They are often called “bronze” headstones, as they were made by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut, but in actuality they are sand cast zinc.

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Unknown Confederate Dead, Vidalia

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In this section of the old McMillan Burial Ground are the graves of unknown Confederate soldiers. An historic marker, recently placed in observance of the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, notes: As fighting intensified in central Georgia in the summer of 1864, caravans of wagons evacuated sick and wounded Confederate soldiers from Macon’s overcrowded Ocmulgee Hospital. Caravans coming down the Old Savannah Road stopped at this cemetery and buried soldiers who had died en route to hospitals further south.

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