Captain John L. Day House, Circa 1880, Lumber City

Captain John L. Day House Lumber City GA Telfair County Steam Boat Operator Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This spectacular Italianate is said to be the first brick house ever built in Telfair County, though I can’t confirm this. I’m hopeful that someone in Telfair County will work toward having it listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The cast iron fence and porch rails and columns were meant to replicate the rails of a steamship, and considering Captain Day’s machine shop background, he may have even designed them himself.  While it was long said that Captain Day built the identical “triplets” a street over from this home for his three daughters, that has now been proven incorrect. Captain Day only had one daughter. They are now thought to have been built by Matt Cook. Captain Day did, however, own them at the time of his death. They were listed as rental properties.

The following  entry on Captain Day from the Biographical Souvenir of Florida & Georgia, (F. A. Batley Company, 1889) gives insight to his background, especially the tragedies of losing his father and brother in steamboat disasters: John L. Day, steamboatman, of Lumber City, Ga., was born in the city of New York, April 22, 1838, and is of English descent, his parents, Henry G. and Mary A. (Flint) Day, having come from Bristol, England in 1831. Henry G. became manager of a line of steamboats for the Georgia company, and in 1858, on a trip from Augusta to Savannah, while lying off Eagle Point, his cotton-laden vessel caught fire. The passengers and crew were compelled to jump overboard, and of the twelve or fifteen who were drowned, Mr. Day was one. His age was forty-nine. His wife died of yellow fever in Savannah in 1854, at the age of forty-five. Of the nine children born to these parents two died in New York in infancy. Thomas G. Day had been steamboating twenty-eight years and during all this while had not been on shore three months at a time. While engaged in navigating his vessel down the river he backed over her stern, and not being able to swim, as his father had not been, was drowned at the age of forty-three. Another of the family, Henry, a resident of Richmond, and married to Ellen Freeman, started for Augusta in 1869 to visit the subject of this sketch, whom he had not seen for ten years, but sickened on the train, was conscious for ten minutes only after meeting his brother and within four days died of brain fever, at the age of twenty-seven. Emily S. Day, married to Alexander Freeman, and Sarah A., wife of Chas. Mull, and Hannah L., widow of James W. Stout, reside in Richmond.

John L. Day began business life at the age of fifteen, serving seven years with his father at three branches of mechanical industry-millwrighting, in the machine shop, and at pattern making. At the age of twenty-two he entered the employ of the government as a journeyman, and was in consequence exempted from military service. At the age of twenty-four he began business on his own account as a machinist, but soon changed, in 1867, to steamboating, and for the past twelve years has had three steamboats running on the Oconee and Ocmulgee Rivers in connection with railroading lines. He has made money, but has worked hard for it. In June, 1860, Mr. Day married Miss Mary R. Strobar, daughter of Francis and Martha A. (Beaasley) Strobar of Savannah, and this union has been blessed by the birth of four children, viz: Ida V., wife of John H. Barrett, of Lumber City; Harry G., who died in September, 1885, at the age of seventeen; John P., who died in infancy, and Tommie F. Mr. Day is a Royal Arch Mason, and he, wife, daughter and son are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Capt. Day is one of the leading members of his church at Lumber City. He has the enviable reputation of being a first-class Sabbath-school member, and is superintendent of a flourishing school in the Methodist Church of Lumber City.

Captain Day’s obituary, from the 15 March 1906 Montgomery Monitor (Mount Vernon) called Captain Day one of South Georgia’s most prominent citizens. The best book available on the steamboats of the Altamaha, Ocmulgee, Oconee & Ohoopee Rivers is Carlton A. Morrison’s Running the River (St. Simons Island, Saltmarsh Press, 2003). There’s a good description of Captain Day’s activities, which are too extensive to list here.


Filed under --TELFAIR COUNTY GA--, Lumber City GA

14 responses to “Captain John L. Day House, Circa 1880, Lumber City

  1. The Man that owns the house and land needs to sell it or take care of it. Grass is deep. House has mold falling apart. It’s a shame to have only a few historical sites left and ppl just let them go 😡.

  2. Carter choate

    Captain Day was one of a few trained pattern makers in Ga. many others in the South were capable and learned from ” must makes master”. I would certainly appreciate a in depth study of pattern members in the south.
    The book re. The river boats, pilots, etc is most informative. The rail road bridge with the gate for the steam ships in Lumber City is most intriguing. What a pleasure it must have been to take passage from Darien to Macon or Milledgevile.I can see myself now, wearing cool clothes,bellying up to the bar for a whiskey cocktail or sitting with friends enjoying a game of Texas holdem! Wait, I woulda been on top birdwatching and trying to see the elusive and most beautiful Franklinia.

  3. Zella Gunn Bradsher

    I really enjoyed the article on the Captain Day house, being from Telfair County, Milan, I have been to Lumber City many times, but never paid much attention to the house there. I love allyour articles, especially my home town ones.

  4. Marisa Gourley

    What is the address of this house?? He was my great great great Grandpa:)

    • It’s on the railroad tracks in Lumber City, right in town, but I’m not sure of the street name. May be Railroad St?

    • Becky

      Hello Marisa,
      I seeyou stated Captain Day is your 3rd great Grandpa. Which of Captain Day’s children do you descend from?


      • Marisa

        His son Thomas F. Day, whose son was Thomas G. Day, whose daughter was Anne Vickory Day, whose son Michael Gourley, is my dad:) you?

      • Becky

        Thank you so much for replying. I have been researching the John L.Day house and his family for 10 years. I have been in touch with several of Thomas F. Day’s sister Ida V Barrett’s gggggrandchildren. I am not a relative of the Day family, I fell in love with the house and started doing research. The house is now vacant, I was there a couple of weeks ago and it is need repair but is still beautiful. My email is is you have any interest in contacting me.

  5. Kay Minter

    Thank You for sharing this information. I discovered this unique place a few yrs back and have been curious to know its history. This is a historical treasure and should be preserved if at all possible.

  6. Lynn

    Thanks for sharing your photos.😊

  7. Geoff Jacobs

    Brian, I was fortunate to find this gorgeous dwelling on Google Maps’ street view after you posted it. When you visited, were you able to speak to an occupant or anyone associated with it?
    I just wondered, as it looks like a property that I might be interested in buying, should it be available. Then, again, it could be haunted??? YIKES!

    • I wasn’t able to talk to anyone, Geoff, but I believe it’s presently occupied.

      • Sabrina

        I am from Lumber City and just bought an cleaned up an old 1890 Queen Ann farmhouse in a pecan orchard.I loved it’s history as well.Iv always loved the Day house.A Mr Pat Chapman owns the Day house now.He resides in Hazlehurst the next down across the river.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.