Also known as the Old Rock House, this treasure, built by Thomas Ansley (1737-1809) in the Quaker-settled Wrightsboro(ugh) Township, is the oldest stone house in Georgia and among the oldest well-documented structures in the state. Ansley was a native of Freehold, New Jersey, where stone houses were common and the abundance of material in this area near the Fall Line was certainly a factor. Ansley settled in Georgia in 1768 after a few years in North Carolina. He and his wife Rebecca Cox were part of a colony of 40 Quaker families who came to Georgia seeking religious tolerance. Though he didn’t bear arms in the American Revolution, Ansley served as a forager and drover for the Army.
When Ansley died in 1809 he left an estate with four houses and eight slaves. A thriving livestock operation also remained. Ansley was an ancestor of President Jimmy Carter, whose Revolutionary War-era novel The Hornet’s Nest takes place around Wrightsboro.
The house was occupied until 1950. Soon after, vandals ruined much of the interior woodwork and rock walls. This led to the creation of the Wrightsboro Quaker Community Foundation, which from what I can gather from online sources, is still the owner of the property.
Part of the joy of this house, to me, was the fact that it feels “right” as to the interior details but not forced, like many house museums. There is a gate around the property with a small opening, but people in the neighborhood keep a very close eye on this landmark. I encountered some while there and told them I was photographing. Online sources like Explore Georgia and McDuffie County Chamber note the address and that it’s a free attraction; however, I feel reassured to know that in such a remote location, there is neighborhood concern and diligence.
National Register of Historic Places