Rockwell, Circa 1838, Milledgeville

This house is perhaps the most enigmatic in Milledgeville, due largely to its present derelict appearance. [It’s apparently more stable than the grounds would suggest]. Built by Joseph Lane for Samuel Rockwell (1788-1842), the house has also been known over time as Beauvoir and the Governor Johnson House. Rockwell, a native of Albany, New York, first practiced law in Savannah before establishing a practice in Milledgeville around 1828. He served as Inspector of the 3rd Division during the Creek Indian War of 1836.

Closely related, stylistically, to the Milledgeville Federal houses, Rockwell is more highly realized in form.

Among numerous owners throughout the history of the property, Governor Herschel Vespasian Johnson was perhaps its best known resident. As the commemorative slab of Georgia granite placed by the WPA and the UDC in 1936 notes, it was his summer home. Governor Johnson was notably the state’s most vocal opponent to secession but eventually came around, as borne out by the acquiescent quote, no doubt chosen by the UDC: “To Georgia, in my judgement, I owe primary allegiance.”

The house was documented by photographer L. D. Andrew for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1936, owned by the Ennis family at the time. Photo courtesy Library of Congress.

Thanks to Michael Massey for bringing this house to my attention.

National Register of Historic Places

4 thoughts on “Rockwell, Circa 1838, Milledgeville

  1. Pingback: Rockwell Resurgent | Vanishing North Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  2. Robert Cooper

    This house was purchased and is currently being renovated and repurposed as student housing. Here’s a brief news clip.

    If the link doesn’t work search “Historic Rockwell House to be transformed into student housing”
    Some are not happy that it will be student apartments, but I’d much rather see this than further deterioration.

  3. Hannah deSoto

    Brian, All the photos you took in Jefferson, GA, went into my spam folder today. I want to make sure I’m getting your pictures in my in-box, but I don’t now how to stop them from continuing to go into my spam folder. Do you know what I need to do to avoid them going to spam?Hannah


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