Mulberry Grove, Circa 1832, Houston County

James Averette Bryan (1801-1847) and his wife Catherine Holloway Rix Bryan (1803-1861) were pioneer settlers of the long forgotten Wilna community. James A. Bryan migrated to Georgia from North Carolina, settling first in Twiggs County, and later in Houston. He was instrumental in the establishment of Houston County and in the layout of Perry [originally Wattsville]. Bryan originally built a log dogtrot house [pictured above] from timbers cut and milled on a site a few miles from Mulberry Grove. The original homestead was later occupied by Bryan’s oldest son, Dr. Robert Campbell Bryan, and his wife Eliza. [It survives but is not accessible to the public]. As his fortunes improved, Bryan constructed a more formal dwelling, known as Mulberry Grove, circa 1832* [pictured below, and in all subsequent photographs]. *-Some sources date the house to 1850, but discussions with two architectural historians and preservationists support the earlier date.

Mulberry Grove later became the home of Bryan’s third son, Abner Council Bryan and his wife, Harriet Taylor Bryan. Their son, John Averette Bryan and his wife, Linda Lee Bryan, eventually inherited it. Many members of the Bryan family are buried in an adjacent private cemetery, alongside the slaves who built and worked the plantation.

The most notable feature of the house is the rain porch (also referred to as a Carolina rain porch). Originally, there were only four stucco-covered posts but at some point two more were added for stability.

Rain porches are a very rare architectural element in Georgia.

The original kitchen is attached to the house by an enclosed breezeway. The addition of modern steps are one of the few overall modifications visible at the rear of the house.

Rear elevation (southeastern perspective)

Southern elevation, with double chimneys

 

PLEASE NOTE: Mulberry Grove is private property and is monitored closely by physical and digital means. I am grateful to have been invited by the new owner to photograph the property. He is very interested in making accurate historical renovations to the house and I believe he will be a good steward.

 

 

 

 

Author: Brian Brown

Brian Brown is a documentary photographer, author, and historian who lives in Coastal Georgia.

10 thoughts on “Mulberry Grove, Circa 1832, Houston County”

  1. Your find, that God led you to, has quite the history to go along with some beautiful architecture. If I’ve ever viewed a Carolina rain porch, I had no idea what I was viewing. It is quite unique, indeed. But, your last comment about stewardship of this historical structure indicates a hope that it may be here for another generation to also appreciate – though, still, very much private property.

    By the way, how did you happen upon it? So many more stories wrapped up in these early settlers of our State. Blessings forward.

  2. Thank you! Did you happen to get a photo of the cemetery? If so, were headstones present and if so, are the slave burial sites marked? Thank you again!

  3. Great photos and history. The style from the front of the Mulberry Grove house looks reminiscent of the “plantation cottage style” of the late 1700’s and into the early 1800’s. It has the dormered second floor and almost has a spraddled (sp. ?) front porch roof. Could this qualify as a surviving plantation cottage style house?

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