Category Archives: –EMANUEL COUNTY GA–

Elizabeth Durden House, 1840s, Emanuel County

Local historians have referred to this as the Barwick House but it is best known as the Elizabeth Durden House. Elizabeth Ann Barwick Durden (16 December 1820-20 December 1909) was the daughter of Nathan B. Barwick, Sr., (3 August 1782-5 April 1868) and Elizabeth Whiddon Barwick (1782?-October 1880). Theirs was a large and prosperous family of pioneer settlers who came to Emanuel County (Bulloch, at the time), from Dubose Ferry, South Carolina, circa 1810. His obituary noted that he lived in the fork of the Ohoopee River and that he was buried on the land on which he lived, which is not this property. Elizabeth Ann Barwick married William Durden (15 August 1817-October 1864) in 1838 and they likely built the house soon thereafter. They had 12 children, 11 of whom lived to adulthood.

NOTE: The house is located on private property and is not accessible to the public in any way. I’m grateful to two of Mrs. Durden’s great-great grandsons, Hudak Hendrix and Von Wilson, for arranging my visit, and to the property owners for allowing me to photograph it.

It is likely the second oldest surviving structure in Emanuel County [after the Rountree House near Twin City] and may be slightly older than the date I have indicated, perhaps as early as 1838.

Original section of house, southeast corner

It has remained in the ownership of Mrs. Durden’s descendants throughout its existence and their good stewardship has made possible its survival.

Original section of house, front

It is of statewide importance as a vernacular dwelling, especially since the owners have been sensitive to retaining the original walls and footprint of the house.

Original section of house, northeast corner. Note the lack of chinking on the rear wall, possible because of the shed kitchen behind it.

As it stands, even with the modifications, it’s one of a very small number of log structures of this era remaining in Georgia.

Original section of house, southwest corner. Windows have obviously been replaced, but have the same placement as the originals as best I can tell. .

Shed rooms [next two images] and a modern chimney have been added to the original single-pen log house over its long history.

Shed room [bedroom], west side of house

Shed rooms were common additions to utilitarian structures and were usually porches which were transformed into rooms by the addition of new walls.

Shed room [kitchen], rear of house

The kitchen is of particular interest, as it contains the original rear wall of the house. As was the convention of the time, a free-standing kitchen originally served the Durdens but it has long since vanished.

The front porch, though featuring a new roof and floor, appears to retain its original footprint, as well.

The photograph below has become an iconic Georgia image. It graces the cover of Vanishing Georgia, [no relation to my website], a book highlighting the amazing collection of vintage photographs of the same name held at the time of publication by the the Georgia Department of Archives and History and now in the stewardship of the University of Georgia.

Elizabeth Durden with her grandson, Verdie Ricks, on her front porch, circa 1900. Copy of a family photograph, shared with permission.

Central Hallway Farmhouse, Emanuel County

This farmhouse is typical of the common central hallway form, with additions. It may have been part of what was once known as Gray Mule Farm, but I can’t confirm that at this time.

Kent-Brown Farm, Emanuel County

The structures of this historic farm have long been abandoned but indicate that it was once a very prosperous operation. The Victorian farmhouse (above) is nearly gone.

A garage and hay barn remain on the property.

Brown Farmhouse & Commissary, Emanuel County

This historic farm is still largely intact, with barns and outbuildings, as well as the commissary seen below. The house dates to circa 1900 and the commissary circa 1920.

One-Room Schoolhouse, Emanuel County

A sign on the back of this structure identifies it as a school. It’s a great example of rural school architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has been nicely preserved.

Folk Victorian Farmhouse, 1880, Emanuel County

This vernacular Queen Anne farmhouse has been in the same family for many years. I had a nice visit with the owner and we talked about this year’s abysmal pecan crop and the fact that both our families still harvest the nuts by hand.

Hip-Roof Tenant Farmhouse, Emanuel County

St. Paul Church, Emanuel County

Hay & Stock Barn, Emanuel County

Unidentifed “Big Barn”, Emanuel County

This is one of six known barns of this style located within about a 30-mile radius in Southeast Georgia. As a group, they are a significant vernacular resource among agricultural structures in the Coastal Plain. They were likely copied from memory or inspired by patterns seen in plan books but their prevalence in such a small geographical area is more than coincidence. Since the best known barn, at the old Coleman Farm, is known locally as the “Big Barn” and even has a road named for it, I’m calling these all “Big Barns”, even though the two at the Brinson farm are much smaller versions. All the barns, except for a garage barn at the Coleman Farm (now lost), are hay/stock barns and are characterized by ornamental trellis work. This one seems to be the most vulnerable. I’m sharing the other examples below.

“Big Barns” of Southeast Georgia

Coleman Barn, Candler County
Coleman Garage Barn, Candler County
Rushing Barn, Bulloch County
Brinson Barn #1, Emanuel County
Brinson Barn #2, Emanuel County

General Store, Emanuel County