Category Archives: Junction City GA

Geneva Methodist Church Steeple, 1875, Junction City


This steeple, once part of the old Methodist Church in nearby Geneva, was relocated and restored by Mike Buckner; it can now be found at Patsiliga Plantation. The original bell is still intact, as well, and I had fun ringing it.

Frick Steam Engine, Junction City


Steam engines revolutionized farm and mill work in the 19th century. George Frick was among the most successful manufacturers. I enjoyed learning about this one in Mike Buckner’s collection from his son, John.

Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013


1918 Paige Truck, Junction City


Richard Wall of Valley, Alabama, is the owner of this great old truck.

Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

Model A Fords, Junction City


These beauties, along with many others, were on display by members of the River Cities Model A Car Club of Columbus & Phenix City.


Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

Potter Allen Gee, Junction City


Bulloch County native Allen Gee now lives and works in Meriwether County at the former home/studio of the late D. X. Gordy, one of several Gordy family members well-known for their pottery skills.  Gee’s traditional high-fired stoneware has earned him quite a following of his own and he works with a motorized washtub and electric wheel at festivals throughout the South to share the process with others. He says, “I mix the stoneware clay from a traditional recipe. After the clay is properly prepared, bowls, pitchers and mugs are turned on a pottery wheel. The glazes are made from local minerals including ground glass, hardwood ashes, and a gneiss-hornblende stone. These minerals are pulverized and milled to produce a fine powder that is mixed with clay ad water then applied to a bisque-fired pot.”


He also notes, “The stoneware is fired in a wood-burning kiln or gas kiln where it reaches temperatures hot enough to melt the homemade mix into a permanent glaze. Hot embers and flames enhance the clay and glazes causing glaze runs, pooling, and fire flashing marks on the clay.”


I have one of Allen Gee’s pieces and the quality is great. He creates a variety of one-of-a-kind pitchers, bowls, plates, pots and even face jugs.  If you’re interested in purchasing something, you can contact him at 23825 Roosevelt Highway, Greenville, Georgia 30222. (770) 927-0394. He can also be reached via email at


Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

Louise Brown Making White Oak Baskets, Junction City


Meriwether County artist Louise Brown and her sister, Catherine Johnson, learned the art of basket making from their father, the late John Reeves. He began selling his white oak baskets at the Cotton Pickin’ Fair in nearby Gay, Georgia, over thirty years ago. Mrs. Brown weaves and sells her baskets at Plantation Days each year and I was lucky enough to meet and photograph her at this year’s festival.


Her patience and skill are evident in her attention to detail.


The work of making the baskets begins by carefully stripping pieces of white oak from saplings, soaking the oak strips in water, and weaving them into different patterns and forms.


Again, I’m very glad I got to meet Mrs. Brown (pictured here with her husband John Henry). If you’d like to purchase one of her beautiful creations, she can be reached at (706) 672-4326. Otherwise, find her at the Harvest Days festival or the Cotton Pickin’ Fair.


Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

Fielder’s Mill, Junction City

Making Grits at Fielder's Mill Junction City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

The historic Fielder’s Mill, one of the oldest continuous businesses in Talbot County, takes center stage at the annual Plantation Days in Talbot. It was built in 1930 on the site of the John Downs grist mill. There’s been a mill at this same location since the 1840s. The original mill was located on the far end of the present dam over the run of Patsiliga Creek. The timbers and foundation of the old site remain today.


After a fire, the new mill was moved to the west end of the dam in 1930. The mill is powered by a Leffel-type turbine producing about 25 horsepower. Mike Buckner produces great cornmeal, grits, and flour at this water-powered mill.


I believe my father began buying corn meal from Mike in the 1980s, when he was running to Manchester on the railroad. My family has used it ever since; it’s just not an option to run out as nothing comparable can be found in any grocery store.

Grinding Grits Junction City GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013










Here’s something from the Fielder’s Mill Cookbook, compiled by Mike & Debbie Buckner in 1994.

Washing Grits

Measure the amount of grits you wish to cook. Put grits in a deep bowl (I use a deep Cool Whip bowl for as many as 4-6 servings) and add plenty of warm water. Stir grits. Bran and specks will float to the top of the water; tilt the bowl to one side and pour the water and bran off. Do this procedure several times, usually three times or until the grits are “clean”. Place grits in a boiler, adding enough water to cover well. Cook on low heat for about 45 minutes. The water will cook out soon after heating; add more water or for a creamier taste add milk. There is more involved in cooking the course ground grits; however, the taste and added advantage of more dietary fiber make them an excellent substitute for quick grits. It seems the longer grits are cooked, the better they are, but you will have to add more liquid and stir them to prevent sticking. There are a number of variables so you may have to experiment and try cooking these grits a couple of times before you master their creamy goodness.

For busy cooks, try the Crock Pot Grits:

Wash grits as described above and place in the crock pot with appropriate amount of water, salt and butter before retiring for the night. Turn the crock pot on low and allow the grits to cook about 10 hours. Wake up the next morning to creamy grits. (If the grits are too stiff add water or milk-stir).

Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

Syrup Making, Junction City


The traditional way of grinding ribbon cane into the finished product of cane syrup is to “walk” a mule or horse (tethered to a large pole) around a drum as the syrup master feeds stalks into a rolling mill.


The juice is pressed into a tub or keg covered with cheesecloth to catch the solid materials.


The syrup master always keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings.


After being collected, the juice is transferred to the “cooking pan” in a nearby shed. This “pan” is mounted on a rock or brick base with a fire underneath. Wood is added from holes on the side, and a chimney on one end keeps air flowing over the fire. The skill and discrimination of the syrup master determines when the final product is ready to be “poured up”. The final result is a staple of South Georgia cuisine: pure can syrup ready to dress up biscuits, cornbread, and almost anything else that requires a little sweetness.

Jesse Bookhardt wrote: It is great to see the old cane mill operation again. Back in the mid-1950’s, our neighbor, Mr. Ed Ray, of Denton, Georgia always invited some neighbors over to his farm when his family made syrup. The event was referred to as a “Cane Grinding” and was a favorite social event that enhanced friendships and made some sweet memories. In a sense, it served the same social purpose as a “Peanut Boiling.”
When folk arrived they were kindly greeted and invited to partake of some of the raw juice which was being squeezed from the cane stalks by the mill into a large drum. The juice was green in appearance and the barrel would always be covered with Yellow Jackets and Honey Bees trying to extract their share. We would removed a long necked gourd dipper from the mill’s frame and take a few slugs down. Careful to avoid trips to the outhouse, we only drank a moderate amount. As the juice was cooked over the old furnace kettle, it tuned dark amber and reduced in volume. The syrup maker was the one who determined when it was ready to be pour-up. Syrup making was an art and it took an experienced person to make good quality syrup. The boiling, rolling liquid was a sight to see and left impressions on most that have stayed with them a life time.
I have very fond memories of this operation and was always taken with the unique sweet smell that permeated a hazy mist that surrounded the mill. Brian thanks for sharing this historic scene. Lately I have grown a few stalks on our farm in Northeast Alabama just for the memories and to see if sugar cane will survive that far north. So far it has. Most people of the area are familiar with sorghum syrup.

Photographed at Harvest Days in Old Talbot, Patsiliga Plantation, 2013

For more on sugar cane and syrup making, visit Southern Matters.