Moved from its original location outside Moreland, this house was the birthplace of Erskine Caldwell. [Caldwell’s father was the minister of the local Presbyterian congregation and this house was the parsonage, hence its nickname, “The Little Manse”]. Caldwell published numerous bestsellers but is best remembered for Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre.
When I was a teenager I had the honor of meeting Erskine Caldwell and interviewing him for my high school newspaper when he did a symposium at the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library. I was in 10th grade and Mr. Caldwell (1903-1987) was near the end of his life. What I most remember from my interview is that he was not a fan of critics and wasn’t interested in discussing symbolism in his work. He said it was the result of observation and the work spoke for itself.
While photographing Moreland, we had the good luck of running into Carol Chancey. Carol, a member of the Moreland Cultural Arts Association, is very enthusiastic about the history of this place. We talked a lot about Lewis Grizzard and Erskine Caldwell and plans for preserving what is left of Moreland. She also identified the buildings seen here. Besides the Cureton & Cole store on the left, she notes that the middle building was a doctor’s office and the one on the right was the old post office.
The two-story building on the right was the W. A. Brannon Mercantile, built in 1894 by R. D. Cole of Newnan. On the left is the Moreland Knitting Mill, built in 1904 as a cotton warehouse. An alley originally separated the two buildings but they were connected by the middle building (with square canopy) in 1937. Brannon sold the old warehouse for use as a knitting mill in 1920, which was originally known as Moreland Hosiery Mills (1920-1927) and later operated as Moreland Knitting Mills (1927-1968).