In a community as small as Vilulah, the church and general store were the center of life. This is a remarkably well-preserved early example of the shotgun-style store building, common throughout Georgia well into the 20th century.
The Vilulah Cemetery has a nice selection of Victorian monuments. I’m sharing a few random examples.
James Bigbie was one of the founders of Vilulah, and served on the committee which chose the community’s unusual name. He lost an arm during service in the Mexican-American War.
J. E. was the son of James N. and Louisa Jane Grant Bigbie. This stone was broken at one point and repaired with different material. The open hymnal is a variation on the more commonly seen open or closed Bible.
The weeping willow is a well-loved Victorian cemetery icon, usually signifying sorrow and sadness.
A lamb symbolizes the purity and innocence of youth and is pervasive in Victorian cemeteries, as infant and childhood deaths were quite common.
The dove is among the most enduring Victorian cemetery symbols, and is said to be carrying the soul of the departed to Heaven when flying. In this case, it marks the passing of the infant daughter of J. J. and M. L. Dawson.
I’ve not been able to identify this symbol. Dan Fogelson suggests…it might be peacock feathers…used to symbolize the resurrection and eternal life (male peacock grows new and more beautiful feathers year after year).
Mrs. Gilmer died just a few weeks before her 100th birthday. I’ve been unable to locate a first name for her but she was undoubtedly a beloved member of the Vilulah community.
I believe this grave marking to be a memorial for the infant son of Robert Edward Lee Ingram (19 October 1865-22 September 1891), whose more formal headstone is located adjacent to this plot. The field stones were likely gathered nearby. The elder Ingram himself died at the age of 25, so I would guess this child was born and died sometime between 1885-1890.
Vilulah Baptist Church was organized in a brush arbor in 1867, with seventeen original members. The name Vilulia, from a hymn in the old Sacred Harp Song Book, was chosen for the congregation. It was changed to Vilulah later. The first permanent church, a log structure, was built on land given by “Uncle Bobby” Knowles. It was later replaced by a wooden frame structure. I believe this may actually be the third church home of Vilulah.
Early members of the congregation included James N. Bigbie, who lost an arm while serving with the U.S. Army in the Mexican-American War, and William Forsythe Davis, a Confederate Army captain. Other founding members were: Albert Bailey, Jarrett Ragan, Abner Belcher, Judge Irvine Saunders, Baal Smith, Dr. Thomas Bigbie, A.S.A. McLendon, Alexander Morgan, Andrew Blackburn, and Benjamin Joiner.
Cuthbert might be the last place one would expect to find an exquisite copy of Michelangelo’s Night, but it’s an unmistakable presence just inside the entrance to historic Rosedale Cemetery. It’s one of the finest examples of anonymous public art to be found in Georgia.
It marks the graves of Aaron Lane Ford (1903-1983) and his wife Gertrude Castellow Ford (1913-1996). Ford was a lifelong Mississippian and represented that state in Congress from 1935-1943. Mrs. Ford was the daughter of Congressman Bryant Thomas Castellow, who represented Georgia in Washington from 1932-1937. Though they spent their married life in Mississippi, I presume Mrs. Ford’s local connections are the reason they were interred here.
The allegorical sculpture was originally created for the tomb of Giuliano de’Medici in Florence and is considered one of Michelangelo’s most important commissions.
Cuthbert Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
I’ve had a number of potential identifications for this house and restaurant but there is no consensus yet. I think it deserves documentation as an art environment, whatever it was. [NOTE: I’m still trying to confirm all of this information, so it may change at any time.]
The complex consists of two structures. The primary structure appears to be a house, which looks relatively simple from the front.
Its layout is quite whimsical, though. There are numerous rock houses and structures created by visionary and self-taught artist architects throughout the United States, most focused on religious or spiritual themes. This one appears to simply be one man’s personal vision. I’m not sure if the house and restaurant were built at the same time.
The second structure is sided with a mixture of limestone and cinderblock. Mac Moye notes that it was a restaurant for decades and that there are/were several similar limestone structures scattered around Randolph County.
It’s connected to the house by a series of arches, constructed of brick and limestone.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the restaurant structure are the two willow trees/trees of life surrounding the windows.
The property appears to be in relatively good condition but should be recognized in order to preserve it as an art environment and community landmark.