Eclectic Farmhouse, Kimbrough
This Plantation Plain farmhouse, built circa 1836, is the oldest in Webster County. Typical of the transitional architecture of the time, it retains a strong Federal influence. It is an amazing treasure that has only survived because of good stewardship.
The house is best known today as the Spann-Bryson House. I’m indebted to Debbie Walker for her assistance in tracking down the history. She spoke with owner Mike Connor and he and his wife Ann have done an amazing job maintaining this venerable landmark. Mr. Connor noted that it was built by a Mr. Sanders and was identified in the Webster County history book as the Old Sanders Place.
This was originally the home of Nathan Ellis Bulloch, who moved to Preston in 1919. It was likely built soon thereafter. Though quite late for the style, this Queen Anne form is typical of many pattern books and the sunburst is likely a vernacular addition chosen by Mr. Bulloch. Thanks to Debbie Walker, a Preston artist who has painted the house and lives nearby, for the background.
The first church in this area, known as Lannahassee, was established before 1840 and met in a wood frame building with dirt floors. It was served by a circuit rider and met monthly. Around 1840, a wave of settlers came from South Carolina and the church became interdenominational. Theological disagreement soon arose and the Methodists began meeting in the courthouse until they moved into another frame structure, where they met until the present church was constructed in 1895.
This wooden jail was built soon after Kinchafoonee County became Webster County and served that purpose until 1910. It’s among the only antebellum jails still standing in Georgia. Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett writes: This is the jail in which Susan Eberhart and Enoch Spann were housed from 1872-1873, when they both were hanged for murdering Spann’s invalid wife. This is a tragic tale of justice, mercy, ignorance, poverty and mental illness.
It was unheard of for a white woman to be executed in 19th-century Georgia, and many, though aware of Eberhart’s guilt, were opposed to it. The case was a media sensation, prompting former Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens to opine in his newspaper, the Atlanta Daily Sun: “the most interesting case of crime that ever occurred in Georgia, and which is certainly one of the strangest in history of crimes.”
Dr. Burnett has just published a book about this case and you can contact her here for information on ordering.
National Register of Historic Places
At the eastern edge of Webster County stand the remains of the African-American community of Archery. As a boy, President Jimmy Carter lived about a mile up the road and in his books has shared fond memories of Archery. One of his earliest role models was Archery native William Decker Johnson, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
From the historical marker: This rural community of Archery, established in the 1800´s, consisted of a train stop, houses of railroad employees, the St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, a school for black youth, and a store. The community was named for Sublime Order of Archery, a relief organization of the A.M.E. Church which assisted the southern black families.
Two permanent white families, the Watsons and the Carters, lived here. Edward Herman Watson was the Seaboard Railroad section foreman and James Early Carter, Sr., was the father of Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States who spent his youth here. The other 25 families were African-American.
William Decker Johnson, bishop of the A.M.E. Church, became the most prominent person in Archery. He came here with the purpose of establishing a school for black youth lacking the resources for an education. The Johnson Home Industrial College opened its doors in 1912 and offered technical classes aiding students to obtain jobs. This school offered male and female students primary, high school, collegiate, and vocational classes. Bishop Johnson´s efforts for the cause of education had many faithful supporters who helped the school to flourish. Bishop Johnson is buried in the St. Mark A.M.E. Church cemetery.
I photographed this church in 2009. I think it had already been abandoned at that time. The faux “stained glass” windows were what immediately drew me to the place. I’ve heard that it’s been torn down in the past year or so.
I don’t know what congregation it originally housed, nor if it began as a white or black church, but it made a lasting impression on me.
In 2015, a friend and I were driving from Columbus back to the coast after a full morning of rafting on the Chattahoochee River. We pulled into Preston about 2:45 and since I’d always wanted to eat here anyway, decided to give it a try. I’ll never hesitate to stop here again. It was some of the best “restaurant” food I’ve ever eaten, and tasted much more like home cooking than almost anywhere else that claims they have home cooking.
I had fried chicken (perfection), lima beans (best ever) and sweet potato pie (HEAVENLY) with fried corn bread on the side. Besides the fact they’re open all day, the staff is genuinely hospitable and treat you like family from the moment you walk in the door. It’s no wonder this place is so popular! Do yourself a favor and go a little out of the way when you’re in Southwest Georgia and stop by Mom’s Kitchen.
Mom’s Kitchen posted on their Facebook page: After 39 years in the business the ladies at Mom’s Kitchen have decided to hang up their aprons and retire. December 31, 2020 will be our last day in business.