Alice Walker Childhood Home, 1910s, Putnam County

This was beloved author Alice Walker’s home during much of her childhood.

Berrien House, Circa 1791, Savannah

Considered one of Georgia’s most iconic houses, the Berrien House was built circa 1791 for Major John Berrien (1759-1815), a hero of the Revolutionary War.

Major Berrien left college in New Jersey to enlist in the American Revolution. Quickly rising through the ranks, he was commissioned Captain of the first Georgia Continental Brigade in 1777, under the command of Lachlan McIntosh. Berrien followed General McIntosh to Washington’s Headquarters and served, at age 18, as Brigadier Major of North Carolina Troops at Valley Forge and Monmouth. Washington is believed to have made his headquarters in Berrien’s ancestral New Jersey home, Rockingham, and may have written his Farewell Orders to the Armies from that location. The Berriens were close personal friends of General Washington. After the war, Berrien returned to Savannah with his family and became very prominent in local affairs. He was Collector of Customs and an alderman and also served as state treasurer at Louisville (1796-1799).

John Macpherson Berrien, by John Maier, 1870. Public Domain

Major Berrien’s son, John Macpherson Berrien (1781-1856), began the practice of law at Louisville in 1799. After service in the War of 1812, Berrien was elected to the Georgia senate and served as a United States senator from 1825-1829. From 1829-1831, he served as Andrew Jackson’s attorney general; from 1845-1852, he again served in the United States senate. Berrien County is named for him.

The home, which was in bad condition for many years, has been exquisitely restored by one of Berrien’s descendants, Andrew Berrien Jones, and is a wonderful example of preservation.

Savannah Historic District, National Historic Landmark

Little Richard House, 1920s, Macon

This hip-roof shotgun house in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood was once home to Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman), the “Architect of Rock n’ Roll”. It is typical of the domestic architecture found in working class African-American neighborhoods in Macon in the early 20th century. The house originally stood several blocks away but was moved to this location to save it from an expansion project on Interstate 75. It is much nicer looking today than it was in Little Richard’s time in Macon; he noted he grew up in a “rundown house on a dirt street”. It is a museum today, known officially as The Little Richard House Resource Center.

Crawford Long Childhood Home, 1810s, Madison County

Also known as the Crawford Long Childhood Home, this Federal style house was built by Madison County pioneer James Long, circa 1817. James long was the father of Dr. Crawford Williamson Long, the first man to successfully use ether as an anesthesia for surgery. The elder Long came to Georgia with his family from Pennsylvania in 1790 and was a successful planter and merchant and was one of the founders of Danielsville in 1812-1813. He was among the first in newly created Madison County (1811) to receive a license to sell liquor. His holdings in the area eventually reached 13,000 acres and at least 22 slaves. He married a local girl, Elizabeth Ware, on 8 December 1813 and their son Crawford was born on 1 November 1815, presumably at an earlier, though undocumented, home the family owned in Danielsville proper.

The land where this house is located wasn’t purchased until December of 1817 and wasn’t located within the city limits. Because of the low tax evaluation of the property at that time, it is presumed the house was not present at the time of the purchase. James Long was active in local politics and early sessions of the Inferior Court met is his home. He served as Clerk of the Superior Court, Danielsville postmaster, and in both houses of the Georgia legislature. According to the nomination form which added the house to the National Register of Historic Places, it is the only extant, authentic structure associated with his [Crawford W. Long’s] life.

After the sale of the house by the Long heirs in 1874, it has had several owners, including the Thurmond, O’Kelley, Thompson, and Sorrow families. They have kept a watchful eye over it. Crawford Long lived in the house until he left for nearby Franklin College (University of Georgia) in 1829. Local oral traditions suggests that Dr. Long was actually born in the house, which would place its construction date in the 1813-1815 range, but since no primary evidence exists to prove this claim, a debate continues. Either way, it’s significant as a residence of one of the most important figures in 19th century American medicine.

Dr. Crawford Williamson Long. Photo Source: A Cyclopedia of American Medical Biography, Volume 2, 1913. Public Domain.

The National Register nomination also notes: Architecturally, the Crawford Long Childhood Home has significance as a refined example of federal period architecture used in the construction of dwellings on the upper frontier portions of Georgia during the nineteenth century. The style of the structure is more refined than other extant vernacular houses of its area. A graphic reconstruction of the structure, with its original federal pedimented porch would reveal a definite change in character from its present appearance and would distinguish it from other houses in that early nineteenth century period and locality. The interior of the building is indicative of an imported eastern taste transferred into the upper Piedmont of Georgia. The wood paneling and graining found in the formal rooms of the house reflect quality craftsmanship and are a noteworthy accomplishment for that early date and time. The two second-story fireplace surrounds also convey a quality of craftsmanship. The smooth finishing of the interior wood indicates great care in construction as well…

National Register of Historic Places

Chubb Methodist Episcopal Church, 1870, Chubbtown

Isaac Chubb and his eight sons [Henry, John, Jacob, William, Isaac, Nicholas, George, and Thomas] arrived in Floyd County circa 1864, via Morgan County, and established a community here, which came to be known as Chubbtown. Isaac was born to Nicholas Chubb circa 1797 in North Carolina. Both he and his father were listed as free men of color, though the circumstances of the former’s manumission are unknown. Chubbtown was a thriving community in its time, with a post office, school, sawmill, general stores, and a coffin factory. The church, now known as Chubb Chapel United Methodist Church, was built in 1870 and is among the only surviving relics of the original settlement.

Because of its rural setting, Chubbtown may have been unique in Georgia, as most free men of color settled in urban areas such as Savannah and Augusta. The community and its ability to survive in a state hostile to African-Americans has become legend, even within the family. The best-known Chubb today is former Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb, now filling that slot with the Cleveland Browns. He and his father Henry discussed some of the family history with Chip Towers in a 2015 interview for Dawg Nation:

“They came and settled and they were never slaves,” Nick says…“That’s the biggest part everybody in the family always talks about — never slaves. I’ve never really understood how they were capable of doing all those things during that time period. I don’t know how they became educated and knew what they were doing. There are still questions about how they were able to do some of the things they were able to do. It’s crazy to think about it.”

Chubb’s father, Henry, fills in some of the blanks…“They say the father, John Henry, got along with the sheriff of Rome, and he kind of looked out for them,” Henry says. “John was the main man. They’d all meet on Sundays and talk about the businesses and what they needed to do that week.”

National Register of Historic Places

 

 

Hall’s Knoll, Liberty County

Dr. Lyman Hall was one of three signers of the Declaration of Independence from Georgia. He was also a delegate to the Continental Congress and governor of Georgia.

Born on 12 April 1724 in Wallingford, Connecticut, Hall graduated from Yale University in 1747 and was soon ordained a Congregational minister. In 1753 he began practicing medicine and in 1757 moved to the Puritan Colony at Dorchester, South Carolina. He was among the members of the colony who migrated to St. John’s Parish, Georgia, and the newly established Midway Colony, and was granted land here in 1760. The Midway colonists became such stalwarts for liberty that St. John’s Parish was renamed Liberty County in their honor. In this spirit, the colonists chose Dr. Hall to represent their concerns in the Continental Congress in 1775, before Georgia had even joined the federation. As an official representative a year later, Dr. Hall signed the Declaration of Independence, along with Button Gwinnett and George Walton. After the Revolution, he served as governor and helped establish the University of Georgia. In 1785 he sold Hall’s Knoll and in 1790 moved to Shell Bluff Plantation in Burke County, where he died on 19 October of the same year. He was buried on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River but his remains were re-interred in Augusta, with those of George Walton, beneath the Signers Monument.

 

William S. Simmons Plantation, 1840s, Cave Spring

The vernacular Greek Revival main house of the William S. Simmons Plantation, along with the adjacent Vann cookhouse, are two of the oldest extant brick structures in Floyd County. I was invited to photograph them earlier this year by owner Kristi Reed and am so glad I finally got to experience the charms of this important property, which continues to be a working farm. Kristi is very passionate about the Simmons Plantation and much of the following history is taken from her research. [PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY AND IT IS CLOSELY MONITORED FOR TRESPASSING]

Hidden in plain sight at the edge of downtown Cave Spring, the circa 1845-1847 landmark is built of handmade brick [18″ exterior walls/14″interior walls] and contains nine rooms, some of which retain hand-painted frescoes original to the house. It has also been known as the Montgomery Farm or Montgomery House, for subsequent owners.

As historically important as the main house, the double-pen brick cookhouse behind it was likely built no later than the mid-1820s by David Vann. Its initial use is not known, but considering that Vann was a wealthy planter who owned as many as 13 slaves, it is possible that it served as a slave dwelling before being relegated to use as a kitchen upon construction of the Simmons House. Vann, who was born at Cave Spring [Vann’s Valley] in 1800, was a member of one of the most prominent families of the Cherokee Nation and had a plantation house here preceding the Simmons house. [An interesting aside: Vann was the great-uncle of American humorist Will Rogers].

David Vann was a Cherokee sub-chief and after emigrating to the Indian Terriotry [present-day Oklahoma] in the mid-1830s, later served as Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation. He was murdered by a group of “Pin Indians” at Salina, Indian Territory, on 23 December 1863 and was buried at Haner Cemetery in Murphy. According to the Encylopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture, the derogatory term “Pin Indians” was applied by Treaty Party Cherokees to hostile, pro-Union Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole during the Civil War. The Pins were identified by cross pins worn on their coat lapels or calico shirts. They were disproportionately full bloods, wore turbans, adhered to the long-house culture, and were politically opposed to the frock-coated mixed-bloods who adhered to Southern white cultural norms and belonged to the Knights of the Golden Circle.

National Register of Historic Places

 

Van Wert Methodist Church, 1846, Polk County

Van Wert was settled in the early 1830s [formally laid out in 1837] in Paulding County. It was named for Isaac Van Wert, one of the captors of Benedict Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André. Van Wert served as the county seat until 1851 when a section of Paulding County became Polk County. The Methodist Church was built in 1846 and was shared by the Baptists until 1850.

In 1872, the most famous preacher in the South got his start at this church. Samuel Porter Jones, known professionally as Sam P. Jones, is estimated to have preached to over 3 million people all over America, throughout his career. Upon his death in 1906, his body lay in state in the capitol in Atanta before burial in Cartersville.

The church is leaning a bit to the right, but I understand it has been recently stabilized.

 

McIntosh Stone, 1810s-1820s, Carroll County

This mounting block is perhaps the most important surviving contemporary relic of Acorn Bluff [Lockchau Talofau], Chief McIntosh’s property along the Chattahoochee. A tablet near the stone notes: Hewn from West Georgia Limestone, the McIntosh Stone represents a significant time in the state’s history, as well as that of Carroll County. Chief William H. McIntosh of the Lower Creek tribe had the stone carved to help guests mount horses and board carriages here at Lockchau Talofau- or Acorn Bluff- his home on the Chattahoochee River.

The stone remained on this site from the time of McIntosh’s death in 1825 until 1916, when Carroll County Times editor J. J. Thomasson conceived the idea of relocating it to the campus of the Fourth District Agricultural and Mechanical School- today the University of West Georgia.

Seeing the stone’s historical significance as a local and Native American artifact, Thomasson lobbied Preston S. Arkwright, president of Georgia Railway and Power Company [now known as Georgia Power], which owned the land at the time, for permission to move it. Arkwright agreed.

In the summer of 1916, Thomasson enlisted the help of J. H. Melson, president of the Fourth District A. & M. The two men, along with several others, retrieved the stone in a horse-drawn wagon. According to the book From A & M to State University: A History of the State University of West Georgia, the stone became the cornerstone of Adamson Hall, a new women’s dormitory. It later was moved to a prominent area along Front Campus Drive from where it inspired West Georgia College’s logo that was used in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2017, the University agreed to loan the stone to the county for display here at McIntosh Reserve.

A circa 1839 dogtrot house originally built in Centre, Alabama, is located here for illustrative purposes. It is said to be very similar to Chief McIntosh’s home.

It was moved to this site and reconstructed between 1987-1994.

Grave of Chief William McIntosh (Tustunnuggee Hutkee), Carroll County

William H. McIntosh, Jr., was born circa 1778 in Coweta, a Lower Creek town in present-day Alabama, to Captain William McIntosh, a Scotsman of Savannah, and Senoya, a Creek of the Wind Clan. He spoke the languages of both his parents and was also known as Tustunnuggee Hutkee (“White Warrior”). The McIntosh family was prominent in early Georgia, and William, Jr., was a first cousin of Governor George Troup. Such connections helped ensure his rise to prominence within tribal and state politics. His loyalty was to the United States above all, at the expense of his own Native American relations. McIntosh married three women: Susannah Coe, a Creek; Peggy, a Cherokee; and Eliza Grierson, a mixed-race Cherokee.

M’Intosh, a Creek Chief by Charles Bird King in History of the Indian Tribes of North America…McKenney & Hall, Philadelphia, 1838, Public domain.

Chief McIntosh’s support of General Andrew Jackson in the Red Stick War and the First Seminole War began a long period of tension between McIntosh and tribal leaders. His signing of the second Treaty of Indian Springs in 1825, which called for the removal of virtually all Creeks from their ancestral lands, precipitated his assassination by a group of Upper Creek Law Menders. On 30 April 1825 Chief Menawa and 200 warriors led a surprise early morning attack on Lockchau Talofau, setting fires around the dwellings and subsequently shooting and stabbing to death McIntosh and Coweta Chief Etomme Tustunnuggee. Ironically, McIntosh had himself supported a provision to the Code of 1818 in which the National Creek Council imposed a sentence of death to those who took ancestral lands without full tribal consent.

His burial stone, placed in 1921 by the Daughters of the American Revolution on the grounds of his plantation, Lochau Talofau, is now accompanied by a standard military-issued headstone, denoting his position and military service. Chief McIntosh achieved the rank of Brigadier General during the Red Stick War, a component of the War of 1812. The birth date of 1775 listed on the headstone is an estimate.