Tag Archives: Georgia Politicians

Burns-Sutton House, 1901, Clarkesville

This Eclectic/Folk Victorian home was built by local master carpenters Rusk and Cornelius Church for Dr. J. K. Burns. Upon Dr. Burns’s death in 1924, the house was inherited by his daughter, Pauline Sutton, wife of Superior Court judge and Clarkesville mayor I. H. Sutton. Later incarnations include a bed and breakfast and law office.

Washington-Jefferson Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Stovall-Barnes House, 1860, Augusta

This house was built on the eve of the Civil War for Bolling Anthony Stovall (19 August 1827-24 August 1887), a prominent Piedmont merchant and engineer born in Hancock County to a well-to-do family who had come to Georgia from Virginia. Upon moving to Augusta, he began work as a cotton factor while attending Richmond Academy before entering Franklin College (University of Georgia). He studied civil engineering and worked in Alabama and Mississippi for a few years before returning to Georgia. He was also a surveyor for improvements to the Georgia State Road and worked with Major John G. Greene in the survey of the Atlanta & West Point Railroad. Because employment in engineering was sporadic at the time, he joined his father in his wholesale grocery business at Stovall & McLaughlin in Augusta. At the outset of the war, he entered the Confederate service as a sergeant with Company A, Richmond Hussars, Cobb’s Legion. He was transferred to the engineering corps as a lieutenant under General John Bankhead Magruder during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, before finishing out the war as a captain in the subsistence department under the command of fellow Augustan General Isaac Munroe St. John. He married Mattie Wilson after the war and worked for many years as a traveling agent with the Georgia Chemical Works of Augusta.

Stovall’s son, Pleasant Alexander Stovall (7 July 1857-14 May 1935), lived in the house until his parents left Augusta for Athens, in 1873. He became a prominent journalist and eventual owner of a Savannah newspaper. His childhood friend, President Woodrow Wilson, appointed him Ambassador to Switzerland in 1913, where he served until 1919.

Congressman George T. Barnes purchased the home in 1873 and in the 20th century it was used as a residential hotel/boarding house.

Greene Street Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Future of Milledgeville’s Lamar House Remains Uncertain

Zachariah Lamar House, Circa 1806-1810

This house has been in rough shape for as long as I can remember, having been a rental property for many years, but I always knew it was architecturally significant and of historical importance. Despite having lost all its historic interior elements and featuring a non-historic rear addition, the house is an important link not only to the earliest days of Milledgeville but to two important families integral to the political and cultural life of 19th-century Georgia and is worth saving.

A couple of years ago my friend David Bray noted that plans for demolition were on the horizon, and preservationist Scott Reed recently reached out to let me know that hearings on its fate were moving forward. The present owners of the property, Georgia Military College (GMC), have plans to turn the property into a parking lot but Bray notes that as of now, demolition of the house has been stopped, largely due to efforts of the Milledgeville Historic Preservation Commission and concerned citizens. He notes that GMC is willing to save the structure. Still, plans for its future, which involve several options, remain uncertain. Proposals are being considered at this time. [This is an ongoing process, and updates will be included as they become available].

As to the history of the house, an exact date is unknown, but it was built for Zachariah Lamar (1769-29 October 1838), who purchased the lot on which it stands in 1806. Considering Lamar’s involvement with the committee which designed the plans for the city of Milledgeville [established 1804], it seems the house is likely contemporary to his purchase of the property or soon thereafter, placing it circa 1806-1810.

In addition to his interests in retail, taverns, saloons, agriculture, and banking, Lamar served as a judge and in the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate. He was directly involved with the formation of the Bank of the State of Georgia, the first “upcountry” bank in the state. He was also one of the managers of the ball which honored the Marquis de LaFayette* on the occasion of his visit to Milledgeville in 1825.

[The 1 April 1825 edition of the Milledgeville Georgian notes of the visit of 27-29 March: “General Lafayette arrived in Milledgeville on Sunday last, at noon. It is needless to say he received a hearty and enthusiastic welcome…he was met by the Cavalry of Baldwin County, who escorted him into the town, and that his approach was announced by the firing of cannon, ringing of bells, &e. The General rode in an open carriage, accompanied by the Governor, and followed by the military and civil procession, as previously arranged. In the evening he attended service at the Methodist Chapel- the town was illuminated, and on Monday he was to dine with the citizens, in an extensive arbor prepared in the State House square. A splendid Ball and supper were to be given him in Monday evening- the Senate Chamber and Hall of representatives having been tastefully prepared for the occasion. Several volunteer companies from the neighboring counties had arrived to assist in paying honor to the Guest of the Nation.]

Zachariah Lamar House, Perspective view showing non-historic rear addition

At his death he owned around 15,000 acres of land, dependent on the labor of 220 slaves. One of his sons, John Basil Lamar, served in the Georgia legislature and very briefly in the United States House of Representatives, and died at the Battle of Crampton’s Gap during the Civil War. He was also one of the so-called Georgia Humorists. His daughter, Mary Ann Lamar, was married to Howell Cobb [the namesake of Cobb County].

Elisha Winn House, Circa 1812, Dacula

The Elisha Winn House was built about 1812 in what was then Jackson County, and is perhaps the oldest extant house in the Atlanta metro area. Winn, who was a Justice of the Inferior Court, purchased the land, with Roger and Elijah Pugh, in 1809. It was part of a 7300 acre tract bordered by the Apalachee River. It became part of Gwinnett County on 15 December 1818, when the Georgia legislature created the counties of Gwinnett, Walton, and Hall, in part from Jackson County, as well as from former Indian lands.

The property is also significant as the first de facto center of government in Gwinnett County, hosting the Inferior Court and the first county elections. A barn on the grounds [no longer extant] hosted the Superior Court. Elisha Winn served as a judge of the Inferior Court from 1820-1825. He also served as a state senator for Gwinnett County in 1826, and a state representative in 1830, 1833, and 1837.

Lawrenceville was established as the Gwinnett County seat in 1821 and the Winns relocated there circa 1824.

Historic Structures Relocated to the Elisha Winn Property

Several structures representative of 19th and early-20th-century history in Gwinnett County have been relocated to the Winn property over the years. A representative mule barn [built in another county in 1917], can be seen in the background of the photo below.

Old Lawrenceville Jail, 1820s

The first jail in Gwinnett County was located on the Winn property but was demolished in 1933 by Jack Sims, who owned it at the time, and his employee Amos Hutchins, who lived most of his life on the old Winn place. As part of a collection of historical buildings, the old Lawrenceville jail [above], built in the 1820s and similar to the original jail, was relocated here for preservation. [Moravian missionaries who refused to get permits to live in Cherokee territory were briefly held in this structure before being transferred to a larger jail in Walton County].

Walnut Grove Schoolhouse, 1875

Typical of rural one-room schoolhouses of the era, the Walnut Grove school was originally located near Walnut Grove Church and the Methodist Campground. It was donated to the Gwinnett Historical Society in 1986 and opened for tours in 1988.

Cotton House, Early 20th Century

Structures of this type would have been present on working cotton plantations and farms in late-19th and early-20th century Gwinnett County. This example was donated to the historical society in 2001.

Alfred R. Clack Blacksmith Shop, Circa 1910

Dr. Donald S. Bickers, who also donated the cotton house, donated this structure to the historical society in 2000. It was built circa 1910 by his grandfather, Alfred R. Clack, who used it until late in his life. He died in 1948 and Dr. Bickers kept the structure in good condition.

National Register of Historic Places [Elisha Winn House, excluding other structures]

Captain C. C. Grace House, Circa 1864, Screven

Nine years ago, Lindsay Thomas, Jr., whose family owns and maintains this wonderful Georgia Centennial Farm, reached out to me about photographing the old home place near Screven. Lindsay’s father served in the United States House of Representatives from 1983-1993. Lindsay was very interested in documenting the large number of catface pines and Herty cups on the property. I still haven’t gotten around to making those photographs, but hope to someday soon. [For those not in the know, catfaces are the scars left behind by the collection of pine sap for the manufacture of turpentine. The naval stores business was dominant in this region until at least the 1950s.]

The farm, known as Grace Acres today, was established by Captain C. C. Grace, circa 1864, and the house was likely built around that time. The family has maintained a presence in the area ever since and they’re not only good stewards of the land, but they do a fine job of maintaining this historic home.

Judge David A. Vason House, 1855, Albany

This is the most important architectural landmark in Albany, and one of the most significant surviving Greek Revival homes in Southwest Georgia. It was built by Judge David Alexander Vason (12 February 1818-13 July 1891). Judge Vason, who was married three times, was the grandfather of one of Georgia’s most prominent architects, Edward Vason Jones. Edward grew up in the house [the Georgia Archives holds a photograph of the infant Edward with his African-American nurse, Leila Perkins] and later restored it to a state befitting its elegance.

Nelson Tift Monument, 2013, Albany

As part of an initiative to place more public art in downtown Albany, this sculpture of Nelson Tift was commissioned by the city and placed in 2013. Gayla Catrett is the artist responsible for the work.

The accompanying marble column notes: Nelson Tift settled the area as a commercial venture in 1836 in the hopes of establishing a cotton trade using the [Flint] river to transport the crop to market. He named it Albany, in honor of Albany, New York, which was also the head of the navigation on the river.

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Tift was a man of his time, committed wholly to slave society, Tift worked tirelessly to protect both the party and the “peculiar institution.” Starting in 1841 he translated his economic leadership into political office, serving three terms in the Georgia legislature. He supported the reopening of the international slave trade as a means to extend ownership of enslaved laborers to all white Georgians and chastised white artisans for opposing the use of enslaved craftsmen. Although not an advocate of immediate secession he accepted the final decision and lent his services to the new nation. During the Civil War (1861-65), Tift built gunboats for the Confederate navy and supplied the Rebel army with beef and hardtack produced by his factories at Albany and at nearby Palmyra in Lee County.

W. E. Smith House, 1860, Albany

The historic marker for the house, placed by the Georgia Historical Commission in 1958, is titled “Albany’s First Brick House”.

It gives this brief overview of the home’s history: Built of brick hauled from Macon by wagon, this house was completed in 1860 by Congressman William R. (Tete) Smith for his bride, Caroline Williams Smith. The interior trim and mahogany stair rail came from New York; the furnishings were imported from England. Flower beds were laid out in Masonic designs with statues of Minerva and Flora prominently displayed. Captain of the Albany Guards of the 4th Ga. Regt., Smith lost a leg in the Battle of King´s Schoolhouse, Virginia. Member of the Confederate Congress and, later, of the U. S. Congress, he was an able lawyer and a beloved citizen of Albany.

National Register of Historic Places

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

Burwell-Goss House, 1906, Sparta

This imposing Neoclassical Revival mansion was built for William H. Burwell, the first man to live here. Burwell served as a mayor of Sparta and a state representative.It has recently been purchased after years of limbo, and will soon be restored.

Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places