Category Archives: –McDUFFIE COUNTY GA–

Bowdre-Rees-Knox House, 1806, McDuffie County

Bowdre Rees Knox House Belle Meade Hunt McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

Known locally as the Half Way House for its central location on the Belle Meade Hunt Club’s fox run, this raised cottage was built for Thomas & Epatha Rees Bowdre. Slight additions and modifications over the years have been necessary for the structure’s use as a clubhouse, but its historic integrity has been generally maintained. A deck, visible on the right side of the house, is perhaps the most obvious of these changes.

Bowdre Rees Knox House McDuffie County GA Belle Meade Hunt Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

Bowdre emigrated from Virginia to Georgia and fathered ten children. A successful farmer, he owned 1540 acres and 44 slaves by 1827. In 1835, Bowdre sold the property to his wife’s cousin, Vincent Rees. Bowdre died in 1846. Rees lived in the house until his death in 1885. The property was sold to T. A. Scott, who subsequently sold it to Peter S. Knox in 1907. It has remained in and been well cared for by the Knox family ever since. It’s one of the best remaining examples, in its original setting, of a raised cottage in Georgia.

Bowdre Rees Knox House McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

National Register of Historic Places

http://focus.nps.gov/GetAsset?assetID=e52e9b0f-bece-4421-ae98-cf548c66219c

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Wrightsboro Methodist Church, 1810, McDuffie County

Historic Wrightsboro Methodist Church McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

On this site in 1754, one of the earliest settlements on the Georgia frontier was founded by Edmund Grey. The Quaker village was named Brandon and the lands were still legally in the hands of Native Americans. After the Treaty of Augusta in 1768, the land was opened to European settlement and 40,000 acres were granted to Joseph Mattock and Jonathan Sell by Royal Governor James Wright. The town of Wrightsboro grew around this area. In 1799, a Wrightsboro Friends Meeting House open to all denominations was built here, and by 1805, the Quakers were gone. The Friends Meeting House was lost to fire in the first decade of the 19th century and this replacement was built in 1810. It became the Wrightsboro Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1837. In 1966, the congregation dwindled to the point that services were no longer practical and McDuffie County became the caretakers of the property.

Wrightsboro Methodist Church Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

The adjacent cemetery is among the most historic in this section of Georgia, with burials dating as far back as 1800. Historians posit that this was likely the village cemetery, as well, since the present church was located at the center of the Quaker community.

Wrightsboro Methodist Church Cemetery Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

Wrightsboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

http://focus.nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/98000701

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Wrightsboro Restoration, 1976, McDuffie County

Wrightsboro Restoration Quaker Cabin Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

In 1976, the Bicentennial Project of the Wrighstboro Foundation and the Kiokee Rifle Club reconstructed a circa 1840 cabin from its original location in Dearing (above) and stabilized the 1918 Hawes General Store original to the location (below). The structures are located across Wrightsboro Road from the Wrightsboro Methodist Church and if you plan on visiting, park across the road at the church. It’s an interesting look back into an important period in Georgia’s early development. The cabin isn’t included in the district, but the store is.

Wrightsboro Restoration General Store Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

Wrightsboro Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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The Rock House, 1785, McDuffie County

Rock House Thomas Ansley Wrightsboro Quaker Settlement McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

Also known as the Old Rock House, this treasure, built by Thomas Ansley (1737-1809) in the Quaker-settled Wrightsboro(ugh) Township, is the oldest stone house in Georgia and among the oldest well-documented structures in the state. Ansley was a native of Freehold, New Jersey, where stone houses were common and the abundance of material in this area near the Fall Line was certainly a factor. Ansley settled in Georgia in 1768 after a few years in North Carolina. He and his wife Rebecca Cox were part of a colony of 40 Quaker families who came to Georgia seeking religious tolerance. Though he didn’t bear arms in the American Revolution, Ansley served as a forager and drover for the Army.

Rock House Thomas Ansley Wrightsboro Quakers McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

When Ansley died in 1809 he left an estate with four houses and eight slaves. A thriving livestock operation also remained. Ansley was an ancestor of President Jimmy Carter, whose Revolutionary War-era novel The Hornet’s Nest takes place around Wrightsboro.

Rock House Thomas Ansley Fieldstone Wrightsboro Quaker Settlement McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

The house was occupied until 1950. Soon after, vandals ruined much of the interior woodwork and rock walls. This led to the creation of the Wrighstboro Quaker Community Foundation, which from what I can gather from online sources, is still the owner of the property.

Rock House Thomas Ansley Interior Renovation Wrightsboro Quaker Settlement McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

Part of the joy of this house, to me, was the fact that it feels “right” as to the interior details but not forced, like many house museums. There is a gate around the property with a small opening, but people in the neighborhood keep a very close eye on this landmark. I encountered some while there and told them I was photographing. Online sources like Explore Georgia and McDuffie County Chamber note the address and that it’s a free attraction; however, I feel reassured to know that in such a remote location, there is neighborhood concern and diligence.

Rock House Thomas Ansley Interior Wrightsboro Quaker Settlement McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2016

National Register of Historic Places

http://focus.nps.gov/AssetDetail/NRIS/70000841

http://freepages.religions.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~gentutor/Wrights.pdf

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Reeves Schoolhouse, 1870, McDuffie County

Reeves Schoolhouse 1870s McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Luckily, this site has been preserved by family and descendants and when I was last here it was publicly accessible.

Reeves School House 1870s McDuffie County GA Interior Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

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Milkweed, US 221, McDuffie County

Milkweed Asclepias tuberosa McDuffie County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

There were small, sporadic colonies of Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) in the scrublands near the old Reeves Schoolhouse.

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Mission Revival House, Thomson

Historic Downtown Thomson GA McDuffie County Mission Revival Architecture Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing North Georgia USA 2015

Thomson Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

This is now an attorney’s office but I believe it was once a residence.

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