Tag Archives: Antebellum North Georgia

Sparta Female Model School Dormitory, Circa 1815 & 1832

The Sparta Female Academy was established in 1832 by Sereno Taylor of Vermont. [Various sources also refer to it as the Taylor Female Academy, Sparta Female College, and Sparta Female Seminary]. It was supported by the Baptists. This and another renovated dormitory are all that survive of the historic boarding school. A preliminary evaluation by architect Brandy Morrison suggests that the rear section of this house is the earliest, circa 1815, with the front being added circa 1831.

After many years of neglect, the structure is finally getting some much-needed attention. Amber Rhea and Stacia Smith initiated a process of preservation in early 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic has halted progress but Rhea and Smith are determined to see it through, whatever that entails.

A broadside dating to 8 December 1838 heralds the school’s reorganization and an enlargement of the course of study. The seven disciplines: Language; Mathematics; Cosmics; History; Geotics; Government; and Philosophy. Sereno Taylor was superintendent and a teacher in the Literary and Musical Departments. Five assistants were on staff, as well, with the expected arrival, in early 1839, of Madame Salmon Hantute of Paris, for the teaching of the French Language, Piano Forte, and Singing.

Annual tuition varied, dependent upon the level of instruction. It ranged from $25 for primary instruction to $125 for collegiate instruction. Musical instrument training was also on order, beginning with the piano forte, advancing to guitar, harp, and finally, organ.

Sparta Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Sparta GA

Montour Mill House & Store, Circa 1857, Sparta

Montour Mill House, Circa 1857; photographed in 2014. 

When I photographed these forlorn structures in 2014, I felt they had an important history but also realized they probably didn’t have a promising future. My fears were confirmed last week when James Woodall reported they had been torn down.


Montour Mill Store, Circa 1857; photographed in 2014.

Further conversation with Karen West and Sistie Hudson highlight their importance and the tragedy of their loss. The structures were apparently the last two survivors of the antebellum Montour Mill village. The mill, chartered in 1857, was anchored by a four-story brick factory building. It was likely devastated by the Civil War and attempted a return to production, but was finished by 1884. The property and village was large enough to have been considered as a location for Georgia Tech in 1883. In Houses of Hancock 1785-1865, John Rozier notes: Even in ruins, the big brick factory was a Sparta landmark until it was taken down in 1951.

Karen West: It was originally a mill store owned and operated by a Jewish immigrant. He wrote 15 articles for the Sparta Ishmaelite about life in Czarist Russia. He extended credit to whoever needed it, regardless of race or religion. So sad to see a piece of Sparta history so disregarded. Hopefully someone has pictures of earlier, happier times for that little store.

Sistie Hudson: I took pictures, too—have admired it since I was a little girl…Jacob Nagurya [also written as Nagiiryn] was a Polish Jew. He was a favorite of Editor Sidney Lewis, hence the articles in the Ishmaelite. He owned the first phonograph in the county and sold them as well. He also served as rabbi for the Jewish Community in Sparta. I remember when there was still a row of mill houses across the street from this store. I am so sad about this loss—I have admired it for over 60 years.

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Sparta GA

Abandoned Federal House, Hancock County

This house is a good example of a locally early Federal style I-House. It likely dated to circa 1800-1820. Anne Chamlee made the photograph in northern Hancock County in March 1991 and the house is believed to be lost. I hope to identify it.

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--

Saltbox House, 1810s, Putnam County

Anne Chamlee writes: This may have been the house of Richmond Terrell, built before 1820… She also notes that she was unable to get a better photograph as there were renters in the house at the time and she didn’t feel it was safe to spend more time there. Anne was particularly interested in this house as her mother was a Terrell, from a branch of the family that first came to Wilkes County in 1784 and spread out over the state afterward. I’ve assigned it a date of the 1810s, but it may be earlier. Its present status is unknown.

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Filed under --PUTNAM COUNTY GA--

Reynolds House, Mayfield

One historic resource survey dates this Plantation Plain/I-House to circa 1860, but I believe it was built earlier than that. Other than the name of the first owner, I have been unsuccessful at locating more history.

 

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--, Mayfield GA

Plantation Plain House, Ricketson

This transitional Federal I-House/Plantation Plain appears to date to early in the 19th century. I’ve not been able to locate any history of the house, but regarding the community, Greg Morrison, who lives nearby, notes: The Ricketson area was a militia district as well as Reese, Newsomes, Neals and English. All these areas are geographically connected and were all named for men who served in the Revolutionary War. He also suggests that he understands that this house was originally a dogtrot.

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Filed under --WARREN COUNTY GA--, Ricketson GA

Thomas Lumsden House, Circa 1854, Talbot County

The Greek Revival plantation home of Thomas Reid Lumsden is truly exceptional, featuring carved columns and 12-over-12 windows. It has remained in the same family throughout its history.

In his monumental history A Rockaway in Talbot: Travels in an Old Georgia County [Hester Printing, 1985], William H. Davidson notes that Lumsden made his way to Talbot County when he married his second wife, Virgina Pierce Leonard in 1853. They lived for a time in Floyd County but were back in Talbot, building this house circa 1853-1854.

Davidson also points out the influence of Andrew Jackson Downing’s 1850 pattern book The Architecture of Country Houses. He notes The verandah of the Lumsden house was very likely adapted therefrom by Urban Cooper Tigner, contractor and builder of the house, his own nearby plantation house, and the Collinsworth United Methodist Church. Thanks to Jim Bruce for sharing scans from Davidson’s book.

Thanks to Trae Ingram for the identification.

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--

Collinsworth United Methodist Church, 1834, Talbot County

The South Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church notes: Collinsworth was organized prior to 1830, by a band of Methodists meeting at the home of George Menifee. The first church was a log cabin called Menifee’s Meeting House. They built the present structure in 1834 and named it for Reverend John Collinsworth, a former pastor. The dedication service, by Reverend Lovick Pierce, wasn’t held until 1859.

Collinsworth is a fine example of a vernacular Greek Revival church, evident in the locally executed Ionic capitals (above). The builder was Urban Cooper Tigner, owner of a nearby plantation and a self-taught architect/contractor. Tigner also built the Lumsden House.

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Ypsilanti GA

Vernacular Farmhouse, Circa 1856, Talbot County

One resource survey identifies the date of construction of this Georgian farmhouse at 1856.

 

 

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--

Lanier House, Circa 1860, Hancock County

This is part of the Shoulderbone Plantation property, to my understanding, and was owned by the Lanier family for many years. I’m unsure who the original owners were.

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--