Anne Chamlee notes that this dovecote stood on the site of an historic house that burned. She photographed it in 1990 and it’s now gone, as well.
Tag Archives: –BALDWIN COUNTY GA–
Anne Chamlee made these photographs of the abandoned Stevens Pottery mill in August 1990. The rural community was named for the industry that was the largest employer in Baldwin County in the years following the Civil War.
Bill Boyd wrote in the 13 August 1992 edition of the Macon Telegraph: Henry Stevens, who grew up near pottery plants in England, worked his way to America aboard a merchant ship, landed a job as a railroad conductor and arrived in Middle Georgia in 1850. An ambitious and enterprising fellow, Stevens bought a sizable tract of timber land in the southwest corner of Baldwin County in 1854, and he discovered “an extensive and valuable deposit of fire-clay” according to an 1895 book “Memories of Georgia”.
After putting a sawmill into operation in that area, he built kilns and began to produce the first sewerage pipe ever produced in the South. The plant also turned out pottery and stoneware. During the Civil War, Stevens’s plant produced “knives, shoepegs and Joe Brown pipes” for the confederacy according to the history book. And, because of that General William T. Sherman burned the plant to the ground in 1864. Stevens rebuilt the plant after the war and sold it to his sons in 1876. By the turn of the century, the Stevens plant employed some 300 people and produced only brick.
The late T. L. Wood recalled in a 1984 interview with the Associated Press that Stevens Pottery acquired a reputation as a rough-and-tumble town where shootings and stabbings were commonplace at night and on weekends. “My mother wouldn’t let me go down there when I was a kid.” he said. But when he grew up, Wood, like many residents of Stevens Pottery and Coopers worked there for at least a while, and he remembered the plant as a “dirty, dusty, crude-looking place, (where) the work was hard- hauling brick in wheelbarrows and things like that.” Wood escaped the hard labor in the plant by operating a general store; and getting the town’s post office located in his store. But others stayed with the hard work and long hours, and as late as the 1950s, a person could work all of the overtime he or she wanted as the plant turned out brick for the booming sugar refineries in Cuba.
Thanks to the good folks at the Milledgville-Baldwin County Convention & Visitors Bureau for finally filling in some of the blanks on this house. They note that it originally faced Jefferson Street. Though it isn’t quite as “refined” as other examples of the Milledgeville-Federal Style houses for which the city is known, likely due to alterations after it was moved, it definitely falls into that category. Hollye Hodges McDonel notes that her grandparents, the Robersons, lived here for many years. Other earlier owners were the Scott, Joseph, Malpass, Simmerson, and Hobbs families.
Milledgeville Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
This is best remembered as James Roberson’s store, but it was owned by the Ennis family before that. Thanks to Sara Smith Brantley for sharing it with the Milledgeville Memories Facebook group; folks there quickly identified it. Kim Roberson Hornsby writes: This was my uncle’s store…He sold general supplies mostly groceries with those ladders that slid along the shelves. We loved going there as children and playing on those ladders. He had an ice cream box inside and candy treats he would give us when we visited. My grandmother lived across the street in the house with the brick steps. She had six children all born and raised in a two story house that is gone now that was up the little lane beside the house with the steps.
Montpelier is the oldest congregation in Baldwin County. I’m unsure as to the date of construction of the present church, but records of the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist church indicate (in a document from 1972) that the structure was built before 1843. That appears to be a good possibility. Slaves attended the church with their owners in the antebellum era. The historical marker placed by the Georgia Historical Commission in 1996 gives more insight to the history of the community than it does the church itself: This church is named Montpelier after Fort Montpelier of 1794, 1/2 mi. below here down the Oconee. This fort and others were built during the Creek Indian troubles. Captain Jonas Fouche was ordered to guard the Georgia frontier from the mouth of the Tugaloo to Fort Fidius on the Oconee. 200 militia cavalry and infantry raised under Governor Telfair were placed under the command of Major Gaither, Federal commandant. A note on Fouche’s map reads: “As it is 40 mi .from Fort Twiggs to Mount Pelah where Maj. Gaither laid in garrison, it is recommended that a public station might be created by the Government (at Cedar Shoals)´