Tag Archives: Famous Georgians

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

 

 

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Filed under --FLOYD COUNTY GA--, Chubbtown GA

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

 

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Filed under --FLOYD COUNTY GA--, Cave Spring GA

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.

 

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Filed under --POLK COUNTY GA--, Rockmart GA, Van Wert GA

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.

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Filed under --CARROLL COUNTY GA--

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.

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Filed under --CARROLL COUNTY GA--

Jessup-Atkinson House, Circa 1820, Madison

This house was built circa 1820 and and has been remodeled and expanded over the years. It’s sometimes referred to as “Luhurst” for former owner Lula Hurst Atkinson. As a teenager in the 1880s, Lula Hurst traveled around the country performing illusions of strength and levitation under the name “Lulu Hurst, The Georgia Wonder”. After working only two years she gave up performing and married her manager, Paul Atkinson, who once owned the Atlanta Cyclorama. They moved to Madison and Lula lived in this house until her death in 1949.

Madison Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --MORGAN COUNTY GA--, Madison GA

Phillips Mill Baptist Church, 1907, Wilkes County

In 1785, 16 people met at Joel Phillips’s Mill on this site with the purpose of organizing a Baptist church. The original millstones remain on the property. Silas Mercer was the first pastor, and served for 11 years. His son Jesse, who went on to establish what would become Mercer University, became pastor upon his father’s death in 1796.

Due to its association with the Mercers, and because of its early establishment, Phillips Mill is one of the most historically significant Baptist churches in Georgia. The present sanctuary, located about four miles from the original church site, was completed in 1907.

 

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Filed under --WILKES COUNTY GA--

Tarver-Webster-Wickersham House, Circa 1820, Wasington

Also known as the Tarver-Maynard House, this has most recently served as a bed and breakfast inn. It was once a dormitory for a Female Seminary and housed some of the students at Washington Academy, including future Confederate vice president and Georgia governor Alexander Hamilton Stephens.

East Robert Toombs Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --WILKES COUNTY GA--, Washington GA

Mercer Institute Science Building, 1853, Penfield

Photo Courtesy of Lamar Sanders

I’m excited to be able to share this historic photograph of the Science Building of the Mercer Institute, predecessor of Mercer University in Macon. It was graciously shared by Lamar Sanders, who took it in 1970. Almost certainly the work of builder/architect David Demarest, the Greek Revival structure served as the Penfield Village School after Mercer moved to Macon, but was badly damaged by a fire in 1977 and eventually demolished.

 

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Filed under --GREENE COUNTY GA--, Penfield GA

Gloaming Cottage, 1840, Clarkesville

Jarvis Mudge Pieterse Van Buren (1801-1885), first cousin of President Martin Van Buren, came to Clarkesville from Kinderhook, New York, around 1840 to manage the Stroop Iron Works and help develop Georgia’s earliest railroads. He had been involved in the assembly and operation of the first successful American steam locomotive in New York. Not long after coming to Clarkesville, Jarvis quickly turned his attention to architecture, furniture making, and horticulture, and was responsible for the construction of numerous homes and public buildings in the area. He built this house as his residence when he came to Clarkesville.

 

 

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Filed under --HABERSHAM COUNTY GA--, Clarkesville GA