Tag Archives: Famous Georgians

Crawford W. Long Museum, Jefferson

2017 marked the 175th anniversary of Dr. Crawford W. Long‘s first use of ether as a surgical anesthetic in Jefferson (30 March 1842). Long first apprenticed under Dr. Grant in Jefferson in the mid-1830s before moving to Philadelphia and New York to complete his medical training. In 1841, Dr. Long was an astute observer of one of the social trends of the day, known as “ether frolics”, in which the participants enjoyed recreational use of the substance. Noting that they felt no pain, he theorized ether could be used as a surgical anesthetic and made his first test case removing a cyst from the neck of James Venable. Three witnesses confirmed the success of the operation and the absence of pain in Venable.

The circa 1858 Pendergrass Store building was transformed into an 1840s doctor’s office and apothecary to better interpret Long’s discovery, which paved the way for modern medicine. It serves as the Crawford W. Long Museum. After making my way from the courthouse to the museum to pick up a historic walking tour brochure, I had a nice visit. And better, I purchased a “got ether?” t-shirt, one of the coolest of its kind to be found in Georgia.

Jefferson Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --JACKSON COUNTY GA--, Jefferson GA

Uncle Remus Museum, 1963, Eatonton

Constructed from derelict slave cabins, the Uncle Remus Museum opened in Eatonton in 1963. Its location, Turner Park, was the boyhood homeplace of Joseph Sidney Turner, the inspiration for the “little boy” to whom “Uncle Remus” relayed all his critter stories in Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings (1880) and later works. Turner’s father, Joseph Addison Turner, owned Turnwold Plantation where Harris apprenticed as a teenager during the Civil War. A reconstructed blacksmith shop is also located in the park.

Carvings of many of the animal characters populate the grounds, which are a delight to walk around. I’m not sure who did all of these wonderful wood sculptures, but they’re a wonderful addition to the property. And forgive me if I confuse Bre’r Fox and Bre’r Wolf!

Bre’r Fox

Bre’r Wolf

Bre’r Bear

Bre’r Tarrypin

And last, but certainly not least, Bre’r Rabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under --PUTNAM COUNTY GA--, Eatonton GA

Erskine Caldwell Birthplace, Circa 1879, Moreland

Moved from its original location outside Moreland, this house was the birthplace of Erskine Caldwell. [Caldwell’s father was the minister of the local Presbyterian congregation and this house was the parsonage, hence its nickname, “The Little Manse”]. Caldwell published numerous bestsellers but is best remembered for Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre.

When I was a teenager I had the honor of meeting Erskine Caldwell and interviewing him for my high school newspaper when he did a symposium at the Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library. I was in 10th grade and Mr. Caldwell (1903-1987) was near the end of his life. What I most remember from my interview is that he was not a fan of critics and wasn’t interested in discussing symbolism in his work. He said it was the result of observation and the work spoke for itself.

The house and community are on the Southern Literary Trail.

 

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Filed under --COWETA COUNTY GA--, Moreland GA

Indian Spring Hotel, 1823, Butts County

The first section of the Indian Spring Hotel was built as an inn by William McIntosh, who operated it with his cousin Joel Bailey. McIntosh, a half-Scot half-Native American and the cousin of Governor George M. Troup, was Chief of the Coweta band of Creek Indians; he was also the owner of over 70 slaves. The two-story addition which gave the hotel its present appearance was completed in 1825, the year McIntosh signed the Treaty of Indian Springs, ceding much of the historically Creek lands to white settlers. His role in this treaty, viewed unfavorably by a majority of Creeks, lead to McIntosh’s subsequent execution. The addition included a tavern known as the Treaty Room and a large ballroom. Significantly, the McIntosh Inn is  the only known antebellum mineral springs hotel still standing in Georgia. Mineral springs resorts were as popular in Georgia in the 19th century as coastal resorts are in the modern era. In 1850, the property was purchased by the Varner family, who owned and operated it as the Varner House, a nationally famous resort. The Varner descendants sold it to J. H. Elliot in 1953. Today, the Indian Spring Hotel/Museum is open on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --BUTTS COUNTY GA--, Flovilla GA, Indian Springs GA

The President’s House, Circa 1856, Athens

This landmark of the Greek Revival was built by John Thomas Grant, who later sold it to Benjamin Harvey Hill. In 1883 it was sold to James White, whose daughter W. F. Bradshaw inherited it upon his death. It was acquired by the Bradley Foundation in Columbus from the Bradshaw estate in the 1940s and in 1949, it was given to the University of Georgia to be used as the president’s house.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under Athens GA

T. R. R. Cobb House, Circa 1834 & 1852, Athens

The T. R. R. Cobb House is one of Georgia’s great preservation success stories. It is thought that Thomas H. McKinley built the original section as a Plantation Plain circa 1834. Georgia’s first Chief Justice, Joseph Henry Lumpkin, bought it from McKinley in 1842 and gave it as a wedding gift to his daughter Marion and son-in-law Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb in 1844. The portico and octagonal wings were added in 1852.

Cobb served as reporter of the State Supreme Court from 1849-1857, founded the Lucy Cobb Institute in 1858, and with his father-in-law and William H. Hull founded the School of Law at the University of Georgia in 1859. One of the leading advocates of slavery and secession, he was killed at Fredericksburg in 1862. Marion lived in the house until 1873. It was later a rental property, fraternity house, and boarding house. In 1962, it was purchased by the Archdiocese of Atlanta for the use of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Threatened with demolition in the 1980s, it was moved to Stone Mountain Park in 1985. It was never restored or used by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association due to budgetary constraints. Thanks to efforts of the Watson-Brown Foundation, Athens-Clarke Heritage Foundation, and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the landmark was returned to Athens in 2005. The Watson-Brown Foundation oversaw restoration of the house, which is now a museum.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --CLARKE COUNTY GA--, Athens GA

Cobb-Bucknell-Leathers House, Circa 1849, Athens

One of the most prominent politicians of 19th-century Georgia, Howell Cobb (1815-1868) lived here while Governor of Georgia, a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, Secretary of the Treasury, and Confederate General. It was here that the Articles of Confederation were read to a crowd of onlookers in 1861 and where federal troops arrested Cobb.

Cobbham Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --CLARKE COUNTY GA--, Athens GA