This massive house commands a prominent position in downtown Taylorsville and looks like it’s awaiting a new life.
Tag Archives: North Georgia Houses
This hand-hewn cabin was built by Avery Vann, Jr., (1770-1845). Vann, a Scottish trader who married a Cherokee woman, was the brother of Cherokee Chief James Vann and his prominence in the area led to its designation as Vann’s Valley.
For many years, the structure was hidden within the walls of the old Webster-Green Hotel in downtown Cave Spring. When the hotel faced eminent demolition in 2009, the Cave Spring Historical Society led the effort to save the cabin and their work revealed this important aspect of Georgia history. After extensive research and careful restoration, the cabin was opened to the public in 2016. It is believed to be the second oldest extant Native American two-story residential structure.
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail
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
Colonel John B. Willcoxon built this house around the time he opened a grist mill near Wahoo Creek in the Lodi community. The grist mill opened in 1861 and remained in operation for five years. In 1866, with partners H. J. and George Sargent of Massachusetts, Colonel Willcoxon established the Willcoxon Manufacturing Company to produce cotton rope. The large four-story factory attracted many rural families to the area and primarily employed women and children. This was long before child labor laws prohibited such employment.
In 1888, H. C. Arnall, Sr., and T. G. Farmer purchased the enterprise and renamed it the Wahoo Manufacturing Company. The name of the town was officially changed to Sargent in 1892.
Sargent Historic District, National Register of Historic Places