Tag Archives: North Georgia Plantations

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--

Central Hallway Farmhouse, Hancock County

This house was likely used by tenants of Shoulderbone Plantation. I believe it may actually be two houses that were joined together at some point.

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Filed under --HANCOCK 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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John S. Jackson House, Circa 1850, Hancock County

This imposing Greek Revival plantation home, situated on a high point overlooking acres of gently rolling hills and pristine farmland, was built by William Jackson for his son, John Swinney Jackson and his first wife, Artemesia Hall. The elder Jackson acquired the property from William Knowles in 1832. John Jackson, who had lived all of his life in Hancock and Greene Counties developed the property, through slave labor, into a thriving agricultural operation. At the outset of the Civil War, Jackson owned over 1000 acres and 38 enslaved Africans. Like most Georgians, Jackson served the Confederate cause and the futile effort ended in his loss of the plantation. It was purchased by Robert M. Grimes in 1870 who sold it to James M. Harris in 1874. Grimes reacquired it in 1880, but after a lawsuit over debts sold it back to Harris in 1881. Harris sold it to Henry Thomas Lewis in 1900. Lewis was an Associate Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court who lived in Greensboro and Siloam, keeping the plantation as a country retreat. After Lewis’s death, his widow sold the plantation to Jeff W. N. Lanier, whose family owned neighboring lands. Subsequent owners were D. B. Taylor and Dorsey L. Campbell. Campbell’s daughter, Alice Hartley, deeded the house back to the Lanier family in 1982.

The property is known today as Shoulderbone Plantation, for the historical Shoulderbone Creek which runs nearby.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --HANCOCK COUNTY GA--

Wellborn Plantation, Circa 1795, Warrenton

This is one of Warrenton’s oldest and most historic homes. It was once the center of a large working plantation. In 1858, the owner,  George Washington Hardaway, willed the plantation to his daughter, Frances Markham Hardaway Wellborn (Mrs. Marshall Wellborn).

 

 

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Filed under --WARREN COUNTY GA--, Warrenton GA

Chief James Vann House, 1804, Spring Place

James Vann (1765, or 1768-1809) was the son of a Cherokee mother, Wa-wli, and Scottish father, Clement Vann. By 1800  he became a principal leader of the Cherokee, due to his wealth and influence as a tavern keeper and trading post operator. This home, completed in 1804, served as the seat of his 1000+ acre plantation. Diaries of Moravian missionaries at Spring Place indicate that Byhan and Martin Schneider were instrumental in the construction of the home.  Sometimes described as a “hard drinking business man”, Vann nonetheless encouraged cultural and educational opportunities for the Cherokee, largely through his assistance in the establishment of the Moravian mission and school at Spring Place. Vann was murdered in 1809, presumably as retaliation for killing his brother-in-law in a duel the previous year. His son Joseph later inherited the house, which in 1819, hosted President James Monroe who was traveling from Augusta to Nashville

The Chief Vann House, as it’s commonly known, is a state historic site today, but beware, it has very limited hours and is closed during part of the year.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --MURRAY COUNTY GA--, Spring PLace GA

Chenault House, 1850s, Lincoln County

On the National Register nomination forms, done many years ago, it was suggested that this house was built by Abraham D. Chenault; land in the vicinity had been occupied by his family since the 1820s. It is thought to be the work of John Cunningham, a local carpenter linked to three other prominent houses in the immediate area.

However, recent research by Bob Young confirms that it was actually the home of Abraham’s brother, John Chenault. Abraham’s house was about a mile away and has long-since vanished.  The men’s mother died in 1860, leaving the two brothers with title to the property.  Abraham moved to Banks County in 1867 where he opened a medical practice with a forged diploma.  John stayed in Lincoln County and ran the farm until his death. Mr. Young uncovered much of this information while working on his book, Graball Road: The Story of the Great Lincoln County Gold Train Robbery of 1865. He also has a book about Abraham Chenault, entitled Nish, forthcoming this summer. Notably, Mr. Young discovered that the longtime spelling of Chennault, with two “n”s, is incorrect. The community still bears the fruit of this error on maps and hopefully it will be corrected.

The house has always been linked to an infamous ending chapter of the Civil War. As the Confederate cabinet and other high officials were fleeing Richmond, they carried with them the bulk of the Confederate treasury. Almost all of the assets were dispersed to pay soldiers, before the capture of Jefferson Davis at Irwinville on 10 May 1865. Remaining funds were left in Washington, Georgia.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia notes: A detachment of Union soldiers set out to divert this specie to a railhead in South Carolina. The wagons stopped for the night at the Chennault (sic) Plantation and it was here that on 24 May 24 1865, bandits attacked the wagons and $251,029 was lost. Bank officials eventually recovered some $111,000 of the stolen money. Union General Edward A. Wild led a search of the area for more gold and earned notoriety for the arrest and torture of the Chennault (sic) family, who Wild believed were hiding gold but who turned out to be innocent. As a consequence, Union General Ulysses S. Grant removed Wild from his command.

Mr. Young also notes that the celebrated robbery occurred on the farm of David Moss, about a mile away. The robbers are believed to have camped on the Chenault Plantation, where they returned and remained several days after the heist.

In the century-and-a-half since the end of the Civil War, historians and fortune-seekers alike have sought the lost Confederate gold. Where it is or whether it even remains will always be Georgia legend.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under --LINCOLN COUNTY GA--, Chennault GA