Tag Archives: Slavery in North Georgia

Old Brick Mill, 1830s, Lindale

The Old Brick Mill at Lindale is the only surviving antebellum brick grist mill in Northwest Georgia and one of just a handful of surviving antebellum mills of any construction in Georgia. It was built of bricks made on site by enslaved people. Located on Silver Creek just across the road from the entrance to the Lindale Manufacturing Company, it is a favorite spot for photographers. Though it ceased operation as a grist mill in the late 1890s, it remained an important community landmark, serving as home to a local Garden Club, Boy Scout troop, and Masonic lodge at various times throughout the 20th century. The Lindale paper, The Georgia Free Lance, was also printed here around 1909.

The landmark, believed to have been built for Larkin Barnett in the 1830s, has seen various changes over time, including the loss of the mill race, the original wheel, and steps, but retains much of its structural integrity. Subsequent private owners and operators were William Cabe of Alabama [Silver Creek Mills], Jacob Henry Hoss [millwright], Joseph Fulcher, William Hemphill Jones, and Mary Jane & Sarah Elizabeth Jones. It ceased operation when it was purchased by the Massachusetts Mills. It was restored by the Lindale Garden Club, who won a National Award for Historic Preservation for their efforts, in 1975.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --FLOYD COUNTY GA--, Lindale 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

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--

Whitesville United Methodist Church, 1854 & 1900, Harris County

The Whitesville Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as it was originally known, traces its origins to circuit riders and meetings at the nearby home of Reuben R. Mobley in 1828. A congregation was formally established in the 1830s and by 1837 a church building was erected for services. This was the same year the town of Whitesville was incorporated; it was a thriving community at the time, bolstered by its status as a main stagecoach stop on the Columbus-to-Rome route. Many early members were slave owners and the slaves attended afternoon services until the Civil War. [Evidence continues to suggest that most homes that survive from the antebellum were built by enslaved people and I’m doing my  best to label them as such as I publish them across my websites. It is also presumed that churches and other public buildings were their handiwork, as well].

Use of the original structure was discontinued in 1854 when the present structure was completed. The church was significantly remodeled in 1900, with the addition of the larger steeple and the incorporation of Victorian details, including shingle siding on the steeple.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --HARRIS COUNTY GA--, Whitesville GA

General Elias Beall House, 1847, Hamilton

This Greek Revival landmark was originally the home of General Elias H. Beall, who established a trading post at what is now Columbus for Governor John Forsyth. After the Civil War, the house was purchased by James Monroe Mobley. It is also known as the Beall-Mobley-Williams House.

Curiously, a portion of the house is used today as a Subway restaurant. An architect was used to do the modification and I presume he was sensitive to preserving the historical importance of the house.

 

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Filed under --HARRIS COUNTY GA--, Hamilton GA

Switzer-Ingram-Hudson House, 1830s, Hamilton

This marvelous structure originated as a Federal I-House and was likely begun much earlier than the given date of circa 1830. Some have suggested that it was the second house ever built in Hamilton, but that needs further substantiation. Its earliest known owner was Williamson Switzer, Judge of the Inferior Court of Harris County from 1833-37. Switzer was among the most prominent citizens of Harris County in his day and was instrumental in the establishment of the poor asylum in the county in 1835. Later owners were Porter Ingram and William Irby Hudson, a Georgia state legislator and senator.

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Filed under --HARRIS COUNTY GA--, Hamilton GA

Governor George W. Towns House, 1828, Talbotton

According to the 1973 nomination form which added this property to the National Register of Historic Places: Construction of the house began in 1828. It is an amalgamation of two two-story…houses to which was added a mid-19th century portico and several 2oth century rooms…[the house] is an example of what happened to vernacular architecture in Georgia as a family and its needs and stylistic wants grew and changed…

The house is also known as the Towns-Persons-Page House. After Towns left the governorship and moved to Macon [circa 1852], the house was sold to the Persons family, who occupied it until 1968, when it was purchased by the Gary Page family.

George Washington Bonaparte Towns (1801-1854) was born in Wilkes County, though his family soon moved to Greene County, and then on to Morgan County. He moved to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1821, and operated a pub while studying law. He was admitted to the bar in 1824. He also briefly owned a newspaper, the Alabama Journal. His first marriage, to Margaret Jane Campbell in 1826, ended tragically. His bride, who had been in poor health, died just a few days after the ceremony. [He married Margaret Winston Jones of Virginia in 1838].

Towns moved to Talbotton in 1828 and served as one of its first commissioners. He was also one of the first attorneys in the new town, owning a very successful practice. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1829 and 1830. He served in the state senate from 1832-1834. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1835 but resigned in 1836 over concerns that the legislature might be forced to pick a Whig as President in the upcoming election. Instead, a Whig won Towns’s seat, but he successfully won re-election to the seat in 1837 and served until 1839. He continued to practice law and served one more term in Congress, in 1846, but lost re-election to John W. Jones, a Whig.

In 1847, Towns was elected governor of Georgia in a highly contested race against the Whig candidate, Duncan L. Clinch. He served until 1851 and died in Macon in 1854.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --TALBOT COUNTY GA--, Talbotton GA

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--

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--

Springfield Baptist Church, Circa 1907, Greensboro

An historic marker placed by the church and the Georgia Historical Society in 2010 states: Springfield Baptist Church was established on January 27, 1864 prior to the abolition of slavery, and is among the first African-American churches founded in Middle Georgia. Enslaved workers purchased land from Mrs. Nancy Bickers and began monthly meetings. Levi Thornton, a slave, served as the church’s first pastor. Prior to the Civil War most local congregations were racially integrated, though blacks and whites sat separately. However in 1867 African Americans were dismissed from local congregations. At their dismissal, the white congregations presented Springfield with $200 to help build the current building…

Henry Porter, Frank Massey, Umply Stocks, and Jack Terrell were instrumental in the organization of the church. The congregation first met in the old Georgia Railroad depot in Greensboro. To my understanding, construction of the present structure commenced in 1907 and the bricks were salvaged from the old Greensboro Methodist Church.

National Register of Historic Places

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Filed under --GREENE COUNTY GA--, Greensboro GA