Points of Interest
WILKES COUNTY CORTHOUSE (open 8-6 weekdays), NE.
corner Court and Spring Sts., opposite N. Side of Public
Square, the fouth courthouse in 162 years of Wilkes County
history, was erected in 1904 at a cost of $40,000. A very
elaborate three-story granite and brick builing with a red
tile roof, it is of the hybrid courthouse architecture so
often found in this period, showing Frenchh, Romanesque, and
Gothic influences in its design. A green lawn with magnolias
and mimosas provides a pleasing setting. The clock, removed
from an earlier building, has kept perfect time since 1817
except for an interval in 1865 when, according to legend, it
stopped running until Federal troops qartered in the old old
courthouse were withdrawn.
Courthouse vaults contain records from early in 1770's. On
the second floor a museum (opened by appointment with
custodian) is maintained by the United Daughters of the
Confederacy and contains relics of the War between the
States, among them a camp chest Jefferson Davis used after
the evacuation of Richmond; the inkstand of Burton Harrison,
secretary to President Davis; a box of matches taken from
Davis' pocket after his capture; a uniform worn by General
Toombs; a silk flag made by Washington women and used by a
local artillery unit; several "Joe Brown Pikes"; and
valuable files of old newspapers.
On this site, after the Revolution, Colonel Micaijah
Willliamson operated a popular tavern in a commodious log
house whose sign displayed a life-sized prtrait of George
Washington. The inn was replaced in 1787 by the first
permanent courthouse, which in turn was supplanted in 1820 b
the Georgia Branch Bank Building. From the balcony of this
old structure Robert Toombs delivered fiery secession
speeches, and on May 5, 1865, the last meeting of the
Confederate cabinet was held here.
THE CAPSTONE OF WILKES MANUFACTURING COMPANY ot Bolton's
Factory, right of walk leading to main entrance of
courthouse, is from the South's first cotton mill. This
factory was erected on Upton Creek in 1811, at the site of
Eli Whitney's workshop and ginhouse. John Bolton, a Rhode
Islander, was a leading stockholder in the company and the
architect of the building. The venture soon proved
unforfitable, and Thomas Tlabot bought the machinery and
removed it to his plantation, Mount Pleasant, where he
produced clothing for his slaves. The factory building,
bought by the estate of General Nathanael Greene, was sold
to the simpson family in 1834. Richarson Booker, prominent
in the Methodist Church, taught Sunday School there, and
local Baptists conducted services within its walls. A four
and grist mill was later installed. When flood waters
damaged the structure beyond repair, the Reverend Franklin
T. Simpson preserved the spaston. Boyce Ficklen, Sr., was
influential in placing the relic on the courthouse
square in 1923.
NELSON'S ROCK, left of walk leading to main entrance
of courthouse, in Wilkes County's oldest record. The large
flat stone is engraved with a plat of John Nelson's lands
and bears the inscription "Land Granted in 1775." The date
1792, cut into the rock, probably indicates the yearthe
stone was set up, since Nelson, a native Marylander, had
come to Wilkes County somewhat earlier. In 1923 Boyce
Ficklen, Sr., had the marker removed to the courthouse
THE TOWN INCORPORATION MARKER, a pink marble shaft a right
of main entrance to courthouse, was erected by the Georgia
Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1934
to commemorate the Legislative Acts of january 23, 1790, and
July 31, 1783, which created and incorporated the town of
SITE OF THE LAST CONFEDERATE CABINET MEETING, called by
Jefferson Davis on May 5, 1865, is shown by a granite marker
erectedin 1938 by the local U.D.C. chapter at the southwest
corner of the courthouse. The marker bears the names of the
members who were present.
2. THE ELLINGTON
HOUSE (private), NW. corner Court and Spring Sts., is a
two-story white clapboard structure with green blinds. The
house is striking because of its roof, which slants steeply
from the two large main rooms on the front over shed rooms
on the rear. A simple scroll trim on porches and under eaves
is another unusual feature. There is a large piazza across
the front and a narrow porch to the east side.
Two outside end
chimneys have been painted white. The house, built in the
corner of the large lot, is almost flush with North Spring
Street on the east and Court Street on the South. Several
large cottonwood trees along the narrow strip between the
house and sidewalks give dense shade.
Beside the large old-fahioned garden to the south along
Court street is the small red brick jail built in 1819 and
used until 1911 when a modern one was built on the
courthouse lot. In the old jail yard condemned criminals
were hanged on carefully built, massive gallows. These
executions were public and attracted throngs from far and
near. Crowds gathered in the morning on the day on the
scheduled hanging long before the leagl hours of execution
and overran all property adjoining. The Ellington place was
filled on these occasions by the curious who climbed trees
and fences to gain vantage points from whicj they could get
a good view of the gruesome proceedings.
MCRAE-TUPPER-BARNETT HOUSE (private), NW. corner W. Robert
Toombs Ave., and Allison St., was built early in the
nineteenth century. The two-story white frame structure,
with its encircling Doric-collimned porch, is set on a
full-story basement like so many houses of the cotton
planting era when the master of a house used the ground
floors for business transactions. From the basement level a
divided stairway approaches the main entrance which is
overhung by a balcony with iron grillwork. Fine fanlighted
doorwats adorn the first and second stories.
The Reverend Henry ALlen Tupper who made alterations along
the present Greek Revival lines about 1850, weilded so great
an influence during his twenty-year pastorate here that
members of his Baptist congregation were dubbed Tupperites.
It is told that once during a serious drought he announced a
special prayer service for rain and asked all attendants to
bring umbrellas; although only one person complied,
refreshing showers fell before the meeting ended. Another
story relates how a fourteen-year-old son, Jerr Boyce
Tupper, was sent to tell an assembled Negro congregation
that his father would be inable to conduct its service that
afternoon. The Negro patriarch in charge, misunderstanding,
announced that the son would preach in his father's stead.
The boy, almost speechless at first, quickly regained his
compsoure and read the text his father had used in another
church several hours earlier. After preaching as much of his
as he could
remember; young Tupper received his call to the ministry, a
profession of which he laster became a distinguished member.
Tupper's wealth enabled him to donate his entire salary to
the Baptist Mission Board. He also financed the erection of
Phi Upsilon Hall, a temperance lodge, on his own lot.
Winding walks and rustic bridges made this a favorite resort
of young people, who held debates and theathrical
4. The POLLY
BARCLAY POPLAR, NW. Corner Robert Toombs Ave. and Andrews
Grove St., marks the place of execution of the first woman
to be hanged in the State of Georgia. On March 1, 1806, John
H. Barclay, a local merchant, was found shot to death with
"a certain smooth bore gun of the value of five dollars then
and there loaded and charged with gunpowder and two leaden
bullets." Barclay's beautiful young wife Polly, supposedly
in love with another man, was arrested for his murder and
brought to trail. Two men charged with complicity were
released, but the jury brought in a verdict of guilty
against the woman and, though mercy was recommended, she was
sentenced to be hanged. Despite her pleas to the sheriff
"not to hang so beautiful a woman," sentence was carried out
on May 20, 1908. An unsubstantiated account states that the
sheriff fixed the noose where it would not cause instant
death, tha that she was cut down, pronounced dead, and that
she was revived by a physician and lived to be an old woman
free because the state's sentence had been carried out.
BERRY-HAY-POP HOUSE (private), W. Robert Toombs Ave.
opposite Depot St., is a two-story white frame house in
Greek Revival style. The older pertion was built of material
from Washingotn's first Masonic Temple, and marked on the
plaster in a closet is the date 1818. After repeated
alterations, the house now has a Doric colonnade and the
roof is capped by a "widow's walk," an architecual feature
unusual in the south. A graceful stairway, which was made at
glen Holly, Mark A. Cooper's plantation in Bartow County,
was installed by his daughter, Susan Cooper Pope. The rooms,
though large, have low ceilings. Those in the older prtion
are worthy of note for their beautifully executed
Extensive grounds with formal gardens have settings of
boxwood, oaks, and large magnolias, and there is a grassy
meadow at one side. Some of the trees are draped with
silvery hanging Spanish moss, not
this section but brought from Florida by the present owner
(1941), M. Pembroke Pope.
6. The CHARLES E.
IRVIN HOUSE (private) 430 Lexington Ave., a two-story white
frame house in a grove of water oaks and magnolias, was
bought from Stephen Heard late in the 1880's by Captain
Charles E. Irvin. The estate is now owned by three Irvin
sisters. To the simple structure, erected early in the
nineteenth century, Irvin added the balustrated Corinthian
portico and the side porches that lead into cross hallways.
High wainscoting, paneled doors, and two mantels from the
original house are combined with modern architectural
features to form a composire style.
Irvin, who was commended for bravery during the War between
the States, won the admiration of Southern extremists by
changing his seat when Federal officer, stationed in
Washington in 1865, sat beside him in church. He helped
General Toombs escape after the war and accompanied him
beyond the reach of Federal troops.
HOME FOR BOYS, 111 Mercer St., organized in 1876, is one of
the oldest orphanages in the state. The institution now
shelters eighty orphan boys, whose education is supervised
by nine nuns and a priest. Here the Roman Catholic laymen of
Georgia hold an annual retreat every summer.
The two-story main building, a substantial edifice of brick
and concrete construction, contains the classrooms,
kindergarten, dining hall, dormintory, infirmary, and
chapel. It was completed in 1932 at a cost of $75,000. The
front portion of a columned frame house adjoinging the
property was once the home of the noted Baptist divine Jeese
Mercer, benefactor of Mercer University at Macon.
Twenty acres surrounding the home provide ample pastuage for
the livestock, as well as gardens and orchards. When the
boys go on errands outside the grounds, a Newfoundland dog
accompanies them as companion and guardian.
The home is on the site of the Academy of Wilkes County. In
1783 the legislature granted a thousand acres to this first
public school in the state, and in 1796 a brick building,
said to be the first in upper Georgia, was erected. Every
denomination in Washington held church services here until
Richard H. Long purchased and removed the edifice in 1824 to
make way for a residence.
8. The COCA-COLA
BOTTLING PLANT (visitors welcome), 320 W. Liberty St., is
housed in a trim, low, modern building of whitewashed brick.
Established here in 1907, it serves a territory comprising
Wilkes and parts of five neighboring counties. The working
staff includes three men in the production department, three
salemen, and one advertising man.
HOUSE (private), 301 W. Liberty St., was built early in the
1800's, foundation timbers having been brought from Walnut
Hill, home of the Reverend John Springer, the first
Presbyterian minister to be ordained in Georgia. The first
owner, Garland Wingfield, bequeathed the place to Dr. James
H. Lnae, and the Lane family lived here from 1865 util 1936,
when a change of ownership followed the death of the last
surviving member, Miss Annie Lane, historian of Wilkes
County and gifted poet .Her popular verses My Mother's
Garden were inspired by the old-fashioned flweres and
shrubs that still give their frangrance.
Although the present owner (1941), B. Irvin Cheney, has made
considerable restoration, he has preserved the good
architectural features such as the blaustraded balcony, the
square portico with tall columns, and the fine cornices of
the long front windows.
PRINCE-POP-SIMPSON-STEPHENS HOUSE (private), 221 W. Liberty
St., is a white frame house of Greek Revival style, fronted
by Corinthian columns and partly encircled by a white picket
fence. The oldest par was a sall house probably built very
early in the nineteenth century. About 1817 an addition, set
upon foundations fro mthe first Wilkes County Courthouse,
was built by Oliver Hillhouse Prince, who assisted in laying
out the city of Macon. The interior is notable for its
high-ceilinged rooms, polished hardwood floors, dark
woodwork, and gracefully curved stairway. Most of the
furniture is of old mahongany, of which two especially
prized pieces are a canopied four-poster bed and a
grandfather clock that chimes the hours with clear musical
GENERAL HOSPITAL, 419 S. Spring St., is a two-story brick
structure with white trimmings, erected in 1924 under the
sponsorship of the Kiwanis Club and now owned by the city.
The old Pettus-Palmer-DuBose House, a Greek Revival dwelling
late in the
eighteenth or early in the nineteenth century, now forms the
central portion which houses Negro Patients on the first
floor, with operating rooms and laboratories above. The
hospital now maintains thirty-five beds, nine nurses, and a
technician. A private house across Spring Street was bough
in 2940 and made into a nurses' home.
12. The ROBERT
MOTTE STMITH HOUSE (private), 762 S. Spring St., is a
two-story frame residence with small porches, upstairs and
down, supported by two large square pillars. From a paneled
front door the main hall leads to a crss hall, which opens
onto side porches. A wing on the south side contains several
rooms. Old-fashioned wide plank floors, deep-set windows and
doors, and walls and ceilings of heavy plaster are interior
In the 1850's James DuBose induced his kinsman Robert Smith
of Charleston, South Carolina, to accept a tract of land and
move to Washington. A denise pine thicket was cleared and
The Pines, as the Smith house was known, was erected. Robert
Smith was a devout man, and family records show that on
February 22, 1857, a dedication service consecrated the new
house. The pine trees have disappeared, but the present
owner, a grandson of the builder, has landscaped the grounds
with boxwood, some of whichc is said to be eighty years old.
The Smith house is one of the few old Washington dwellings
owned by descendants of the original occupants.
13. The THOMAS
HOLLEY CHIVERS HOLLY TREE, 200 Chapman St., was planted by
the eccentric but richly talented poet during his residence
in his brother's house on this site. Chivers was born
October 18, 1809, at Digby Manor, the home of his father,
Colonel Robert Chivers, a few miles from Washington. When
young Thomas inherited the place, he changed its name to
Oaky Grove. Some of the best poems were written there.
Crushed by the disastrous ending of an early marriage,
Chivers left Georgia, but haunting memories filled his
writings. He was graduated in medicine from Transylvania
University at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1830 but followed this
profession for only a short time before continuing his
wanderings. Frequently he returned to his home in Wilkes
County and to his brother's house in Washington, and on one
of these visits he planted the holly tree. In 1837 he
married Harriet Hunt of Northampton, Massachusetts. After
living for a time in North,
settled at Decatur, Georgia, where he remained until his
death in 1858.
As a writer, Chivers is renowned chiefly for his brilliant
techinical innovations in verse and for his correspondence
with Edgar Allan Poe, whom he charged with plagiarism. His
metrics are said to have influenced Swinburne and the French
symolists, and sometimes, like the poets of the present day,
he achieved a striking effect by constructing poem of pure
The Chivers house in Washington (now replaced by a mdern
bungalow) was the childhood home of Maude Ohl (Annulet
Andrews), a newspaper writer and novelist, who served on the
staff of the Atlanta Constitution and later wrote
stories of her experiences in the Far East with her husband.
14. The OLD
PRESBYTERIAN MANSE (private), 309 S. Alexander Ave., is a
two-story white frame house, probably dating from the early
part of the nineteenth century. A narrow front piazza, to
which scrollwork ornamentation has been added, opens into a
short hall with an old-fashioned stairway. The interior
arrangement, the same for both floors, allows space for two
rooms on one side of the hall and a single large room placed
endwise on the other. Many-paned windows, a large end
chimney, high mantels, and massive doors are striking
details of design.
One of the several Presbyterian ministers who lived here was
Dr. Francis Goulding, inventor of he first sewing machine
used in the state and author of The Young Marooner,
best know of his popluar stories for children. Goulding was
pastor in 1937-1838. The Presbyterians owned the place until
1862, when it was purchased by Hugh Marlow. Twenty years
later it was sold to Charles H. Smith, whose wife Grace
Syson smith was an artist of recognized ability. Their son
Cordner studied at Chase Art School in New YOrk, but
apromising career was ended by his tragic death by drowning.
The parents will their home to the Presbyterian Church as a
memorial to him, and thus the old manse reverted to its
original owners. The Presbyterians, however, had erected a
new manse, and the old house is now (1941) owned by Dr. J.G.
15. The FICKLEN-LYNDON-JOHNSON
HOUSE (private), 303 S. Alexander Ave., was erected by an
unknown builder, probably about 1825. The
two-story white frame dwelling, constructed on a high
basement, has been restored by its present owner R.R.
In 1851 Dr. Fielding Ficklen moved into this dwelling, after
remodleing it into a fine residencce. High mantels, deep
windows, fine doors, and a beautifully carved mahogany
stairway are items of rich architectural detail. After Dr.
Ficklen's death his son Dr. Burwell Ficklen made it a
veritable show place. Mrs. Ficklen had a conservatory under
the porch, while the grounds abounded in shrubs, roses, and
other flowers. Fine specimens of these are yet living,
though the house was long vacant after the death of George
E. Lyndon, who bought it in 1890.
In may1865, Mrs. Jefferson Davis and her children were
guests of the Ficklens, onlt a few days before
President Davis came her to hold the last meetig of
the Confederate cabinet. Samuel Davis, father of the
Confederate President, once lived near the Ficklen family on
a plantation in Wilkes County, where the President's
grandparents are buried.
Boyce Ficklen, Sr., who did much to preserve historic
landmarks and to differentiate between local history and
tradition, was born here in 1851. As editor of the Wilkes
County Forum, he wrote a column called "Keep History
Straight," always backing any statement with authentic
16. The branch
plant of the ROYA LMANUFACTURING COMPANY (open 7-5
weekdays), on Water St., a one-story red brick structure, is
Number Eight in a chain of sixteen factories with
headquarter in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This branch makes
men's clothing from material bought from southern textile
mills. Here the cloth is cut, and the garments are made,
pressed, inspected, and packed for shipment to every state
in the Union. Most of the two hundred and fifty employees
are young girls. Except when it is necessary to hire skilled
workers from other sections, the personnel manager gives
preference to applicants from Washington and Wilkes County.
BEASLEY-ANTHONY-LOWE-HANSFORD HOUSE (private), 205 S.
Alexander Ave., is a small two-story house of white
clapboards, its small, many-paned windows shuttered by green
blinds. In 1847 Bradford Merry sold the lot for $300 to
Royland Beasley, for yoears court clerk of Wilkes County,
who soon afterward built the house. His wife,
beloved for her
many kind acts, was among the Washngtonladies who aided
little Alexander Stephens, after he came to the town in 1827
to attend the Washington Academy.
18. The OLD
METHODIST PARSONAGE, the BIRD-DILLARD HOUSE (private), 214
Water St., is a white clapboard house of nondesscript plan
with a broad hall and two rooms on one side and a large
single-story wing on the other. A cross hall under the
hidden stairway opens onto a porch the extends across the
side and front, replacing a former small side veranda and
equally small front piazza. High plain mantels, heavy doors,
and large windows are used throughout.
The lot was sold to Thompson Bird about 1784 and the house
was probably built soon thereafter. old to the Washington
Methodist Church in 1856, it was used as a parsonage until
1917. In 1919 mrs. Ida Reynolds Dillard bough and remodeled
According to legend, the Reverend Habersham Adams allowed
Confederate officers to conceal a cheast of money here in
1865, and some residents insist that the treasure is still
hidden somewhere on the premises.
COTTAGE (private), 204 Water St., a two-story white
clapboard structure with two front doors, still shows some
pleasing old-fashioned features despite the more recent
addition of scrollwork banisters and modern composition
roof. In 1819 Constantine Church built the older portion of
the house; Henry Terrell later purchased it and made
extensive alterations. The residence was subsequently owned
by Misses E.M.. and M.L. Barnett, who gave it the name
Cherry Cottage. W. Meriwether Hill has owned the place since
1884. His annual "open house," held when the harvest on his
near-by farm is over, is anticipated by numerous friends.
More than a hundred guest assemble for the occaion.
Old-fashioned games are played, and refreshments of sugar
cane, popcorn, peanuts, and home-made candy served.
20. The BRANHAM-NEESON
HOUSE (private), 110 Water St., though a green-shuttered
white clapboard structure like many other dwellings in the
city, presents an unusuak appearance because of a front ell,
added laterm that rises a story above the main body of the
house. Interesting interior features of the single-story
section include floors and ceilings
of broad planks,
high mantels, paneled doors, and very old hardware. A broad
shallow porch now replaces the former small stoop. Just
above the second-floor level of the ell, a door opens into
space indicating the former existence of either a balcony or
of an outside stair rising from the front yard. here cedars,
crepe myrtles, and other old-fashioned plantings form a
Benjamin Branham, an early merchant and commissioner of the
academy, lived here when the house was new in 1796. In 1869
his daughter mary sold the place to Dr. Horace Neeson, a
graduate of the Royal college of Physicians and Surgeons,
Dublin, Ireland. His wife Sarah Wright Neeson long conducted
a private school in the house.
21. The MARY
WILLIS LIBRARY (open weekdays 11 to 1 and 3 to 6), SE.
Corner S. Jefferson and E. Liberty Sts., was founded in
1888, and the building was erected in the following year
with finds contributed by Dr. Francis T. Willis in memory of
his daughter Mary. This organization, Georgia's first
free library for both town and county, contains 18,000
volmes, with an average monthly circulation of 1,200
volumes, among 3,026 subscribers.
Characteristic of the late Victorian period, the
vine-covered re brick building has a cupola and high-arched
windows of stained glass. The three rooms are finished in
natural pine with high beamed ceilings. The main reading
room has two large fireplaces, comfortable rocking chairs.
long tables piled with current magazines and newspapers, and
book shelves that reach almost to the ceiling. The reference
department has many vauluable books, and files of magazines
dating from 1889 to the present are stored in the attic. A
register of visitors kept since the opening day, May 7,
1889, diclosees the names of many prominent persons.
Dr. Willis, born and reared in Wilkes COunty, returned here
in his old age and spent much time discussing poetry and
philospohy with his half-brother Samuel Barnett, with whome
he selected the library's nucleus of three thousand volumes.
Dr. Willis would not allow his prtrait to hang in the
library, but since his death his grandson has provided a
canvas of him for the main reading room.
Mary Willis' memory is perpetuated by a fine stained glass
window while other WIlkes County personages, among whom are
General Robert Toombs and Alexander Stephens, are
represented by steel engravings. Other portraits are those
of Judge Archibald Campbell,
Justice from 1853 to 1861; Miss Eliza Bowen, astronomer,
educator, and wrier, whose History of Wilkes County
was the first county history in the state; and General E.
Porter Alexander, a West Point graduate who served with
distinction in the Confederate artillery. The library's most
valued relic is an old chest of Dutch manufacture, one of
three brough to Washington by the Confederate Treasury in
May, 1865, containing coins to pay off the soldiers who were
following the government in its retreat from Richmond.
Mrs. Carolina Dyson Turner served thirty years as librarian
and was followed by Mrs. Hardeman Toombs Wood, who held the
office for nine years. Miss Kathleen Colley, a great-niece
of General Toombs, is only the third person (1941) to fill
22. The SEMMES-PETEET-CLEVELAND-JORDAN-LINDSEY
HOUSE (private), 212 E. Liberty St., is an exceptionally
fine exampe of Greek Revival architecture. Set flush with
the street, the simple white clapboard house was erected
early in the 1800's by Andrew Semmes, of Maryland, and
remodeled along its present lines during the 1860's by E.F.
Jordan, a later owner. Encircling the house are a
balustraded Doric Portico and balcony, of which the columns
are said to have cost the then fabulous price of $100 each.
Particularly fine detailes are the broad dentiled
entablature and the two fanlighted front doors.
Some of the locks, made of wood and bearing the trade-mark
of an Engllish manufacturer, have large brass keys. Panels
of wainscoting under the tall windows open like Dutch doors.
An arched doorway between the two east rooms reaches almost
to the high ceilings and has heavy folding doors hung from
long shop-made hinges. Richly carved mantels and plastered
walls and ceilings are in their original state, but the old
plank floors have been covered with hardwood. Theold kitchen
dining room, and storage rooms in the basement are now used
as playrooms. The small basement windows are barred, and
heavy iron-work panels are placed between the brick pillars
When Washingotn was swarming with Federal troops in the
summer of 1865, an officer went to Mrs. Jordan and asked for
some southern figs. She had the servants gather him a
basketful. Later in the day, angry soldiers came to the
house to place her under arrest for poisoning Federal
officers and men. Mrs. Jordan, suspecting the trouble, asked
for symptoms of the "poisoned" ones. The soldiers
they were in agonizing pain from mouths that were so swollen
they could scarcely speak. Mrs. Jordan turned away
scornfully, "Why I though even a Yankee had sense enough to
know that figs had to be peeled before they were eaten." She
was not arrested.
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (open), 312 E. Robert Toombs Ave., built
in 1825, is the only Presbyterian meeting house ever erected
in Washington. Simple and finely proportioned with its tall
spire and classic entrance portico, the small white
clapboard structive is like the Colonial churches of New
England. High wainscoting, plastered waslls, a beamed
ceiling, high-arched windows, and straight-backed Colonial
pews with solid ends and narrow foot-rests, lend an air of
restfulness and charm. The lot was donated by Dr. Joel
Abbott who owned the adjoining property. Abbott and his
neighbor did not live peaceably so close together, so the
deed to the church provided for a street between the
neighbor's yard and the church.
The first pastor after the church was built was Alexander
Hamilton Webster, a young Northerner who had to come to
teach at the Wilkes County Academy. He accepted the
pastorate in 1825, and uder his ministry the church
flourished. He had planned to give up teaching and to devote
all his time to the church, but he died in October, 1827, at
the age of twenty-eight. The congregation had him buried
between the two front doors. In 1836 a spire, a vestibule,
and pulpit space were added to the church, and the
marble-topped toomb was enclosed in vestibule.
Woodrow Wilson attened services here as a small boy when his
father came from Augusta to preach while the church was
without a pastor. Both grandfathers of Ellen Axson, first
wife of Woodrow Wilson, served this congregation as pastors:
Dr. Nathan Hoyt from 1828 to 1830, and the Reverend I.S.K.
Axson in 1854-55. When in 1869 Dr. Hoyt expressed a desire
to preach once more at Washingotn, an interdenominational
service was arranged.
HILLHOUSE-CALLAWAY-TOOMB-WOOD HOUSE (private), 315 E. Robert
Toombs Ave., is a two-story white clapboard house whose
appearance is very pleasing fo its simple line and good
proportions. From the level of the high basement, broad
steps lead to a square-columned veranda above which is a
small banistered balcony. The
main body of the
house is symmetrically flanked by wings, each with a large
outside end chimney.
Mrs. Sarah Hillhouse, the first southern woman to edit
newspaper, once lived here. David Hillhouse came to
Washington before 1800, and when he died in 1804, Sarah his
widow carried on his business. The Hillhouses did their
printing in an old residence that has long since been
removed. Mrs. hillhouse built this house about 1814 and live
here untill her death in 1831.
When Merrill Callaway lived here during the War between the
States, his home provided a refuge for persons fleeing the
danger zones. Gabriel Tooms, a brother of General Tobert
Toombs, bough the place in 1869 and livef here until his
death in 1900. His granddaughter Mrs. Hardeman Toombs Wood
has restored the house and created a beautiful garden by
blending old-fashioned floweres and shrubs with the new.
25. The PETRIE-TOOMB-HARDEMAN-PALMER-ALMAND
HOUSE (private), 319 E. RObert TOombs Ave., is a two-story
white clapboard structure with a small piazza, large
square columns, and massive Palladian doorway with an
overhanging balcony. Its front gardenm beautiful with dark
magnolia trees and evergreen shrubbery, is surrounded by a
white picket fence. The interior of the large house has two
wide hallways crossing in the center and is characterized by
heavy doors, finely wrought locks, and handsome
mantels, one of marble. This dwelling, built b ythe Reverend
George H. W. Petrie, who served as pastor of the Washington
Presbyterian Church from 1839 to 1851, was bought by Gabriel
Toombs, brother of Robert Toombs, in1849. The present
owner (1941), Mrs. R.A. Almand, is a member of the Toombs
26. The ROBERT
TOOMBS HOUSE (private), 326 E. Robert Toombs Ave., for years
the home of the celebrated Confederate statesman and
soldier, is a large, imposing white frame house fronted by a
Doric colonnade. The main body, a two-story structiure on a
high basement, was built in 1794 by Dr. Joel Abbott,
who came here from Connecticut. Abbott was first employed by
the state as a medical resentative in setting up the Inited
States dispensary and later was a member of Congress
(1817-25). After his death, the house was occupied
successively by the
Alexander Hamilton Webster, Alexander H. Stephens' teacher
and a popular young Presbyterian minister; Miss Ann Quigly,
who conducted a private school here; and Williamd L. Harris,
who moved the house back and made additions. The colonnade
and western wing were built by General Toombs after he had
the place in 1837; the eastern wing was built by him after
the War between the States.
A wide front door with side and transom lights leads into a
large hall. In the room to the right the unusual brass
picture molding and the wallpaper with its dim gold pattern
recall Toombs' occupancy. The massice cast-iron chandeliers
were brought from his home i Washington, D.C., when the
Confederate States seceded and Toombs left his post in the
United States Senate. The chandeliers were lighted with gas
from Toombs own private plant, the first gasworkds in the
town. Left of the hall is the general's library, containing
his leather-trimmed book-cases. Some old chairs and two
massive whale-oil lanterns stil in the house also belonged
Robert Toombs, born in Wilkes County in 1810, was a powerful
a dn robust personality, one of the most dramatic figures in
Georgia History. He attended the University of Georgia and
Union College at Schenectady, New York, later studying law
at the University of Virginia. He was admitted to the bar by
legislative act December 19 1829, and subsequently amassed a
fortune. Entering politics early, he always easily won any
WIlkes County office he sought. He served in the State
Legislature (1837-3), helped established the State Supreme
Court, entered Congress in 1845, and 1853 was elected to the
United States Senate. A large and powerfully built man, a
fiery brilliant, and sometimes sardonic orator, he attracted
much attention in the national capital. His farewell speech,
January 7, 1861, has been celebrated as a masterpiece on
secession. Though at first a member of President jeffeson
Davis' Confederate cabinet, he resigned because he believed
he could rener more valuable service on the battlefield. As
a brigadier-general he went into the thick of the fighting
and was wounded at Antietam in 1862. He soon gave up his
commission but later was in active service as divisional
adjutant and inspector-general of the Georgia Militia during
Sherman's Atlanta campaign.
By the end of the war Toombs was at home. Soon after the
members of the Confederate Cabinet had left Washignton, a
man on horse-back rode up to the Toombs House, threw a bag
containing five thou-
sand dollars in
specie over the fence, and hurriedly galloped away. There
was no message with the money, but the inference was that it
was to aid the general to flee from Union soldiers who had
been ordered to arrest the former COnfederate officials.
Tooombs, however, thought that the money was part of the
funds belonging to the pilfered Confederate treasure and
ordered it to be paid to the returning soldiers.
A majestic oak in front of the house sheltered Federal
soldiers who camer here in 1865 to arrest Toombs, and from
this point Negro SOldiers marched down the street with his
picture stuck on the point of a bayonet so that he might be
recognized and captured on sight. the general was in
his office when the men came, but while his wife kept them
occupied he quickly escaped by the back way to the servants'
quarters, where he mounted his mare Gray Allice and rode
away. It is told that he was hidden in Columbus by Augusta
J. Evans, later to become known as the author of St. Elmo
and other popular romances.
He lived in
England and in Europe before returning, "an unpardoned
rebel" as he liked to be called, to his native town. After
his flight the Federal soldiers wanted to burn down the
house, believeing he might be hidden there, but Mrs. Toombs
sent for the fearless Baptist preacher Henry Allen Tupper,
who convinced them that Toombs escaped. After the flight,
Toombs' wife and daughter were ordered to leave the house.
Union troops established headquarters on the first floor and
prepared to open a school for Negroes n the basement, but
the citizens protested so vigorously that these orders were
As long as TOoombs lived, he kept open house, and rarely was
a meal served without guests. He once opposed a movement to
build a hotel in the city, because, "If a respectable man
comes to town, he can stay at my house. If he isn't
respectable, we don't want him here at all."
The property is now owned by Miss Kathleen Colley and Mrs.
Marian Colley Boyd, great nieces of the general, who keep
the house and the old-fashioned garden with its dark cedars,
againest with the vermillion color of pomegranate blossoms
show vividly in the early summer. Fragrant mimosas throw
their shadows across the centruty-old "herring-bone" brick
27. The MARIA
RANDOLPH HOUSE (private), 343 E. Robert Toombs Ave., was
built early in the Greek Revival of the 1820's. Trim and
white, the two-story house stands on a shady lawn encircled
by an iron fence. A shallow hall with a handsome stairway
separate the two front rooms,
with thier fine
marble mantels, and opens into the spacious dining room that
extends the width of the house. The room has tow open
fireplaces with very high mantels that were originally i th
old Bank Building. The doors are noticable for theor old
locks and keys.
From 1827, when the Randolph family purchased thios
property, until 1880, this was the residence of Miss Maria
Randolph, who was described as being "six feet tall and
every inch a lady." Miss Randolph, said to be a descendant
of Pocahontas, was exceedingly proud of her Indian ancestry.
She waore the finest silks, rode in a carriage drwan by two
handsome roan horses, and entertained ger guests with the
greatest elegance. One of her relatives who visited here was
Mary Harden, of Athens, the sweetheart of John Howard Payne,
who wrote the famous song "Home, Sweet Home." Among Miss
Randolph's many fine pieces of furniture was piano with
mother-of-pearl keys; older residents still recall the
town's excitment when the instrument of arrived.
Upon her death in 1880, Miss Randolph bequeathed $1,000 to
the Presbyterian Church. This house, willied to her niece
Miss Isabella Nash, was occupied by tenants until 1906, when
Gabriel Anthony Bought the property and made extensive
improvements. The place is now owned by Colonel A.T. Colley,
28. The JOHN W.
CALLAWAY HOUSE (private), 359 E. Robert Toombs Ave., is an
Early Greek REvival dwelling with deep-corniced windows and
doorways, a massive Doric-columned portico, fine woodwork,
and wrought-iron hingels and locks. The two-story white
structure has cross-hall arrangement and a side porch with
small Doric columns. THer are several magnificent oaks in
29. The SAMUEL
BARNETT HOUSE (private), 358 E. Robert Toombs Ave., a
two-story white frame dwelling on a high basemetn, stands
well back fromthe street in a beautiful grove. A
hundred-acre lot with the older part of the residence was
bought in 1836 by Mrs. mary Sneed from Andrew G. Semmes. In
1857 Samuel Barnett, one of the first railroad commissioners
in the United States, bought the place and added the front
portion. Barnett, deeply untrested in education, established
a small school in ths ide yard for his own children, but his
soon accommodated numerous other children in the town.
Woodrow Wilson and his father were entertained in this home.
The house, of the rambling style so popular inthe decade
to 1860, has a
narrow front veranda with a flat roof. A heavy door leads
into a hall between rooms, and a long cross-hall with side
doors opening onto small porches is entered through an
arched doorway. Two marble mantels, massive doors, and fine
woodworl are interior details.
PRESBYTERIAN POPLAR, east side of Poplar Drive on the
Alexander estate, marks the site where on July 22, 1790, the
first Presbyterian ordination on Georgia soil took place.
Because at that times there was no church building in
Washington, a commission from the Presbytery of South
Caorlina ordained John Springer in this outdoor temple. The
school established by him at his home Walnut Hill, four
miles from Washignton, attracted such students as Jesse
Mercer and John Forsyth.
This tulip poplar, now decaying rapidly, at one time
attained a height of 155 feet, and its lowere branches were
50 feet from the ground. Its enormous trunk, with a
circimference of 28 feet and a diameter of 9 feet, could
conceal a man on horseback. Under this old tree on October
9, 1940, the Synod of Georgia held a service commemorating
the sequincentennial anniversary of Springer's ordination
and also the organization of the WAshington Presybyterian
Church. On this occassion the church officials dedicated a
granite marker placed near the trunk. A similar marker was
consecrated at the pastor's grave on the site of Walnut
31. THe E.B. CADE
HOUSE (private), 120 Tignall, Rd., a two-story green
shuttered white frame dwelling fronted by a Doric colonnade
and encircled by a white picket fence, was erected in the
1790's by Thomas WIngfield, and early emigrant from
Virginia. Floors and ceilings are of broad planks, and the
walls are made of thick, old-fashioned plastering. Massive
cross-paneled doors wtih iron hinges, high mantels,
beautiful wrought wainscoting, and heavy locks with large
brass keys are interior features.
Wingfield's several daughters sometimes used a private
stairway with an enclosed side entry, but his sons and
guests used the main stairway, which curves rgacefully
upward to a long hall. This is one of the few old houses in
Washington that has never undergone extensive alterations.
Captain W.G. Cade added a new kitchen after he bought the
place from W.J. Harty in 1874, but the old kitchen in the
yard still stands. The original hewn-log smokehouse is still
Mrs. E.B. Cade, the present owner (1941), And her husband,
late Dr. Cade,
furnished the house throughout with European and Early
American antiques. They resided in Switxerland and in
Alsace-Lorraine before to Washington at the beginning of the
World War in 1914. In 1919 German officials permitted them
to bring over their collection of furniture and paintings.
Alarge chest of uncertain age from a feudal casatle in
Friedburg has ornamental hinges of Damascus steel, an odd
lock, a very large key, and coats-of-arms in wood inlay. The
collection includes several desks, an old card table with
natural-colored morning-glories in exquisite wood inlay, and
a corner wine cabinet with with inlay. There are a French
chair of ivory-like wood, a Viennese bookcase, a cabinet
filled with French ornaments, a swiss hand-carved wood
piece, a set of Alsatian hand-painted china, a chair from
Stratsbourg Cathedral bearing the date 1835, rugs from
Constaninople, a prayer rug, and fine draperies and
tapestries. The several paintings by artists of the 1830 or
Barbazonian School include an original Rosa Bonheur, "Wild
Horses in the Arena at Rome."
The Cade House, near the Washington city limits, overlooks a
beautiful estate of 165rolling acres, constisting of rich
fields and fertile green pastures. Here Dr. Cade raised
pedigreed livestock which won many blue ribbons in county
and state fairs. This hobby is continued by his wodow, who
now raises poultry and livestock, including a large herd of
Holstein cattle. In acordance with the taste of her husband
all animals are either white or black.
32. OLD ST.
PATRICK'S CHURCH, 400 block N. Alexander Ave., a
vine-covered brick structure with large leaded-glass
windows, is now in ruins. The building, erectedin 1830, was
the first brick Catholic Church in Georgia, and although it
has not been udes since 1887, older residents recall the
great throngs that gathered here when Abrah J. Ryan,
poet-priest of the Confederacy, came from Augusta to conduct
services. Father Ryan spoke from the doorway, for the
congregation was much greater than the capacity of the
In the churchyard, the grave of Father James O'Brien is
marked by a granite monnlith, erected by contributions from
citixens of Washington and Wilkes County, irrespective of
creed. One lot is reserved for St. Joseph's Catholic
Sisters, an order formed in Washington in 1877.
33. The SIMS
HOUSE (private), 210 Sims, St., a rambling two-story white
clapboard house known as The Cedars, stands on a high hill.
The original dwelling was built by Anthony Poulain, a
Frenchman of noble birth, who came to Georgia's aid during
the American Revolution. He died a few years after settling
here, but his son Dr. T.N. Poulain was personal physican to
LaFayette upon his visit to Georgia as an old man in 1825.
THe olddwelling was torn down, with the exception of the
present kitchen, and the heavy timbers were used to
The residence is now owned (1941) by the children of Mrs.
M.M. Sims, whose ancestor, Francis Colley, first lived here
in 1818. John Bolton spent his summers here, and General and
Mrs. Edward Harden, parents of John Howard Payne's Georgia
sweetheart, were frequent guests.
A century-old Empress of China rose in the yard is in
perfect condition, and a bowl of its bright pink blossoms is
admired at every Washigntonflower show.
34. The ALEXANDER
HOUSE (private), 312 N. Alexander Ave., is a red brick
structure that was erected in 1808 and enlarged with a white
frame wing before 1840. This original dwelling was probably
the first brick residence in Georgia norht of Augusta. The
interior features a side entrance hall, decorated ceilings,
high wainscoting, deep windows, heavy doors and mantels, and
The Gilbert brokthers, William and Felix, traveling from
Virginia in 1780's, stopped for the night in a large grove,
and in the morning they were so pleased with the site that
they took up land grants and later erected this house. The
Gilberts became Washington's most sucessful merchants. In
1823, Felix's granddaughter Sarah, who married Adam L.
Alexander, inherited the residence. Mrs. J.G. Wright and
Miss Carlotta Alexander, present owners of the house, are
Alexander hired from New Elgland first an instructress and
later a tutor to teach his ten children in a private
schoolroom on the property. The Alexanders and the Gilberts
carried a voluminous corresponence, and in19010 these
letters, covering the period from 1787 to 1900, were printed
in a limited edition.
Alexander Stephens spent several months in this old house
Washington Academy during the 1827-28 term. Through the
influence of Alexander Hamilton Webster, rector of the
school and pastor of the Washington Presbyterian Church, a
group of Wilkes COunty Presbyterians had agreed to help this
fifteen-year-old boy with his education. Young Stephens,
staying at first in the Webster residence, developed a
strong affection for his benefactor and consequently
adopting his middle name. Upon the death of his patron a few
weeks after the opening of school, Stephens was invited to
live with the Alexander family. The following year he
attended the University of Georgia under auspices of the
Presbyterian Georgia Educational Society and later became a
distinguished member of Congress. On his frequent visits to
washington he always returned to his former home, where he
received the greatest consideration from all except the old
Negro mammy who said she would "make no 'miration'," for
young Alex had her impudence too often.
A collection of old firearms and other weapons is being
augments constantly by Amexander Wright, only son of Dr. and
Mrs. J.G. Wright. The old kitcchen is the yard has a large
fireplace complete with cranes, pothooks, and other utensils
of frontier days. William and Felix Gilbert and many of
their decendants are buried in the family cemtery near the
WOMAN'S CLUB BUILDING (open), 115 N. Alexander Ave., an old
house that stood originally at the northwest corner of W.
Robert Toombs and N. Alexader Avenues, is a white frame
structure of two stories with a small entrance and an
It is believed that Colonel Micaijah Williamson, who bought
the original lot for $75 in 1784, built the house. At his
death in 1793 it was inherited by his son-in-law, John
Griffin, an early lawyer of this section who was buried on
the property in 1814. In later years the place was owned by
the Pettus, Palmer, Wynn, and Ellington families.
Not until 1929 was the house acquired by the Woman's Club
and removed to its present site without drastic change.
Partitions were displaced between the halway and the two
front rooms to make a large assembly hall wehre civic clubs
have their meetings, entertainements, and dinners.