Thursday, September 5, 2013

Glen Mary Plantation in Hancock County, GA

Glen Mary holds a special place in my heart.

My 2nd great grand uncle, Flavius J. Pearson, eloped with the daughter, Ella L Smith, of this house about 1860. He was 22 and she was 16. The family story is that he rode across the fields on horseback and swooped her away. Not sure if that was true, but I like the story. Flavius and Ella remained married until his death in 1903. They are buried side by side in the Sparta City Cemetery.

Several years ago, right when Glen Mary was beginning the restoration, my mother and I visited. The picture above is what it looked like then.

The roof was leaking, various pillars were totally hollow on the inside, but with the determination of one woman, Marilyn Meyers and donor money, it is beginning to look like a house again.

Glen Mary from the University of Ga archive

Some highlights of the interior.

History for those who like history (taken from Glen Mary website)

In 1848, the Mexican War ended, the Gold Rush began, and T. J. Smith built Glen Mary Plantation for his bride Mary Gonder Smith.

The agricultural schedule for the census of 1850 shows Glen Mary encompassed 1575 acres, which had grown to 2484 by 1860. Scottish for "Mary's Valley," the Greek Revival structure was situated atop a hill overlooking a gentle slope that included the country road meanding through the pines from Sparta, Sandersville, and later Linton with Buffalo Creek in the distance.  Noted guests at Glen Mary included Hancock County lawyer Linton Stephens and his half-brother Alexander H. Stephens, future vice president of the Confederacy, and Robert Toombs of Washington County, another founding father of the Confederacy and her first secretary of state. Guests arrived in the curving lane among the gardens in front of the home and were received on the first floor, immediately ascending the facing staircase to the parlor, dining room, and veranda on the second floor.


Theophilus Smith (later to become Colonel Smith, Confederate Army) was an architect-builder. He was a land trader and sharp banker, lending money on slave collateral. He was a major cotton planter, a state representative, a state senator and a justice in the inferior court. He was one of the most prominent citizens. He was a major force in building the town of Linton, Ga. He was one of the early members of the prestigious Planter's Club where many agricultural innovations and efficiencies were conceived and implemented. His fall, as detailed below, paralleled the fall of the Old South. 

His entry into the Civil War had been described as follows: "The Hancock Volunteers, which became Company E, captained by Theophilus J. Smith as their commander, had a ceremonious departure from Sparta before joining the 15th Regiment of Georgia Volunteers.

After the war, discouraged and impoverished, Colonel Smith was obliged to sell his beloved Glen Mary in 1869 to his enemy and adversary, Union General Ethan Allan Hitchcock. The price was sacrificial --- a "steal" in current parlance. 

I think what is going on at Glen Mary is a miracle. So many of our historic homes and their history have been left to crumble.


  1. Thank goodness someone has the time and fortitude to save this old mansion. Wish more could have been saved.

  2. I spent a lot of my childhood at this home when Colonel Nichols's daughters, Anita and Elizabeth, owned it. Wow! That brought back such fond memories.

    1. Thanks for reading Stacy. I am sure you could tell some good stories about the old house. I am really glad it is being restored even though they have had set back after set back.

  3. It does my heart good to see these old plantation homes being restored. What a shame that the huge amount of $ the inept government wastes can't be allocated towards saving our architectural heritage.

    1. You know, I so agree. These homes held history. Thank you for reading.

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