Sunday, December 27, 2015

1856 Beauty in Acworth - The Lemon House

As we often do on Sunday afternoons, we went for a drive today and visited Acworth, GA. Driving around the various roads in the historical area, we stumbled on this beauty.

The sign out front reads "James Lemon Antebellum Home ca. 1856."

Immediately I was taken by it. I had to find out more.

A few things I learned:

James and Mary Davenport Lemon purchased 800 acres of land and built a small frame house.  Just before his marriage, their son, James Lile Lemon, expanded the house to a Carolina style, modified Plantation Plain house.

After the Civil War in 1890 the two story porch was replaced with with neoclassical Doric Columns we see today.

Why didn't this house get burned when Acworth was burned? Well, for 5 days in June 1864,  Maj Gen William T Sherman took over the homestead and stayed during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in June of 1864. Some sources say that after he left, it was used as a hospital.

Capt.,Co.A,18th Ga.Inf.Regt.-CSA. One of the "Immortal 600". 

Captain James Lile Lemon has a fascinating story of his time in the Civil War. You can read about him here and here.  His war letters have been published in a book, Feed them the steel! Being the Wartime Recollections of Capt James Lile Lemon, Co A, 18th Georgia Infantry CSA
by Mark Lemon.

Mark is a descendant and his parents are the current owners of the Lemon house. He is also a renowned artist and historian. I did read that the family has opened the house to tours in the past to help with restorations. Believe me, if they do it again, I will be first in line.

I could only find one picture of the inside of the house. From my Cobb County Images of America book by Rebecca Nash Paden and Joe McTyre.

The outside has some interesting outbuildings, beautiful but a bit overgrown gardens, and of all things, a small cemetery. Actually my husband spotted it first and he drove up to where it is located. I could hear him laugh as I was jumping out of the care before he came to a full stop -- iPhone in hand to snap pictures.

This thrilled me no end. 
An old cemetery on the grounds of an 1856 house!!!

I have no idea who is buried here since there are no names but there is one grave inside a rusty wrought iron fence with an old CSA marker.

My heart was racing -- this could be the family graveyard. But no, James Lile Lemon and his parents are buried in Mars Hill Cemetery.

A little closer to the street in the bushes is a definite headstone. I thought I could feel a date of 1909 but can't say that for sure. This one is so worn it needs the foil treatment to try to read the letters.

It is old because it is just a simple flat stone stuck directly in the ground. (Somehow these old stones seems to withstand time better than the fancier stones.)

Who is the person? My imagination has run wild and decided that this is James Lile Lemon and the fancy headstone in Mars Hill is just a cenotaph.

Anyway, a mystery for me to solve.


  1. My grandmother, Katherine Lemon Orr, grew up here. I remember going there during Christmas. This is quite a sense of pride for me. My grandmother was such a southern lady!

    1. Linda
      Thank you for reading and for sharing. Here is a tidbit form a cousin of mine:
      "James Lemon from Acworth went to war for Confederacy and was captured and put in a northern prison camp. His young wife had a small baby when Sherman commandeered the yellow family house pictured above. She fed Sherman and his staff and took care of their needs. When Sherman left, he ordered his troops to burn the house , along with other homes in the town. A first lieutenant took pity on the young wife and spared the house. James came back home after the war was over and the little baby was his first born, Smith Lemon, who eventually owned the bank in town and was good friends with our great grandfather, JH Johnston. He named his first son, Smith Lemon Johnston, after his friend."

    2. Thank you for sharing. I have recently moved to Arizona and my husband and I straighten out people about the civil war. I truly love my heritage.❤❤❤

    3. Pat, the house was saved from burning by the timely intervention of union Major James Connelly, who ordered the fires put out which soldiers had just started. Also, Smith Lemon was not James Lemon's son, but his older brothet. Smith founded the S. Lemon Banking Company in 1853.

  2. This is so cool! I am friends with Mark. Thanks so much for publishing this story.