The architect of Cedar Grove, John Wind, was born in Bristol, England, circa 1819. He was brought from New York to Thomas County by Jackson J. Mash circa 1840 to build a home. Jackson Mash was born 1821. The Mash place was in the Duncanville area (Mashes on railroad maps and now Beachton). John Wind also worked as an inventor, jeweler, master mechanic and surveyor. In 1847 he was awarded a patent for a cotton thresher and cleaner. He devised a clock that needed no winding for a year. He designed numerous monumental plantation homes, smaller cottages in Thomasville, the Thomas County Courthouse and the Brooks County Couthouse. The above scan of a tintype of Wind is courtesy of the Thomas County Museum of History.
In 1848, John Wind married Sylvania Bethany Donalson of Thomas County and had Cornelia (1849), Fuller (1852) and Robert (1856). He lived in a modest house in Thomasville and died May 18, 1863, not particularly wealthy. His son Fuller, acquired the Cairo, Georgia, Messenger newspaper in 1904, the same year it was founded. The Messenger remains in the Wind family to this day.
[W. Rogers, Antebellum Thomas County, FSU Press, Tallahassee, 1963].
[Adriane L. Kelly, The Plantation Homes of John Wind, University of Georgia Masters Thesis, Athens]
[F. Nichols, The Architecture of Georgia, Beehive Press, 1976]
The Architecture of Cedar Grove
Cedar Grove is a two-story Greek Revival mansion with a large tetra-style Ionic portico and hipped roof. The house sits on a knoll, surrounded by live oak and magnolia lawns. It was built of heart pine cut on the property primarily by slaves. It is clapboarding, except under the portico which was horizontal siding set flush to resemble stone.
The Ionic portico has four round, fluted and tapered two-story columns which support a full entablature and pediment. The hollow columns are 13 inches in diameter at the base and originally sat on two feet nine inch square plinths, but the columns now rest on a brick porch slightly wider than the portico.
The entablature runs completely around the house and the frieze of the portico is plain with large dentals under the cornice which continue around the projecting cornice of the pediment. A sunflower rosette, probably hand carved by Wind, is centered on the pediment.
A cantilever balcony under the portico has balusters of wheat and sheaf design, similar to other Wind designs. The front door is a double door, eight by seven feet, with sidelights and a fixed rectangular transom. A lattice-work is created by small strips of wood on the glass, providing a decorative addition to the facade. The door mouldings have a fret design in the upper and lower corners of the posts with fluting running the length of the posts on each side. The balcony door is a seven by seven foot version of the main front door.
The windows are nine over nine lights crowned with triangular pediments that project slightly from the window casings, giving a shouldered effect. The windows are six feet six inches high and two feet ten inches wide.
The house is built in the conventional Greek Revival plan of four over four with an enclosed breezeway extending the full length of the house and a small porch at the rear. The rooms are arranged en suite and all open to the hallway. The original house had a porch at the North rear.
Each room has a fireplace extending into the room approximately 3 feet. The mantels are approximately five feet four inches high. The supporting mantel pilasters with Doric capitals are in three styles. The gathering room and master bedroom are half section octagons, the Thomas bedroom is seven-fluted and the remaining seven are unembellished rectangular. There is an additional fireplace in the family room, an unfinished fireplace in the master bath, and a fireplace covered with drywall in the back hall.
Each section of Wainscoating throughout the house has a recessed rectangular panel with a projection moulding extending across the top which serves as a dado. The mantels, wainscoating, door mouldings and other woodwork are painted white. The dining room includes a built in corner cabinet, also painted white. A built-in oak bookcase in the gathering room is English style with a dark finish. It includes doors with lead-came bottle glass under ogee pattern beveled glass. It is unclear if this bookcase was built by John Wind or not, however, the ogee pattern is nearly identical to the front doors at Eudora Plantation. The gathering room also includes a finished wood box with access from the gathering room and the side porch for loading firewood.
As in Greenwood, the curved staircase leads from the right side of the main hallway on the first floor to the opposite side of the hall on the second floor. There are 20 steps with seven inch risers. The curve fills a square corner in the hall and includes a decorative nitch. The ballasters are simple spindles and the ballustrade curves around a spindle newel post. The staircase conforms with the total graceful and elegant simplicity of the house. The brass and nickel door and window hardware are original. The flooring consists of wide, quarter-cut, heart pine planks that run parallel to the length of the house.
The hallway includes a flattened arch stretching across the hallway with supporting wall pilasters, forming an entrance hall area, as was done at Greenwood. The doorways are three foot wide with framing similar to Greenwood, with fluted posts and lintel sections, and upper corners are carved squares with various simple geometric design. The window mouldings are also fluted with square corner blocks. The doorway separating the gathering and dining room are double with recessed panels similar to the wainscoating.
[This section was taken largely verbatim from notes by Adriane L. Kelly in preparation for (but not published in) her thesis: The Plantation Homes of John Wind, University of Georgia Masters Thesis, Athens, ~1976. Kelly's stated sources were Blacksheariana, an interview with Mrs. Heywood Mason, III and data from a report by Mrs Rosalie White compiled for the Historic American Building Survey, February, 1968]
Other John Wind Commissions
Jackson J Mash first purchased land in the Duncanville area on February 2, 1841. Henry Mash, probably his father, had acquired land in 1825. Jackson ultimately accumlated several thousand acres. There is no known photograph of the Jackson J Mash place, probably John Wind's first design. It was described in the June 19, 1861, issue of the Southern Enterprise as a "fine mansion, where spacious apartments, gorgeous furniture (are housed)." It was a two-story brick with large columns supporting a portico, with a balcony over the front door. This theme would be typical of Wind's later monumental designs. It cost 12,000 to 15,000 dollars to build, a considerable sum at the time. It burned in 1876.
Thomas and Lavinia Jones moved into the Thomasville area in 1827. Thomas was the brother of Harriet Blackshear. They built log cabins for themselves and slaves brought with them from Bulloch County. They then built a two-story structure to house their expanding family which ultimately reached 11 children.
A February 6, 1839, bill of sale listed nine slaves purchased for $9925, one of which was a carpenter. About this time, Thomas Jones hired John Wind to not only design Greenwood but to do the woodwork. Greenwood was a slightly larger version of Cedar Grove with brick exterior walls. The spiral staircase and somewhat wider main hallway that passes otherwise unobstructed from the front to back is quite similar to Cedar Grove. The portico of Greenwood, although also supported by four columns, extends the entire width of the front facade, as does the balcony over the front doors, resulting in a more massive but monolithic appearance. Including the drying of timber cut on the property and the manufacture of brick, the construction of Greenwood took about nine years to complete. The Greenwood Legacy by Jacquelyn Cook is an historical/fictional account of the Jones family experience.
Shortly before her death in 1889, Lavinia sold the House and 1,300 acres sold to S.R. Van Duzer of New York for $19,000. In 1899, Colonel Oliver Hazard Payne of New York acquired Greenwood and hired architect Stanford White who added one-story wings on each side, attached a kitchen at the rear and landscaped the lawn and gardens. In 1916, Colonel Payne's nephew Payne Whitney inherited Greenwood. In the 1930's, Mr Payne's wife inherited Greenwood which then passed to their son John Hay (Jock) Whitney in 1944.
The evening of April 2, 1993, Mrs. Whitney was celebrating with guests the completion of a $2 million renovation of Greenwood when a fire broke out in the attic. By early the next morning, most of the house except the exterior walls and two columns were destroyed. The exterior a shell of the second floor were replaced, but Greenwood remains unoccupied. It is currently held buy the Greentree Foundation.
[J. Cook, The Greenwood Legacy, Bellebooks, 2009]
Harriet's brother, Mitchell B. Jones arrived in Thomasville from Bullock County sometime after Thomas and Francis Jones. Mitchell married Eliza Ann Price at Greenwood Plantation on March 9, 1843. Circa 1850, Mitchell began the Oak Lawn mansion designed by John Wind. Mitchell must have been very wealthy, as Oak Lawn was the largest of Wind's commissions. Like Greenwood and Susina, Oak Lawn remained true to the Greek Revival style.
It had an octastyle Ionic portico which projected slightly from the remaining, full facade-width portico. The balcony under the portico was slightly more narrow than the facade and was supported by six square pillars resembling those of Fair Oaks. Pilasters at the corners of the house served as a decorative feature. As with Susina, the windows had triangular pediments.
[Adriane L. Kelly, Ibid.]
Also circa 1850, John Wind designed Forrest Hills in Brooks County for the stepson, John W. Spain, of Harriet Jones' brother, Francis Jones. Spain's mother, Rachel Inman Spain married her second husband, Francis Jones, circa 1830, and moved to Thomas County and later Brooks County (then Lowndes County). John Spain remained in Bulloch County and married Elizabeth Young in 1840. John then moved near his mother and established Forest Hills Plantation. In 1860, he gave the plantation to his daughter who married Mitchell Jones, II. In its heyday, Eudora consisted of 25,000 acres along the Withlacoochee River and Piscola Creek.
It has a two-story Doric portico with six flutted, hollow cypress columns topped by an entablature but no pediment. As was a Wind trademark, it had flush siding to resemble stone under the portico, and columns in front of the porch on square plinths. A first level porch with a turned spindle balustrade extends the full width of the facade. The staircase at Eudora was a rather disappointing staright and narrow rise to the second level. Inside window mouldings were similar to Greenwood and Susina, but there were rather plain inside door mouldings and austere woodwork without wainscots, dados or cornices.
Brackets in the entablature and the ogee-arched doorway depart from the classic Greek Revival sytle which by 1850 had been abandoned in the North but clung to life in the South. Wind was beginning a stylistic transition at Eudora which would blossum in his last major work.
The mansion has had many owners since the death of Mitchell Jones, II. Mr. and Mrs. Jinnin Worn purchased the house in 1962, when it was in bad condition, and restored it. They renamed it Eudora after Mr. Worn's mother, Emma Eudora Thomas Worn. Eudora burned to the ground in February, 1987.
[Adriane L. Kelly, Ibid.]
Pebble Hill Plantation
Pebble Hill Plantation was begun by Thomas Jefferson Johnson, a sponsor of the bill forming Thomas County. John William Henry Mitchell, the nephew of Richard Mitchell, married Thomas Jefferson's daughter, Julia Ann Johnson, and assumed the plantation. Circa 1850, John W. H. Mitchell hired John Wind to design the large cottage shown above to replace an earlier structure. This photograph is courtesy of the Thomas County Museum of History. Harriet Jones' daughter-in-law, Harriet Elizabeth Mitchell, was Richard Mitchell's daughter.
The Pebble Hill cottage was shaped like an "H" with single-story square columns supporting two facing porches leading to the recessed entryway. John W. H. Mitchell fought in the battle of Atlanta as a member of J.J. Ivey's Company of the 12th Regiment of the Georgia Militia. He died on March 5, 1865, as a result of pneumonia contracted during the last days of the war. Julia Ann died in 1888, and descendents sold the plantation. It was ultimately acquired in 1896 by Howard Melville Hanna for $3000. In 1901, Melville gave the house to his daughter Kate when she married Robert Livingston Ireland. Over the years, Kate entertained influential figures in art, music, politics and business. A fire, which broke out from a seldom-used fireplace on a cold winter night in 1934 destroyed most of the house.
Construction of a third house at Pebble Hill was begun in 1936. The architect was Abraham Garfield, son of President Garfield. Pebble Hill is filled with absolutely beautiful and invaluable artwork and furniture. Kate's daughter, Elizabeth Ireland Poe, affectionately known throughout her life Miss Pansy, assumed Pebble Hill upon the death of her mother. She married Parker Poe in 1946 and resided at Pebble Hill and properties in Kentucky and Maine until her death in 1978. Before her death she established a foundation for the protection of Pebble Hill. It was opened to the public in 1983. Many visiters proclaim "I could live in the stable". The house, grounds and stable are open with tours Tuesday through Saturday, 10AM to 5 PM.
[W.H. Smith, Guide to Homes and Plantations of the Thomasville Region: An Introduction to Regional Architecture, Whitehall Press/Budget Publishing]
Thomas Mitchell moved to the Thomasville area from Montgomery County in 1824. He died in 1826 and left to his three sons 750 acres. His son Colonel Richard Mitchell was a hero of the War of 1812. He married Sophronia Dicky of Thomas County and fathered nine children. He built the second house at Fair Oaks. Harriet's second son, James Mitchell, married Colonel Mitchell's daughter.
In 1856, Colonel Mitchell died and was buried at Fair Oaks with his body placed at his request "facing the west , because he hated the British so, that he wished even in death to turn away from the direction that led 3,000 miles across the Ocean to the land of our ancient enemy."
Circa 1856, John Wind designed and construction began on the third house at Fair Oaks. The mansion was completed sometime between the death of Colonel Mitchell in 1856 and the death of John Wind in 1863. The degree to which Sophronia and/or each of her sons participated in the project is unknown. Fair Oaks was John Winds last major work. Sophronia lived at Fair Oaks until her death in 1893. Her unmarried children, Richard, Sarah Ann and Emily Susan continued to live there, and when Emily died Fair Oaks passed to her husband Kenneth T. McClean. In 1924 McClean died and Fair Oaks sold to Mrs. Sam Jones Mitchell. She sold it to Mrs. P.W. Harvey who restored the house, and when she passed in 1936 her son Livingston Ireland inherited it. He sold the house to Mr. Mrs. Brigham Britton.
The architectural transition that John Wind began at Eudora blossomed at Fair Oaks. It has a two-story octastyle portico with a projecting center section supported by eight 14 inch square pillars. As with other Wind designs, the columns rest on square plinths. The portico covers a balcony that extends nearly across the front facade. The center projecting portico and balcony, the interior dog-leg staircase, the use of a triangular window on the pediment, and the style of window framing all reflect an Oriental flair. The North was abandoning traditional Greek Revival style, and while it remained popular in the South somewhat longer, it appears John Wind was adjusting his style. How far John Wind would take the departure from the traditional is unknown because he died in 1863, probably near the completion of Fair Oaks. However, Fair Oaks remains a monument to John Winds unique style and ability to beautifully combine departures from standard plan books.
Fair Oaks burned to the ground in 1962. Fortunately, students at the University of Georgia had made architectural drawings of Fair Oaks. The fourth house at Fair Oaks by Mrs. Britton reconstructed John Wind's design except for the addition of bathrooms, replacing the dog-leg staircase with a circular staircase and replacing the pediment window with an acorn and oak leaf design reminiscent of other Wind pediments. Fair Oaks is currently owned by Ebe and Henrietta Walter.
[Adriane L. Kelly, Ibid.]
Dr Metcalfe of New York purchased Cedar Grove in 1887 and renamed in Susina Plantation. He made no significant changes to the mansion. It is said he used Susina as a hunting lodge rather than a residence.
Thomas County Courthouse
Circa 1855, John Wind was paid $50 to design a Courthouse for Thomas County. The above illustration is a reproduction of a circa 1860 charcoal drawing, courtesy of the Thomas County Museum of History. This charcoal drawing may have have been by Wind himself. The courthouse was built in 1858. The courthouse was remodeled in Italianate style, including enclosing the porticos. A clock was added in 1919 and in 1937 and annex was added in Neo-Classical style by local architect Prince Jinright Sr. It is undergoing cosmetic renovations in 2011. John Wind was also commissioned to design the Brooks County courthouse, but the constructed courthouse did not follow his design.
[W.R. Mitchell, Landmarks: The Architecture of Thomasville and Thomas County, Georgia 1820-1980, Thomasville Landmarks, Inc]