» Plantation Overview
» Opening Hours & Admission
» Contact Information
» History of Wilkes County
» History of Washington, GA
» History of the Plantation
» Special Events
A Living History Museum and Restoration Area.
A Restored and furnished plantation home relating the lifestyle of several generations of Callaways.
Located 5 miles west of Washington on US 78 across from the Washington-Wilkes Airport just outside of beautiful, historic Washington, Georgia. .
Property of the City of Washington, Georgia.
Come see us soon!!!
Callaway Plantation is a historic restoration project of the City of Washington. History is brought back to life for those who visit the three restored homes, structures, farm and fields.
The great manor house, built of red brick made at the site and designed in the Greek Revival style, was constructed in 1869. The mansion was the focal point of a 3,000 acre cotton plantation that stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions. The home remains virtually unaltered. The doors, mantels and most of the plaster are original and have survived in remarkably good condition. Each room is furnished with excellent examples of period furniture. Connected to the rear of the mansion by a breezeway is a self-contained brick kitchen. It is equipped much as it was when the plantation was at its zenith.
The oldest building in the complex, the hewn log cabin, most likely an early settler's first home, was constructed around 1785. It contains many early domestic and agricultural tools as well as primitive furniture. The interior of the log cabin consists of a single room with a fireplace for heating and cooking and a table for preparing food, eating and a myriad of other activities necessary to the survival of the early settlers.
As the settler's economic situation improved, they abandoned their log cabin for a more spacious home, the Federal Plainstyle house, and then used the cabin as a kitchen. This two-story, four room plainstyle house contains furnishings typical of the 1790's including a loom.
A smokehouse, pigeon house, barn and cemetery are among other structures to be found on the site. The Gilmer House, built in 1800 and located on lands adjacent to Callaway Plantation, is the boyhood home of George R. Gilmer who served as Georgia's governor from 1827 to 1831 and from 1837 to 1839.
Callaway Plantation is unique because it has been in the control of the same family since the arrival of the settlers in the late 18th century. It has passed from one generation to another by inheritance. The family still owns all the land that surrounds the 56 acre core which was given to the City of Washington. Much family furniture and equipment has been saved and is on display.
For directions, click on the image below.
Top of Page
Tuesday - Saturday:
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: By appointment only.
Closed Mondays and all major Holidays
Children 5 – 12: $2.00
Under 5: Free
Top of Page
2160 Lexington Rd
Washington, Georgia 30673
Phone (706) 678-7060
I. Wilkes County
Even before the colonization of Savannah, Georgia, pack traders and trappers were in this area and intrepid families were slowly moving in. However, from the moment the broadside issued by Governor Wright in June 1773 went out into the Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania offering the rich, deep-loamed, well-watered hills of these ceded lands of northeast Georgia. For headright settlement, sturdy pioneers of English, Scotch-Irish, and German descent brought their families to claim this favored earth. In 1774, the first forts were established near the confluence of the Broad and Savannah Rivers just north of the present town of Washington, Georgia and became known as Fort Heard.
This stockade, named for one of the Virginia families, was constructed for protection against possible Indian attacks, and later served as defense against British assaults during the Revolutionary War. Soon after its completion, another stockade, called Heard’s Fort for its builder, Stephen Heard, was constructed eight miles away on Fishing Creek. (Heard’s Fort served as a temporary seat of government in 1780 during the British occupation.) One year after the Declaration of Independence, the Executive Council re-designated these ceded lands as Wilkes County (1777), making it the first county of the State of Georgia.
In early 1779, Wilkes County men, under leadership of Elijah Clarke and John Dooly, overwhelmingly defeated the British in the battle of Kettle Creek, eight miles from the site of present day Washington. Momentarily relieved of British assaults, Clarke and Dooly united these men again to fight and defeat a band of 800 Creek Indians in March, 1779. They distinguished themselves in Revolutionary battles in other states, e.g. Cowpens and the Battle of Kings Mountain. From the spring of 1780 until July 1781, the British occupied Augusta, sending raiders into Wilkes County to subdue the zealous patriots. One band murdered John Dooly in his home; Stephen Heard’s wife and child died from exposure in a snowstorm when their cabin was burned; and Elijah Clarke’s wife and children were driven from their home and forced to flee to North Carolina. Nancy Hart, a Wilkes County mother, became the hero of numerous legends including one in which she killed two Tories and held others at gunpoint while her daughter ran for help. In July 1781, Wilkes County troops assembled for the last time and drove the British from Augusta. On July 11, 1782, the British left Savannah, and in November, the War was over.
In the peaceful years following the Revolutionary War, Washington and Wilkes County began to prosper and population grew rapidly as planters were attracted by the soil. The cotton era began. Wagons and flatboats, loaded with the money- making fiber traveled post roads and rivers to reach their market. And with wealth came fine white-columed homes of the ante-bellum period, replacing early log cabins and austere plainstyle homes.
Prosperity and peace brought the promotion of education and religion. Sanders Walker organized Fishing Creek Baptist Church in the northern part of the county in 1783. Washington Academy, one of the first three public schools chartered by the State, was opened in 1786 for boys and girls of all ages and offered a traditional academic education. The Methodists opened Succoth Academy near Washington in the 1790s, operating until 1803. The Rev. John Springer, first Presbyterian minister to be ordained in Georgia, was ordained in 1790. Educator as well as minister, Springer operated a school at his home, Walnut Hill. One of his first pupils, Jesse Mercer, later founded Mercer University.
From the original Wilkes County, nine other counties were taken and it is from this area that Georgia has been populated. Of the first thirteen governors, eleven were from original Wilkes. Wilkes County was named for John Wilkes, a Colonial Supporter in the British House of Commons. George Walton of Washington, Georgia who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was a large landowner and first circuit judge.
Top of Page
On January 23, 1780, the Legislature appointed five men to lay out a hundred acres in Wilkes County into a common and town, “which shall be called Washington.” Stephen Heard and Micajah Williams, two of five men appointed by the Legisature, served as commissioners to see that lots were sold, a free school was built, and surplus money was used for the construction of a church.
In 1786, Micajah Williamson opened a tavern, located on the present site of the Wilkes County Courthouse. Here, Politicians met and one of the tavern rooms temporarily served as a courtroom. In 1790, the town also served as a stop for stagecoach lines from Augusta.
In 1804, a stage line was incorporated to operate stages between Augusta and Washington. New Business enterprises took place in the expanding town, and rapidly replaced the few remaining residences around the public square.
The railroad began to develop in Georgia in the late 1830s. However, it was not until 1847 that Samuel Barnett and other members of the Washington Railroad and Banking Company were able to induce the Georgia Railroad to build a branch from the main line to Washington. The spur was completed in 1853.
On the night of January 19, 1861, messengers brought the news of Georgia’s secession, and a new Confederate emblem, a blue flag with a single five-pointed star, was raised in front of the courthouse. Four-years later, on May 5, 1865, remnants of the Confederate cabinet from Richmond met in Washington and President Jefferson Davis met with his Confederate Cabinet for the last time.
Top of Page
III. Callaway Plantation
Callaway Plantation is a complex portraying life in the American South from the late 1700s through the turn of the century. Callaway Brings history to life in the three restored homes, barns, other outbuildings, and fields.
The cabin you see today replaced the original Callaway cabin that burned sometime earlier. It is in keeping with the style of cabin of that period. It has one room with a sleeping loft. The original cabin most likely had a dirt floor and no window. Job Callaway, his wife, five sons and two daughters lived in their cabin for six years. Inside the cabin are many tools illustrating what the pioneers used in everyday life. The walls of the inside of the cabin are whitewashed to provide additional light. There were no stores nearby; therefore all of the family's needs had to be met with items made by hand or from the land. The large fireplace was used for heat and cooking.
By the time the Federal Home was built, Job's family had already lived in the cabin for 6 years and it was time to build a larger home. The Federal Plain-style house, two rooms over two, he and his sons built was the second residence on the plantation. The house had two bedrooms upstairs and the "family room" downstairs, which also served as the parents' bedroom. The house had two back doors and one front door to allow for easy exit in case of fire. The fourth room was the dining room. This home had no kitchen - the log cabin the family first lived in served as their kitchen until it burned. The windows in the house were nine over nine, i.e. nine panes in the bottom and nine panes in the top. Because each pane of glass had to be hand blown, a house having that many panes represented a wealthy family of the time. This house originally stood across the highway, in the present day location of the airport. When it was moved to its current location in the 1960s, the donor, Mrs Harden, requested that the porches and shed rooms that had been added over the years be removed.
Parker Callaway started building the Greek Revival home but died before it was completed. Legend has it that the Callaways had a shipment of Cotton on the last ship that left the ports of Savannah for England before they were shut down by the Union Troops. The Callaways' cotton broker in England sold the cotton and invested the money in an English bank account until the war ended. This is how the Callaways had the money to finish the house after the war. Parker's son Aristides finished it in 1869. All of the material for building the house came from the land or were made on the property. The walls in the house are two bricks thick. The family occupied the home from 1869 until 1910. Some of the interesting features of the home include the "jib" windows across the front of the house. The windows are large and reach all the way to the floor. When you had a party or just wanted ventilation, you would raise the window and open the doors underneath. Another unusual feature of the home was that it had several closets per room. Back then, you were taxed for the number of rooms you had in your house, and closets were considered rooms. The house was equipped with warming and dining kitchens, both connected to the house by a large breezeway porch, as well as a regular cooking kitchen detached from the house in case of fire. The original cooking kitchen burned down but the warming and dining kitchens still remain.
The plantation could not survive without the support structures and outbuildings to run it. Each structure had a special use and purpose.
The barn was original to the plantation. It was rather small for many livestock, therefore this barn was most likely used to store tools and farm equipment and maybe a few livestock in bad weather. THe corn crib would have been used to store feed for the animals.
The smoke house was used to store and smoke meat for the family. Smoking preserved the meat so it would not spoil.
A blacksmith shop would have been found on a farm this size. Horseshoes, hooks, utensils, tools, and many other items were made from a shop like this one for the farm.
A pigeon house was another asset to the farm. The family could raise pigeons or “squab”, as they were called, to eat. The structure was usually on stilts so animals could not reach them and the pigeons could fly in and out of “pigeon holes”.
Many large farms like Callaway had a one-room schoolhouse where children from the area attended school. This building was erected in 1897 on the east side of the county as a school and club building for the East Wilkes Agricultural Club. The building ceased to be a school in 1927 when the district was combined with Metasville and all school activities moved there. It is a classic example of a one-room schoolhouse so much in use in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Thomas M. Gilmer House was built in 1800 in Oglethorpe County, which was then part of “old” Wilkes County, for Thomas Meriwehter Gilmer, (1763-1817), a tobacco planter and one of a group of planters from middle Virginia and the Valley of Virginia who settled along the Broad River after the Revolution. The settlmenet was chronicled by George R. Gilmer, son of Thomas and twice Governor of Georgia in the 1830s, in his book, First Settlers of Upper Georgia. George was the man who established the first white settlement in Atlanta, when it was still Indian Territory. At one time, there were 80 families up and down this area of the Broad River. Most of the Area has reverted to woods and by the time it was moved, the Gilmer House was the only survivor from the Broad River plantations.
The grandadaughter of Aristides Callaway deeded the property to the City of Washington in the 1960s.
Top of Page
Coming to theCallaway Plantation
Spring and Christmas
2nd Saturday in October
2nd Friday in December
10 – 5 Tuesday through Saturday
Closed Sundays, Mondays and Major Holidays.
Children 5 – 12 $2.00
Under 5 Free
Contact the Callaway Plantation at 706-678-7060 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Top of Page