Alexander H. Stephens Memorial State Park, Crawford, Georgia

Georgia Government Publications
Alexander H. Stephens Memorial State Park, Crawford, Georgia
Georgia. Department of State Parks, Historic Sites, and Monuments
Atlanta, Ga. : Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of State Parks
Date of Original:
Stephens, Alexander Hamilton, 1812-1883
United States, Georgia, Taliaferro County, Crawfordville, 33.55402, -82.89598
state government records
government records
Metadata URL:
Digital Object URL:
n.p. : ill., map ; 22 cm.
Holding Institution:
University of Georgia. Map and Government Information Library
Rights Statement information



Inscription on the Monument

The Great Commoner The Defender of Civil and Religious Liberty.
"He coveted and took from the Republic Nothing Save Glory." Non Sibi. Sed. Aliis.
Erected 1893.


Born Feb. 11, 1812, Member Ga. House of Representatives,

1836 to 1840,
Member Ga. State Senate 1842, Member U. S. House of Representatives,

1843 to 1859,

Retired from Congress 1859.

Vice-President Confederate States 1861 to 1865,

U. S. Senator-elect from Georgia, 1866,
Member U. S. House of Representatives

1873 to 1882.

Governor of Georgia, 1882,

Died in Atlanta, Ga.,

Sunday Morning, March 4, 1883. Author of .4 Constitutional View of the War Between the States and of .4 Compendium of the History of the United States from their Earliest Settlement to 1872.

"I am afraid of nothing on earth, or above the earth,
-- or under the earth except to do wrong the path of duty
I shall ever endeavor to travel, fearing no evil and dreading no consequences."
Here sleep the remains of one who dared to tell the people they were wrong when he believed. so, and who never
intentionally deceived a friend or betrayed even an enemy." -Extracts from Augusta speech 1855.
Throughout life a sufferer in body, mind and spirit, he was a signal exemplar of wisdom, courage, fortitude, pa-'ence, and unwearying charity. In the decrepitude of age called to be Governor of the State he died while in performance of the work of bis office, and it seemed fit, thai having survived parents, brethren, sisters and most of the dear companions of youth, he should lay his dying i'>ad upon the bosom of his people.

miit 3i
Department or Natural Resources
Division or .State Parks..
Histoiuc Sites \nd Monuments.


An Invitation to Georgia's State Parks

Hospitality has been from historic times an outstanding quality of Georgia and its people. Today with paved roads and railroads conducting thousands of Georgians and out-of-state visitors over the State each year, Georgia hospitality includes a wellplanned program for preserving and making enjoyable its most historic spots, its outstanding scenic
beauty, and its areas where outdoor recreation may
be enjoyed.
In these areas which are known as State Parks, the colorful history of Georgia may be traced. There is a stone fort of unknown origin from prehistoric
times; under semi-tropical trees in the coastal region are evidences of 16th Century Spanish occupation, as well as the charm of an early Georgia plantation in the rolling Piedmont is the Indian Spring, ceded directly to the State by the Creek Indians; on the
crest of the wooded Blue Ridge is the last boundary of the Cherokee Nation; there is the restored home
of the Vice-President of the Confederacy, and the spot where at the end of the retreat of Jefferson Davis the civil authority of the Confederacy breathed its last. These graphic chapters of American History are embraced in Georgia's State Parks.
In these State Parks there are preserved typical features of Georgia's varied natural beauty. Picnic

areas for small and large groups are provided with regularly tested drinking water, out-door fireplaces, rustic tables, and nearby rest rooms. Visitors find a pleasing combination of comfort and out-door life. Winding drives conduct the visitor to the features of the Parks, and foot-trails are open to the hiker and nature lover. Family cabins are provided
in some of the Parks, and are in great demand. Swimming and boating are enjoyed under supervision of American Red Cross Life Guards, and Life
Saving schools are conducted at intervals.
These Parks belong to the people of Georgia, and are for their benefit and enjoyment, as well as
for the entertainment of visitors to the State. They are now administered by the Department of Natural
Resources, Division of State Parks, Historic Sites and Monuments, established by the Natural Resources Act of the General Assembly, approved March 5,
193 7. Prior to this, the parks were under the Com-
mission of Forestry and Geological Development,
and were known as forest parks. Their intensive development was begun by the Civilian Conserva-
tion Corps in 193 3.
You are cordially invited to each of Georgia's
State Parks. For detail information, write to Division of State Parks, 42 1 State Capitol, Atlanta, Ga.

Alexander H. Stephens (1812- 1883)
The Sage of Liberty Hall
In Alexander H. Stephens Memorial State Park, Georgia is recalling, for this and future generations, fhe life of one of its most distinguished men. In Stephens himself, Georgia produced an able advo-
-- cate of her historic political faith "State's Rights" -- and in him America found a defender of consti-
tutional liberty whose ideas still have influence,

especially in the South. Georgia has shown appreciation of his able leadership through the most critical period of the State's history by selecting him as one of her two representatives for the nation's Hall of Fame.
Alexander H. Stephens is best known as Vice-
President of the Confederate States of America, but his public service extends through the period lead-
ing up to the War Between the States, through the
war period and its aftermath.
The courageous voice of the ninety-pound statesman resounded with convincing power throughout the legislative halls at Milledgeville from his first
sitting as a representative in 18 36. At this session he attracted broad attention by his masterful defense
of the bill that empowered the State to construct the Western and Atlantic Railroad from Ross's
Landing, Tennessee, to a point on the Chattahoochee toward which railroads from Savannah and Augusta were then being built. This bill brought to the meeting point of the Central and Georgia
railroads a line from the West, and made of this meeting point in the wilderness that great commercial center known as Atlanta.
After sixteen years in Congress, Stephens in 1859 retired to private life at his home, Liberty Hall, from whence he was recalled to public life with the crisis
of November, i860. After the War he returned
to Congress to aid his section in regaining its constitutional rights within the Union. He died in Atlanta while Governor of Georgia in 1883.
Two miles north of the Memorial Park is the site
of a log cabin in which Alexander H. Stephens was born on February 11, 18 12. Left motherless at birth and an orphan at fourteen, he struggled for an education with a success which has long been cited to students by Georgia educators. Close application in "old field" schools and in academy at Washington, Georgia, brought him to the attention of the Georgia Educational Society, which started him in his college work. He was able to repay his benefactors out of a small inheritance at the end of two years, but he continued throughout life to show his gratitude by aiding over a hundred young people
to secure a college education.

At twenty-one, young Stephens, weighing less than ninety pounds, and lacking finances to purchase his well-earned diploma, graduated from the University of Georgia at the head of his class. After eighteen months of teaching, he once more became a student. This time his classroom was a corner of the Sheriff's office in the old Taliaferro County Courthouse at Crawfordville. His books were the essential law books, and his teacher, none other than himself. Three months later, he stood, it is said, the best examination that had ever been conducted by the circuit bench and bar. The examining
judge, the great William H. Crawford whom paraly-
sis had removed from the national scene, signed the commission of the young lawyer. This was the judge's last official act in the town which bore his name, and it was the starting point in a young career which was to bring greater fame to Crawfordville.
Highly sensitive about his frail stature and stung to the core by the slights of those about him, the young lawyer found consolation in unselfish service, in the cause of poor clients he was most eloquent. He was offered large inducements to take up law practice in larger nearby cities, but he preferred to live near his birthplace. Believing his physical con-
dition would make marriage unfair to anyone he
might choose for a wife, he denied himself this companionship. Thus his home, Liberty Hall, remained without a mistress.
While his introspection kept him inwardly unhappy, outwardly his great abilities and deep sympathy for his fellows made him a beloved leader. He was militantly progressive in the Georgia legislature for several years and was elevated to Congress in 1843 at the age of thirty-two. In Washington, the little Georgia Congressman's shrill but ringing oratory drew crowds to the house whenever he spoke. Seated next to him as a fellow Congress-
man was Abraham Lincoln who wrote home that
his "old eyes were still wet with tears" after listening to one of Stephens' speeches.
He was the most fiery in his defense of Southern institutions, but never allowed himself to become submerged in partisanship. He helped outwit North-

ern opposition to the accession of Texas to the Union, and, on the other hand, persuaded the South to allow the admission of Oregon. He denounced
the then popular Mexican War as unjust, and con-
tributed to the defeat of the administration which waged it. He was an active force for moderating the antagonism between the two sections of the
United States, aiding the passage of the Compro-
-- mise of 1850 a compromise which proved to be
the last measure of the Whig leaders, Clay and
Webster, to stave off growing sectionalism. Stephens, an old line Whig, brought about its immediate acceptance in Georgia, but its success was short-
While in retirement at Liberty Hall, Stephens re-
ceived requests from many States to allow his name
to be brought up for the Democratic Presidential nomination of i860. He replied with a character-
-- istic expression: "I would rather live here right -- here than be President." He foresaw that a divis-
ion of the Democratic party would allow a Republican victory, and urged the support of the regular Democratic nominee, Douglas.
Upon the election of Lincoln on a sectional plat-
form directly opposed to the constitutional rights of the South, most of Georgia's leaders spoke for
secession, but Stephens led the movement against immediate action. He still hoped the incoming ad-
ministration might follow the Constitution, and advised waiting for a direct violation of its rights. He believed firmly in the right of secession and considered that his loyalty was due only to his state in case secession was adopted by a majority of its
Stephens was elected to represent Georgia in the Congress which met at Montgomery on February 4, 1861, to formulate a plan for a new federation of the seceded States. He played a leading role in the adoption of both the Provisional and Permanent Constitutions of the Confederate States of America. His chief aim was to establish and preserve in the new government those constitutional liberties which he considered lost under the old Union. As it was the concern of the founding fathers of the Confederacy that the first administration

should embrace all factions and interests in the Southern States, the Congress elected Jefferson Davis, willing secessionist, to be President, and Alexander Stephens, reluctant secessionist, to be Vice-President. So deeply concerned was Stephens for State and individual rights that when emergencies of war caused the Confederate Congress to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, to restrict personal freedom under martial law, and to compel military service by conscription, he found himself in opposition and spent long intervals between sessions of the Confederate Congress at Liberty Hall.
In addition to his services as a member of the
Provisional Congress and as presiding officer of the Senate under the Permanent Constitution, Stephens served the Confederacy as commissioner to Virginia
when that State hung in the balance between the old Union and the new Confederacy; he served also as ranking member of the Confederate Commission which met Lincoln and Seward at Hampton Roads
in February, 1865, in a vain effort to secure peace.
He was active in promoting exchange of prisoners and was a familiar figure around Confederate hos-
At the end of the War, Stephens was arrested at Liberty Hall and imprisoned at Boston Harbor, where confinement threatened his life, his hair turning white. He spent his time in writing a prison diary. At the end of five months, he was released by President Johnson on the ground that the South needed his aid in reconstruction. He returned to Georgia to advise the acceptance of the results of the War, stressing the importance of educating the recently liberated negro population. As a witness before the Reconstruction Committee in Washington, his published testimony gained world-wide sympathy for the South. Elected United States Senator and denied his seat by the radical reconstructionists in Congress, Stephens withdrew to Liberty Hall to
write his Constitutional View of the War Between
the States. Free of passion and with fairness to all, Stephens sought to justify before the world the re-
cent course of the South, giving new strength to the
principles for which it had fought.
From 187 3 to 1882, Stephens was again in Con-

gress, where, a newspaper correspondent rejoiced, "the great 'rebel' of Georgia with the very shadow of death upon his face, lifts his failing voice in behalf of moderation and peace." In 1882, Stephens was brought forward as a candidate for Governor for
the purpose of reconciling divisions of the Democratic party in Georgia. He was elected and died
in that office on March 4, 1883. Stephens' unique personality impressed itself
deeply on the hearts and in the folktales of Georgia. His diminutive appearance, his ringing voice, and
tremendous mental powers made a popular combi-
nation. Still current is a story of Stephens and a
large opponent whom he was besting in debate dur-
ing a campaign. "You little runt," shouted his opponent, "I could swallow you with one gulp." "If you did, you'd have more brains in your belly than you've got in your head." This retort some say was made by Stephens; others allege it was made by an admirer in the audience. Handicapped physically and super-sensitive of his honor, on three occasions, he challenged to duels men who in the heat of politics had insulted him. Once an enraged oppo-
nent twice his size, whom he had threatened to slap,
attacked him with a knife, demanding retraction of the threat. "Cut," said Stephens, "I'll never retract." At the end of this attack he was so battered that his life hung in the balance for days but at the same time his popularity with the masses soared.
As either a lawyer, author or statesman, his fame would have endured; but, in Georgia, Alexander H. Stephens is most revered as "one who loved his fellowmen." His life story, reflected today in the home he made famous as Liberty Hall, is as human
as it is great.
Books About Alexander H. Stephens:
L. L. Knight and Mrs. H. M. Holden, The Sage
of Liberty Hall. Johnston and Browne, Life of Alexander H.
Stephens. Henry Cleveland, Alexander H. Stephens. M. L. Avary, Recollections of Alexander H.
Stephens. Louis Pendleton, Alexander H. Stephens. E. Ramsey Richardson, Little Alek.

Descriptive List of Georgia's State Parks



under construction.

-- Background prehistoric Georgia. It contains a

prehistoric stone fort of unknown origin, on the top

of a lofty mountain.
-- Features ascending the mountain is a scenic

drive affording splendid panoramic views. An ob-

servation tower and picnic area are complete. Hotel

accommodations may he secured at Chatsworth.

2. VOGEL STATE PARK, at Neel (Frogtown)
Gap on the Blue Ridge. Postoffice at Blairsville,
-- Background rich in Cherokee legend and his-
tory. Blood Mountain scene of legendary Indian battle. The Park is on the last boundary between the Georgia frontier and the historic Cherokee Nation, surveyed in 181 9.
-- Features Walasiyi Inn (from legend of Walasiyi,
place of Great Frog) on crest of Blue Ridge; cabins, equipped with all necessities except ice and food; forty-acre lake with bath house for swimming; fishing and boating; picnic area; two mountain waterfalls; six miles of foot trails including part of Appalachian Trail; hikers' shelter on top of Blood Moun-



-- Georgia.
Background historic spring of the Creek Indians, famous for its health-giving qualities. Famous treaty site in Indian history. Area ceded to the State by
-- Creek Indians. Features spring house, casino, picnic areas, four
miles of foot trails, museum, children's wading pool, and playground. Hotel accommodations adjacent
to the park.

-- Background pioneer settlement of Kings Gap,
traversed by an important Indian trail and an early stage coach route. Located nearby are the famous
Warm Springs, and the "Little White House" of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
-- Features Lodge for transients, vacation cabins,
lake for swimming and boating, picnic areas, park-
way, and scenic drives.

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under construction.

-- Background typical of old country of the Creek

Indians and Georgia's piney woods region.
-- Features a picnic and recreational area are com-

pleted. A two hundred acre lake is under construc-

tion. Hotel accommodations may be secured at


-- 7. JEFFERSON DAVIS MEMORIAL STATE PARK, Irwinville, Georgia under construction. -- Background park contains the campsite at the end of the retreat of Jefferson Davis from Richmond toward the West, where he hoped to rally the army of the Trans-Mississippi. The exact spot of his capture on May 10, 1865, is marked by a bronze
bust of President Davis erected by the State of
Georgia. The spot upon which a United States trooper was killed is also marked. The purpose of the Park is to commemorate the whole achievement
of the Confederate States as symbolized in the per-
son of its Chief Executive, and to perpetuate in the
hearts of the people the principles of constitutional government which the Confederate fathers sought to
-- Features a museum and art gallery are being

8. CHEHAW STATE PARK, Albany, Georgia--
under construction.
-- Background picturesque area in the old country
of the Chehaw Indians.
-- Features picnic facilities and restful roads and
(rails. Hotel accommodations may be secured at

-- Background Spanish missions and garrisons es-
tablished on the coast of Georgia as early as 1566 and remaining until the close of the 17th Century. Tabby ruins in the Park are said by some to be the remains of the Santo Domingo de Talaxe Mission, and by others to be ruins of an early 1 9th Century Sugar Mill, belonging to the Elizafield Plantation, which forms part of the Park.
-- Features (other than disputed ruins) natural
botanical garden of great beauty; an old rice field;
ruins of a rice mill; a museum; a tea ok tin; picnic facilities; and foot trails, embowered in Spanish moss. Hotel accommodations may be secured at

Liberty Hall
"I like law better than polities, but like being at
home better than either." Thus Georgia's great
lawyer and statesman valued his home. Both friends and strangers passing through the town of Crawfordville shared his enthusiasm for it and its guest rooms were always full. A contemporary writer of the
period stated, "There was probably no home in
Georgia where the old-fashioned virtue of hospital-
-- -- ity was and still is practiced on a more liberal
scale than at Liberty Hall."

-- Liberty Hall Front View

Such was the home of Alexander H. Stephens. In

1834, he came to room in this house on the oak

covered hill then owned by Rev. Williamson Bird,

a relative.

He bought it in

S 4 l





Hall, and from that time it was always a place of

welcome for every guest who came to its doors.

Statesmen came to discuss with the frail master the

issues of the day; people from the countryside wan-

dered in for the noon-day meal; trains brought new

visitors to replace those going on their way. A

special room on the second floor, known as the

tramps' room, was provided for poor transients, who

entered and departed by a side stairway at will.

In l S 72, Stephens remodeled his home, extending his porch across the entire front of the house, removing the chimneys from the outside, and rebuilding them in the interior. The library and study

in the rear were already connected to the main building by the delightful breezeway.
In this home the hopes of many Georgians lay
during the most critical period of the State, and
from this home came its conservative leadership. In its little back room was written the most powerful
justification of the course of the South that has yet
been written, Stephens' Constitutional View of the
War Between the States.
Visitors learn with surprise that this home reached
its reputation for hospitality while under the care of
negroes in slavery. No mistress directed their efforts and Stephens was away much of the time. He
placed absolute trust in the loyalty of his negroes.
"Who carries the keys I don't know," he wrote. "I
have laid in a supply of sugar, tea, etc.; but where it is kept and who keeps it I don't know." Hospitalit) went on regardless of whether or not the Master was at home. This confidence in the negro slaves
in his home influenced Stephens to defend slavery
as the most practical relation for the two races in
the South. Perhaps the most profound demonstration of the
love of the negro race for Stephens took place one Fourth of July shortly after the War. The colored children from all the Sunday Schools of the section marched to Liberty Hall to sing for the aging Georgian. "Perhaps you have never heard a Georgia
negro sing," wrote a witness. "At all events, I am
sure you have never heard three thousand of them sing in chorus as they did on that afternoon."
With such memories, Liberty Hall could not be lost to Georgia, and after Stephens' death the Stephens Monumental Association was formed to erect a statue of him on the lawn, establish a school in his honor, and preserve the house. Patriotic groups and individuals joined the movement and these objectives were carried out. For a time Liberty Hall was a part of the University System of Georgia. In 1933, almost a hundred years after Stephens had
moved into Liberty Hall, a CCC camp was placed at
Crawfordville to restore the home and its outbuild-
ings to their former appearance and to establish a
park around it. Some two hundred acres of land
were acquired with the co-operation of State and local governments and patriotic groups and indi-


Bedroom of Stephens
viduals. Thus Alexander H. Stephens Memorial State Park came into existence.
Restoration of the home was the task undertaken by Mrs. Horace Holden, Stephens' great-niece, who had lived here during his lifetime. Through her efforts much of the old furniture has been returned and some has been reproduced.
Liberty Hall is now maintained by Georgia's
Division of State Parks. It is open every day
throughout the year. A hostess is present to point
out the unusual and interesting features. During the first year that the park was officially opened to the public, visitors came to Liberty Hall from most of the States in the Union.
Here these visitors find themselves transplanted into the days of the old South. There is the comfortable dining room, the parlor with its old Peloubet organ, and the inviting guest rooms with their oldfashioned bedsteads and washstands. The library
has been restored and many of the original books
have been returned. There are quaint cooking utensils and objects in the old kitchen. The wine cellar has been repaired. The old slave quarters have been restored with furnishings once used by Mr. Stephens' servants. The wash house with its open fireplace, pots and cranes, where both the plantation clothes and pickaninnies were washed, catches the immediate fancy of the visitors. Mechanically-minded guests

note the gas house, with wonder, as they realize
that this was one of the first Southern homes lighted by a gas plant of its own.
In a rear corner of the garden is a scene which
touches every visitor. This is the stone mound which marks the grave of Stephens' devoted friends, his
dogs. His dogs were his constant companions, amusing him by their antics as puppies and giving him companionship as they grew older. Stephens cared for them when sick, and mourned for each when placed beneath the ground. His younger halfbrother, Linton, prepared an epitaph:
"Here rest the remains Of what in life was a satire on the human race And an honor to his own
A faithful dog." In life Stephens shared his home with his fellow Georgians, and the memory of other great Geor-
gians of his day is preserved in Liberty Hall by dedicating certain rooms to them. These rooms serve
as memorials to Linton Stephens, Crawford W.
Long, Francis S. Bartow, Herschel V. Johnson, Richard M. Johnston, Robert Toombs, and the Confederate soldiers of Taliaferro County.
Visitors familiar with Georgia's history look with
respect into the bedroom of Stephens which has been preserved as it was before his death. They stand with reverence beside his grave on the lawn, and those who know of his life-long devotion to his
half-brother learn with approval that Linton is
buried by his side. They read to their children the
inscription on the base of the life-like statue:
"I am afraid of nothing on earth, or above the earth, or under the earth, except to do wrong. The
path of duty I shall ever endeavor to travel 'fearing no evil and dreading no consequences'."
Liberty Hall Rear View


Bath House at Lake Liberty
The setting for the Park presents a surprising-
variety of Georgia's natural floral beauty. Species
of trees and shrubbery more common to mountain country grow close to types common to the coast. Cedars are abundant, one scenic drive being named
Cedar Drive. The natural scenery is for the most part undisturbed, but drives, foot-trails, and picnic areas make it readily accessible to the visitors.
The wild life in the area includes several covey of quail. More than fifty types of birds spend the greater part of the year here. In the fall the lawn at Liberty Hall is the feeding ground of many robins. In the summer bluebirds and humming birds dart around the porches of the home. The lake is a stopping point for migrating ducks and egrets passing over the area. Squirrels and rabbits are seen throughout the Park. All are protected by law.
The Park is adapted to the accommodation of both small and large groups. One large picnic area includes a barbecue pit and accommodates several hundred people. Other areas are more adaptable to family groups, one area including a children's wading pool which is much used on hot summer

A commanding view of the Park and the surrounding country can be secured from the Observation Tower which is open to visitors. Public com-

fort stations are maintained at four places in the
area. The larger areas may be reserved in advance
by writing the Park's operating personnel at Craw-
fordville. Picnic supplies may be secured during summer months from the concession at the bath

During the summer the recreational center is Lake Liberty. Here the safety of the swimmers is a spe-

cial consideration. Separate areas are set apart for children, non-swimmers, and swimmers. Life guards
arc in attendance both day and night during summer months. Water Carnivals draw large crowds each summer and a Red Cross Life-Saving School is held

at intervals.
Adjoining the Park is a 900-acre tract known as
the Alexander H. Stephens Memorial Park Extension, upon which the National Park Service is constructing a recreational camp for organized groups. The area includes a 2 5-aere lake, cabins for onehundred campers (divided into four groups), a cen-

tral kitchen and dining hall, and a recreational hall.
This development is known as a recreational demonstration project, and is financed from emergency relief appropriations. Only certified relief labor is

Hotel accommodations may he secured in Craw-


Children's Wading Pool


Manufactured by
Syracuse, N. Y. Stockton, Cl>f-

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