- Georgia Government Publications
- George Walton and "College Hill," Augusta, Georgia : a report for the Historic Preservation Section, Office of Planning and Research, Department of Natural Resources
- Bridges, Edwin C
- [Atlanta] : Historic Preservation Section, Office of Planning and Research, Dept. of Natural Resources
- Date of Original:
- Historic buildings--Georgia--Augusta
- Walton, George, 1749 or 1750-1804--Homes and haunts
- United States, Georgia, 32.75042, -83.50018
- state government records
- Includes bibliographical references
- Metadata URL:
- Digital Object URL:
- 45 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
- Holding Institution:
- University of Georgia. Map and Government Information Library
George Walton and "College Hill," Augusta, Georgia
A Report for The Historic Preservation Seclt:ion, Office of Planning and Research, Department of NaturaL Resourc~s,
by Edwin C. Bridges March, 1975
Table of Contents
The Land Records
The Tax Digests
George Walton's Career and Financial Troubles
Walton's ' Last Days
The Harper house in Augusta, Georgia has been generally regarded as the summer home of George Walton. Because of this belief, the Georgia Heritage Trust began exploring the possibility of purchasing the home to preserve it as a valuable historical property. It was thought that the house might serve to emphasize the many contributions of George Walton to Georgia and to the nation. Also, the hDuse could help illustrate many characteristic features of life in Georgia during the early national period.
The Historic Preservation Section of the Department of Natural Resources contracted with this researcher for a preliminary evaluation of the property prior to its acquisition by the State. That study was to have been followed by more exhaustive research to provide the historical information necessary for the proper use of the site. This report is the first part of that project--the examination of the historical value of the property, particularly of the claim that it was the George Walton house.
The conclusion of this report is that George Walton probably did not build or live in the Harper house. This judgement is not conclusive, but the evidence against Walton's connection with the house seems almost overwhelming. It should be noted that these findings came as a surprise to this researcher, who began this
c project sharing the commonly accepted beliefs about the house. Also, this conclusion is contrary to the personal interests of the researcher. After the compJetion of this preliminary research, he was to have continued with the further study on the
project, an opportunity which this report will certainly jeopardize. The findings of the preliminary historical evaluation will be summarized by sections in the following report, with a few brief recommendations offered after the final section.
Edwin c. Bridges
February 28, 1975
George Walton and "College Hill," Augusta, Georgia
w. The house of Miss Nell
Harper, at 2116 Wrightsboro Road
in Augusta, Georgia, has been called "College Hill" for a long
enough time that the name has become well established. With this
name came the belief that "College Hill" was a summer home built
in 1795 by George Walton. This belief and the immediate attract-
iveness of the Harper house have endowed the property with a spe-
cial significance that is generally acc~pted and even widely
George Walton was unquestionably an important figure in the
early history of Georgia. He was born in Virginia in 1749, but
came to Georgia as a young man. After a period of study in the
law office of Henry Yonge in Savannah, Walton was admitted to
practice before the general court of the colony of Georgia. As
friction increased between the colonies and Great Britain, Walton
became a leader of the revolutionary movement in Georgia. In
1776 he was appointed by Georgia's provincial congress to the
Continental Congress in Philadelphia, where he signed the Dec-
laration of Independence. For much of the Revolution, except for
a brief term as governor of Georgia and a period of inactivity
after he was captured in the British attack on Savannah, Walton
continued to serve in the Continental Congress. 1 During this tia~, he also married Dorothi Camber, who bore him two sons,
~homas Camber Walton and George Walton, Junior. 2
After the Revolution, the state legislature appointed Walton chief justce of Georgia. (At that time superior courts of the counties were the state's highest courts. These courts were presided over by the chief justice of the state artd the assistant justices of the particular county.) Although Walton had often visited and worked in Augusta, by the later 1780's he moved his residence ~ermanently from Savannah to Augusta, where he lived for the remainder of his life. In 1789, Walton was again elected governor 6f Georgia by the state legislature, and soon after this term expired, he was appointed superior court judge. (Under the new state constituti6n of 1789, the position of chief justice was replaced by three district judgeships.) In November 1795, he was appointed by Governor Mathews to serve in the United States Senate in the place of James Jackson, who had just resigned. After a few months of service, Walton returned to Augusta and was again serving as a superior court judge when he died in 1804. 3
The Harper house is said to have been Walton's summer home, built by him in 1795. The house is certainly old and attractive and had it act~ally been Walton's home, would be a notable historic property. The concern of this paper is to atte~pt to determine from historical records if George Walton actually did build and live in the Harper house.
-Th-e -L-an-d Records
The first step in establishing the ownership of the Harper house would normally be through the chain of title to the property. Unfortunately, in the case of the Harper house, this method failed to provide clear and complete information. During this early period of Georgia history, many people exchanged property without tecording their deeds in the county deed books. Occasionally transactions would be recorded, but with only partial documentation .supplied or with records entered many years after the actual sale took place. The problem of an unrecorded deed obscures a clear picture of the ownership of the Harper tract during Waltonls lifetime.4
The Harper family acquired the property now called "College Hill" on April 10, 1886. James E. Harper purchased it from the executor of the estate of Grace 0. Giltenan. This conveyance referred to the property, not as "College Hill," bUt as "a part of what is known as the Turknett Spring Tract." 5
Grace 0. Giltenan had acquired the property ten years earlier, on April 13, 1876, from the executors of Robert Campbell's estate. Again, the property was re~erred to in this deed as ''part of the Turknett Spring Tract."6 In the inventory of Campbell's very considerable estate, the value of which totaled $161,000 in 1873, there was in~luded a property named "Fairview,n described as a residence and fifteen acre lot "on little Sand Hills.'' 7 This "Fairview" property was almost certainly the lot which Giltenan, and later Harper, purchased. Miss Nell Harper, who lived in the
4 house as a girl, stated th~t the house had originally been identified as "Fairview" on h~r mother's personal cards. 8 There was no refe'rence in any of the legal records either to "College Hill" ot to George Walton.
Proceeding further back through the sequence of ownership, Robert Campbell had acquired the property in 1832 from Thomas McGran. A plat of the property was made at that time by the county surveyor and was later entered in the county deed books with the 1886 Harper conveyance. The description of the land accompanying the 1832 conveyance to Campbell again described the property as "parts of the T1.1rknett spring tract .. on the sand Hills . lately occupied by Robert H. Musgrove as a summer residence.'' 9 What is now the Wrightsboro Road was then called the Milledgeville Road, a change specifically noted in the Harper conveyance. Again, there was no reference in any of these documents to Walton or to '.'College Hill."
Thomas McGran had acquired the property from the executors of Daniel W. Mongain's estate in 1825. This 1125 conveyance was for eighty-nirte acres. Although a few acres had been sold from the original tract, McGran divided the remaining land into lots and sold the lot that became the Harper property to Robert Campbell in 1832. 10 The deed to McGran in 1825 had also identified the land as the "Turknett Spring Tract." However, for the first time in the receding chain of title, the. name of George Walton was mentioned in the legal description of the property. According to the 1825 conveyance, the land was part of a hundred acres that had been "originally granted to George Walton,"
5 bounded at the time of that original survey by vacant land. 11 No other information was given about Walton's ownership of the property~ nor was there any mention of the name "College Hill."
Daniel Mongain, whose ex~cutors sold the land to McGran, had acquired the tract in a sheriff's sale in February, 1821. The tract had been sold as the property of George A. Turknett to satisfy an execut~on against Turknett. Again the property was described in this 1821 conveyance as "Turknetts Springs," and as the place where George Turknett was then residing. 12 Henry Turknett, the father of George, had died in 1808 and had bequeathed his land to his two young sons. 13 Allen M. Turknett has not been located in any of the records after the death of his :father and may have died in his youth. But George A. Turknett, the other son, survived to maturity and married Mary Mongain in 1818. 14 Apparently Daniel W. Mongain had purchased the land in 1821 at the sheriff's sale to save it for his daughter and son-in-law. Neither in Henry Turknett's will nor in the conveyance of George Turknett by the sheriff to Daniel Mongain was there any mention of the name "College Hill" or of George Walton.
The critical question is when did Henry Turknett acquire the property which had been originally granted to George Walton but which for over a century was called "Turknett Spring." Two additional deeds relating to the tract have survived, but they do not clearly explain how Turknett acquired the property. On April 7, 1807, the sheriff of Richmond County conveyed to Henry Turknett one hundred acres of land "hereinaf~er described as the property of said George Walton." The land had been seized in obedience
to a writ of fier~ fac~as, issu~d by the super~or court of Chatham County, resulting from a suit against Walton for ~onpayment of debt. After being advertised as required by law, the tract was offered for purchase at public auction. In this 1807 auction, Henry Turknett offered the highest bid of $1510, and the land was officially conveyed to him by the sheriff. But the tract was described in this deed to Turknett as being "at present in the possession of Henry Turknett." The conveyance also stated that a more complete description of the property was provided in an accompanying deed from Thomas Cumming to Henry Turknett. 15
Unfortunately, the Cumming-Turknett conveyance was not recorded in the county deed book. Had it been, the exact character of these complex dealings might be more clear to us. However, an additional statement was recorded along with the deed from the sheriff to Turknett in which Turknett acknowledged that the 1807 deed had been procured for him by Thomas Cumming. Cumming's action according to the Turknett acknowledgement was "for the purpose of confirming to me . the Land therein described which was many years ago sold and conveyed to me by the said Thomas Cumming."16
The problem is to understand how Turknett could have acquired the land from Thomas Cumming "many years" before 1807, and yet have it seized from him and sold in 1807 by th~ sheriff under an execution against George Walton. There is a second, earlier deed for the property which provides f~rther, though $till inconclusive, information. _In April 1789, George Walton sold Thomas Cumming a one hundred acre tract that had originally been granted to
Walton. 17 It was this tract that Cumming then conveyed to Turknett, but which had to be repurchased by Cumming at the sheriff's sale in 1807 to confirm for Turknett. 18 Even though the papers of the sale from Cumming to Turknett were not recorded, these two conveyances, from Walton to Cumming in 1789 and the unrecorded sale by Cumm~rig to Turknett, clearly suggest that the land passed frofu Walton's possession in 1789, six years before he was to have moved to his house at "College Hill.",
But the question still remains as to how the land could have been seized from Turknett in 1807 under an execution against George Walton. Mr. J. Walker Harper, an Augusta attorney and the nephew of Miss Harper, suggests that the conveyance to Cumming in 1789 may have been merely a form used to post c~llateral, even though it was ~n the language of a conveyance. When the loan was repaid, according to Mr. Harper, the property would have reverted to Walton even though no note of satisfaction ~as entered in the deed books. That arrangement would seem plausible and would allow Waiton's hontinued possession of the land well into the 1790's. But it appears to this researcher that another explanation is more accurate. 19
The second explanation is that the property had already been mortgaged before Walton sold it to Cumming and that the land was ~eized from Turknett to satisfy this earlier debt obligation. G~orge Walton had been ensnarled in 4ebt since the early 1780's. lie had stalled and avoided many of the court suits and claims of his creditor~ for years, but by January 1804, at le~st some of
Walton's defenses were breaking down. In Chatham County, the Superior Court overruled a set of "objections to legality" that had helped bl~ck executions against him. 2 0 It was in obedience to a writ issti~d by the Chatham court at the suit of Seth John Cuthbert and Company that the "Turknett Spring Tract" was selzed in 1807.21
The Chatham court may have decided that t~e debts Walton had incurr~d prior to 1789 should have precedence ~ver the sale of the land to Cumming in 1789. .It is interesting to note that, wheri Walton was a judge, he had faced this legal question of multiple claims against th~ same property. In his charge to the Burke County grand jury in September 1802, Judge Walton discussed a complicated suit that had been recently before his court involving conflicting claims against the same property: "It was decided upon the grounds, that the elder judgement bound all the property 61 the defend4nts." 22 A debt or previous mortgage obligation incurred by WaltOn before he sold the property to Cumming may well have clouded Turknett's title and have been the basis for the court decision which caused the seizure of the land on which Turknett was living in 1807.
Walton di~d in 1804, thre~ years before the land was seized from Turknett~ Thomas Cumming's action in purchasing the land at the sheriff's sale may well hav~ been a very honorable or even a necessary ac~ien en his part to redeem for Turknett the property which Turknett had purchas~d ~n sood fflith from Cumming "many years earlier."
It should be noted that there are other examples of property that had apparently been sold by Walton but which was later seized from the new owner because of executions against Walton. For instance, Walton sold two lots of land in "the Village'' to George Barnes in 1789. In 1823, one of those lots was sold at a sheriff's sale under an execution issued ''at suit of Cl~y ~ and Telfair survivors against George Walton Sen. deceased." 23 Another lot was one on which the .Carnes family had paid taxes for years. This Carnes lot was also sei~ed under an execution against Walton, although the Carneses were able to secure a new title to the property for a token one dollar (perhaps because of the injustice of the seizure?).24
Either the first or the second explanation of Walton's conveyance to Cum$ing might be reasonable. But Mr. Harper's theory does not explain the sale from Cumming to Turknett or many other questions about Turknett's occupancy of the land. Certainly it can be said that the title records raise more questions than they resolve about the association of George Walton with ''College Hill" and the Harper house.
The Tax Digests
Other useful information about property ownership can be found in the county tax digests. Unfortunately, there are only a few digests remaining from the early period of Richmond County when the ownership of the Harper property is in question. Though perhaps not tot.lly convincing, these tax digests appear to
confirm the belief that Walton gave up the property when he conveyed it to Cumming in 1789. They also indicate that Turknett purchased the property from Cumming at a very early date, as Turknett stated ih the above-mentioned acknowledgement to Cumming.
The first pertinent tax digest still extant for Richmond Cbunty is the one for 1795. This digest lacks many descriptive references offered in later digests, e.g., "to whom granted" and "adjoining whom." But it does provide an inventory of the land owned then by George Walton and by Henry Turknett. The year 1795 is a particularly important one because, as will. be discussed later, that is the date of the single piece of evidence that has been used to link Walton to "College Hill."
In 1795, Walton paid taxes on two tracts of property, a 63 1/2 acre tract of second quality swamp land and a 230 acre tract of pine land. 25 This latter tract was undoubtedly land which Walton owned on the sand hills near Augusta and which later became
known as Summ~rville. 26 The 63 1/2 acres appears to have been
the land he farmed near the Savannah River. 27 Neither fits the description of the Harper/"Turknett Spring Tract."
That same year, 1795, Henry Turknett paid taxes on four tracts of property, including one tract of one hundred acres of pine land. There is no further property description, but the tax return is consistent with Turknett's ownership in 1795 of the "Turknett Spring Tract." 28 There was nothing in Walton's 1795 tax return which would suggest that Walton owned the tract.
The next available tax digest for Richmond County is an
unlabeled fragmen~ dated between 1796 and 1799. This fragment provides more complete descriptive information of the land holdings. As in 1795, no one hundred acre tract was listed by George Walton in his tax return. He did return lots of 120 and 50 acres which were listed in his son's name, "George Walton by George Walton," and we .re identified merely as being "near Augusta. " 29 However, in this same digest, Henry Turknett again returned a lot of one hundred acres. This Turknett lot was identified as being on ~upboard Creek and as originally having been granted to George Walton. 30
Since WaltOn had received only one grant Of one hundred acres and since later descriptions of the "Turknett Spring Tract" describe it as having been a one hundred acre grant to Walton, it is clear that in the later 1790's Turknett, not Walton, paid the ta}Ces for the tract on which the Harper house is now located. This unlabeled digest also strengthens the probability that the one hundred acre tract Turknett returned in 1795 was the same land that later became known as the "Turknett Spring Tract."
The 1800 tax digest also shows Turknett in possession of the one hundred acres. originally granted to George Walton, 3l and the 1807 digest repeats Turknett's return.32 In addition, William Bugg~ who in 1785 had secured a tract adjoining the one hundred a~re Walton .grant, reported in 1800 that his tract a~joined Turk-
nett~ not Wal~on.33 (it must also be reported that Bugg' s return
on the fragmentary digest, had listed the property as adjoining Walton. Howeyer, slowness in changing these legal descriptions
was ~ore the norm than the exception. Bugg's change would seem more notable fdi cbnfirming the certainty of Turknett's occupation of the property by 1800 than for denying Turknett's earlier possession.)
There is another tract of one hundred acres returned by Walton in the 1800 digest that is not clearly identifiable. It is possible to speculate what property this return might have referred to, but there ~s simply no way to determine with certainty from the information given in the digest. 34 But, in spite of these uncer~ainties, the bulk of the evidence from the tax digests weighs overwhelmingly in favor of Turknett's, not Walton's, early ownership of the land on which the Harper house is located.
The earliest known and most continually used name for the
Harper property was clearly "Turknett Spring." Where did the
'name ''College Hill" come from and what did it mean? The source
for the claim of the Harper house to the name "College Hill" rests
almost entirely on a peculiar entry in an early Richmond County
deed book. ~n July 4, 1795, George Walton wrote a brief letter
to the trustees for the owner of the house in which he had been
living and info~m~d them that he was surrendering the house to
their control. Walton stated that he had ''eompleted'a mansion of
[his] own" to which he had removed his family. headed "College Hill." 35
The letter was
As has been stated Clbove, the term "College Hill" has not
been found in any legal document or other reference to the Harper house through the entire nineteenth century. According to ~ss Nell Harper, Mr. R. C. Ballard Thruston of the Sons of the American Revolution, who was engaged in research on George Walton, visited the Harper family in the mid-1920's. There are no living direct descendants of Walton, but the Harpers are collateral descendants. Mr. Thruston found the above-mentioned "College Hill" letter in the county deed books and showed the letter to Mrs. James Harper. It was at this time, according to Miss Nell Harper, that the name of the house was changed from "Fairview," which it had been called for many years, to "College Hill." 36
Miss Harper recalls being told by her mother that her father, Mr. James E. Harper, had referred to the property when he purchased it in 1886, as being "the old Walton place." 37 Exactly what Mr. Harper had meant by this statement we, of course, have no way of knowing. But in the likely event that he had conducted a title search, Mr. Harper would undoubtedly have noticed that the land had originally been granted to George Walton.
At the time of Thruston's visit in the 1920's, it was known that Walton had owned a summer home on the sand hills above Augusta. Charles C. Jones, Jr., had written of such a residence in his 1891 book on the Georgia delegates to the Continental Congress. However, Jones .had not indicated precisely where Walton's summer home was located nor identified the source of his information. 38 It is easy to imagine how, in the 1920's when Mr. Thruston located the above-mentioned "Co,l.lege Hil-l" letter, these scattered bits
of evidence could have coalesced so that it seemed almost certain that the Harper house was indeed "College Hill," the summer home of George Walton.
The name "College Hill" and the identification of the Harper house as the summer home of George Walton were subsequently proclaimed in several books and articles published about Augusta in the 1930's. A sense of certainty about these stories seems to have grown with their repetition over the last forty years. 39
Yet the term "College Hill" is not connected with the Harper house in any early records. Indeed, a long and careful reading of all the available tax digests, deed records, court minutes, arid newspapers from the late 1780's through the early 1800's has produced only three instances in which the term "College Hill" is used other than in Walton's letter of 1795. These three usages suggest that "College Hill" did not refer to a house, but was an early name for an area of the sand hills near Augusta.
In the unlabeled tax digest of the late 1790's, Elizabeth Carnes paid taxes on a lot of 10 3/4 acres identified merely by the term "Colledge Hill" (sic).4 She returned the same lot, similarly identified, in 1800. 41 The only other use of the term that has been found appeared in the Augusta Chronicle of May 12, 1798. Among the offerings at a "Collector's sale," there was advertised ''10 acres of land on College Hill near Aqgusta, the property of Frizzle McTyeir." 42
No deeds have been located to or from either Carnes or MeTyeir which fit the above descriptions. However, in 1807, Phillip
Clayton, who had married one of the Carnes daughters, paid taxes for his wife on ~ 10 3/4 acre lot identified as having been ori-
ginally granted to "G. & R. Walton." 43 In 1809, Elizabeth Carnes
returned one iot in ''Summerville" for the estate of Peter Ca~nes, deceased.44 In 1816, Patrick Carnes filed a return on a 10 3/5 acre lot for his mother. 45 From these tax digests, it appears highly probable that the Carnes lot which was first identified as being at "Colledge Hill" was the same lot later identified as being in "Summerville," the name which had then become commonly accepted for the sand hills community.
In the 178D's, before the University of Georgia was finally located at Athens, George Walton had called "for the establishment of a College . on some part of the high ridge a little to the southwest of Augusta, and in sight of the town." According to Walton, such a site would be removed from the "tumults and vices of a large town" and should also be "preferred on account of the healthiness of its situation" and its "most excellent springs." 46 The State, of course, did not establish its college there, although Thomas Sandwich did open an academy on the hill in 1800, 47 and the site i now the location of Augusta College. Perhaps Walton's hope for the establishment of a college riear Augusta was the source of the briefly used name for that seetion of the sand hills.
Like the land records a~d the tax digests, these small bits of evidence do not resolve all the questions about "College Hill." But other uses of the term cast serious doubt do the claim that
"College Hill" was the original title of the Harper house. These facts also seriously impair the claim that the Harper house was Walton's summer home.
Not only is there little evidence to link Walton to the Harper house, there is definite information which identifies him
w~th another summer home on the sand hills. This home was definitely not the Harper house, but one located elsewhere in what later became Summerville, about a mile from the Harper property. 48 In 1788, Walton had purchased from William M. Cowles 250 acres that had earlier been conveyed to Cowles by Robert Walton, a first cousin of George. 49 Within a year, George Walton subdivided this 250 acre tract and began selling it in small home lots. 50 A copy of the plan of the village that Walton designed has survived and is in the possession of the Cumming family of Richmond County. 51
In 1789, Walton sold George Barnes two lots "in a place lately laid out into lots, and called the Village" between two and three miles southwest of Augusta. A few months later, Walton sold Cochran McClure lots number six and seven in "the Village." It was identified as being "a part of a tract of two hundred and fifty acres of pine land originally granted to Robert Walton." 52 Research in the deed books of Richmond County reveals numerous exchanges of land in this "Village," which later came to be a part of Summerville. Twenty-five lots of the original thirty-two have been identified and are retraceable to George Walton's two hundred and fifty acre
tract. 53 These lots fit exactly the metes and bounds shown in the Cumming copy of the plan of the "Village."
In 1805, acting in obedience to a writ of fieri facias issued by the Superior Court of Richmond County, the sh~riff seized and offered at public sale two lots belonging to George Walton. Walton had died by this time~ but the writ probably had been ordered before his death. The two lots were identified as lying "in Milledgeville near Augusta . designated numbers two and three, each containing ten and three fourths of an acr~ . . being a part of a two hundr~d and fifti acre survey granted originally to Robert Walton." 54 The name "Milledgeville" was undoubtedly used because John Milledge owned the land adjoining the Walton tract. During this same time and before the name "Summerville" became commonly accepted for the entire area, Milledge had also been dividing up and selling off lots of his land. 55 Despite the name, from the other identifying information it can be determined that these two lots sold by the sheriff were clearly in Walton's "Village." The description of the lots in the sheriff's conveyance further identified the property as ''the summer residence of the said George Walton Esqr. Deceased." 56
This deed confirms that Walton had a summer home on the sand hills that was not the Harper house. This summer residence was located in Walton's "Village," a tract Walton was a~tempting to develop for summer homes. It may well have been this development that was called "College Hill" and to which Wa~ton had referred in the 1795 letter. In fact, when Walton wrote the "College Hill" letter in 1795, he was not paying taxes on the "Turknett Spring
Tract," but on the 230 acres that was probably this "Village" tract. The Carnes' lot, which was identified in the tax digest by the term "Colledge Hill," was simply another lot of this "Village'' (number seventeen). And the size of the McTyeir lot, which was also identified as being "on College Hill," was ten acres, one of the main l' ot sizes in Walton's plan of "the Village." 57
There is one additional deed which refers to Walton's summer home on lots number two and three of "the Village." In 1807, David Reid bought lot number one from George Weissinger. This lot was identified in the conveyance as "being near to and part of the summer residence of the late Hon'ble George Walton, Esq., now deceased."58 It is interesting to note that Walton Way, now a major street in Augusta, would have made a straight line connecting "Meadow Garden," Walton's home in Augusta, to this summer residence on lots two and three of "the Village" (see the map at the end of this report).
George Walton's Career and Financial Troubles
One of the glaring gaps in historical works about Georgia is the lack of a biography on the life of George Walt6n. Part of the reason for this neglect is undoubtedly the fact that no collected set of his writings or letters has survived intact. There are at least thirty or more Walton letters remaining in existence. But, probably because he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, these remaining letters are scattered among various manuscript collections all over the United States. This researcher
has tried to locate as many of Walton's papers as possible, in the hopes that they might shed some light on the question of Walton's residences while he lived in Augusta. The general thrust of what has been found reconfirms "Meadow Garden" as Walton's principal home and offers a clearer view of the financial problems that continued to plague Walton until his death, but affords no conclusive information at all about "College Hill."
At the end of the American Revolution, Walton was in a peculiar position. He had been without question one of the most important leaders in Georgia, yet his record was tainted. In one of the power struggles of Georgia's beleagured revolutionary government, Walton had worked to have his one-time ally, General Lachlan Mcintosh, removed from Georgia by the Continental Congress. Part of the maneuvering involved a letter condemning Mcintosh to which Walton had signed the name of William Glascock, the speaker of the legislative assembly. When Glascock later denied authorship of the letter, Walton was accused of forgery. Walton offered a complex explanation about verbal authorization and the awkward and confused circumstances of the times as justification for his actions. In 1783, the Georgia assembly investigated the episode, concluded that the letter was "in Violation of law and truth," and instructed the attorney general to prosecute those guilty of crimes in the affair. Yet the next day, that same assembly selected Walton the new chief justice of the state. 59
In the immediete aftermath of the Mcintosh episode, Walton appears to have adopted a posture of maintaining his composure,
continuing with business as usual, and relying on time and serv-
ice to obscure the charges against him. Although this policy
succeeded in many respects and Walton continued to serve the state
as a governor, a United States senator, and a state judge, he did
not escape comp~etely unscathed. He was deeply humiliated as well
as pained by a severe horse-whipping dealt to him on the street
in Savannah by William Mcintosh, Junior. According to young Me-
Intosh's account: "He [Walton] was corrected suitab'le to his
; I made use of no other Instrument but a Horse Whip,
which I must confess was well Laid on--without interruption from
himself, or any other person until he run [sic] into (quite through) the Gate.'' 60 During his later career, Walton was occa-
sionally taunted by his political opponents with sneering references to his role in the Mcintosh affair. 61
When Walton had moved to Georgia before the Revolution, he made his home in Savannah. 62 But many other members of his large
Virginia family settled in upper Georgia, especially Richmond County. 63 We do not know exactly what Walton's motives were in
leaving Savannah for Richmond County, whether they were political,
social, familial, or financial. But in the middle 1780's, Walton disposed of his Savannah property, 64 and by 1788 be identified himself as "George Walton of New Savannah." 65 (New Savannah was
an area in Richmond County along the Savannah River several miles
below Augusta; where Butler's Creek em~ties into the River.)
Probably the single most revealing letter about Walton's
financial affairs that has survived is one which he wrote to
Edward Telfair early in 1792. Telfair was one of Walton's creditors as well as a friend, and Walton wrote to him to explain his plans for paying off his debts: "When I was about to leave Savannah or soon afterward, almost every person to whom I was indebted commenced suits against me except C. T. & Co. [Clay, Telfair, and Company], and pursued them to effect." From the court suits Walton lost, there were judgements against him of ~800,
~600, ~500, "with divers others of inferior magnitude." 66
Walton also informed Telfair that he had settled privately with another creditor who had threatened to bring a suit of several thousand pounds against him for obligations Walton had incurred while he had been in public service at Philadelphia. Walton acknowledged his debt to Clay, Telfair, and Company, but he reported that ~e would not be able to meet his payment schedule to them. According to Walton, he had recently established himself ''above the Town," and "I live in the plantation in a log house as free of Expense as possible." But he did hold out to Telfair the hope for a reasonably prompt repayment: "Although I have so often failed in a crop, I have the most flattering prospects, in this regard, before me." Walton also mentioned the possibility of selling lots of land that he owned, including some at what appears to be (the handwriting is not clear and distinct) "the Village Hil1." 67
Despite the bright hopes expressed in this 1792 letter, Walton appears never to have freed himself from indebtedness. For the rest of his life, he was sued in the courts and badgered in
private by his angered creditors. Faced with threatened execu-
tions against his property, Walton appears to have been agile and
clever in the defense of his own and his family's possessions.
The court records indicate that Walton retaliated against these suits with arrays of objections, postponements, and countersuits. 68
Walton's legal knowledge, his personal stature, and his presence
on the bench, all helped him to avoid or delay many of these suits
and executions. 69
In 1795, Joseph Clay, a prominent Savannah merchant and ano-
ther of Walton's creditors, held claims against Walton totaling
over ~3000. Like many others, Clay, too, was frustrated by Wal-
tcin's repeated delays in repayment. In September 1795, Clay wrote
to Thomas Cumming, who at that time represented him in Augusta,
concerning Waltort's debt: "I find from long experience that [page
torn, probably "if"] ever I get any thing from Mr. Walton it must
be by coersive measures." Clay also asked that Gumming find an
able lawyer, for he expected that "every artifice will be made use
[and] I am determined
[to proceed] without loss of
In this same letter, Clay also explained his apprehensions
about Walton's tactics for avoiding the repayment of his debt.
One trick in particular must have been as exasperating to Clay as
it is to the historical researcher today. Clay info;med Cumming:
"I have not Wrote [sic, also torn] or spoke to him [Walton] on this
subject. I thought it might possibly only put it in his power to
put property out of the way."71
It is this technique of "putting property out of the way" to avoid the claims of creditors that has confused, and still confuses, so many of the studies of Walton's land holdings. In the first place, why did Walton insert that "College Hill" letter--a brief note to two relatives announcing that he was moving--into the deed books of Richmond County? As has been shown, he tra~sacted many sales t~at he never recorded. He even neglected writing a will for himself, furnishing us with the ironic example of one of the state's pre-eminent lawmakers who failed to assume his own legal responsibilities. 72 In view of Walton's financial plight, the "College Hill" letter may be more notable as an effort to protect his pr~ncipal home from seizure by the courts than as the proud announeement of the completion of another.
Walton did own ~ "summer residence" on the sand bills--on lots two and three of "the Village." This home in a section called "College Hill" may have been the residence to which he removed his fam~ly in the summer of 1795. When it was seized by the sheriff in 1805, this summer residence sold for $256. 73 The modest cost of this house would seem a more manageable expenditure for a man who was financially strained than the expense that would have been entailed by the relatively splendid Harper house.
Walton may have moved up to the sand hills for a short time, and he almost certainly staYed there during the summers. But most information about Walton indicates that his prim~ry place of
residence was "Meadow Garden." The tract on which "Meadow Garden" was built had been offered at a public sale in June 1791. It had been seized by the sheriff from the estate of David Holmes under an execution against him. The land had been granted originally to James Pettygrew and comprised lots seventeen and eighteen of the Augusta Township.74
At the sale of the tract on June 8, 1791, it was purchased at a price of 'b30 "for and in behalf of" Thomas Watkins. 75 Watkins was George Walton's nephew through the marriage of Walton's sister, Sally, to Thomas Watkins in Virginia. The elder Watkins had been killed during the Revolution, but at least four of his sons lived in Richmond County, Georgia, after the war, including among them Thomas, Anderson, George, and Robert (the latter two being the compilers of the famous 1800 Digest of the laws of Georgia). Walton appears to have been very close to these four nephews and, with their other relatives in the county, the entire family formed a strong social, political, and economic unit. 76
The sale of the Holmes land to Thomas Watkins was an unusual one in that Robert Holmes, the administrator for David Holmes' estate (from which the property had been seized), bought the tract "for" Watkins. 77 George Walton was a participant in this unusual exchange and in fact had been granted power of attorney by Robert Holmes in Chatham County to handle the legal affairs connected with this Richmond County property. 78 Walton also signed the sale papers as a witness to the exchange. 79 Since Walton was soon living on the property, these complex arrangements cast an interesting
light on this 1791 purchase "for" Th<;Jmas Watkins. Watkins himself later wrote that his "purchase" of the property had been "for the use of his Godson George Walton[,] the son of Judge George Walton and Dorothy his wife." 80 The entire transaction may well have been an attempt by Walton to acquire new property in a manner that would protect the property from seizure by his creditors.
In August 1792, Walton reached an agreement with Peter Carnes that was recorded in the Richmond County deed books. The boundary between the properties of the two men had become uncertain because of the decay of the original markers, so a new line was arranged. The details of the boundary are complicated, but the stated purpose of the new line was to separate Carnes' plantation from a double fifty a~re tract - originally granted to John Pettygrew, "whereon the said Judge Walton now resides." 81 Clearly, in 1792, Walton was living on the Pettygrew/Holmes land that had been purchased a year earlier in the name of Thomas Watkins. This home is probably the same location Walton had referred to six months earlier when he had written Edward Telfair of his recent "establishment above the Town," which is where the new tract was located. 82
Apparently, it was during the interval between 1791 and 1793 that Walton built the house that is called "Meadow Garden" on this land. By February 1793, less than six months ~fte~ the boundary agreement with Carnes, Walton was ident~fying himself'on legal papers as "George Walton of Meadow Garden." 83
On May 16, 1794, there was another conveyance of this land that further complicates the question of ownership but helps illuminate Walton's machinations as he struggled to protect his home
from seizure by creditors. In this 1794 deed, Thomas Watkins, who had become gravely ill, conveyed the land to John Habersham and Anderson Watkins. Habersham and Anderson Watkins were to act as trustees for young George Walton, Thomas's godson. 84 (The elder Walton was related through his wife to John Habersham; Anderson Watkins was another of the four nephews. 85 )
Joseph Clay's fears that Walton might put his property "out of the way" had actually been realized even before Clay had expressed them. 86 "Meadow Garden" was not legally Walton's house, but the property of Walton's son, held by two trustees. In the 1795 "College Hill'' letter, Walton wrote to these trustees, Watkins and Habersham, instructing them "to take possession of Meadow Garden as trustees of my sons under the deed of Thomas Watkins for that purpose, and to do therewith for the objects of said trust as you in your discretion shall see fit and proper. 87 Walton's entry of the "College Hill" letter into the deed books, which on first reading seemed a very peculiar action, is more understandable in view of his complex effort to save "Meadow Garden" from seizure by the courts.
Whether Walton actually evacuated "Meadow Garden" after writing the letter cannot be determined from the information at hand. In N6vember 1795, Governor Mathews appointed Walton to the United States Senate, to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of James Jackson~ who had returned to Geor,ia to fight the legislaiure's sale of the Yazoo lands. Walton served for the remaining months of that congressional session, but was not reappointed by
the state legislature. 88 It is not certain where Walton lived upon his return from
Philadelphia, but it is apparent that within a short time, he was back at "Meadow Garden." There are several small pieces of information which connect Walton with "Meadow Garden" in 1798. A notice in the Augusta Chronicle for the sale of an adjacent tract identified the advertised land as "lying back of Augusta, adjoining the lands of George Walton, Esquire." 89 On the fragmentary tax digest (ca. 1798) Walton paid taxes for his son on one hundred and twenty acres "near Augusta," apparently the "Meadow Garden" tract.90 (Although originally granted to James Pettygrew as one hundred acres, the tract was resurveyed and determined to comprise one hundred and twenty acres. 91 ) Again in 1800, Walton paid taxes for his son on a one hundred and twenty acre tract "near Augusta." 92 Walton also identified himself in a trust deed in 1801 and a letter in 1802 as "George Walton of Meadow Garden." 93
Walton died on February 2, 1804, "at his seat near Augusta." 94 The Augusta Chronicle does not specifically identify that "seat" as "Meadow Garden," but C. C. Jones, Jr., who lived in Augusta and knew its history well, wrote in 1891 that Walton died at ''Meadow Garden.'' 95 The announcement of Walton's death in the Augusta paper, however, did inform the citizens that the "funeral procession" would proceed "from Meadow Garden, through town." 96
After Walton died his son continued living at "Meadow Garden," but apparently the younger Walton enjoyed no better financial success than his father. 97 In 1812, young Walton sold the property
to Barna McKinne. 98 Later, McKinne suffered financial reversals, and in 1833, "Meadow Garden" was sold to Green B. Marshall. 99
Although the early ownership records are somewhat confused by the different trust arrangements, there is a continuity to the accounts about Walton's connection with "Meadow Garden" that does not exist for the Harper house. For instance, the Augusta Chronicle for November 12, 1846, in discussing the Augusta canal which lies adjacent to "Meadow Garden," referred to the house as formerly the home of George Walton. 100 Robert Walton, who was born in 1791 and lived until 1870, was a nephew of George Walton and would have known him. According to his grandson, Robert Walton Robertson, late in his life Robert Walton had pointed out "Meadow Garden" to the boy as being George's home. 101
In 1892, about forty years before the claims about "College Hill" began to be published, Mrs. Hattie Gould Jefferies of the Augusta chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution began a campaign to restore and preserve "Meadow Garden" as a monument to Walton. Her campaign succeeded after almost ten years of effort, and in 1901, "Meadow Garden'' was formally opened to the publie. 102 The people of nineteenth century. Augusta clearly considered the George Walton home to be "Meadow Garden."
Walton's Last Days
Walton's position in the community was a unique one in the years before his death. He continued in public service as a superior court judge, and apparently he was highly respected by the
community. Although there are also some indications that he was perhaps too affected with a sense of his own importance, 103 most Augustans appear to have regarded him as one of the great old patriots of a heroic age and to have singled him out for special notice. For instance, at an 1804 July 4 celebration in Richmond County, Walton presided over the festivities as "the President." After he "retired" from the ceremonies, an additional toast was offered by the celebrants to "Judge Walton, the patriot of '76." 104 In the Augusta Chronicle between 1790 and 1805, George Washington was the only person whose death received greater notice than Walton's. Even James Jackson, at a time when he was at odds with Walton over the Yazoo land sale and was locked in a bitter conflict with Walton's nephew, wrote that "I respect him still.
But Walton also was a man of questionable character to many people. His relatives in Augusta formed part of the nucleus of the Federalist Party in Georgia, drawing to the entire family accusations of aristocratic pretensions and undemocratic attitudes. 106 The memory of the Mcintosh episode was occasionally revived, 107 and Walton was continually enmeshed in litigation relating to his financial problems. 108 He was never elected to major public office by popular vote, though it must be pointed out in fairness that most of the important officials in the state were appointed by the legislature, i.e., the governor, superior court judges, and the United States senators. The only political contest during this time which provides an index to Walton's
popularity was th~ vote for presidential electors in 1796, a contest in which Walton placed sixth in the statewide voting. 109
It is probable that his financial problems ~lso caused him considerable embarrassment. An account has survived of one of Walton's arguments about money that illuminates the events surrounding his death with a special pathos. Thomas Flournoy was an Augusta attorney who had handled a suit for $55 against Walton, which Flournoy won along with the court costs and fees. Walton did not make the payment, but Flournoy was reluctant to press him and assumed that Walton would pay up whenever the necessity arose. 110
After the lapse of a few years, Flournoy was directed by his client, who did not live in Augusta, to secure the money from Walton. But Walton s~urned Flournoy 1 s efforts at collecting. Then, according to Flournoy, Walton sent his son to Flournoy with only the lawyer's fee. Flournoy stated that he understood Walton to mean that "if I could collect my fee, I should be indifferent as to the interest of my client.'' Floutnoy was offended to the point of rage by this impropriety, and after he indicated his shock to Walton, Walton reacted to Flournoy with haughty coolness, continuing to avoid payment. There was another round of clashes involving the sh.eriff before Walton finally paid the claim. 111
Soon afterward, Walton withheld another payment to Flournoy for a small debt, accusing Flournoy of trying to overcharge him. Flournoy approached Walton concerning the accusation, but Walton only replied that, "My son said so, he is dead.'' The son, Thomas
Camber Walton, had recently been admitted to the bar and had been a young man of great promise before his unexpected death in midDecember 1803. Apparently this loss disturbed Walton profoundly.. Walton's own obitu~ry less than two months later mentioned that the recent death of his son was thought to have hastened the father's demise, noting that Walton had declined remarkably since the young man's death. 112
Flournoy, however, felt his reputation slandered by W~lton's accusation and in a letter to Walton threatened to call for a "public investigation." Were it not for "your silvered locks, your bodily infirmatives [sic], & the late distress of your family;" Flournoy wrote to Walton, he would demand "that satisfaction which one injured & insulted gentleman has by the laws of honor a right to require of another.'' Flournoy threatened to expose Walton and ~emanded that he resign as superior court judge.ll2
After Walton's death, the pathos was compounded by Walton's nephew, John Carter Walton. Young John Walton confronted Flournoy with the announcement that he placed himself "in the situation of my deceasd friend.'' They met on the South Carolina side of the Savannah River, and, as Flournoy reco~ded in his papers, "We met. We fought. Walton fell." This third Walton death within the space of a few months appears to have ended the tragedy.113 Ironically, Flournoy was later that year appointed to the board of commissioners of Richmond Academy as one of the two men selected to fill the vacancies caused by the deat~ of Walton and
the resignation of another member.114
There is no conclusive proof that Walton did not build and live in the Harper house. Walton's business aff~irs were so convoluted and confused that his contemporaries did not know what property he owned. Perhaps new information will surface later and resolve all the unanswered questions. But the major sources have been examined, and although the evidence may not be conclusive, it forms a powerful case against Walton's ownership of the Harper house.
Walton appears to have conveyed the land on which the Harper house rests to Thomas Cumming soon after he acquired i~. For the years of Walton's life when he was supposed to have lived at "College Hill," Henry Turknett paid the taxes on the land. In fact, Turknett stated in 1807 that he himself had taken up the land "many years" earlier. For the entire nineteenth century the property was known as the "Turknett Springs Tract." The lot on which the Harper ho~s~ is located was divided off from this larger tract and was purchased in 1832 by Robert Campbell, who called his residence there "Fairview." This name was used until thesequence of events in the 1920's whi6h precipitated the change from "Fairview" to "College Hill." The name "College Hill" itself seems to be a mistake, having originally referred not to a house, but to a section of land on the sand hills near Augusta.
Walton did own a small summer house on the sand hills, but
this house was located in Summerville, nearly a mile from the Harper house, in a . community that Walton was attempting to develop. It is also clear that "Meadow Garden" is the principal house associated with Walton in his own mind and in the minds of most of his associates during his later life. From the time of Walton's death, "Meadow Garden" has been known to Augustans and to Georgians as "the home of George Walton," a recognition that the physically more impressive Harper house seems not to have received until the recent publications about its claims.
This researcher is reluctant to submit a report that is not absolutely conclusive, but to delay the report indefinitely in hopes of a certainty that may never be achieved would be even more unsatisfactory. As is apparent, the researcher does not think that George Walton built or lived in the Harper house. The house is attractive, but the many doubts about Walton's connection with the property, in addition to an already existing Walton house that has a much stronger claim to associations with Walton's life, would seem to render the property of questionable value for historic preservation.
Perhaps it ~ight be a better service to Georgians to ask how . "Meadow Garden" might be assisted by State agencies. The preserva tion of "Meadow Garden" has en tailed great local e.f fort for over eighty years, and support of this effort could encourage and strengthen the service which these Augustans already provide. Also, to
set up another house as "the Walton home" might pe taken as a com-
peting effort by the State against this local work and would certainly involve much duplication of effort. Such an undertaking in view of the questionable historical status of the Harper house and the unquestionable costs seems unadvisable to thi~ iesearcher.
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RES\OENCES \N AUGUSTA
1A biography of Walton has not been published. This brief account is taken from secondary sources merely for the general orientation of a reader unfamiliar with this period of Georgia history. Not every fact in this and the following paragraph has been checked for accuracy. For two brief sketches of Walton's life, see Lucian Lamar Knight, Reminiscences .2.!_ Famous Georgians, Vol. II (Atlanta: Franklin Turner Company, 1908), pp. 43-66; and Charles C. Jones, Jr., Biographical Sketches!. the Delegates from Georgia .!2_ the Continental Congress (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1891), pp. 168-198.
2The standard genealogical account of the Walton family is contained in Grace G. Davidson's Records of Richmond County, Vol. II
of Historical Collection of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters i the
American Revolution (Athens, Georgia: The McGregor Co., 1929), pp. 329-40.
3Jones, Biographical Sketches, pp. 168-198; Knight, Reminiscences, pp. 43-66; and Kenneth Coleman, American Revolution in Geor~' 1763-1798 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1958), p. 194.
4Mr. J. Walker Harper, an Augusta attorney and the nephew of Miss Nell Harper, has written an abstract of the sequence of title changes for the H~rper house. These changes are clear and easily traceable from the acquisition of the property by the Harper family in 1886 back to Henry Turknett's purchase in 1806. This researcher has also retraced these title changes independently of Mr. Harper's work. Actually, the sequence of owners from Turknett to James Harper was recounted in the 1886 conveyance to Harper (see, Richmond County Deed Book 3T, pp. 705-7 [available at the Georgia Department of Archives and History, hereinafter referred to as G. D. A. H., on microf~lm, drawer 139, box 16]). A photostatic copy of the deed is included in the appended papers of this report.
5Ibid. The only error of fact this researcher noted in Mr. Harper~bstract was an apparent typographical one which identified this book as 3P. It should be noted that Mr. Harper has been generous and open with his help to this researcher, b~t has in no way tried to impose his interpretation, which does differ from the one presented here.
6Richmond County Deed Book 3E, p. 348 (microfilm, G. D. A. H.,
7Richmond Cpunty Ordinary, Inventory i Estates Book K, pp.
712-26 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 48/56).
8Personal interview by Ken Thomas of the Historic Preservation Section of the Department of Natural Resources and this researcher, July 11, 1974.
9Richmond County Deed B6ok V, pp. 99-101 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/15). The plati'Sin Deed Book 3T, p. 707. (All deed books referred to hereafter will be Richmond County unless otherwise noted.)
10Deed Book V, pp. 99-101.
11 Deed Book ~' p. 566 (microfilm, G. D. A. H' 142/51). 12 Deed Book g_, pp. 402-3 (microfilm, G. D. A. H' 138/11).
21Deed Book K, p. 310. Mr. Dasher of the o~fice of the Clerk of the Chatham County Superior Court has unfortunately not been able to locate any loose pape~s ~onnected with this suit. The possibility of further information from the source is the one plausible lead that has not been fully explored. This researcher intends to search for any such papers in a forth~oming trip to Savannah.
22Augusta Chronicle, September 25, 1802, p. 2.
23Deed Book C, pp. 95-6 and Deed Book S, pp, 175-6. More will be explained about "the Village" later~this report in the section on Summerville.
24 Deed Book K, pp. 410-11. More will be said about the Carnes lot in the section of this report on the name "College Hill."
25Richmond County Tax Digest, 1795, Bugg's district (microfilm, G. D. A. H. , 6 6/ 79)
26walton had purchased a tract of 250 acres which he had divided and was selling in small lots. This development by Walton became the center of Summerville and will be discussed in the section on that subject. The 230 acres returned would indicate that at that time Walton had only sold a few lots.
27 For a partial explanation of this property, see Deed Book D, pp. 7-9 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/1).
28Tax Digest, 1795, Bugg's district.
29 Richmond County Tax Digest, Stiles' district (undated, ca. 1798) (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 40/72).
30Ibid. Cupboard Creek is the stream that drains the land on which the Harper house and lower Summerville are located, although the drainage patterns have been altered somewhat by the growth of Augusta.
31Richmond County Tax Digest, 1800, Lacey's district (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 186/5).
32Richmond County Tax Digest, 1807, district 5 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 40/72).
33Tax Digest, 1800, Lacey's district; for Bugg's plat, see Plat Book_!!, p . 291.
34Tax Digest, 1800, McTyeire's district. Walton had, for example, received iwo grants of fifty acres each for land in Richmond County including "the Rocks" (Plat Book L, p. 290).
35Deed Book E, pp. 346-7 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/2). See photostatic copy in the appended papers of this report.
36Interview, July 11, 1974.
38Jones, Sketches, p. 192.
39see, for example, Augusta Unit of the Federal Writer's Project in Georgia, Works Progress Administration, Augusta (Augusta: Tidwell Printirii Supply Co., 1938), p. 142. This work quotes the 1795 "College Hill" letter, states that the Harpers are "descendants of Walton," and proceeds to enlarge upon th~ house's "fine colonial detail," etc. Another example of this spreading publicity is a pamphlet com~iled by the Arts Committee of the Junior League of Augusta, Georgia called "Augusta Yesterday and Today" (1951, second edition). In a section on "The Hill's Old Homes," Jacob Lowrey speculates as to whether Walton had built the porch balustrade when he built the house or whether Walton had added it later. (Mr. Lowrey was more accurate on some other details than some of the earlier writers.)
It should also be noted here that one of the earliest descriptions of the sand hill houses makes no reference to "College Hill." Mary G. Cumming wrote a short book on Augusta in 1926 (reprinted in 1951 by the Walton Printing Company of Augusta) entitled Two
Centuries i Augusta. She quoted a letter written by Elizabeth
Davies who had been born there in 1812. Mrs. Davies' letter described the early inhabitants of the hill and their homes--Governor Milledge, Oswall Eve, John Forsythe, and many others. There was no reference to a Walton residence (Oswall Eve had by that time bought Walton's summer home, which will be discussed later) or to "College Hill." Mrs. Davies did say that, "these houses were all plain, frame residences and the families generally occupied them only for a few of the warm summer months," a description that does not easily fit the Harper house, but that is consistent with what we know of Walton's residence at "Meadow Garden" in Augusta. See also Edward J. Cashin, "The Background of Summerville," Augusta Chronicle, August 19, 1973, section D.
40 Tax Digest, Wilcox's district (..!. 1798).
41Tax Digest, 1800, Lacey's district.
42Augusta Chronicle, May 12, 1798, p. 2. Although the last name had various spellings in different places, it will be spelled here as it was in the newspaper.
43Tax Digest, 1807, district 5. Philip Clayton married Miss Eliza Carnes (see Warren, Marriages, p. 21). It .shoul4 be noted that one of the reasons the Carnes property was not located in the deed books is that it apparently has remained in the possession of the family (se~ Junior League, Augusta Yesterday, pp. 40-1). Walton's connectiori with this Carnes lot will be explained later in this section.
44Richmond County Tax Digest, 1809, district 5 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 40/72).
45Richmond County Tax Digest, 1816, district 5 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 40/72).
46Gazette of the State i Georgia (Savannah), April 15, 1784,
p. 1. I am indebted to Dr. Edward Cashion of Augusta College for mentioning to me Walton's interest in locating a college near Augusta.
47 see, for example, Sandwich's notice in the Augusta Chronicle, July 19, 18 00, p. 2. Sandwich called his school "Mt. Salubrity" because of "the advantages of this situation." See also Cumming, Two Centuries, p. 56.
4 8Deed Book L, p. 8 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/6). See appendix for~opy of the deed.
49Deed Book B2, pp. 106-7, 111-2.
50Deed Book f, pp. 95-9 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/1).
51 A copy was furnished to me by Mr. J. Walker Harper, who received his copy from Mr. Joseph Cumming. Mr. Cumming is a descendant of the same Thomas Cumming who had been involved in the sale of the "Turknett Spring Tract" in 1789 and 1807. Thomas Cumming later owned land on the sand hills and built himself a home there (see Cumming, Two Centuries, p. 56, and Deed Book G, pp. 60910 [microfilm, G. D.--:A:" H., 138/4]). A copy of the plan-of Summerville is included in the appended papers of this report.
52need Book C, pp. 95-9.
53see the lneation references in the indexes to the Richmond County deed books for 1787-1811 and 1811-42 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 139/6 & 7), passim.
54Deed Book L, p. 8.
55 see, for example, Deed Book L, p. 328-9.
56Deed Book L, p. 8.
5 7Deed Book~ pp. 410-11. See notes 25 and 26, supra, for details about the 230 acres and note 42 about the McTyeir lot.
58Deed Book K, p. 362.
59The first excellent study of this episode was Alexander A. Lawrence's ''General Lachlan Mcintosh and His Suspension from Continental Command During the Revolution," Georgia Historical
Quarterly, XXXVIII (June, 1954), 101-41. See also: Harvey H. Jackson, "GeneraL Lachlan Mcintosh, 1727-1806: A Biography" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, University of Georgia, 1973); George R. Lamplugh, "Politics on the Periphery: Factions and Parties in Georgia, 1776-1806" (unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Emory University, 1973); Coleman, Revolution, pp. 157-9, 194-5; and Edward J. Cashin, "'The Famous Colonel Wells': Factionalism in Revolutionary Georgia," Georgia Historical Quarterly, LVIII (1974, supplement), 137~156.
60Lilla M. Hawes, ed., Lachlan Mcintosh Papers in the Univer-
~ i Georgia Libraries (Athens: University of Georgia Press,
1968), pp. 58-63. William, Junior, was Lachlan's nephew.
6lsee, for example, the Augusta Chronicle, May 18, 1799, p. 3. Members of the grand jury of Jefferson County signed a statement that Walton was using the court for "party" purposes and had made
an accusation against James Jackson that was "a willful & malicious
falsehood .. Consistent with the Judge's previous behavior.''
62For some indications of Walton's public life during this period, especially in events leading up to the Revolution, see George White, Historical Collections of Georgia (New York: Rudney
& Russell, Publishers, 1854), passim.
63Davidson, Richmond County, pp. 329-40, and Knight, Reminiscences, pp. 44-66.
64 Chatham County: Deed Book A, pp. 211-23; Deed Book D, pp. 21-2; Deed Book F, pp. 1~0~82-5; Deed Book ~p:-152~4, 415, 910 (some of this information kindly supplied me by Mrs. Lilla Hawes of the Georgia Historical Society).
65Deed Book B2, p. 112.
66George Walton to Edward Telfair, February 26, 1792, Duke University, Perkins Library, Edward Telfair Papers.
68 I will not try to inventory all the claims, but for some representative ~xamples from the court records, see: Chatham County Superior Court Judgement Docket, 1782-1837 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 20/54), pp. 203, 263-4, 267, 346; Chatham County Superior Court Minutes, 1802 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 68/34). p. 314; Richmond County Superior Court Minute Book 5 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 141/42), pp. 174, 380; Richmond County Minute Book~ (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 141}42), pp. 7, 36, 99, 125, 126; Richmond County Minute Book 7, p. 282 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 141/43). In reference to the many ~echniques for avoidance which were all "too common" according to the lawyer of one creditor, see: Seaborn Jones to Edward Telfair, August 10, 1794, Georgia Historical Society,
Telfair Papers; Joseph Clay to Seaborn Jones, March 10, 1798 and March 20, 1801, Georgia Historical Society, Joseph Clay Papers; Joseph Clay Letterbook, vol. 5, July 23, 1797, Georgia Historical Society. Complaints against Walton for not paying debts are also found outside of court records, see: Colonial Records of Georgia, vol. 39 (typescript, G. D. A. H.), p. 57; Account Book,box 5, Georgia Historical Society, Edward Telfair Papers; letter of John Houston, April 30, 1791, Duke University, Perkins Library, John Houston Papers; Joseph Clay to Edward Telfair, June 2, 1793, Duke University, Perkins Library, Edward Telfair Papers; Joseph Clay Letterbook, vol. 5, November 3, 1797, Georgia Historical Society. Examples have already been given of some of Walton's land that was seized to satisfy creditors. The seizures extended to slaves, see: Augusta Chronicle, September 2, 1797, p. 1; Deed Book G, p. 80; Richmond County Superior Court Minute Book ~' p. 243. One of the most remarkable of all the Walton papers resulted from an attempt Walton made in 1801 to put his remaining slaves in a trust for his wife and children. Walton wrote a letter of trust explaining many circumstartces of his marriage and what happened to his family during the Revolution, etc., in an effort to show that the slaves were sole~y the property of his wife and had never been in his possession, Deed Book H, pp. 168-71 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/5). Walton even had to request advances on his salary as a judge to pay his creditors (George Walton to the Governor, November 16, 1790, Duke University, Perkins Library, George Walton
69 see, for example, Thomas Flournoy's frustration in a letter of January 22, 1804, University of Michigan, William L. Clements Library, Thomas Flournoy Papers.
70Joseph Clay to Thomas Cumming, September 4, 1795, Letterbook, vol. 5, Georgia Historical Society.
7 2see, for example, the Carnes lot in Summerville, footnote 24, supra. Not only did Walton die intestate, there is also no record of any inventory of Walton's estate in the cOurt of the ordinary of the county.
73Deed Book L, p. 8.
74 Augusta Chr~nicle, May 21, 1791, p. 3. It is ~nlikely that George Washington . could have visited Walton at "Meadow Garden." Washington visit~d Augusta in May, 1791, when the property was still part of the estate of David Holmes. It was not sold until June, 1791. The same issue of the paper that described Washington's visit to Augusta in May carried the announcement of the impending sheriff's sale slated for June. The original plat is in Plat Book M, p. 13, Georgia Surveyor General Department.
75o e e d Book E, pp . 14- 6 .
76Lucian Lamar Knight, The Waltons f Virginia and Georgia
(typescript copy, G. D. A. H, 1920), p. 46, and passim.
77Deed Book E, pp. 14-5.
78 chatham Cdunty Deed Book H, p. 546 (microfilm, G. D. A. H.,
79 Deed Book E, pp. 14-5.
80Deed Book E, p. 18.
81Deed Book D, pp. 7-8.
8 2walton to Telfair, February 26, 1792. Peter Carnes had purchased the adjoining Barnard tract (original survey in Plat Book M, p. 12; sale to Carnes in Deed Book G, pp. 189-92).-Charles G. Cordle wrote a report on this "Meadow Garden at Augusta, Georgia.'' Mr. Cordle in my judgement was thrown somewhat by the ~College HLll'' letter, but nevertheless, his factual information about "Meadow Garden" appears accurate. See also the book in the D. A. R. Collection of the G. D. A. H. called Meadow Garden and Richmond County Histories, pp. 1-26, which has some useful information despite its many inaccuracies.
83Deed Book D, p. 490; letter of George Walton to Gov. Mathews, March 2~7~G: D. A. H., George Walton Papers (file II, pre1800). The hou~e is much more modest than the Harper house. An earlier picture is included in William Rotch Ware's The Georgian Period (New York: U. P. c. Book Company, Inc., 1923), p. 259 (see appendix).
84 Deed Book~' pp. 17-9.
85John Habersham had married Nancy Camber, the sister of Walton's wife Dorothy (Warren, Marriages, p. 45). On Watkins, see note 76, supra.
86see note 70, supra.
87Deed Book E, pp. 346-7.
88Augusta Chronicle, November 14, 1795, p. 3, and November 21, 1795, p. 2. P~ofessor Edward Cashin of Augusta College recalls having seen a letter that Walton wrote from Philadelphia during this time, in part bemoaning the irresistable attraction which the lottery there had for him. Neither Professor Cashin nor I have been able to locate the letter, but it would h'lp to explain further Walton's continual financial problems.
89Augusta Chronicle, July 21, 1798, p. 4.
9Tax Digest (.l!_. 1798), Stiles' district, pp. 24-5.
91 Deed Book~' pp. 188-9 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138 17).
92 Tax Digest~ 1800, McTyeire's district, p. 36.
93 Deed Book H, pp. 168-71 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/5); George Walton to Isaac Marion, July 12, 1802, Duke University, Perkins L~brary, George Walton Papers.
94Augusta Chronicle, February 4, 1804, p. 3; also, Columbian Museum and Savannah Advertiser, February 11, 1804, p. 3.
95Jones, Sketches, p. 193.
96Augusta Chronicle, February 4, 1804, p. 3.
97see, for example: Richmond County Superior Court Writ
Book, 1807-11, pp. 481-2, 428-30 (microfilm, G. D. A. H.,l45/50);
Deed Book N, p. 293 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 138/8); Deed BookS,
pp:-543-4 (microfilm, G. D. A. H., 142/51).
98 Deed Book . ~, pp. 251-2.
99Deed Book V., pp. 444-5.
10Augusta hronicle, November 12, 1846 (I am indebted to Emma Jane Neelley of the Historic Preservation Section of the D. N. R. for pointirig out this reference to me).
101Recounted in Knight, Waltons, p. 38.
102Augusta D. A. R., Meadow Garden, pp. 1-25.
103Augusta Chronicle, June 4, 1791 (supplement). The charge does not mention Walton's name, but the references that accompany the charge appea~ to fit Walton and no one else.
104Augusta Ch~onicle, July 9, 1803, p. 3. See also the issues: July 10, 1802, p. 2; October 23, 1802, p. 3; March 9, 1799, p. 3; March 3, 1798, p. 1; December 1, 1798, p. 2; December 16, 1797, p. 3; August 29, 1795, p. 3.
105Harriet M. Salley, Correspondence of John Milledge, Gover!1!. of Georgia (Columbia, S. C.: The State Commercial Printing Company, 1949), p. 39.
106 Robert G~ narper to Seaborn Jones, January 4, 1797, Duke University, Perki~s Library, Seaborn Jones Papers; also, Lamplugh, "Politics on the :Periphery," passim; also, George Walker to George
Sibbald, September 6, 1803, Library of Congress, Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection, George Walker Papers.
107see note 61, supra.
108see note 68, supra.
109Augusta Chronicle, December 17, 1796, p. 4. Walton received 2357 votes in comparison to James Jackson's total of 6200, which was the highest vote.
110rhe following discussion is pieced together from the Thomas Flournoy Papers, University of Michigan, William ~. Clements Library.
111 Ibid. 112 Ibid. 113 Ibid. 114salley, Milledge, p. 120.