Glen Mary Plantation

Hancock County, GA – Glen Mary Plantation has  “WOW” factor when you see it.  It’s currently a restoration project, and as soon as I pulled into the driveway I fell in love with this place!  What does Glen Mary stand for?  It’s “Mary’s Valley” in Scottish…named for the owner’s wife, Mary.

This is a 53 foot square house, 4 rooms up (2 parlors, 2 bedrooms) and 4 rooms down (Dining Room and bedrooms).

Wait – why isn’t the whole house painted white?  Weren’t they all?  Nope.  The raised basement was painted white for a long time, and as they restored this place, under probably 900 layers of paint they found this darker color was the original.

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Built in 1848, this Greek Revival mansion was only owned by two families in a 130 year period – found some old pics of the house, amazing how far it has come along.  Currently under restoration, hope you’ll enjoy learning about this place.

It was originally built by Theophilus Jackson Smith, and named in honor of his wife, Mary Gonder Smith.  TJ Smith makes me feel so lazy – he was a banker, planter, land trader, state senator, state representative, and a judge.   He was quite the successful planter, growing it from 1,500 acres in 1850, to around 2,500 acres by 1860.  Things were rough after the Civil War, and he had to sell Glen Mary.  Old photos of the original owners below (from UGA’s site)

photo-spoils-tjsmithMary Salome Gonder Smith

After the Civil War, the house along with 850 acres was sold for $10,500 to General Ethan Allen Hitchcock.

photo-spoils-hitchcock

General Hitchcock had quite a distinguished career – and in fact was one of two who guarded Lincoln’s body right after his assassination in 1865, and was also the head of the honor guard.  He was struck by a horse after the war, and while he never fully recovered, he married his nurse.

Wait a minute. Ethan Allen?  The furniture store?  Nope, Hitchcock was the grandson of the Revolutionary War patriot, Ethan Allen.  He was born in Vermont, which means he had a strange accent to the local Georgians!  Interestingly, he was quite ill when he bought the house, and put the house solely in his wife’s name so her family could live there after his death.  He died 3 years after moving in.  He was buried at Glen Mary, but was moved to West Point.

His widow and descendants lived in what was described on one site as “genteel poverty” – whatever money they had went to the upkeep of Glen Mary.  By the 1930s it was looking a little tired and had an addition to the back.

photo-hist-1930

By the early 1970s, the house was in the process of restoration.  Here’s an exterior as well as one of the parlors:

Glen Mary Plantation
Glen Mary Plantation (Library of Congress Photo)

Parlor, 1974 NRHP

Check out your first impression in the house…

GM Website

 

 

Here’s the thing – this is an active restoration project.  Owned by Preservation America, Glen Mary Plantation is being restored slowly as the funds allow.  These photos give you an idea of the huge scope of work (from UGA/GM site).

GM

Glen Mary Plantation

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Seeing peeling paint and a leaking roof was sad, but finally they were able to replace the roof on this place!  Restoring and maintaining an old home – you’re NEVER done with it!

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