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In Their Own Words

April 12, 1822

Primitive House Described

New England lawyer Jeremiah Evarts wrote in his diary during a visit to Georgia:

“I rode to Jacksonborough to breakfast. This is the first village on the road from Savannah, and it contains not more than ten houses, all miserable.

“Then passed on to the private house of a man named Burke, who had recently been three years sheriff of Burke County. Reached this place just at dark, in the midst of a heavy shower, had calculated to go a mile farther to a house probably more decent, but the darkness, the thunder and lightning and rain and the bad road prevent [it]. Sheriff Burke, though possessed of a large plantation and some slaves, lives in a house having only one room, and that without windows or any place cut for windows. There are two doors, opposite to each other. And when more light is wanted than descends the chimney, one of the doors must be opened. The house is about thirty feet long and twenty wide, the chimney is one end and the sides made of square hewn pine timber, with battens nailed over the cracks. No floor or ceiling above, but the eye rests on a shingled roof. No Cupboard or closet or shelves of any kind. Four beds in the room, of which three contained a considerable family of both sexes and al ages. The fourth bed was for me. A little Negro slept under a bench. Yet this house is a palace compared with the habitations of the first settlers!”

Source: Edward J. Cashin S (ed.), A Wilderness Still the Cradle of Nature: Frontier Georgia (Savannah, Beehive Press, 1994), pp. 64-65.