Donated and built by John Walt, this was the meeting place of the International Free & Accepted Masons and Order of the Eastern Star, known as Johnson Lodge No. 37. It was an African-American lodge. A list of Walthourville’s historic resources in the most recent Liberty County Joint Comprehensive Plan dates it to circa 1845, but I believe this to be an error. If it was originally a white lodge, it could date to the antebellum era, but the style of construction doesn’t support that date. Furthermore, its African-American association precludes that date as such organizations and gathering places for blacks were illegal at the time. My guess is that it was built in the late 1800s. Whatever its history, it’s an important landmark and should be preserved.
Category Archives: Walthourville GA
This neighborhood grocery was owned by Ralph Waldo Quarterman, a leading African-American citizen of Liberty County and founder of the local branch of the NAACP. I believe this area was once part of Allenhurst but changing boundaries now place it in Walthourville. His home is visible to the right of the store.
A marker placed by the Liberty County Historical Society in 2003 notes: Founded in 1809, the North Newport Baptist Church has had several homes over the years. In 1923, the Church moved to this location and in 1952 the Church voted and renamed the church Walthourville Baptist Church. The original Church did not have a building of its own, so it shared facilities with the Sunbury Baptist Church. In 1864 the church building was burnt by General Sherman’s army as a signal for gunboats anchored in the channel. Before the building was burnt, the original Bible of the North Newport church was saved by members of the church.The present sanctuary was built in 1923. This building has two unique features; solid brick walls and a theater style floor made of heart pine. In 2000 the original tray ceiling and pine floor were restored.
I identified this as the Miller House, using a photograph in Virginia Fraser Evans’s Liberty County: A Pictorial History. Colonel Miller was a Confederate veteran associated with the Liberty Independent Troop and one of the most prominent members of the community, serving as a leader in the Walthourville Presbyterian Church. It is also known as the Miller-Dryden House.
Jonell Blitch notes that in the 1950’s this was a general store that sold dry goods and linens and home delivery groceries. You could run monthly tabs to buy needed supplies. [It was] owned and operated by Jimmy and Betty Blitch. I believe Wallace and Johnny Mallard were earlier owners. It also served as the Walthourville post office.