McDuffie County History

The New Georgia Encyclopedia - McDuffie County
GeorgiaInfo - McDuffie County Courthouse & History
GeorgiaInfo - McDuffie County Historical Maps
GeorgiaInfo - McDuffie County Place Names
McDuffie County History in Georgia USGW Archives
Historical Markers
Usry Plantation House
This Marker is located in front of the historic Usry Plantation House On Millage Street close to downtown Thomson.

The house is a beautifully preserved NeoClassic plantation house surrounded by gardens and a white wooden fence. A treasure located in the heart of town. Usry House built by William Usry about 1795 as the seat of his extensive cotton plantations. Usry House became the center of Antebellum social activity in this region . In its parlor the Goodrich Usry Railroad was conceived and Lafayette reputedly hosted. Architecturally it is along Neoclassical lines and its suspended balcony is one of the largest in the south. The builder of Usry House was a greatgrandson of Sir Robert Usry of England, founder of the family in America. Its owner is a seventh generation grandson of the builder. (National Register of Historic Places)
Submitted by James Malone
Home of Tom Watson
This marker is located in front of the home of Thomas Watson. From I-20 on Washington Road (Main Street) in Thomson turn right onto Tom Watson Way, right before a church and the County courthouse. As you make the right about a block down on the right is the home and the marker.
Home of Thomas E. Watson (1856 - 1922) After passing the state Bar in 1876, native Thomas E. Watson returned to Thomson and lived in this house with his family from 1881 to 1900. In his first floor office Watson began his law and writing career and entered politics. He served in the Georgia House (1882), U.S. Congress (1890-92), and the U.S. Senate (1920-22). He was nominated for Vice President on the Populist Party ticket with William Jennings Bryan in 1896. Here Watson authored the two volume Story of France and a biography of Napolean. In a career often marked by controversy, he was best known as the "Father of Rural Free Delivery."   Submitted by Scott Herron
McDuffie County  
This marker is located at the courthouse in Thomson, Ga. in McDuffie County. It is to the left of the front of the courthouse near the parking lot.
McDuffie County was created by Act of Oct. 18, 1870 from Columbia and Warren Counties. It was named for George McDuffie (1788 - 1851). Born in Columbia County (now Warren County, Ga.) he became a political leader in S. C. He was a Maj. Gen. of Militia, Congressman, Governor and Senator. A political sponsor of Calhoun, he was a notable orator. First Officers of McDuffie County, commissioned Feb. 11, 1871, were: A.B. Thrasher, Ord: J.T. Stovall, Sheriff: R.H. Pearce, Clk. Sup. Ct; J.D. Montgomery, Tax Rec; H.W. Young, Tax Col; John R. Wilson, Sur; B.E. Pearce, Treas; R.T. Blanchard, Coroner. 094-2 Georgia Historical Commission   Submitted by
Scott Herron
Senator Thomas E. Watson, "Sage of Hickory Hill"  
This marker is located right in front of the McDuffie County Courthouse on Washington Road (Main Street).
Born near Thomson, Sept 5, 1856. Thomas Edward Watson, gifted writer, eloquent speaker and longtime political leader of Georgia, spent most of his life in this section. His home "Hickory Hill" bought and remodeled extensively by Sen. Watson, has a long tradition of hospitality and gracious living. Sen. Watson, decended from Quaker families that settled near here in 1768, attended Mercer University, taught school, practiced law in Screven County and returned to Thomson as a young lawyer in 1876. In 1878 he married Georgia Durham of Thomson. After serving in the Georgia Legislature and becoming known as a friend of the farmer, he was elected to Congress on the Farmers Alliance ticket in 1890. There he introduced the resolution that led to Rural Free Delivery. After becoming a member of the Populist Party, he was Populist candidate for Vice President in 1896 and for President in 1904 and 1908. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1921 until his death in Washington Sept. 26, 1922. A prolific writer, Senator Watson edited several papers and magazines and wrote a number of books. 094-3 Georgia Historical Commission 1956   Submitted by Scott Herron
The Rock House
This monument is located off Main Street in Thomson, Ga. Turn right off of Main Street onto Tom Watson Way. At the fork in the road bear right. About a block down turn left onto Twin Oaks Road. About a mile down, the road will turn into a dirt road. Follow the dirt road to a stop sign and go straight. The house is about 3/10 of a mile past the stop sign on the right side of the road.
This 18th century dwelling is the only surviving house associated with the Colonial Wrightsboro Settlement (1768). Its builder, Thomas Ansley, used weathered granite, quarried in its natural form from the nearby geographic fall line ads building material. The granite, along with pine timbers and cypress shingles gave the house a distinctive Georgia character. The architectural atyle of the Rock House is similar to stone homes in the Delaware Valley of New Jersey, from which Ansley migrated. It is the earliest dwelling in Georgia with its original architectural form intact. Ownership of the Rock House passed to Nicholas C. Bacon in the 1840's and in the 1880's to the Johnson family who maintained it as a working plantation until the 20th Century. Johnson heirs Effie Johnson Usry and Mary Ruth Johnson McNeill gave the house to the Wrightsboro Quaker Community Foundation, Inc. in 1955, who restored the house in 1981. 094-9 Georgia Historical Commission 1990   Submitted by Scott Herron
The Birthplace of George McDuffie  
This marker is located in George McDuffie Road. From I-20 go down Main Street towards Wrens. At the red light at the Warrenton Highway turn left. Go 3 miles and turn right onto George McDuffie Road. Go about 1/4 mile and marker will be on the left side of the road in someone's front yard.
From these humble and obscure Georgia pinelands assisted by the plantation owning South Carolina Calhoun's, George McDuffie rose to become Congressman, Senator, and Governor of South Carolina. McDuffies political prominence involved him in a renowned political dispute when his loyalty to John C. Calhoun brought on a series of duels with Col. William Cumming of Augusta who supported William H. Crawford of Georgia, Calhoun's rival for the Presidency. "This feud has become a sort of historical incident" John Quincy Adams confided to his diary regarding the McDuffie-Cumming duels which involved among others, Calhoun and Crawford; President James Monroe, who tried to stop the duels; and Richard Henry Wilde, Georgia poet and Congressman, who was implicated by a rumor that he, not Cumming, was the aggrieved party. A series of newspaper articles appeared in 1821 promoting Crawford's candidacy; McDuffies vehement reply caused William Cumming, one of the authors, to challenge him. The dueling preparations, which lasted nearly a year, were complicated by the bitterness of the two men. The principles met four times on the field of honor and shots were exchanged at two of these meetings. McDuffie, native Georgia, but outstanding South Carolinian, carried the distinguished Georgians bullet in his spine for the rest of his life. 94-7 Georgia Historical Commission 1964   Submitted by Scott Herron
This marker is located in the historic Wrightsboro Community. From I-20 turn right onto Main Street towards Washington, Ga. Go two miles and turn left onto Stagecoach Way. At the first stop sign turn right. About a mile down you will enter the old town. 1/4 of a mile from there the Wrightsboro Church is on the left. The marker is in front of the church.
On this site in 1754, Edmund Grey, a pretending Quaker, founded the town of Brandon, named for one of its leaders. In Dec. 1768, Joseph Mattock and Jonathan Sell, Quakers, obtained a grant of 40,000 acres from the Royal Governor, Sir James Wright, revived the town and renamed it Wrightsboro, in his homor. By 1775 over 60 families had settled in the town and 200 in the township-all Quaker. During the Rev- olutionary War the fort here, Fort Wrightsboro, was commanded by Captain Thomas White. John Louis Porter edited the newspaper "The Village Wreathe." Sherwood Roberts kept the inn. 094-5 Georgia Historical Commission 1956    Submitted by Scott Herron
Wrightsboro Methodist Church
This marker is located in the historic Wrightsboro Community. From I-20 turn right onto Main Street towards Washington, Ga. Go two miles and turn left onto Stagecoach Way. At the first stop sign turn right. About a mile down you will enter the old town. 1/4 of a mile from there the Wrightsboro Church is on the left. The marker is in front of the church.
The Wrightsboro Methodist Church of the Thomson Circuit, on the site of the now dead town of Wrightsboro, has been an active organization for over 125 years. In its historic churchyard are buried several veterans of the Revolutionary War and some who died at Gettysburg, Shiloh and Fredericksburg in the War Between the States. The Founders of some of the oldest and most prominant families are buried here. Among them are Theodosius Erwin Massengale, grandfather of St. Elmo Massengale and the ancestors of Bishop Warren A. Candler, Judge John S. Candler and Asa G. Candler. 094-6 Georgia Historical Commission 1956   Submitted by Scott Herron
Bartram Trail
This marker is located in the historic Wrightsboro Community. From I-20 turn right onto Main Street towards Washington, Ga. Go two miles and turn left onto Stagecoach Way. At the first stop sign turn right. About a mile down you will enter the old town. 1/4 of a mile from there the Wrightsboro Church is on the left. The marker is in front of the church.
Deep South Region, William Bartram Trail, Traced 1773 - 1777. 1773 the Treaty of Augusta Bartram visited Wrightsborough. He described the view of high hills and rich vales. He took on supplies. Erected by Azalea District, The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. In cooperation with Deep South Region.
Submitted by Scott Herron
John Smith Watson Homeplace
This marker is located on the Wilson Family Farm at the NE corner of Hwy 78 and Harrison Road. This is just east of Thomson. This farm is very large. Take the gravel road just west of the main house and go toward barns G and H. This is not a Georgia Historical Marker. It is a memorial marker placed by the Wilson family.

This house stood on the site of the large brick house to your right, from 1885 to 1935, when it was moved to this location. John S. Watson (1833-1895) was the great-grandfather of John, James and Bob Wilson. In 1864, after being wounded fighting General Sherman, he was brought home from Macon by his wife and a son. The father of seven children, he is buried next to one of his sons -- U.S. Senator Thomas E. Watson who was the Father of Rural Free Delivery -- in the City Cemetery on Lumpkin Street in Thomson. Others are buried in the family cemetery to your right. There are currently six homes of John S. Watson descendants here on the John S. Watson Homeplace. Burned 05 Aug 1998.   Submitted by Michelle Lewis