Jordan Barnes, who was born on April 26th, 1793 in Virginia, moved to Georgia with his brother Gideon Barnes. In 1827, both had acquired land lots totaling 2000 acres each in Central Georgia. The property owned by Gideon became the town of Barnesville. The land owned by Jordan continues to this date to be in a very rural section of the state. Jordan started the construction of the Barnes plantation house in 1828 and the house was completed circa 1832.
"He first engaged in agriculture to which he soon added side enterprises. He kept an inn, smithery, post office and sold goods and general merchandise. The area became known as Barnes Crossroads. He eventually amassed a moderate fortune and was one of the original pioneers in Central Georgia.
[Article edited from The Vindicator - January 20, 1905]
Jordan was married to Mary Ledbetter on December 7th, 1826. He was 33. Mary was 18. The couple had 7 children. The oldest son, William Jordan inherited the family estate upon Jordan’s death in 1868. Jordan was 75. Mary had died also 20 earlier at the age of 58.
Jordan also had a frugal business partner in the amiable person of a better-half who carried the pantry keys, looked closely after the cuisine, the spinning wheels and looms and every other detail of old time housewifery. Those who believe the modern society-club-literary woman to be smarter than her grandmother of a half a century ago display gross ignorance of the real truth. [Rural Georgia] was full of truly intellectual and great women in the better days. They were the women who by intelligent diligence along sensible and practical lines in especially the domestic sphere did most to make the true aristocracy, chivalry, lordliness - general superior greatness that distinguished the South before the civil war. The heads of the house of Barnes were accordant in views, judgment and action, not perhaps because of a singular adaptability, but because they rightly understood the matrimonial relation in taking counsel together and deferring one to the other. Jordan Barnes was a good exemplar of morality and piety. He was temperate in all things. He sought not to wrong his neighbor. He was a strong pillar of the Missionary Baptist church. He was a friend and supporter of education. He could generally be found on the righteous side of every question affecting the interest of society."
[Article edited from The Vindicator - January 20, 1905]
Dr. William Jordan Barnes
William Jordan Barnes was born June, 30th 1838. William Jordan assumed the role of family patriarch upon the death of his father. William Jordan also became the 2nd generation to live and raise his family in the home his father had built.
William Jordan educated in Georgia. Attended college at Irwin College in Tennessee, adopting the profession of medicine. He pursued his studies in Philadelphia, completing his studies in Augusta; he commenced the practice of medicine in 1860, but finding the practice not to his taste, abandoned it for the life of a farmer and merchant; he was selected by the people of [rural Georgia] to fill several public offices, for six years a member of the board of education, from 1876 to 1880 a Justice of the Peace, and as Representative in the Georgia General Assembly.
[Edited from local obituary]
William Jordan became one of the most predominate residents of the county. One notable story involves the visit of Oscar Wilde to Georgia during which he spoke in Columbus during 1882. According to newspaper accounts, Wilde spent time in at the nearby White Sulpher Springs and visited at Barnes House accompied by Barnes daughter, Mary.
William married Martha Ann Findley on January 17th, 1861. They were both 23.
Together they had 4 children. Their young son Albert Jordan, who was born in 1869, became owner of the estate when his father passed away in 1893. William was only 55. Martha continued to live at the home with A.J. and his wife until her death some forty more years. She was 96 in 1935 when she died.
Albert Jordan Barnes
Albert (A.J.) became the 3rd generation Barnes to occupy the home and continued the family farming and merchant businesses. He was born August 1st, 1869. In 1896, 3 years after his father’s passing, A.J. married his first wife Alma. Alma sadly passed away the same year. One year later A.J. married his second wife Sallie. He was 28. She was 19. A.J. & Sallie had 4 children. Their oldest son Albert, Jr. worked with his father helping to support the large farming effort and the growing retail and farm supply business.
During early 1900’s Franklin D. Roosevelt was a frequent visitor to his summer home at Warm Springs and the near by Barnes Plantation. In 1932 the Barnes family presented then New York Governor & President-Elect Roosevelt with a 10-square-foot area of Barnes Plantation property with a certain white oak tree, 23 tree feet in circumference, included. According to stories passed down by family members A.J. had often recounted how many times F.D.R had commented on the beauty and size of the white oak during his visits to the estate. In the actual deed it notes that tree is in honor ‘for and in consideration of the interest in the preservation of the forest and trees of the United States.” According to stories passed down to family members from A.J. the trees was used by Yankee foregoing parties to hang geese on and ride by to wring their necks. The Roosevelt Tree, as it became known, was struck by lighting in 1970, and no longer stands.
Albert Sr. died in the early 1950's and with him died the farming and merchant business of the Barnes plantation. Sallie continued to live at the home until her death some years later. The house and grounds remained in the family until 1983 for a total of 5 generations. However after A.J.'s death large parcels of land were divided and sold off and the house began to fall into disrepair.
A New Future
The house and all that was left of the original estate, approximately 25 acres were purchased in 1983 and over a period of six years had several different owners. The house, which at this point was in dire need of updating, was subjected to a particularly bad remodel. Fortunately, except for the demolition of the original detached Cook's kitchen and breezeway most of the misfortunate faux Victorian changes were cosmetic only, and the original floor plan, moldings, floors, fireplace, and trim were left in tact.
In 1990 the house fell into foreclosure and set empty and open to the elements for almost 3 years. We purchased the house in 1993. For the next several years the house was continually 'patched' back together and a reclaiming of the landscape and gardens were undertaken. Every person who has ever had the privilege of owning a house this old knows that the house tells you what needs to be done, so by 2003 it was clear the house and grounds were due for a total renovation and would need to include complete kitchen & bath upgrades, an addition that doubled the square footage, modernizing all infrastructure, and refurbishment of original molding, floors, ceiling and walls. After several years of planning and developing architectural drawings, the major construction started in 2006 and was completed 2 years later.