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Special Collections Frequently Asked Questions and Topics: Home

Civil War Milledgeville FAQ

Q: How many houses were burned during Sherman's March to the Sea?

A: Although many towns were burned along the way, no houses were burned in Milledgeville.

Q: How many people were killed during the Union occupation of the city?

A: There was only one casualty while Union troops were in Milledgeville. Patrick Kane, Irish overseer for Dr. William Jarrett, was shot while defending the Jarrett plantation. After Kane was killed, Union soldiers set fire to the plantation.

Q: Where did the Union troops stay while in Milledgeville?

A: General Sherman and his immediate guard were quartered in the Governor's Mansion.

Q: Did Union troops really hold a mock session of the legislature?

A: Yes, Sherman's forces held a mock session in the capital building where they repealed Georgia's ordinance of secession.

Q: Did Sherman really pour molasses in the organ pipes at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church?

A: Yes, they poured sorghum and molasses down the pipes to "sweeten the sound."

Q: What were the Baldwin Blues?

A: The Baldwin Blues were a volunteer military group organized in 1848 by William Steele and William A. Harris. The group was formally incorporated in 1858.

Education FAQ

Q: What are the former names of Georgia College?

A: GC was founded in 1889 as Georgia Normal and Industrial College (GN&IC). In 1922, the name changed to Georgia State College for Women (GSCW). In 1961, the name was changed to the Women's College of Georgia (WCG). In 1967, the name was changed to Georgia College at Milledgeville, and in 1971, the name was shortened to Georgia College. In 1996, the name was again changed to its present name Georgia College & State University. As of Fall 2010, the name was rebranded to Georgia College, Georgia's Public Liberal Arts University.

Q: Where can I find more information about the history of GC?

A: Information about GC can be found on the online About Georgia College.

Q: When was Georgia Military College established?

A: 1879

Q: Where is Georgia Military College located?

A: GMC is located on the grounds of Statehouse Square and occupies the old capital building.

Q: What is the former name of Georgia Military College?

A: The school was originally known as Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College.

Q: When did the name change to Georgia Military College?

A: 1900

Q: Where can I find more information on Georgia Military College?

A: More information can be found at the Georgia Military College website.

Q: When was Oglethorpe University built?

A: Oglethorpe was chartered in 1835 and began operations in 1838 as one of the earliest denominational institutions in the South.

Q: Where was Oglethorpe University located?

A: It was located at Midway, a small community near Milledgeville.

Q: What happened to Oglethorpe University during the Civil War?

A: The buildings were used for barracks and hospitals until the school closed in 1862.

Q: Where can I find more information about Oglethorpe University?

A: More information can be found on the Oglethorpe University website.

Q: When was a school system established in Milledgeville?

A: In 1817, the state legislature established a school fund to operate academies in Georgia. In 1823, legislation passed to establish a common school system in Baldwin County that would be supported by local taxes.

Q: What are the earliest schools in Milledgeville and Baldwin County?

A: In 1826, the Corinth Academy and the Lonicera Academy for boys at Midway were chartered. Two academies, one for males and one for females, were located on Penitentiary Square.

Q: What was the first female school in Baldwin County?

A: Farish Carter established the Scottsboro Female Institute in 1828 as the first female school in Baldwin County.

Memory Hill Cemetery FAQ

Q: Where can I find information about Memory Hill Cemetery?

A: Start with the Memory Hill Cemetery website. There are several books on the subject as well including Historic Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville, Georgia, 1804-1997 by Hugh T. and Susan J. Harrington and Floride Moore Gardner, Memory Hill by Harold Lawrence, and The Dead Book: Burials in the City Cemetery at Milledgeville, GA 1869-1904 by Hugh T. and Susan J. Harrington.

Newspaper FAQ

Q: What newspapers have been published in Milledgeville?

A: Early newspapers published in Milledgeville include the Milledgeville Intelligencer, Milledgeville's first newspaper which began and ended publication in 1808, the Georgia Argus (1808), the Georgia Journal (1809-1840), the Southern Recorder (1820-1872), and the Federal Union (1830-1872). In 1872, the Southern Recorder and the Federal Union merged to form the Union and Recorder (1872-1884). Since 1884, it has been known as the Union-Recorder (1884-present). Current newspapers include the Union-Recorder and the Baldwin Bulletin.

Q: What newspapers do you have in your collection?

A: All of these early newspapers are available on microfilm which is located in the Photocopy Room. The newspapers prior to 1924 are available online through the Digital Library of Georgia. Please check them out at the Historic Milledgeville Newspaper. Current newspapers are available in the Periodicals section of the library.

Penitentiary/Prison FAQ

Q: Where would I find information on the state penitentiary in Milledgeville?

A: The best source to consult is The Georgia Penitentiary at Milledgeville, a Master's Thesis by Nicole Mitchell. Other sources include James C. Bonner's "The Georgia Penitentiary at Milledgeville, 1817-1874," Georgia Historical Quarterly, 51 (Fall 1971): 303-327 and several student research papers in the local history vertical file.

Q: How long was the state penitentiary located in Milledgeville?

A: Construction was completed in 1817 and it was in use until the mid 1870s when the convict-lease system was established.

Q: Where was the penitentiary located?

A: It was located on the present site of Georgia College & State University and known as Penitentiary Square.

Q: What was the penitentiary used for during the Civil War?

A: It began operating as an armory in 1862. Prisoners made rifles and other armaments to supply the Confederate armies.

Q: What happened to the convicts in the penitentiary?

A: In November 1864, Governor Joseph E. Brown pardoned all convicts who would agree to help defend the city against Union soldiers.

Q: Did General William T. Sherman and his forces burn the penitentiary?

A: Sources suggest that Sherman ordered his troops to destroy the penitentiary because of its military significance. Others suggest that the remaining convicts set fire to the penitentiary in hopes of escape. Again, consult the Mitchell thesis and Bonner article.

Q: How many inmates were incarcerated in the penitentiary over the years?

A: At any given time, there were around 150-200 convicts. There was a total of approximately 2000 overall.

Q: Where was the State Prison Farm located?

A: The prison farm, which was built in 1911, was located on Georgia Highway 22. The prison farm was in existence until Oct. 15, 1937, when the state penitentiary was moved to Reidsville, Georgia.

Q: Who is Leo Frank and where was he imprisoned in Milledgeville?

A: In 1915, Leo Frank, an Atlanta Jew who operated a pencil factory, was tried and convicted of murdering thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan, one of his employees. Frank was brought to the State Prison Farm in Milledgeville. Several weeks later, a mob traveled from Marietta to Milledgeville, seized Frank and took him back to Marietta where he was lynched.

Q: Where can I find more information about the Leo Frank case?

A: There are several books on the subject including And the Dead Shall Rise: The Lynching of Leo Frank by Steve Oney, The Silent and the Damned: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank by Robert Seitz Frey, and The Leo Frank Case by Leonard Dinnerstein.

Churches FAQ

Q: What was the first church in Milledgeville? Does it still exist today?

A:The Methodist Church was the first church established in Milledgeville in 1809 on the site of present-day Memory Hill Cemetery.

Q: What are some other early churches?

A:The Presbyterian Church was organized in June 1826; the building itself was constructed in 1828 on Statehouse Square. Flagg Chapel Baptist Church was founded by slave Wilkes Flagg in 1830. St. Stephen's Episcopal Church was completed in 1843 also on Statehouse Square.

Q: Where can I find more information on the First Presbyterian Church?

A: See Leola S. Beeson's Historical Sketch of the First Presbyterian Church of Milledgeville, Georgia.

Q: Where can I find more information on the First Methodist Church?

A: See The First Methodist Church-Methodism in Milledgeville, 1806-1973 by Arthur M. O'Neil and Eloise R. Turner.

Q: Where can I find more information on the First Baptist Church?

A: See T.E. Smith's History of the First Baptist Church of Milledgeville, Georgia, 1811-1975.

Famous People from Milledgeville FAQ

Q: Who was Charles Holmes Herty?

A: Herty was a well-known chemist and first coach of the University of Georgia football team who was born in Milledgeville in 1867. Additional information can be found in the recently published book Crusading for Chemistry: The Professional Career of Charles Holmes Herty by Germaine M. Reed.

Q: Who was Carl Vinson?

A: Carl Vinson, congressman from Georgia, was born in Milledgeville in 1883. Vinson is often called the father of the two ocean navy. He is buried in Memory Hill Cemetery.

Q: Who was Flannery O'Connor?

A: See Frequently Asked Questions: Flannery O'Connor.

Q: Who is Paris Trout?

A: Paris Trout is the 1988 book by Pete Dexter loosely based on a murder in Milledgeville in 1949-1953. Trout's character is based on Marion Stembridge of Milledgeville. For more information on Paris Trout and Marion Stembridge see the Local History Vertical File.

Q: Who was Culver Kidd?

A: Kidd was a state representative and state senator from Milledgeville from 1946 to 1992.

Q: Who is Beverly Hill?

A: Hill is a Milledgeville native who sang the role of Violetta in "La Traviata" at the Fyodor Shallyapin International Opera Festival in Kazan in the Soviet Union. She had previously taught music at Carver Elementary School in Milledgeville.

Q: Who is Randy Howard?

A: Howard was a world-champion fiddle player who was raised in Milledgeville. He released several albums and played with artists such as Shelby Lynne, George Jones, Chet Atkins, and Garth Brooks. He was the Bluegrass Fiddle Player of the Year for 1996 and 1997.

Q: Who is Stan Strickland?

A: Strickland was an artist who lived in Milledgeville for most of his life. Four of his paintings hang in the staterooms of the USS Carl Vinson. He previously taught art at Baldwin High School and Boddie Middle School.

Q: Who was Frank Stanley Herring?

A: Herring was an artist who painted water color portraits of blacks in the South. Some of his paintings have been exhibited in the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Herring was a native of Pennsylvania but married a woman from Milledgeville.

Q: Who was Ulrich Bonnell Phillips?

A: Attended school in Milledgeville and college at the University of Georgia. At the turn of the century, he became the foremost authority on Georgia history.

Q: Who was James C. Bonner?

A: Bonner, Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Georgia State College for Women from 1944 to 1969, was a nationally known authority on Georgia history and the history of agriculture in the South.

Q: Who was Julia Flisch?

A: Flisch, an outspoken advocate of education for women, represented the women of the state at the laying of the cornerstone for Georgia Normal & Industrial College. Flisch later became a professor of history at GN&IC. For more information on Flisch see Robin O. Harris' thesis "Julia Anna Flisch: Georgia Educator and Feminist."

Q: Who was John Baum?

A: Baum was a 1924 graduate of Georgia Tech with a degree in textile engineering. He was named to the Georgia Tech Engineering Hall of Fame in 1994. While working for J.P. Stevens Co., Baum set up a woolen worsted mill in Milledgeville. In addition to serving on the Baldwin County school board for 22 years, he also initiated the establishment of the Milledgeville Country Club.

Q: Who is John H. Lounsbury?

A: John H. Lounsbury, professor and dean emeritus, is the founding dean of the School of Education at Georgia College & State University. Editor of The National Middle School Journal, he is noted across the nation as one of the fathers of the National Middle School Movement.

Miscellaneous FAQ

Q: What is Lockerly Arboretum?

A: Lockerly is a horticultural research and education complex in Milledgeville. Lockerly Arboretum Foundation was founded in 1966 to promote the concepts of conservation and beautification. More information can be found on the Lockerly Arboretum website.

Q: Where can I find other information about the history of Milledgeville?

A: The best place to start is James C. Bonner's book Milledgeville: Georgia's Antebellum Capital. Other sources to consult include History Stories of Milledgeville and Baldwin County by Leola Beeson, History of Baldwin County, Georgia by Anna Maria Green Cook, Treasure Album of Milledgeville and Baldwin County by Nelle Womack Hines, and Oconee River: Tales to Tell by Katherine Bowman Walters. You can also find information on a variety of topics in the Local History Vertical File.

State Capital FAQ

Q: When was Milledgeville established as the capital of Georgia?

A: 1803

Q: How long was Milledgeville the capital?

A: 1803-1868

Q: What were the former capitals of Georgia?

A: Savannah, Augusta, and Louisville

Q: Who was Milledgeville named for?

A: Milledgeville was named for Governor John Milledge (1802-1806), donor of the land for the University of Georgia.

Q: Who was Baldwin County named for?

A: Abraham Baldwin, Savannah lawyer and U.S. Representative and senator. Baldwin also authored the charter for the University of Georgia and was one of the original signers of the U.S. Constitution.

Q: What happened to the statehouse (capital) building?

A: Though the building was partially destroyed by fire, it was restored in 1943. The present building is a replica of the original. It is now home to Georgia Military College. The ground floor is home to the Old Capital Museum.

Q: Where can I find more information about the Old Capital Museum?

A: Call 478-453-1803 to get more information about the Old Capital Museum.

Q: Why was the city of Milledgeville laid out the way it is?

A: From its conception, Milledgeville was intended to be the capital of Georgia. Milledgeville was modeled after Washington, D.C. and included four public squares with the streets laid out in checkerboard fashion. Milledgeville is the only city in the nation, besides Washington, D.C., designed to be a capital city.

Q: What were the four public squares used for?

A: One was for the penitentiary, one for the governor's mansion, one for the statehouse, and one for the city cemetery.

Q: When was the Governor's Mansion constructed?

A: 1838

Q: Is there a tunnel connecting the Governor's Mansion to the Statehouse?

A: Although legend has it that a tunnel was built to connect the mansion to the capital building, no evidence has ever been found.

Q: Where can I find more information about the Old Governor's Mansion?

A: More information can be found on the Old Governor's Mansion website and in Leola S. Beeson's The One Hundred Years of the Old Governor's Mansion, Milledgeville, Georgia, 1838-1938.

Q: Who was the Marquis de Lafayette? When was he in Milledgeville?

A: Lafayette was a French statesman and soldier who aided America in the American Revolution. He visited Milledgeville in 1825.