Last week I wrote of the genesis of Barnsley Gardens, of Godfrey and Julia Barnsley’s decision to relocate from Savannah, where Godfrey was engaged in the cotton trade as a broker, to the mountains of pre-Civil War north Georgia. After a three-week journey by wagon, they settled on more than 3,000 acres of fertile land amid undulating hills, natural springs, and forest that was formerly occupied by the Cherokee. They named their estate “Woodlands.”
Their first task (with their servants and hired local help) was to begin building cabins and wood structures that would be their temporary housing. Barnsley, who seemed always to have a plan, acquired a steam-driven sawmill for lumbering and a kiln for making brick. While the challenges were obvious and included “roaming wild animals” and “wolves so numerous,” there was also nature’s bounty.