This home was originally built around
1848 by Sylvester Mumford, who located here from New York in
the mid 1800s. The photos on this page though, are not of the
grand plantation of yore, it's of a ruined shell, destroyed by fire.
On the morning of Wednesday 23 March 2005, the home reportedly was struck by lightning and burned. The rural community has no fire marshal to conduct a thorough investigation, so the exact cause of the blaze was not determined. There were no witnesses to the fire's start but it is presumed the cause was a lightning strike which caused a small fire to smolder for hours until it eventually turned into a blaze. No matter what the cause, this once grand home has now been destroyed.
For many years the home stood vacant, and according to some locals, was a magnet for the curious in the 1970s-80s. Though it was privately owned, many folks just wandered in, and took their own personal tours. Of course, vandalism occurred, as does with most unprotected buildings; however, the home stood the test of time, and avoided total ruin until 2005. Proof of the stories I heard about people touring the home on their own in the 1980's can be found here. These photos were taken in 1981 by James R. Lockhart for the the GA DNR and hosted on the National Parks Service website.
The Mumford home was located in Waynesville, and at the time of its construction, Wayne County. The home site is on Mumford Road in what is now known as Brantley County, just off Hwy. 82 West. Throughout the ages, the home maintained all of its majestic beauty, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places around 1982, possibly due to the photos taken by Mr. Lockhart.
About 100 feet south of the home stands the small family burial plot. Directly across the road is the Hazlehurst Family cemetery, where once was located an Episcopal Church. Not only was the neighborhood host to the Mumfords and the Hazlehursts, but some of the St. Simons Island elite owned property nearby as well.
Sylvester Mumford was in the mercantile trade in Waynesville, and partnered with Job Tison who owned a store and rooming house on Post Road. As the crow flies, it was about 10-15 miles from the Mumford home to Bethel, the home of Job Tison in Glynn County. Together, Mumford and Tison ran their businesses, and in 1841, Sylvester married one of Job's daughters, Theresa E. Tison.
By 1850, two children were born to this union, Oceanna around 1842, and Goertner around 1847. The slave schedule for 1850, Wayne County, shows that Sylvester owned only 5 slaves, most likely they were just a status symbol, house servants and nothing more. He does not show up on the 1860 slave schedules, which tells us that maybe this house was not a working plantation. More likely, the Mumford's lived off profits from the mercantile trade.
Because of its longevity, the home became inextricably linked to the community as a whole and the fertile source of fascinating stories passed from generation to generation. Its loss is deeply felt.
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