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The Whitmill (Bunt) B. Hill house & history by Lois E. Payne
Macon County, Georgia
The Whitmill B. Hill House
[background: builder of the house is Whitmill "Bunt" B. Hill and his wife, Mary Jane (Spain) Hill. Together they raised her niece, Mary "Bethia" Moody, whose own mother died 8 days after giving birth to her only child. Bethia's parents were Josiah Moody and Mary Bethia (Spain) Moody.]
The HILL, WILLIAMS, ENGLISH, WOOD House on Sumter Street
In the Tuesday Morning edition of the Georgia Telegraph printed in Macon, Georgia on November 4, 1851 this ad appeared: "Removal Sale. W.B. Hill has removed his entire stock of Dry Goods, Groceries, etc. from Macon to his store in Oglethorpe, on Baker Street, oppisite Lewis and Price's Warehouse. Mr. Hill asks for the same patronage from the citizens of Oglethorpe that he received while in business in Macon.

Soon after his arrival in Oglethorpe, Mr. Hill purchased lots on the eastern side of Sumter Street to build a new home for his wife, Mary and his neice, Bethia Moody, who resided with them. Mr. Hill set his home back from the street and framed it with beautiful oak and cedar, but the cedar tree is hanging with tendrils of ivy, giving to the house an impressive look of an ante-bellum home. There's an interesting story told about Mr. Hill's 17 yr. old neice, Bethia Moody. During the last days of the War Between the States when Wilson's Raiders of the Union Army were enroute to Macon, a troop of Union soldiers went into encampment at Buck Creek. News had come to Oglethorpe that the Union Army was approaching and the populace buried everything valuable and pieces of silver they owned to keep them out of the hands of the army stragglers. The Bunt Hill family buried their valuables.

Mr. Hill was away from his home and store helping to defend the Southland when the Union soldiers approached. The Captain demanded that Bethia get the keys to her Uncle's store and accompany his soldiers so that they could supply the troops with food. Bethia was afraid not to do as she was told, so she accompanied them to the store, unlocked it and stood aside while the soldiers filled their saddlebags. They then rode out of town to join their comrades.

Bethia Moody continued to live with her uncle and aunt in the lovely old home. She was married three times. Her first husband and child died in Texas. Her second husband Henry Clay Hill was shot by an unknown assailant in 1872, just as he was entering a store downtown. The crime was never solved. Bethia's third husband was M. English. her descendant, the Kleckly and English families still reside in Oglethorpe today.

Mrs. Mary Hill died in 1869 followed by her husband, Bunt Hill in 1883. The next owner of the house was Mr. J. R. Williams, known as "Mr. Bunk." He operated a cotton warehouse downtown and every morning hitched up his old grey horse to the buggy to ride to his work. He was very fond of small boys and girls, and many afternoons the old horse and buggy were familiar sights around town filled to overflowing with as many boys and girls as could stick on.

Mr. Williams married the former Miss Louise Noell, of Virginia. To this marriage were born three children: Roy Williams, Louise Williams and Wilbur Williams, who died at the age of eight years. Mr. And Mrs. Williams enjoyed many happy years in the old house. At their deaths, their daughter, Louise, who was married to Edmund Nelson, inherited the house. She lived there with Louise her daughter until her untimely death in 1940. Mr. Nelson was Clerk of Superior Court of Macon County.
The next owners were Mr. And Mrs. John I. English and son, Robert. Mr. and Mrs. English made some changes in the house while they were owners. She kept the dining room windows ablaze with gaily colored blooming plants. Her house was filled with antique pieces inherited from her family. She liked to entertain and many a lazy summer afternoon was spent on the screened back porch enjoying a tea party with her many friends.

Entering the front porch
with its four square white columns with filigree trim the beauty of the house is enhanced with perfectly balanced front windows and double wooden front doors, through which one enters a hall. On the left are the bedrooms with connecting baths. On the right is the parlor or living room, with its fireplace at one end. The dining room has a row of windows facing the east. This is a room of great dignity with its floor covered in an oriental rug, beautiful dining room table and chairs and many lovely pieces of crystal and silver. Visitors are impressed with the 14 foot plastered walls, woodwork and hardwood floors that are overlaid on two other floors underneath.

Leaving the dining room one enters a roomy and comfortable kitchen. As one passes from one room to another, there's a feeling that this old ante-bellum house, built more than a century ago, has been loved and cared for by every family who lived within its walls.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald S. Wood are the present owners.
Although they are not native to this state, and have only owned the house a few years, already it has won their hearts. They have made very few structural changes since they bought the place, but they have been impressed with the thickness of the heart pine lumber used in the beams, sills and joists. Mrs. Wood says if the house had ever been a haunted house, the ghost would have been a happy ghost, for the house has a happy feeling that one can sense, when entering into its rooms.

To Mr. and Mrs. Wood, the old ante-bellum home is everything their hearts desired as a permanent home, the fulfillment of a dream now realized.

(source: page 79-81; "Historical Sketches of Oglethorpe, Georgia" by Lois E. Payne [note that this book is no longer in print.])

"With All Beings And All Things We Should Be As Relatives..."
page created: 21 Apr 03 / updated: 18 Mar 2010
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