My Georgia History

Meadow Garden

Meadow Garden, have you heard of it?  Well let me ask you another question.  Do you know where it’s located?  Oh, very good. Now in case you don’t know where Meadow   Garden is, let me tell you.  Close to the Canal, on Thirteenth Street, you’ll see the sign, Meadow Garden.  It’s located right in the middle of Walton Rehabilitation Center.  It’s on the left, as you pull up to the hospital. It’s really kind of hard to find, but the house has been there for years and years.

As the “Daughters of the American Revolution”, the owners of the house will tell you, it’s the oldest documented house in Augusta.  The left side of the house is the oldest.  It was built by John Pettigru back in 1759.  That’s only 23 years after Augusta was settled!  Of course the occupant of the house is what makes the house famous, George Walton, the youngest signer of the “Declaration of Independence,” was only 26 when he signed it.  He was elected governor of Georgia in 1779, and was elected governor again in 1789.  The grandest event that year took place in October, 1789, Walton accepted the Constitution of the United States on behalf of the people of Georgia. We were the fourth state to sign.  Two months later, the state assembly elected him a Chief Justice in Georgia. In his new office, George Walton aided in the debate, that indirectly ended  with a portion of Richmond County breaking away.  William Few, who also signed the Constitution of the United States for Georgia, named the new county.  He called it, Columbia County. Walton was also appointed to the U.S. Senate from 1795 to 1796. George Walton, along with his wife Dorothy, raised two sons in the house, Thomas and George Jr.  In June of 1791, Walton acquired two adjacent lots, each lot had 50 acres for a total of 100 acres. They were located in Augusta Township, outside of Augusta proper. It was all farmland and woods, a lot different than it looks today.

Meadow Garden was the home of George Walton. The left side of the house was built in 1759. George Walton was living on the property by early 1792.  It was called Meadow Garden because the land had a large meadow on it. There is no doubt that Meadow Garden belonged to George Walton.  From 1790 to 1804 he would sign his correspondence, George Walton of Meadow Garden.

Walton had financial troubles that never fully adapted. Because he needed to ensure that his family would not be deprived of their home, he had the properties listed in the name of his nephew, Thomas Watkins and then later, held in trust by John Habersham and Anderson Watkins for his son, George Walton Jr.  The original house, that Walton lived in, had four rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs. You can still see where the ladder went up to the second floor. The second house, the house on the right, was joined to the original house in the very early 1800s.   If you stand in the front yard, and look at the house you’ll notice the different level of the windows.  Once you go into the house you’ll notice the two floor levels. You can still see where the two houses were joined together.

Thomas Walton died suddenly in December of 1803. His Dad took the news hard.  George Walton died two months later, in February of 1804. The house did go to his son George Jr.   It wasn’t long before, he and his family moved out of state.  In 1900, the “Daughters of the American Revolution” bought the house. In 1901 they opened it for tours. If you haven’t toured Meadow Garden you need to go.  While you’re there, be sure to see the painting of George Washington.

Written by Mark Woodard

 

Research resources:

  • The Story of Augusta. Cashin, Edward J. Spartanburg, SC. The Reprint Company Publishing. (1996)
  • Memorial History of Augusta, Georgia. Jones, Charles C. Spartanburg, SC. The Reprint Publishers. (1890)
  • From City to Countryside. Haltermann, Bryan M. (1997)
  • Haunted Augusta and Local Legends. Joiner, Sean. (2002)

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