Pine Bloom Plantation, Newton Georgia
Pinebloom Plantation was the plantation home of Alfred Holt Colquitt (1824-1894) and his wife Dorothy (Dolly) Tarver Colquitt (1829-1855) from the 1850s to 1875. It was an extensive working farm in both the 19th and 20th centuries.
Under Colquitt's ownership from the 1850s to 1875, it was both an antebellum plantation where as many as 93 slaves were used to cultivate 1,400 acres of the original 2,400-acre property, and a postbellum plantation utilizing free laborers who were paid wages. Colquitt lived on the plantation, using it as his principal residence before, during, and after the Civil War.
Principal crops grown were cotton, peas and beans, corn, and sweet potatoes. Colquitt had a great interest in the improvement of agriculture after the war and served as the president of the Georgia State Agricultural Society from 1870 to 1875. Under succeeding owners in the early 20th century, Pinebloom was again utilized for farming and raising cattle. In the 1940s, the plantation also became a hunting reserve, like other nearby plantations, where cultivation of forest and propagation of wildlife for hunting were important.
Pinebloom Plantation's c.1850 plantation house is an excellent example of mid-19th-century Greek Revival domestic architecture in southwest Georgia. The house is a one-story, wood-framed structure raised on brick piers, and with wrap-around columned front portico and side porticoes, unusual U-shaped plan, and fine exterior and interior detailing. Except for 1930s and 1940s improvements and minor 1970s alterations, the house remains very intact. A one-room, wood-framed plantation office, constructed during the ownership of Colquitt and reportedly used by him as an office, is the only remaining historic outbuilding.
Pinebloom Plantation was the residence of Alfred Holt Colquitt from c.1850 to 1870. During this time he served as a U.S. Congressman from the Second Congressional District of Georgia (1853-1855) and in the state legislature representing Baker County (1859). Colquitt was a presidential elector in 1860 and a delegate of the Georgia Secession Convention in 1861, serving on the committee of 17 which drew up the ordinance. Although living in Atlanta at the time, Colquitt still farmed Pinebloom in 1870 when he was elected president of the Democratic Party's State Convention and president of the Georgia State Agricultural Society, a powerful political force in Georgia. Colquitt was Georgia's governor from 1877 to 1882 and a U.S. Senator from 1883 to 1894. He sold Pinebloom to his brother-in-law Samuel McDonald Carter in 1875. It is the only house still standing in Georgia that is associated with Colquitt.
Pinebloom Plantation is located in the Eighth Land District in what was originally Early County, Georgia, established in 1818. In 1820, a land lottery was held by the state, and those eligible had a chance at drawing one or more 250-acre land lots in this largely unsettled area of southwest Georgia. The nucleus of what would become Pinebloon, including the main house, was located on land lots 204 and 205 in the Eighth District. Land lot 205 was drawn by James Clements of Jefferson County, Georgia, who paid his fee and claimed it on June 7, 1827. Lot 204 was drawn by Daniel Jones of Glynn County who did not exercise his right to the property until December 15, 1838.
Baker County was carved from the eastern half of Early County in 1825 and included the land which Clements and Jones claimed two and thirteen years later, respectively. Unfortunately, courthouse records for Baker County prior to the 1870s have been lost. It is therefore impossible to ascertain the exact chain of title for the land that became Pinebloom prior to that time.
An undocumented source states that Alexander Shotwell purchased the land from Clements in 1836 and began farming there. The Flint River Land Company had amassed 36,519 acres in Baker, Lee, Decatur, Dooly, Randolph, Stewart, Early, Thomas, and Appling Counties by 1838. At that time, they sold all their land to Alexander Shotwell for $40,000. If land lot 205 in the Eighth District of Baker County were included, this is probably when Shotwell acquired it. In 1835, Shotwell was appointed one of the commissioners by the state to improve the Flint River and moved to Bainbridge the following year. As a developer, he is said to have laid out the original plan of Albany and later added the main residential section to the already established town of Bainbridge.
Still undocumented, tradition holds that Pinebloom had become the property of Hartwell Harrison Tarver by the 1840s. Due to a lack of extant land records of the period for Baker County, as previously noted, this cannot be proven. Supposedly Tarver of Twiggs County, Georgia, came with Nelson Tift in October 1836 and helped set up the trading establishment that started the town of Albany on the Flint River. His first wife, Ann Wimberly Tarver, died that year. He had returned to Twiggs County by 1838 when he resumed the postmastership of Tarversville and was named a trustee of Ocmulgee Academy. The Brunswick County, Virginia, native was listed in the 1840 census of Twiggs and was given the title of General in 1842 when the legislature appointed him to that position in the Georgia Militia. In 1843 he married his second wife, Harriett Bunn Wimberly, and added two children to the six he had by his first wife.
Tradition holds that Hartwell H. Tarver gave the land that became Pinebloom Plantation to his daughter, Dolly, when she married Alfred Holt Colquitt in 1848. This cannot be substantiated, again because of the loss of Baker County's records. The Colquitts lived in Macon during the first two to three years of their marriage and did not live in Baker County until after 1850. Dorothy's brothers, Paul and Henry, both lived in Baker County by 1850 and were large planters there, even though they were both only in their twenties. Henry and his wife Elizabeth lived at nearby Tarver Plantation. As with his sister, Dolly, this was supposedly a wedding gift from their father, Hartwell H. Tarver. Since Henry and Dolly were the only two children to marry before their father's death in 1851, this may explain why the two houses were built in such close proximity and apparently no comparable house was built for Paul who didn't marry until 1854.
Now that the stage has been set for the Tarver family, the story leads to Alfred Holt Colquitt. The oldest children of Walter Terry Colquitt and his first wife, Nancy Hill Lane, Alfred was born April 20, 1824. Although every biographical sketch of Colquitt states that he was a native of Monroe in Walton County, Georgia, an obscure transcript of a Bible record found at the Georgia Historical Society in Savannah states that both he and his oldest sister, Sarah Hines Colquitt, were born in Newton County, Georgia. This is entirely possible, since Mrs. Colquitt's parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Lane, lived in Newton County at the time.
Historians in Walton County believe that Walter T. Colquitt was practicing law there in 1821 at Monroe with his kinsman, Alfred B. Holt. According to secondary sources, Walter Colquitt moved his family with one Ben Camp to newly opened Campbell County in 1826. Obviously, Walter Colquitt moved his family about a great deal, and it is hard to say where Alfred spent the majority of his childhood. Walter Colquitt married three times and had twelve children.
Alfred Holt Colquitt grew up mostly in Walton County, Campbell County, and in Columbus, Georgia. Like his father, he entered Princeton University and graduated in 1844. Following college, he returned home to study law in Columbus, presumably under his father, and was admitted to the bar in 1846. He commenced his law practice in Macon, moving there soon after he was admitted, but shortly enlisted as an officer in the United States Army on June 24, 1846 due to the war with Mexico. While in the Mexican War, he served with honors on the staff of General Zachary Taylor as an aide, holding the rank of Mayor and Additional Paymaster. He was with General Taylor at the Battle of Buena Vista and served throughout the war, being discharged January 31, 1848.
Returning home to Macon from the Mexican War, Colquitt married on May 15th of the same year in Twiggs County, Georgia, to Miss Dorothy (Dolly) Elizabeth Tarver. The Georgia Telegraph printed the following notice in its May 23rd edition:
It is interesting to note that Alfred's grandmother, Nancy Holt Colquitt was then the widow of her second husband, Mr. Andrew Tarver of Troup County (d. 1820), who was Dolly's grandfather. This made their fathers step-brothers, which no doubt brought about their acquaintance.
Dolly and Alfred made their home in Macon for at least two years after they were married, with Alfred continuing to practice law. In 1849, he was appointed Assistant Secretary to the state Senate, then convening at the state's capitol at Milledgeville. This was Colquitt's first entrance into politics, and it was at this time that he met Joseph E. Brown. When at home in Macon, Colquitt was active in local party politics. For example, Governor George W. Towns appointed November 25, 1850 as the date for an election to select delegates to attend a convention in Milledgeville on the 10th of December which would consider recent acts of Congress concerning the slavery issue. At the time, there were two political parties in Georgia - the Union Party and the Southern Rights Party. Colquitt affiliated with the latter. They met at the Bibb County Courthouse on October 8, electing Thomas King, Esq. as chairman, and J. H. Morgan and A. H. Colquitt, secretaries. When the election was held in November, the Union Party's delegates received the majority of the votes and attended the convention representing Bibb County.
The Colquitts were listed in the U. S. Census in 1850 as living in the city of Macon, Bibb County. They had one child, Ann Lane Colquitt, born in Macon on May 25, 1849. Alfred and Dolly had a second child, John Frederick Colquitt, who was born in 1851 and died in infancy. It was probably shortly after John Frederick was born and died that the family moved, about 1851, to their Baker County plantation. There is no indication that Alfred was even farming there before that time, as neither the Agricultural nor Slave Schedules for the 1850 U. S. Census of Baker County listed Colquitt as having a presence there. As previously mentioned, Dolly's brothers, Paul and Henry, were both in Baker County, with extensive farming operations and numerous slaves, according to the census records.
In any case, certainly they were living in Baker County by 1852 when Colquitt was elected to the U. S. Congress, representing the Second Congressional District of Georgia. Serving from March 4, 1853 until March 3, 1855, Congressional records list his address as Newton, Georgia, which is the post office where Pinebloom Plantation would receive mail and the county seat of Baker County. His successful election is attributed to a personal campaign, talking directly with the voters. This must have been no easy task in southwest Georgia in the 1850s, as the roads were very poor, and no railroads had yet reached the region.
Colquitt did not run for re-election in 1854 due to the ill health of his wife, Dolly. Shortly after completing his duties as Congressman, she passed away on April 18, 1855. The Georgia Citizen (Saturday, April 28, 1855) and The Georgia Telegraph (Tuesday, May 1, 1855) both reported her death as follows:
Less than three weeks after burying his wife, Alfred's father, Walter Colquitt, died while visiting his in-laws in Macon on May 7th, 1855. After so much personal loss, Alfred Colquitt retired to his plantation in relative obscurity during the next few years, concentrating on improving his plantation which by 1860 amounted to 2,400 acres surrounding his plantation house. He also reportedly practiced law from his office behind the main house.
After a respectable mourning period, Colquitt married the widow of Dolly's brother, Fred Tarver, about 1857 or 1858. Sarah Bunn Tarver was born in Twiggs County in 1833, a daughter of Reverend Hugh Bunn and relative of Fred and Dolly Tarver's stepmother, Harriet Bunn Wimberly Tarver. The Bunns came to Twiggs County from North Carolina. Fred and Sarah Tarver had married April 14, 1852, and he died only six months later on October 27, 1852.
The following year, Sarah delivered her and Fred Tarver's only child, a daughter she named Freddie, after the deceased father. Freddie's uncle, Paul E. Tarver, was appointed guardian, and was directed by the court to purchase property to provide for her support, which he did in 1853. The plantation Paul Tarver purchased and began working slaves on was located in Dougherty County, newly created in 1853 from the northeast portion of Baker County. This plantation consisted of 2,000 acres in the Second Land District. After Sarah's marriage to A. H. Colquitt, she and Freddie came to live at Pinebloom in Baker County, joining him and his daughter, Ann Lane Colquitt.
It is notable at this point to present Colquitt and his family as they lived in 1860 prior to the breaking out of the Civil War. The Population Schedules of the U. S. Census for Baker County show the Colquitt household as follows on August 1, 1860:
Newton District, Newton, P. O.
A. H. Colquitt 40 male Farmer
S. [Sarah B.] 28 fem.
Fee [Freddie Tarver] 7 fen.
H. E. [Elizabeth H.] 6 1/2 fen.
Margt Johnson 25 fem. School teacher
The Agricultural Schedules for the same year show the extent of Colquitt's farming operations. He is listed with three plantations, two in Baker and one in Dougherty Counties. The home tract in Baker County is listed as follows:
Land: 1,400 acres improved land
1,000 acres unimproved land
2,400 total acreage valued at $18,000 cash
Equipment: $600 worth of farming implements
Livestock: 10 horses, 20 asses and mules, 20
milch cows, 6 working oxen, 45
other cattle, 250 swine, total
value $7,000. $900, value of
Production: 4,000 bushels Indian corn, 195
bales ginned cotton, 100 bushels
peas and beans, 400 bushels sweet
potatoes, 4 tons of hay. $600
value of produce of market gardens
The Slave Schedules of the census listed 93 slaves, living in 17 slave dwellings on the home tract at Pinebloom.
The second tract of 3,500 acres in Baker County is listed as "A. H. Colquitt, trustee." Possibly this was Dolly Colquitt's estate, held in trust for Ann Lane Colquitt. The third tract of 3,162 acres, located in Dougherty County was "Gillionville Plantation" which is in the western part of the county.
Alfred H. Colquitt re-entered politics in 1859 when he was elected as the representative of Baker County in the State Legislature. The following year, he served as a presidential elector from Georgia on the Breckinridge and Lane ticket when Abraham Lincoln won the presidency. In 1861, Colquitt was representing Baker County, along with Charles D. Hammond, in the state's secession convention held in Augusta. He served on the committee of seventeen which drew up the document to be ratified by the convention declaring Georgia's secession from the Union.
Colquitt returned home after the convention and helped organize the "Baker County Fire-Eaters." The Company traveled to Atlanta, with Colquitt as their Captain, and were mustered into service May 27, 1861 as Company H, 6th Regiment Georgia Volunteer Infantry by Major A. Elzey. On the same day, A. H. Colquitt was elected Colonel of the Regiment. He participated in the Peninsular Campaign, and in the battles of Seven Days, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. He was promoted to Brigadier General on September 1, 1862 which has been attributed to his military ability. His stand at South Mountain in Virginia is notable, but he is remembered more for the Battle of Olustee during the Florida Campaign of 1864. This was Colquitt's first command away from the main armies, and the battle took place on February 20, 1864. The aim of the Federal troops was to invade Florida, which was not expected to remain loyal to the Confederacy, and by doing so, cutting off one of the main food supplies to the south. The Federal troops were far superior in both numbers and in equipment. General Joseph Finegan was the other Confederate officer in command.
The battle at Olustee is thought by many to be the single most important battle in Florida during the Civil War, and Colquitt had been dubbed "The Hero of Olustee." In June of the same year he was with General Beauregard at the siege of Petersburg. On January 15, 1865, he was given command of Fort Fisher, but arrived just as it fell into Federal hands. He was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina on May 1, 1865, being included in the surrender of Johnston's army to Sherman.
Following the war, Colquitt returned home to his family in Baker County and resumed both his farming operations and the practice of law. As a leader in the lost cause of the Confederacy, he was not permitted to hold political office immediately following the war. Pinebloom was not in the line of the Federal armies during the war and was left untouched except for neglect. Colquitt applied himself to reviving the plantation and adopted a new system of paying wages to the freedmen to work the land. In a letter to his daughter, Ann Lane Colquitt, dated Pine Bloom, January 21, 1866, he writes:
Although Colquitt's financial resources had been affected by the loss of almost 250 slaves, he apparently was far from destitute, since he was sending his eldest daughter to Pahapses Institute in Ellicot's Mills, Maryland. On December 15, 1868 at 8:30 p.m., a formal wedding was held at "Pine Bloom" for Ann Lane Colquitt and Captain Tomlinson Fort Newell of Milledgeville.
Colquitt took a great interest in agriculture following the war, specifically its improvement in Georgia. The agricultural organizations which sprang up across the south following the war were very powerful politically, and Colquitt began to ally himself with them. He also went into partnership with his half-brother, Hugh H. Colquitt and one James Baggs and entered into the commission merchant business in Savannah. The firm, named Colquitt and Baggs, was listed in the 1870, 1871, and 1874 Savannah city directories. Located at 70 Bay Street, the directories described their business as cotton factors and commission merchants. The 1871 directory listed its owners as A. H. Colquitt (with residence in Baker County), H. H. Colquitt (residing at 107 Congress), and James Baggs (of 70 Broughton). Particulars are not known concerning this business, but for whatever reason, it failed, and Colquitt assigned 125 acres of land lot 147 in the Twelfth District of Baker County to James S. Boddeford. The deed was dated November 24, 1873.
Even though the 1871 Savannah city directory listed A. H. Colquitt as a resident of Baker County, Colquitt had begun to shift his interests to Atlanta by this time and was already listed in the Dekalb County census in 1870. During this period of the late 1860s and early 1870s, he apparently divided his time between Atlanta and Baker County. His new residence was in the exclusive community known as Kirkwood, now a suburb of Atlanta just over the county line about three miles west of Decatur. The 1870 U. S. Census lists the Colquitt family as follows:
Colquitt, Alfred H. 46 male white Farmer
Sarah 37 fem. Keeping house
Freddie R. 17 fem. At home
Elizabeth H. 10 fem.
Hattie B. 4 fem.
Laura W. 2 fem.
The Agricultural Schedules for the same year do not list Alfred Colquitt in either Baker or Dougherty Counties, but he apparently was farming Pinebloom and his other tracts, since he was listed as a farmer rather than a lawyer in the 1870 census. Inducement from old friends brought Colquitt back into the political arena, and on August 17, 1870, he was elected president of the state's Democratic Convention, a body of 300 delegates from 109 counties in Georgia. On the same day, he was elected president of the powerful State Agricultural Society, an office which he held for five terms.
A. H. Colquitt is listed in the city directories of Atlanta beginning in 1871 as the vice-president of Southern Life Insurance Company and a resident of Kirkwood, still a suburb of Atlanta. General John B. Gordon, also a resident of Kirkwood, was president of the company. At the same time, Colquitt's business ventures in Savannah were not doing terribly well. Senator Pasco of Florida described the troubles of Colquitt and Baggs in a memorial address when Colquitt died in 1894:
This probably explains why Colquitt began to sell of all his property in Baker and Dougherty Counties. First, on January 10, 1873, he sold a plantation of 1,962 acres in the Seventh District of Baker County for $6,000 to Parmedes Reynolds of Newton County, Georgia. This included land lots 289, 290, 291, 311, 330, 370, 310, and 331 and was located west of the home tract, several miles south of Leary, Georgia. Second, he sold the Pinebloom on March 20, 1875 to his brother-in-law, Samuel McDonald Carter of Murray County, Georgia, for $21,000. This was 2,125 acres in the Eighth Land District of Baker County, consisting of land lots 204, 205, 210, 211, 244, 245, 156, 163, and half of 162. The deed included mules, cattle, hogs, provisions, and farming implements. Third, Colquitt sold the "Alligator Place" on August 7, 1875 to John B. Baird of Bartow County, Georgia for "valuable consideration received." This was the same land first listed as being sold to Reynolds, and why he was selling it a second time is not clear. This deed included all stock, crops, and farm implements thereon.
Colquitt held on to two tracts until the early 1880s, then sold them in the same month. On February 1, 1882, he sold Gillionville Plantation in Dougherty County to Walter S. Gordon, a relation of General John B. Gordon, of Fulton County, Georgia for $16,000. This plantation included land lots 61, 99, 100, 101, 102, 138, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 178 and most of 103 in the Second District and lots 101, 141, 177, the southern half of 100, and 70 acres of 102 in the Third District of Dougherty County. This plantation totaled 3,640 acres.
And, finally, on February 7, 1882, Colquitt sold Malaie (or Malau) Plantation to Robert N. Ely of Fulton County, Georgia for $1,300. Ely was Secretary of State during Colquitt's term as Governor. This consisted of 1,750 acres in the Seventh District of Baker County, including land lots 81, 119, 120, 121, and 122, as well as land lots 65, and 107 in the Twelfth District of Baker County.
Colquitt was nominated to the office of Governor by the Democratic State Convention held in Atlanta on August 2, 1876. The nomination was unanimous after the other candidates stepped down. The Republican nominee was Jonathan Norcross, and Colquitt defeated him in the largest majority up until that time (111,287 votes to 33,443). When he took office, his administration confronted serious financial problems, as the state was in debt due to reconstruction politics. Colquitt first improved on the exactness of property returns and collection of taxes. He also saved money in the contingency fund, printing fund, and other funds over which he had control. He reduced the states expenses on gas, coal, labor, stationary, postage, printing, advertising, clerk hire, and incidental expenses.
Several railroads had not met their obligations to the state and were the source of a great bonded indebtedness. He tackled the problem vigorously. He collected a substantial sum owed the state by the Macon and Brunswick Railroad, and it was sold in 1880. The Memphis Branch Railroad was sold in August 1877 to the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad and the North and South Railroad to Louis F. Garrard. All three of these railroads had fallen into receivership when they couldn't pay on the bonds issued by the state. Under the Colquitt administration, the state's bonded indebtedness was reduced from $2,842,000 to $1,667,500.
Another railroad matter during Colquitt's term in office was collecting from the Federal government for the inflated price paid by the state of Georgia for the Western and Atlantic Railroad during Reconstruction. The process to collect this money was started in the 1860s and 1870s by Governor Rufus Bullock, and continued by Governor James M. Smith. It was finally settled during the Colquitt administration and netted $199,038.58, 25% of which was the fee paid to the agents that pursued it. Colonel W. 0. Tuggle, under the auspices of the Colquitt administration collected $72,296.94 for the state from the Federal Government based on a claim in 1836 concerning Georgia's Indian troubles.
During Colquitt's first term, President Rutherford B. Hayes visited Atlanta in October 1877, and the Governor received him and gave a reception at the Governor's mansion which was located at 134 Peachtree Street. Mrs. Colquitt is said to have allowed the ladies of Atlanta to use the lawn for socials and parties.
As the Governor of the state of Georgia, Colquitt's household had grown beyond just children born to him and his wife. The 1880 Census of Fulton County gives a good picture of the family in that year:
Fulton County, Atlanta, 134 Peachtree Street, June 1,1880, p. 4740
Colquitt, Alfred H. white male 56 married Gov. of Ga.
Sarah B. white fem. 47 wife married keeps hse
Lizzie white fem. 20 dau. single at home
Hattie white fem. 14 dau. single at school
Laura white fem. 11 dau. single
Dollie white fem. 9 dau. single
Walter T. white male 6 son single
Goldsmith, Hannah black fem. 47 serv. single cooking
Susan black fem. 18 serv. single hse serv. (can't write)
Manly, Anthony black male 24 serv. single Griver (can't read or write)
A new constitution for the state of Georgia was adopted in 1877, and in it, the governorship was changed from a four to a two-year term. Therefore in 1880, when Colquitt was up for re-election, it was for the new two-year term. The new constitution also established Atlanta as the permanent capital, which was ratified by popular vote. Although the new document was lengthy and bundlesome, Colquitt supported it, believing that it was the best that could be accomplished at the time. He also supported Atlanta as the permanent capital, being a resident therein.
Colquitt was severely criticized for appointing Joseph E. Brown as U. S. Senator to replace General John B. Gordon, who resigned. Many did not like Brown due to his cooperative stand with reconstruction government immediately following the war. Nevertheless, Colquitt was reelected to his second term in 1880. One criticism during the campaign was that Colquitt attended political and religious gatherings of blacks. He stated that he had "preached to the negroes on his plantation before the war and there was no reason why he should not preach to free negroes now."
Relating to his religious life, Colquitt was a staunch Methodist and often served as a lay Methodist minister. (Reports that he was a licensed Methodist minister cannot be documented). Like his father, also a lay Methodist minister, Alfred Colquitt was very emotional in the pulpit. In 1878, while Governor, he was elected president of the International Sunday School Convention that met in Atlanta that year. He was also an advocate for the temperance movement and served on a committee of the North Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church in 1888 with W. H. Potter and A. G. Haygood to explore the possibility of establishing a non-partisan temperance alliance of all the prohibition forces in the state. This may have eventually led to the formation of the Georgia Prohibition Association in 1893, with a Methodist layman, Cc. R. Pringle, as president.
During Colquitt's second term as Governor, the Cotton Exposition of 1881 was held in Atlanta, and he served as president of the organization following the early resignation of ex-Governor, Joseph E. Brown. The exposition opened October 5, 1881 with 1,113 exhibits from throughout the United States and the rest of the world. This was one of the important events that helped make Atlanta the "capital" of the New South.
With his second term of office over at the end of 1882, Colquitt remained in Atlanta, moving to his new home in Edgewood, another suburb of Atlanta, just west of Kirkwood, but still in Dekalb County. The house, no longer standing, was located at the corner of Moreland and Euclid Avenues and faced the Georgia Railroad. It was designed by architect John Moser and was typical of large Victorian houses of the day. Colquitt returned to his previous profession in the insurance business, but instead of working with General Gordon, he was a partner in the agency of John C. Whitner & Company with offices on East Wall Street. Whitner & Company were general insurance agents and managed the southern department of The Merchants Insurance Company of Newark, New Jersey. The other two partners with Colquitt were J. C. and J. A. Whitner. Colquitt remained affiliated with this agency until about 1888.
Simultaneous to the end of his term as Governor, the legislature elected Colquitt to fill the vacancy in the U.S. Senate caused by the death of Senator Benjamin H. Hill, replacing Pope Barrow who had filled the unexpired portion of Hill's term. He served as Junior Senator under Joseph E. Brown, whom he had appointed during his governorship, until 1891 when John B. Gordon became Georgia's second representative in the Senate. Brown, Gordon, and Colquitt were known in the Senate as a "triumvirate" which ruled Georgia from the restoration of Democratic control to the rise of the small farmers in the 1890s.
While Senator, he continued to be one of the most important figures in Atlanta. He is credited with inducing Colonel George W. Scott to locate in Dekalb County, where he founded Agnes Scott College. In 1887, when Mrs. Grover Cleveland was visiting Atlanta, she started her day on October 19 "with a breakfast at Senator Alfred H. Colquitt's handsome home fronting the Georgia Railroad in Edgewood." In 1892, Colquitt suffered a stroke and was confined to his room for many weeks. On December 21, Vice-President-elect Adlai Stevenson was in Atlanta and called on Colquitt at his Edgewood home. He recovered sufficiently to resume his responsibilities as Senator and was living in Washington, D.C. in 1894 when he announced his intention to run for a third term. Shortly thereafter, he suffered another stroke on March 21 and died March 26, 1894 at his home in Washington. The Albany Herald reported the death on the next day in a front page story:
Memorial services were held in Congress, and the proceeds were published by the Government Printing Office in 1895. The body was then carried to Atlanta for additional memorial services and finally to Macon where it was interred in Rose Hill Cemetery with his first wife, Dolly. Patrick Walsh of Augusta was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Colquitt and took his seat in the Senator on April 9, 1894. He was subsequently elected.
Sarah Bunn Colquitt lived until 1898 at their Atlanta home at the corner of Moreland and Euclid Avenues with her daughter, Hattie, and son, Walter T. Colquitt. After her death, the children moved to Moreland Avenue at the corner of Augusta Avenue, by then considered a part of Inman Park.
As previously noted, Alfred Holt Colquitt sold Pinebloom Plantation March 20, 1875 to Samuel McDonald Carter (1826-1897), owner of Carter's Quarters in Murray County in north Georgia. Carter had married A. H. Colquitt's sister, Emily Lane Colquitt (1830-1867) on July 3, 1850. Following their marriage, they lived in Columbus with her father and stepmother. Carter, however, was the son of one of the wealthiest men in the state, Colonel Farish Carter (1780-1861), and his wife, Eliza McDonald, of Baldwin County. The elder Carter never held political office but counted among his friends many of the most powerful men in Georgia and throughout the south. He owned numerous plantations, cotton mills, steamboats, and the rights to toll bridges and ferries. It was for Farish Carter that the city of Cartersville, Georgia was named. Samuel's mother was a sister of Charles James McDonald, Associate Justice of the state Supreme Court and Governor from 1839 to 1843.
Samuel and Emily Colquitt Carter were living in Murray County by 1860 when they were listed in the census. They resided at Rock Springs, Farish Carter's extensive plantation which had previously been the home of a prominent Cherokee Indian chief. This was one of his father's major sources of income, which is why he had placed his son in charge.
Emily Colquitt Carter died in 1867, and Samuel remarried in Columbus to Sallie Jeter, daughter of William Lamar Jeter of Columbus, and a great niece of Walter Terry Colquitt. By this marriage, Carter had five additional children.
It is unlikely that Samuel Carter ever lived on Pinebloom after he purchased it in 1875. No information has been passed down as to exactly how it was used. By 1911, it was in the hands of Walter Colquitt Carter, a son of Samuel, who was a clerk of the U. S. District Court of the Northern District of Georgia, and later was a U. S. commissioner (similar to a magistrate today) for the district court. The Atlanta resident used the Baker County plantation as collateral on a loan of $31,875 from the Provident Trust and Security Company of the state of Georgia on December 22, 1911. The security deed was transferred to the company president, S. H. Fuller of Laurens County (Dublin), Georgia on March 25, 1912 and back to W. C. Carter on April 25th in the same year.
On July 29, 1914, Carter assigned timber rights to Benton Odum of Baker County for $750, which provided Odum with right to the timber on land lots 211, 244 and 245 in the Eighth District. Odum later transferred those rights on the 4th of August to the Flint River Cypress Company, which was chartered in the state of South Carolina. On November 6, 1915, Walter Colquitt Carter of Fulton County, Georgia made a security deed to John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company for 1,750 acres of Pinebloom as collateral on a loan of $5,000. This was repaid on May 28, 1920, and the security deed was cancelled.
Carter began selling portions of what was called in the deed "the Governor Colquitt Plantation" on October 17, 1923 to the Flint River Pecan Company, headed by Dermont Shemwell of Albany. Shemwell's purchase at that time included two land lots, 156 and 163 to the north and west of the mansion house. A plat recorded in the deed books reveal that Shemwell had planned a pecan subdivision, dividing the land lots up into two-and-one-half-acre plots to be sold to investors wanting their own little pecan grove. The plan apparently failed, however, as a deed dated October 1, 1925 shows a judgment against the Flint River Pecan Company who owed Carter $18,875.01. The City Court of Albany ordered Flint River Pecan Company to pay this amount (which was the principal), plus $3,409.97, which was the interest to July 24, 1925, plus $2,228.50 in attorney's fees, plus interest from the date of the judgment. Walter Colquitt Carter had died since making the original deal on April 21, 1923, but his son and administrator, W. Colquitt Carter (Jr.) was to turn over to Flint River Pecan Company 1,775 acres, including land lots 204, 210, 211, 244, 245, 162, 156, and all of 163 except 100 acres deed to F. R. P. C. on October 17, 1923 (referenced above). This was subject to the timber rights of Benton Odum, still in effect. Note that land Lot 205 where the plantation house is located is conspicuously absent from this deed.
Lot 205 somehow did get into the hands of Flint River Pecan Company because on April 15 1926, they drew up a security deed to William A. Law and L. W. Steeble of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, trustees for Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia in exchange for a loan of $15,000. Shemwell's company apparently defaulted on the loan, as on December 28, 1935, Penn Mutual sold the plantation to Winthrop Bancroft. This was the beginning of a new era in the history of Pinebloom Plantation.
In the Friday, November 6, 1936 issue of The Albany Post, a photograph of Pinebloom appears, identifying it as the former home of the Colquitts which was built in [sic] 1856. The article noted that at that time the property included approximately 2,400 acres and was owned by Winthrop Bancroft of New York, who had spent several thousand dollars improving the house. Bancroft also began to farm the plantation again, raising cattle, peanuts, corn, and cotton.
Bancroft sold the place, which he had increased to 9,400 acres on March 25, 1946 to Hal Price Headley of Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. A noted racehorse breeder, trainer, and racer, Headley built a magnificent stable and racetrack for training his horses in the winters. Headley did further work on restoring the old Colquitt mansion, establishing new roads (and naming them for New York streets and landmarks), and improving the acreage overall. Beginning in 1951, K. W. Pearson began working for Headley and is responsible for much of the improvements in managing the forest, conserving the soil, and propagating wildlife, especially quail.
Following Headley's death, the property was again sold by his executor to the Standard Property Corporation, a Delaware company, on January 6, 1964. Standard Property was a subsidiary of Rockwell International, owned by William F. Rockwell, Jr. of Pittsburgh. Mr. Rockwell took a great deal of pride in the plantation and had a complete illustrated history compiled in the form of a booklet by William E. Farley of Atlanta, with photographs by Evon Streetman of Tallahassee. The booklet was distributed to friends and family for Christmas in 1964. The Rockwells continued the development of the plantation, building the "Swamp House" in 1968 which has been used as the main guest quarters since that time. The former office of A. H. Colquitt, which had been used as a laundry in recent years, was restored, and began use as a gun room for hunters coming to the plantation. The Rockwells also added an airstrip northeast of the mansion house, making it more convenient to bring in guests. Standard Property Corporation deeded the plantation to Standard Enterprises, Inc. on May 16, 1967, obviously an in-house change of names for the Rockwell's holding company.
After owning it for ten years, the Rockwells sold the plantation on September 4, 1974 to U. S. Steel Corporation. It was during the ownership of U. S. Steel that several changes were made to the interior of the mansion, such as the removal of the partition wall between the double parlors, closing the dining room fireplace (now reopened), and replacing the floors. It was also during this ownership that the racetrack, built by Mr. Headley, was removed. U. S. Steel used the plantation as a corporate retreat.
On February 25, 1981, Pinebloom Corporation, the name of the holding company headed by John M. Harbert III of Birmingham, Alabama, purchased the plantation from U. S. Steel. It now contains over 10,000 acres and is a combination of active farm and hunting plantation. Mr. and Mrs. Harbert have corrected some of the changes made inside the house by the previous owner, and decorated it with the assistance of Robert Hiden, an interior designer from Birmingham who lived in Europe for 40 years before his death.
Pinebloom Plantation consists of an approximately 2,000-acre tract of rural forest and agricultural land and a Greek Revival plantation house built c.1850 that historically were part of an extensive working plantation. The plantation property lies along either side of Tarva Road (Co. Rte. 122) in Baker County in southwest Georgia, and is bordered on the east by Cooleewahee Creek. The land that makes up the plantation is of almost flat terrain with several swampy areas and small ponds dotted throughout the fields and forested areas. Dirt service roads provide access to various parts of the property, and a landing strip also exists on the property. Several outbuildings, tenant houses, and agricultural buildings are located near the main house. Only one historic outbuilding, the former plantation office that was reportedly used by the plantation's first owner, Alfred Holt Colquitt, remains. Other similarly large plantations surround Pinebloom, including historic Tarver Plantation directly to the north, so the area has remained very rural.
The plantation house sits approximately 500 feet east of Tarva Road and is approached by a semicircular dirt drive that circles in front of the house, then continues around to the rear of the house and encircles it. The house is a one-story, raised structure with Greek Revival detailing built c.1850. The wood-framed house features a hipped roof, weatherboard siding, a columned front portico, and a symmetrical U-shaped plan. Typical of classically inspired dwellings of the period, the main section of the house has two rooms on either side of a wide central hallway. To each side of this main section are wings which each contain two rooms divided by a hallway. Separate entrances lead into each wing, and each features a small portico with two fluted columns. The front portico wraps around the front facade of the house and is supported by twelve fluted columns. Across the back of the main section of the house is a rear screened veranda which gives access to the two hallways in the two rear wings.
On the house's exterior, weatherboarding is used on all exposed wall surfaces, while horizontal tongue and groove boards with a deep decorative groove are used under the front portico. The original roof material has been replaced with asphalt shingles. Chimneys and foundation piers are of brick, and a masonry underpinning has been installed since 1981. The walls of the main house under the rear veranda are plastered.
Fluted Doric columns and unfluted pilasters support a very simple entablature with delicate dentil molding which completely surrounds the house. Connecting the fluted columns are balustrades with turned balusters. The double-hung sash windows have plain moldings and flat lintels and are 6/9 under the front porch and 6/6 elsewhere. The front entrance is a fine example of Greek Revival detailing. The single four-panel door is hung between pilasters and is surrounded by a transom and sidelights. Above the entrance is a slightly pedimented lintel. The door entering the central hallway from the back veranda is also a four-panel but has only a transom. The side entrances are double doors with transoms and slightly pedimented lintels.
The main section of the house originally consisted of a central hallway with two rooms on either side. Now, to the right of the central hallway is a large room used as a library. The next room on the right has been divided into a large bath, two lavatories, a storage closet, and a liquor closet. To the left of the central hallway is one long room running the length of the main body of the house. This originally was two rooms which opened into one another and was used as a double parlor. These rooms retain their original use. In the 1970s the partition wall was removed and a second door was closed which gave access from the rear of the central hallway.
The dining room is reached through a door at the rear of the double parlors, and is located in the front room of the north wing. To the rear of the north wing is a pantry (originally a hallway), and kitchen (originally a bedroom). A bay room centered on the back of the wing contains a laundry room and lavatory.
The south wing is reached from the back veranda, which runs the length of the main body of the house. Entering a hallway, there is a bedroom on either side. The bay room on the back of the south wing (corresponding to the bay room on the back of the north wing) is now a bathroom serving the rear bedroom. All interior walls are plastered and either painted or papered. The only notable exception is the library which is paneled in walnut. Ceilings are also plastered. The original floors were removed sometime in the twentieth century and replaced with random length and width flooring with pegs. The floor in the dining room, however, was found to be intact by the present owners, and it has been restored. Wall-to-wall carpeting covers the floors in the south wing which is now the only part of the house used for bedrooms. The pantry and kitchen floors are covered with vinyl. The front porch has a slate floor, and the back porch floor has been bricked.
The only original mantels left in the house when the present owners acquired it were the two in the double parlors and those in the bedrooms in the south wing. The parlor mantels have fluted pilasters on either side of the fireplace and have been marbleized. The two mantels in the bedrooms also have fluted pilasters and are painted. Molding throughout the interior is confined to door frames, baseboards, and some cornice molding. A chair rail with Greek fret was added by the present owners in the central hallway and parlors. No plaster medallions were found in the house by the present owners, and the ones now in place have been installed by then.
The house is framed throughout with full-length sills resting on a brick pier foundation. The rafters have mortise and tenon joints and are pegged.
Historically the house was heated with open fireplaces. The design of the house takes advantage of breezes through the full-length hallways and wide verandas. Plumbing was not installed in the house until the 1930s when the Bancrofts owned it. Exactly when electricity was installed has not be determined.
The lawn surrounding the house is planted with flowering trees and shrubs, including live oaks, magnolias, dogwoods, azaleas, and boxwood. To the north is pasture land where horses graze. To the east is a skeet shooting range and open field. To the south is a landing strip. An undocumented cemetery is located on the property to the east of the landing strip, according to the topographic map.
The only historic outbuilding presently in existence is the office behind the house off its southeast corner, a small rectangular structure with weatherboard siding and a hipped roof. This was reportedly the office of owner Alfred Holt Colquitt and is now used as a gun room. Two utility buildings have been constructed on the north side of the house in the side yard. Although contemporary, they closely match the design of the main house and the office. Beyond the house to the rear, and at a distance is a workman's cottage, the "Skeet Lodge" (a dining facility on the site of a former barn from the Colquitt era), and the plantation office. All are compatible in design to the main antebellum structure.
Later owner Hal Price Headley built a race track for horses in the mid-twentieth century where the skeet range is now located. The 1860 U.S. Census indicates that Colquitt had 17 slave dwellings where his 93 slaves that worked the homeplace were housed. These slave quarters are all gone, and their locations are unknown. A 1920s photograph shows a plank fence in the front yard of the main house, which has long since been removed.
Each successive owner of the plantation has left his mark on the house, but on the whole, it appears today very much as it did in the days of Colquitt's ownership. Nothing is known of any changes made by the Carter family during their forty-eight year tenure, but likely no significant changes were made. The Bancrofts were the first to renovate the structure in the 1950s but made no really significant alterations. The most significant alterations were made by U. S. Steel during their ownership in the 1970s, at which time the house was used as a corporate retreat. The present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Harbert, have completely redecorated the house but have not altered the structure in any way. They restored the only existing original floor (in the dining room) and uncovered the dining room fireplace which had been closed.