Washington, Georgia Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Centered around a beautiful square, Washington
was the scene of the last official meeting of the
Holly Court in Washington
The wife and children of
President Jefferson Davis
stayed here briefly during the
flight from Richmond.
Photo by Martha A. Bailey
The Callaway Plantation is
now owned by the city of
Washington, Georgia. The
house was the center of a
3,000 acre cotton farm.
Photo by Martha A. Bailey
Historic Sites & Points of Interest
Antebellum History & Homes
Last Confederate Meeting
The last meeting of the
Confederate government took
place on this site in historic
Founded before the American Revolution, the
charming city of Washington is one of the
most beautiful and historic in Georgia.
Home to more than 100 antebellum homes
that miraculously survived ravages of time
and the War Between the States, Washington
was founded on January 1, 1774 as a frontier
stockade built on land obtained by treaty from
the Creek Indians. Originally called Fort
Heard, the stockade stood just north of
today's town square and was named for
John Heard, the head of the first group of
Many of the frontier settlers of the area soon
became involved in the American Revolution.
Most fought on the Patriot side, although a
few were Tories and stood with the British. A
major battle of the Revolution took place just
outside of Washington in 1799 when Patriot
forces led by Andrew Pickens, Elijah Clarke
and John Dooly smashed British troops at
the Battle of Kettle Creek. Legend holds that
the Georgia heroine Nancy Hart took part in
The battlefield at Kettle Creek is marked by a
memorial park and monuments and is
located on Warhill Road twelve miles from
The modern community of Washington
became a reality in 1780 when its founding
was approved by the Georgia legislature. By
1783, the town had been surveyed and was
growing around the stockade of Fort Heard.
Over the decades that followed, Washington
grew into a prosperous and successful town.
A center of commerce, politics and social life
during the antebellum era, it was the home of
a magnificent array of beautiful homes on the
eve of the Civil War.
When the secession of Georgia was
announced on January 19, 1861, a blue flag
with a five-pointed white star was raised over
the city. It had been secretly made by the
daughter of a prominent Unionist. Over the
next four years, numerous local men
marched off to fight for the Confederacy.
Among the most famous was General Porter
Alexander, who commanded the artillery in
General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern
Virginia, and General Robert Toombs, who
served as the first Secretary of State of the
Confederacy and as a Confederate brigadier
As the Confederacy collapsed in the spring of
1865, Washington became a focal point in
the flight from Richmond of President
Jefferson Davis, his cabinet and family. Mrs.
Davis and her children stayed briefly at Holly
Court, a beautiful antebellum home that is
now a bed & breakfast inn. The President
himself and several members of his cabinet
bedded down in the old Georgia Branch
Although Davis had held the last meeting of
his full cabinet days earlier in Danville,
Virginia, he met for a final conference with
those still accompanying him at Washington
shortly after his arrival on May 4, 1865. The
session took place in the old bank building
where he and his retinue stayed. The site is
marked today by a stone monument on the
Davis left Washington after a brief stay, trying
to stay ahead of pursuing Union troops. He
was taken prisoner at Irwinville, Georgia, on
May 10, 1865.
One of the great mysteries of the last days of
the Civil War surrounds Washington. When
President Davis and the other Confederate
officials reached the city, they had with them
a significant part of the Confederate treasury.
By the time they left, however, the treasure
Exactly what happened to the gold and silver
of the Confederate Treasury remains a hotly
debated mystery to this day. It was last seen
in Washington and much of it - particularly
the gold - has never been found.
Local legends of buried treasure abound and
it is known that some of the silver turned up
near Washington. The bulk of the gold simply
vanished. Davis had none with him when he
was captured at Irwinville.
Some say the gold was secretly carried to
Savannah in the false bottom of a wagon.
Others believe that one of the many different
legends of buried treasure in Georgia may
hold the answer to the mystery.
A unique note from Washington's modern is
that the city is the hometown of Grammy
winning songwriter Hillary Lindsey. She
began writing songs at age 10 and left
Washington in 1994 to attend Belmont
University in Nashville.
Lindsey became one of the top songwriters
in the nation, having written or co-written
such hits as "Blessed" and "This One's For
the Girl's" for Martina McBride, "Backseat of a
Greyhound Bus" for Sara Evans and "Jesus,
Take the Wheel" by Carrie Underwood.
Recordings of her songs have sold more
than 30 milliion copies.
Washington today is a thriving community
rich in heritage and noted for its dozens of
antebellum homes, unique shops and bed &
breakfast inns. Many of the latter are located
in historic antebellum structures. Historic
markers dot the landscape and the city's
square is among the most beautiful in the
Key attractions in Washington include the
Robert Toombs House Historic Site at 216
East Robert Toombs Avenue. It was the
home of General Robert Toombs, the first
Secretary of State of the Confederacy and a
brigadier general in the Confederate army.
Please click here for to learn more about the
Robert Toombs House.
The Callaway Plantation, located five miles
west of downtown on U.S. 78, is owned by
the City of Washington. Open from Tuesday
through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the
house was once the center of a 3,000 acre
Numerous other heritage and outdoors
attractions can be found throughout the area.
Please click here to learn more about historic
Home of Robert Toombs
Now a museum, the structure
was the home of Gen. Robert
Toombs, first Secretary of
State of the Confederacy.
|Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: May 17, 2014
Homes of Southern Heroes
A visit to the Robert Toombs House
Civil War in Georgia
A visit to the Robert Toombs House
More than 100 antebellum
homes still stand in historic
Washington. The city was
founded in 1774.
Home of Sarah Hillhouse
Begun in 1814, this was the
home of the first woman to
edit and publish a newspaper
in Georgia. Mrs. Hillhouse
took over the publication of
The Monitor in 1803.