From:  The Augusta Chronicle November 22, 1901, Page 4


Beautiful Ceremony at the Walton Home

Yesterday afternoon with all due impressiveness as befitted the memorable occasion, occurred the opening exercises of Meadow Garden, the historic home of George Walton, one of the three Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence.The beautiful interior as it has been decorated and renovated under the supervision of the repairing committee, with Mrs. H. Gould Jefferies as chairman, enclosed on this occasion many noble women, the descendants of illustrious ancestors.More auspicious circumstances could not be imagined than when so many of that society, whose object is to preserve memorials of the past, were in our midst, for no more appreciative company could have been gathered.

The exercises began with the singing of the national hymn, “America,” after which Mrs. Robert Emory Park, the state regent, delivered the following beautiful, appropriate and eloquent remarks in her happy way, commanding the attention of the large number present:


As regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution of the State of Georgia, I feel proud and happy to announce the opening of Meadow Garden and its dedication to patriotic purposes. I congratulate the city of Augusta that it holds within its bosom this priceless relic of the Revolutionary time, and I congratulate the Augusta Chapter that they become the special custodians of the home of one of the fifty-five immortals – for every man who affixed his name to that great declaration of the rights of man has become immortal in the affections of his countrymen and in the history of human freedom.

It is no small thing ‘to have and to hold’ the home which belonged to George Walton, the soldier, statesman, governor, senator, jurist, the man who gave to his state well-nigh thirty years of uninterrupted public work; loving Georgia supremely, willing to spend and be spent in her service. As George Walton’s name was one of the four signed to that first call for a meeting round the Liberty Pole, in Savannah, on June 21st, 1774, so to the end of his life was he among the foremost in sustaining the liberty of Georgia. It is eminently fitting, then that this patriotic association should preserve his home as a continual reminder of his work and character.

It has been fancifully said that the very timbers of a house in time absorb the spirit of the owner. If that be true the atmosphere of Meadow Garden will inspire its visitors with aspiration and patriotism.

And surely some subtle spiritual force must still pervade the locality where once great men gathered. Could these walls speak, if but a gramophone could repeat for us today the conversations held under this roof and in these chambers more than a century age what wisdom and wit would inform and delight us? What profound questions of statesmanship and differing theories of government might we not listen to. Here Washington might have been heard advancing his Federalist ideas and some Georgia statesman opposing him with his doctrine of state sovereignty. Here a young poet-near whose lips had been touched with fire from the altar of patriotism might have magically swayed his audience as he painted the vision of the growth of the nation, when America’s flag should float over the islands of the sea. For all the triumphs and the trophies, that were to crown the latter days of the new republic as well as all the difficulties and dangers then besetting the young ship of state were doubtless discussed about the round table of Meadow Garden.

But no poet-seer of them all could discern the wonders of the new time. Suppose the good governor himself on some summer noon had dropped down into his easy chair and looking out through these windows on his green pastures and stately trees, had fallen into a Rip Van Winkle doze of a hundred years. Would he, on awaking today, believe himself in the same old world? Picture his bewilderment as he looked in vain for the wide fields and whispering boughs; think of his trying to reconcile his quiet suburbs with this busy spot. Imagine his startled look at the snorting iron horse; fancy his amazement at electric cars, impelled by invisible power, and wheelmen flying by, outrivaling the wind. What would those disfiguring telegraph poles mean to him, and the noise of mill and factory, the multitudinous murmur of industry, and hum and buss of busy life in mart and crowded street?

Yet George Walton, in his day, was one who wished to see ‘the great world spin forever down the ‘groove of change.’ He was entirely abreast of the times, full of alertness to his fingertips, a typical patriot, a man ready for emergencies, one who welcomed the new time and helped lay strong and deep the foundations of the republic.

Meadow Garden has participated in the life of three centuries. This house built in the eighteenth century, has survived the changes and endured the storms of the nineteenth, and now has entered with renewed vigor upon the twentieth-a sturdy witness of the birth, growth and splendid achievements of our great republic.

As it was the home of a patriot in the past, may it be the cradle of patriotism in the future.

“Let him whose zeal needs kindling come to Meadow Garden and meditate upon the glowing patriotism of George Walton; let him who finds the service of his state burdensome, come hither and think on the many capacities in which Governor Walton devoted his talents to the interest of his state.

Let the young come hither and think on the many capacities in which Governor Walton devoted his talents to the interest of his state.

Let the young come hither for the inspiration of high purpose, and the old to muse upon the rewards of a life devoted to country and mankind.

Let the Daughters of the American Revolution preserve with patriotic care this memorial of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence-one of the grand old governors of Georgia. Let them make it a treasure house of Colonial and Revolutionary relics, and hand it down to their children’s children to be honored as the home of a hero, who fought for the independence of Georgia.


Mrs. Harriet Gould Jefferies, whose labor of love it has been as chairman of the Meadow Garden repairing committee, to bring a grand and noble work to such a brilliant climax, then delivered the keys of Meadow Garden to the vice-president general, Mrs. S.B.C. Morgan, with the following words:

Madame Vice-President General, Daughters of the American Revolution:

I have the honor, as chairman of the ‘Meadow Garden’ repairing committee, which work I trust you will find satisfactorily performed, to present to you the keys of Meadow Garden, the historic home of Governor George Walton, one of the signers of the immortal Declaration of Independence.

Mrs. Morgan responded in her bright, impressive way in behalf of the absent president general, Mrs. Charles W. Fairbanks.

She took care to thank Mrs. Jefferies as chairman of the committee, saying that what had been accomplished in restoring Meadow Garden proved of what the American woman is capable. Mrs. Jefferies was the instrument, (backed by the committee), of the Augusta Chapter, D.A.R.

Accomplishing within a few months a work which had taken other chapters years to finish, and the result had not been half as satisfactory.

Out of the fullness of a patriotic heart Mrs. Morgan gave vent to her inmost feelings in a manner which enthused her hearers, after which she presented the keys to Mrs. J.B. Cumming, regent of the Augusta Chapter, as the proper custodian of the grand property of the National Society.

Mrs. Cumming in that easy, graceful way so characteristic of her, accepted the trust in fitting words, stating that she was proud to be the first to hold the keys of the famous home.

Miss Josephine Walton, whose home is now in New York, was present and read an interesting sketch of George Walton, written by his granddaughter, Mme. Octavia Walton LeVert.

Miss Walton then thanked Mrs. H. Gould Jefferies in the name of George Walton’s descendants for the beautiful work accomplished in renovating and furnishing the home of their illustrious ancestor.

The singing of the doxology concluded the formal program.


A wealth of southern smilax adorned the broad old-fashioned veranda, which was draped in an American flag which seemed to wave a glad welcome to the guests as they approached. Words are indeed inadequate to describe the charm which pervaded the atmosphere of the interior where every article of furniture seemed to exhale the breath of a period dear to the hearts of Americans. It is hard to realize that through all the past years there could have been preserved intact so many articles of historic value. But there they were to speak for themselves, placed amidst a lavish profusion of lovely flowers, although such were not needed for ornament.

The front drawing room’s chief attraction was the portrait of George Walton, which occupied the space over the mantel, beneath which were handsome candelabra. Cherry log fires were reflected in the handsome brass fenders and andirons.

A happy thought was the colonial tea party, which was held in the dining room. Here the most artistic decorations prevailed. The handsome mahogany table was strapped from corner to corner with red, white and blue ribbons. The center adornment was a large Battenburg square over red satin on which was placed a handsome silver and crystal epergne holding white chrysanthemums. Tea was served from large silver urns more than a hundred years old and originally belonged to Gen. Glascock, an intimate friend of George Walton.

Martha Washington, in the charming person of Miss Augusta Smith, gowned in pink and white striped crepe with old-fashioned jewels, gracefully presided.

She was very charmingly assisted by Mrs. George Cunningham as Priscilla in pearl gray poplin with kerchief and apron.

Mr. James Gould Jefferies, as George Washington, in black velvet and wig with powdered hair.

Mrs. Victor Barbot, as Miss Custis, in pale green brocade, with point d’esprit.

Mrs. Louis Walker Schley, as Betsy Ross, in white silk with panniers of corn-colored velvet and real      lace. She wore about the neck a gold-framed miniature of Colonel Mumford.

Mrs. W. B. White, as Nellie Custis, costumed in white satin, elaborately hand-embroidered in red roses in their natural colors.

Mrs. MacPherson Berrien Williams, as Mrs. John Hancock, elegantly attired in pale blue Dresden figured silk with lace.

Miss Anita Phinizy, as the beautiful Miss Evelyn Bird, was a charming impersonator of that character. She was handsomely costumed in pink and black brocade with a real lace shawl draped from the shoulders. Powdered hair and patches proved immensely becoming.

Miss Minnie Weed Pinkham as Mrs. John Adams, was unusually queenly in a pink satin petticoat with w? and pannier of green brocade.

Miss Eugenia Walton, in a winsome wig, impersonated Miss Peggy Shippes. She was gowned in pale tan silk with a black velvet bodice and real lace, which costume was one worn by a famous ancestress.

Her sister, Miss Grace Walton as Mrs. Duer, wore pale blue hand embroidered satin.

Miss Annie Wright, as Anne Fairfax, in a bewitching gown of blue silk with pink rose designs.

Miss Marie D’Antignac Allen, as Miss Caton, in white moiré antique hand painted in a handsome design of roses with touches of black velvet.

Miss Gertrude Weed, as Mrs. Alexander Hamilton, superbly gowned in yellow brocade with watteau drapery and panniers of embroidered velvet.

Miss Louise Smith, as Dolly Madison, daintily gowned in corn-colored crepe empire gown with seed pearls and cameos.

Miss Fannie Doolittle Richards in blue flowered silk and little Miss Virginia Dugas in white satin with an exquisite over-dress of real lace, were picturesque and dainty figures as they flitted in and out, aiding the young women in serving tea.

Among the interesting articles noted in the rooms, were the following:

A chair 100 years old, loaned by Mrs. C. A. Rowland. This chair was formerly owned by Mrs. C.L. Wright, sixth in descent from John Alden and Priscilla.

A dressing case owned by Gen. Appling.

A chair from the apartments of the residence of Mrs. Jacob Ford, which was Washington’s headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey.

A china closet containing a hand painted set of Revolutionary china, the work of Mrs. James Barrett.

A panoramic view of a British horse race donated by Mr. James Bacon, of Edgefield.

A library table from the Pulaski chapter of Griffin, Ga.

Candelabra owned by Mrs. James Gould Jefferies’ grandmother.

A copy of the Boston Gazette of 1772.

A chair from the Piedmont Continental Chapter of Atlanta.

Many other articles which have been noted in these columns were displayed.•