Andalusia, listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, has been brought to life by descriptions in the published letters of Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being. The wooded areas of the property have been largely untouched for many decades, giving them a remarkably pristine appearance even though Andalusia is located adjacent to a rapidly developing commercial district. While the oldest existing structures at Andalusia only date back to the early 19th century, local historical records and physical evidence on this elevated property suggest much earlier occupation.
The earliest recorded occupants of the property were Joseph and Mary Pleasant “Polly” Stovall, and early title records called this tract and surrounding acreage the “Stovall Place.” The acreage composing Andalusia was most likely included in Stovall’s holdings. It is unclear how Joseph Stovall acquired this property.
Joseph Stovall apparently owned a variety store in Milledgeville around the time he married Polly, and some secondary sources refer to him as both a merchant and a planter. And while the “Stovall Place” was clearly an active plantation complete with slave labor, the primary residence of the family for over twenty years was at the corner of Wilkinson and Greene Streets.
Joseph Stovall died in 1848, and a few years later Polly remarried. Upon her death in 1854 the property of the Stovall estate was inventoried and appraised. According to an account of sales recorded in the Baldwin County courthouse, the real estate of Joseph Stovall was sold at public auction January 2, 1855. Listed among the estate’s holdings was the Stovall Plantation consisting of 1,519 acres lying on Tobler Creek, three miles north of Milledgeville. Apparently there was some discrepancy in the record about the exact acreage. Earlier appraisals placed the total at 1,700 acres, and later documents reestablish this figure as a total for the holdings. At any rate, the high bidder at the estate auction was Nathan Hawkins who purchased this plantation at $6.00 per acre.
Nathan Hawkins served as Mayor of Milledgeville for three terms in the 1850s and also represented Baldwin County in the lower house of the state legislature. Nathan and his first wife, Margery, prospered financially but suffered personally with the loss of three children to disease between 1848 and 1852. Then Margery Hawkins died in 1856, and Nathan married a woman named Amanda. The wealth of the Hawkins family is illustrated by the fact that they were one of only four households in 1860 in Baldwin County that owned more than 100 slaves. It is quite likely that the Hawkins family had the Main House constructed some time in the late 1850s.
Nathan Hawkins died in 1870. The recorded title history of Andalusia begins in 1873 with the auction of the1,700-acre plantation, which went to Col. Thomas Johnson of Lexington County, Kentucky. But Johnson’s deed only vested full and unconditional title to 1,134 acres. The remaining portion was subject to the life estate of Hawkins’ wife, Amanda. According to early plats, Amanda Hawkins’ dower tract roughly matches the boundaries of Andalusia. Thomas Johnson held his entire purchase together for over thirty years, but in February 1905, he sold his 1,134 acres to Madison A. McCraw of Milledgeville. Amanda Hawkins had a long life and died only a few months before Col. Johnson in 1906, which left her dower tract in the hands of the Johnson Estate.
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