Friday, December 21, 2012

What We Know About The Cabin

What We Know

1. About Vann’s Valley and Cave Spring
Floyd County and this valley were settled by Eastern Indian tribes, mostly Creek
and Cherokee, in the mid-1700s. Major Ridge (builder and owner of what is now
the Chieftains Museum site) was born around 1771. (Cherokee Tragedy,
Wilkins.) Ridge served early with James Vann, uncle of David Vann, as a member
of the Cherokee Council.
Vann’s Valley is named for Avery Vann,1 a Scottish trader who married a fullblooded
Cherokee woman. Avery’s stepbrother was James Vann, a powerful
Cherokee chief known for his fierce temper. Avery Vann’s son, David Vann, was
born in Vann’s Valley in 1800.
David Vann’s home is thought to be on Alabama Street within a mile from the
cabin site. Anecdotal history points to other David Vann property sites in Cave
Spring as well.
2. Location of the Cabin
Cedartown Street and Broad Street, where the cabin sits, were main roads of
commerce in the late 1700s/early 1800s just as they are today.
3. Construction of the Cabin
Hand-hewn: The cabin is constructed of hand-hewn (or possibly hand-split) logs.
They may have been finished with an adz (a cutting tool whose thin arching
blade is perpendicular to the handle and is used for the rough shaping of wood)
or a broad ax.
1 Link from the TOTA website.
• Chinking: The word “chinking” applies to a process of covering the spaces
between logs. The pieces of wood now wedged between the logs were
possibly scrap left over from the roofing of the cabin. These pieces were
covered with a mixture of creek mud, fire ash, and other materials during
the winter. During the summer, the materials could have been removed
for “air conditioning.”
Architectural details also provide historical significance. The windows on the
right side are 6 over 9 style. (6 panes of glass over 9 panes of glass). This style
dates from the late 1700s to the early 1800s according to several sources.
(Field Guide to American Houses; Virginia and Lee McAlester; Knopf).
Known History of the Building
Armistead Richardson removed to Vann’s Valley and began preparations for the
establishment of Cave Spring in 1831.2 By 1839, Richardson’s land holdings
included thousands of acres in and around Cave Spring.3
The Baptist Church was constituted led by Armistead Richardson. By 1839, the
members form a school for the area named “The Baptist Manual Labor School”
with 200 acres of land purchased for the school and buildings. Part of the land
was cultivated by the pupils of the school under the supervision of the principal;
part of it was laid in lots and sold and later incorporated as the town of Cave
2 Battey’s History of Rome and Floyd County, page 36
3 A history of the Simmons Plantation (Ina Black’s House/Cherokee Sub Chief
David Vann’s home) by Kristi Reed`kristireed/index_files/Page2552
4 James Coffee Harris: Cave Spring and Vans Valley
The Baptist Manual Labor School was renamed the Hearn Manual Labor School in
honor of Lott O. Hearn. Mr. Hearn bequeathed a sizable amount of money to the
school upon his death. In 1903 the Baptist Manual Labor School was given to
the Educational Board of the Georgia Baptist Convention. It was reorganized as
a preparatory school for college under the name of Hearn Academy. 4
Mr. William Posey acquired Lot # 6 from The Hearn Trustees.
William K. Posey then sold Lot #6 to Joel Dean, Thomas Craven, and Walter R.
Webster between 1853 and 1854. In 1854 the property became known as the
Webster Hotel.
Between 1854 and 1865, Samuel Gibbons obtained Lot #6 and parts of Lot # 9
and Lot #8. Samuel Gibbons sold the property to Joseph Ford, a local cotton
baron who built Colonial Heights plantation. Joseph Ford died September 1872,
as a result of a train accident, while he was living in the residence currently
known as the Forbes House (next door to the Webster Hotel). Mrs. M. E. F.
Sheldon bought the property known as the Webster Hotel at public auction for
Mrs. Sheldon sold the same property to B. F. Strickland on December 8, 1883,
for $1500.00
The Green Hotel was renovated under the management of Mr. W.D. McCollum,
formally of Newnan, Georgia.
A. W. Findley bought the Hotel property at public sale for $1500.00. The
property included stable and a storehouse at that time.
To the best of our records, the Green Hotel was divided into four apartments at
this time. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers Asbury lived in the left downstairs apartment for
many years. Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lyons, their sons and daughter, lived in the right
In the late 1940’s, Dr. Harvey Norton, Jr., converted the left apartments into a
medical clinic and enclosed half of the front porch for his office.
Mr. Bobby George bought the property and named it Appletree Nursery and
Antiques. He and his son owned the property for 25 years.
The George Family sold the property to Mr. William Benefield of Cave Spring and
While the Cave Spring Historical Society began efforts to save the property in
November of 2009, serious efforts began in March of 2010.