South Georgia Farmhouse Set For Demolition

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John Benjamin Akins House & Tenant Farm | Bulloch County, GA | c. early 1900s

This old home provided shelter to generations who worked the surrounding land here in south Georgia. Over the years, the crops changed, and the farmers did too, but this place stayed the same. Providing a place to eat, sleep, celebrate, and relax after a hard day of work. And that is just what they did, every day on that porch until its owner actually breathed his last breath there. But after years of being empty, the home is set to be demolished so I gathered some stories and photos to help us remember.

Elijah Akins (1822-1890) and his wife, Mary ‘Polly’ Brack Akins (1831-1899)

The Akins Family

John Benjamin Akins was born in Bulloch County, Georgia on December 19, 1869, to Elijah and Mary Akins. Elijah had just returned a few years earlier from fighting in the Civil War and he and Mary were doing their best to continue to raise a family during a difficult era. And the difficulties must’ve been many with 8 children on a modest farm, but their children grew up to grow many branches, many of whom still live locally.

John Benjamin Akins as a young boy.

John Benjamin Akins

One of their youngest sons, John Benjamin Akins, would work on his family’s farm even after his father Elijah died in 1890. But at age 30, it was time for John to start a family of his own and on July 31, 1899, he married Keturah Williams Akins. In 1908, he bought 1,200 acres from the Groover Family and moved from his childhood home nearby on ‘The Big Mud Road’ into this farmhouse that he built for his wife and family. John and Keturah would raise 10 children here, many of whom were born within these walls.

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John Benjamin Akins and his wife Keturah Williams Akins

Having all those kids must’ve been helpful on the farm because John’s land eventually grew to 2,100 acres that would’ve needed a lot of tending. And after a long day on the farm, John could be found relaxing in his rocking chair on that porch. So it seemed poignant and fitting when I read a story about the end of John’s life. One afternoon, after spending his day on the farm, John sat on this porch with his feet propped on a brick pier. As his chair rocked back and forth in his rocking chair, he took his last breath, overlooking the farm he had given so many days of his life to.

The Sharecropping Days

Over the years, much of the acreage had been sold off, so when he died in 1950, only 15 acres and this farmhouse remained. What was left was split between 4 of his sons the land was rented to tenant families who continued to farm the land until the house became too run down to live in anymore.

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I was able to track down someone who lived in the home with his family as a young child while they worked as tenants on the land. Although he had good memories of the home, he shared that life was very challenging here. He said:

“The kitchen had a well pump and we would bathe in a big wash tub. The well would lose its prime and Mom would have to prime it.

Back then, the yard looked different than it does in your photos and I remember deer everywhere. During hunting season, Mom wouldn’t let me outside out of fear of stray bullets. We also had a pet dog named Snoopy and each night, we had to check him for ticks before he was allowed inside.

The home had big heavy doors and old plaster walls with wainscoting. We had a small electrical box with glass fuses and lights hung from the ceiling that you could pull with a cord.

The home wasn’t very well insulated so in the winter when it was time to sleep, the old metal beds would get so cold that Mom would have to cover me in so many winter blankets that I could barely move. In the summer, it was too hot to be inside the house so you had to leave the doors open to catch whatever breeze you could.

My favorite place was definitely the porch where I spent a lot of time playing with my cars. Looking at the photo now, I can envision my mom and sister on the porch in their cotton dresses drinking coffee.”

Set For Demolition

I was grateful to have had the chance to gather this brief history of the home and its families because I recently found out that the home is set to be dismantled in 2022 due to disrepair. I’m happy that at least there is a space to remember her here.

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  1. Thank you for this story. It reminded me of families I visited in and around Asheville, where my mother was born, and also Mars Hill, NC and Clarksville, TN. At 75, it is nice to revisit those memories.

  2. Thank you for all the work on giving us some history about the beautiful home. I can only imagine the good times had on the porch and yard. If that tree on the right could talk, what stories it would tell.
    God bless you and please continue to show us old Georgia homes. Betty

  3. Nice home and I’m sure someone out there has a lot of memories of being there, Reminds me of my grandfathers that was built before the invasion and still standing in Emanuel County.

  4. Thank you for all your hard work. You can tell it’s a real labor of love. Your research on the homes and there families adds a wonderful dimension to there history.

  5. It looks so peaceful and beautiful. I can almost see the people who lived and died here standing on the porch. This grand lady of a home sheltered them all. I hope it’s just moved to a different location and not destroyed.

  6. I enjoyed this story. The house looks very interesting…I LOVE porches! Wish someone would buy this and bring it up to date. Thank you for the memories.

  7. Thank you for all your posts, I read them as they appear in my email. I certainly enjoy each and every one.

  8. This is my husband’s distant family farmhouse. From the time we started dating in highschool all I remember is the laughter, stories being old and OMG the wonderful food we had there for the Akins Easter Gathering. The Family is huge. So many cousins running around playing. Down the Rd a little farther you will find the original family house. That’s where the actual family gathering would take place we would set up tents all in the yard, the kids would play in the old barn and we would eat alot!!! Then the gathering would move down behind the big farm house to hide and find Easter eggs near the pond on the property ❤️ the memories my husband and our children have are wonderful. Aunt Betty and Uncle Neal were the last owners before the farm was given to the children

  9. What a beautiful story. It’s sad the sons didn’t want to restore their home and keep it in the family. Even though it was old, it looks so inviting. I would love to live there. If I had the means, I would restore it, keeping it as original as possible. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Thank you sharing this local Bulloch County story, we drive past this house often and we live a few miles down the road just off of Mud Road over on Bell Road. We love restoring old houses and working with antique heart pine for furniture making and restoration. This is a shame, but I understand that somethings are just too far gone for a regular budget. Hopefully some of the materials can be repurposed. If you want to give them my number we’d be interested in seeing what they have for salvaging. 315-396-1490 Thank you, Anna Martin of Nevils and Brooklet, Georgia

  11. The demolition of the Akins Farmhouse in Bulloch, Georgia marks the loss of a historic landmark, erasing a piece of local heritage. It is unfortunate to see the disappearance of such significant structures that hold cultural value.

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