This Georgia Farmhouse Started as a Log Cabin

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Turner-Franklin Farmhouse | Bulloch County, GA | c. late 1700s

It might not look like much today but this home sheltered and grew generations of Georgia families. The heart of the home you see here dates back to the late 1700s when Benjamin Turner built a modest log cabin on this site, thought to be one of the oldest homes in this section of the state. 

Drawing by K.B. Franklin in 1976
Portions of the original log cabin are still visible in the heart of this home

In 1866, a 21-year-old Jason Franklin returned home from the Civil War and purchased 1,306 acres from the Turner estate, including the cabin. Shortly after, he would marry his wife, America Rountree. They set out to expand the house to accommodate their growing family and enclosed the cabin in clapboard. Over time, they would have nine children, all of whom are born inside the walls of this house.

Jason was a farmer and also active in local politics, serving as clerk of the court from 1900 until 1904. The home also served the community in its own way. Two of Jason and America’s sons were doctors and would see patients in the rooms upstairs. One of their daughters was married in this home.

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In 1906, Jason and his family moved to a bigger town nearby but kept this property in the family and would use it for family reunions.

As the years passed, it sat empty and fell into a state of disrepair with broken windows and peeling paint until 1949, when Mrs. H.V. Franklin Sr., a daughter-in-law to Jason, stepped in to repair the home.

She and her son H.V. Jr., did a full restoration of the home while keeping as many of its original components as possible, and extending the rear portion for a total of 10 rooms in the house. There were also 10 chimneys, 6 downstairs, and 4 upstairs.

The Franklin home as it looked in 1950 just after restoration. Photo courtesy of the Statesboro Library.
Franklin House in 1978

Today it sits empty and forlorn, but if you look closely, you will find the traces of love that used to be here. Like the line of nine Live Oaks that were planted here in 1949 in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Franklin and the 9 children they raised here.

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  1. I love Georgia. Please keep writing about the South. My email is My name is Lottie Jo Stoker. I lived in Swainsboro, GA for 10 years. I am very familiar with the Statesboro area and I do believe that I have seen this house. I use to enjoy taking Sunday afternoon rides all over Emanuel, Bulloch and the surrounding counties looking for just such places as this. Keep up the good work!!

    1. Hey Lottie,
      I just happen to see your reply and you are from Swainsboro. My grandmother and her family grew up in Swainsboro. Would you happen to know anyone belonging to Duncan and Zona Brown? I have been trying to find their home through Ancestry, but with no luck. They had 12 children (one being my grandmother) and they were farmers. Any info can be sent to Thank you

  2. My mom’s family had a home outside LaGrange, Ga very much like that. Logs with chinking were the living room walls. All the children went to court to keep their sister and her family from being kicked off the land taking the 292.5 acre farm when their father died. They won in court and each child had an undivided interest and my mom had her mother’s share which was around 13 acres. Then one of the sons began putting deeds on file and taking the undivided interest into his name. My mother never sold her share when he approached her. She and we kids loved that place!

  3. I enjoyed the story. It is too bad the house fell into disrepair after the 1949 restoration.

  4. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always been fascinated with these old homes, stores, etc. I love how you give life to the times that once we’re. You paint such a vivid picture of what life use to be like me. I see them when, I read your stories and they are as magnificent and as beautiful as mind allows me to see them. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to live outside of this sometimes, chaotic world. Tonja

  5. I lived in a house that looked identical to this, built in 1780 in Mecklenburg County, NC. One could not help but feel the presence of the many generations who lived there, and indeed there was a young girl who died upstairs during the Civil War and never left. We loved living with Alice, and kids and dogs immediately liked her.

  6. In the mid-70’s, my grandparents retired from Miami, FL. to an old property in Morris, GA.
    The home on their property could have had the same story as this one.
    They loved it and improved upon it.
    After their passing, it was sold to a new owner who has continued the care and restoration.
    It makes me feel compassion for these abandoned, worn and forgotten homes all the more.
    I appreciate your work on their behalf.

  7. I wonder if Mark Bowe of Barnwood Builders could save the old girl and make use of the wood and logs that are left, she could live one that way, love these stories!

  8. I think it would be lovely for this house to be restored and lived in again, I would have enjoyed reading what the descendant/ owner plans to do with this beauty. Awesome story either way

    1. The owner tried to donate the house to a local college who had plans to relocate it to their campus to be restored, but the plans fell through when the college changed its mind. There are no plans for it now.

  9. Just love these stories – and abandoned houses to me are so sad. So much love and history within those walls.

  10. Hello Lottie
    I too have family from Swainsboro. My Aunt and Uncle were Winnie and Hugh Coleman and they lived on Church Street. Winnie was from Dublin and Hugh was from Twin City, formally Graymont/Summit. They had two children, Margaret and Hobson. Margaret married Sam Smith from Twin City. They lived in Atlanta for years and retired to Twin City., Hobson graduated Georgia Tech with a degree in Architecture. I believe he lived in New York all of his career.

  11. I loved this story. Lovely house. Loved it that family came back and restored it. Just sad that no one wanted to live in it later.
    Thank you for writing theses stories.

  12. I have always loved history and old plantation houses and farms. Would love to see more about places you have been.

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