Historic Georgia Mansion Inspired by a Dream

Harville House | Bulloch County, GA | c. 1894

Even in its current condition, I think it’s still evident that this remarkable Georgia mansion is one of a kind. And believe it or not, it started as a one-story house that was expanded after its owner was inspired by a dream.

In 1892, Keebler Henry Harville married Hester Byrd and set out to build a homestead for his new wife.

So, he bought acreage from the estate of his father, Samuel Winkler Harville, who had been a delegate at the 1861 Secession Convention. Samuel Harville had purchased this 754-acre farm in the 1860s and raised a large family here before it was passed to his son, Keebler.

Keebler Harville and Hester Byrd Wedding Photo

In 1894, Keebler finished building the first rendition of his home, which was constructed of lumber that was sawn from timber trees on the homesite.

Capt. Samuel Harville, Keebler Harville, Hester Harville, and children in front of the original one-story portion of the home, c. early 1900s. Note their cattle, horses, and wagon in the background.

Ten years later, in 1904, Keebler awoke from a dream that impacted him so much that he felt called to expand and dramatically alter the shape, size, and design of the home. With the addition of the second story, the Harville house now had 14 rooms, which was necessary to accommodate the 11 children that he and Hester would raise here.

Hester and Keebler Harville and children on the steps of their newly expanded 2 story home.
Harville Family portrait in front of the home after the completion of the second story addition.

Despite his ambitious skills as a homebuilder, Keebler’s spent most of his work life farming his family’s homestead where he became the first in Bulloch County to commercially sell peanuts. At its height under Keebler, the Harville Farm had grown from 754 acres to 2800 acres and supported 10 families who farmed as tenants on the land. Back then, the property had its own sawmill, grist mill, syrup shed, smokehouse, ice house, and commissary.

In 1946, Keebler passed away and his wife Hester followed him the following year. Two of their adult daughters, Naomi and Nan, were the last to live in the home until their deaths in 1967 and 1976, respectively.

The large home has fallen into disrepair but is still loved dearly by the family who hopes to be able to bring her back to her former glory someday. In fact, descendants of Keebler Harville still own and farm the land today and keep a close eye on the house, which is a county landmark and Georgia Century Farm. 




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3 thoughts on “Historic Georgia Mansion Inspired by a Dream”

  1. Thank you for your photos and historical information. It would be wonderful if a historical group could build that house back for the public to visit.

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