This home was originally built around
1848 by Sylvester Mumford, who located here from New York in
the mid 1800s. The photos on this page though, are not of the
grand plantation of yore, it's of a ruined shell, destroyed by fire.
On the morning of Wednesday 23 March 2005, the home reportedly was struck
by lightning and burned. The rural community has no fire marshal to
conduct a thorough investigation, so the exact cause of the blaze was not
determined. There were no witnesses to the fire's start but it is presumed
the cause was a lightning strike which caused a small fire to smolder for
hours until it eventually turned into a blaze. No matter what the cause, this once grand home has
now been destroyed.
For many years the home stood vacant, and
according to some locals, was a magnet for the curious in the 1970s-80s.
Though it was privately owned, many folks just wandered in, and took their
own personal tours. Of course, vandalism occurred, as does with most
unprotected buildings; however, the home stood the test of time, and
avoided total ruin until 2005. Proof of the stories I heard about
people touring the home on their own in the 1980's
can be found here. These photos were taken in 1981 by James
R. Lockhart for the the GA DNR and hosted on the National Parks
The Mumford home was located in Waynesville, and at the time
of its construction, Wayne County. The home site is on Mumford Road in
what is now known as Brantley County, just off Hwy. 82 West. Throughout
the ages, the home maintained all of its majestic beauty, and was listed
on the National Register of Historic Places around 1982, possibly due to
the photos taken by Mr. Lockhart.
About 100 feet south of the home stands the small
family burial plot. Directly across the road is the Hazlehurst
Family cemetery, where once was located an Episcopal Church. Not only was
the neighborhood host to the Mumfords and the Hazlehursts,
but some of the St. Simons Island elite owned property nearby as well.
Sylvester Mumford was in the mercantile trade in Waynesville, and
partnered with Job Tison who owned a store and rooming house on
Post Road. As the
crow flies, it was about 10-15 miles from the Mumford home to
Bethel, the home of Job Tison in Glynn County. Together,
Mumford and Tison ran their businesses, and in 1841,
Sylvester married one of Job's daughters, Theresa E. Tison.
By 1850, two children were born to this union,
Oceanna around 1842, and Goertner around 1847. The slave
schedule for 1850, Wayne County, shows that Sylvester owned only 5
slaves, most likely they were just a status symbol, house servants and
nothing more. He does not show up on the 1860 slave schedules, which
tells us that maybe this house was not a working plantation. More
likely, the Mumford's lived off profits from the mercantile
Because of its longevity, the home became
inextricably linked to the community as a whole and the fertile source of
fascinating stories passed from generation to generation. Its loss is