So where does reclaimed wood come from?
The Jackson House was one of the most interesting houses we were asked to take down. It was a three story early plantation style house (not like Tara in Gone with the Wind) located in Jackson, Georgia.The house was built on 1000 acres of land in 1833. The house was continually occupied by the same family from 1833 to 2010.
The wood, Lob lolly Pine, was cut on the property most likely using the "Pit n Slave" method whereby a pit was dug and scaffolding was made for the tree to rest above a pit. A man would be in the pit and another man on top of the scaffolding with 7 foot whip saw cutting the tree. The men were referred to as "Dogs". The dog on top had the easiest job.He just had to pull up on the saw whereas the dog on the bottom had to initiate the actual pushing and cutting and it was also hotter in the pit than on top. Hence we get the term today "Top Dog". The growth rings present in the wood indicate that the trees were about 150 to 200 years old when cut. This would mean the trees started growing somewhere in the late 1600's.
In 1832 Georgia was the first and only state in the Union to hold a land lottery. The Cherokee Land Lottery awarded all Georgians who won , 1000 acres parcels of what used to be Cherokee Indian land. The Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed from their land during this time period.
To be eligible for the lottery you first had to meet some or all of the following criteria:
1.18 years of age and a resident of Georgia - 1 lottery ticket
2. A widow of a Revolutionary War veteran - 2 tickets
3. A widow of a War of 1812 veteran - 2 tickets
4. A male or female lunatic, deaf, dumb or blind - 2 tickets
5.Any member of the notorious Pony Gang - no tickets
When we took this house down it was obvious that it had been constructed in several stages and only completed after a several years. The early construction saw the completion of a bedroom and small sitting room on one side and and open area called a "Dog Trot" where a wagon could be stored and a room on the other side of the Dog Trot. Eventually as finances allowed the rooms were enclosed to include enclosing the Dog Trot. The early phases were of high quality construction.but much later construction especially after the Civil War ended the workmanship was substandard probably due to a lack of qualified manpower and money. However, even though the family was hit hard by the War they persevered and survived with their land and holdings intact.
Wood absorbs vibrations. The spoken word creates vibrations. If only we could recreate and hear the conversations that took place in this house during the 177 years that the family lived here.
Rear view of the Big House. Front porch.