The Fort James Chapter, Colonial Dames XVII Century, ended their April 28 meeting with a tour of Alexandria, the 1806 Post-Colonial home of William Wansley.
The chapter meeting was held at Snow Hill, the 1850 home of Mrs. Virginia White. Louise McCommons, chaplain, installed the new slate of officers for 2007-2008. The group voted in one new member, Mrs. J. Stewart Lyle from Elberton, Ga. Patsy B. Wilkins from Colbert, Ga., who was chapter delegate to the state convention in Peachtree City in March, gave a report on the convention. She told the group that Colonial Dames now has 700 members in Georgia and 17 state chapters.
New chapter president, Mrs. White, gave a challenge to the chapter to move forward in the next two years by encouraging membership, attendance, and the marking of historic sites. The Fort James Chapter has established a state reputation for marking sites. Toward this end, Sophia Bamford, Adelle Adams, Nita Riley and Sandra Hood were appointed as a committee to go forward with plans for the next site to be marked, probably in McDuffie County.
Following lunch, Mr. Wansley gave a talk on his McDuffie County historic home, Alexandria, known also as the Thomas Carr House. Taking three years to build (1803-1806), the house is as sturdy as a fort with 130,000 bricks that were hand fired in four kilns on site by Booker Sutton for $48. All of these bricks were laid by Mr. Sutton in American bond fashion for a total of $260. It is the oldest surviving documented brick house in Georgia and may be the only early brick house in Georgia with rubbed and gauged brick lintels and a full copper roof.
Alexandria has been featured in a number of publications including brochures, books, and a PBS documentary, "Historic Houses of Georgia." The house and surrounding land was once a large plantation that included a temple, dairy, spring-house, kitchen and several slave quarters. Now only the house survives. It is the keystone house of four remaining houses along with surrounding property which comprise the Thomas Carr National Historic District.
Mr. Wansley is a great nephew of the original owner, Col. Thomas Carr. His restoration of the house is complete. He took the group of Colonial Dames on a tour of the house following the program.