To describe Fort Hollingsworth White House as anything but a Georgia state treasure and national treasure would be wrong. This building has stood the test of time since 1793 and Willette White Mote who was my guide for part of an afternoon certainly agrees that this property should be cared for and protected for many generations to come.
Not only was Willette my guide but she is also one of many generations of the White family who still own and lived most of their lives on this beautiful North Banks County property. Wilette’s great grandfather, Joshua White was the first member of her family to purchase the property and create additions in the 1860’s. One of my first questions was to ask her why the property was named Fort Hollingsworth White House. She explained that Joshua White had added a dog trot or covered walkway to the property and rooms off to the side of the original fort. While walking through the dog trot I was fascinated to see the original logs with axe marks still visible and the white chinking between the logs was the original white clay used from the creek across the road.
Fort Hollingsworth White House
With Dog Trot to the left and original fort to the right.
Jacob Hollingsworth was the original builder of the fort in 1793. He was a pioneer from North Carolina, who was granted land in North Georgia after the revolutionary war. Unfortunately after they settled into the fort they found out they were across the line, agreed upon in a treaty with the Cherokees. The Cherokee people in the area did not appreciate this disregard to the terms of the treaty and Hollingsworth and other families found themselves in a position of having to defend themselves.
The original fort had no windows downstairs except for a small one next to the chimney built from local field stone. Families in the area would seek protection in the fort during troubling times. By about 1796, conflicts with local Indian tribes were no longer a concern and the string of frontier forts were no longer necessary. The forts soon became log farmhouses. The “Four Mile Purchase” of 1804 was created when the Cherokees ceded a strip of land four miles wide (from the Habersham – Banks County line on Baldwin Mountain, to Line Baptist Church on old Hwy. 441) and 23 miles long extending from Currahee Mountain to the head waters of the South Oconee River. A line of felled trees twenty-feet wide marked the line, which became a “no man’s land.” The United States agreed to pay the Cherokees $5,000 and $1,000 per annum for the property rights.
Fort Hollingsworth original fireplace.
In the time period between Hollingsworth and the White family John Lane was an early owner of the fort. He was killed in the civil war not long after purchasing the property. The property was divided between John Lane’s sisters and so the story comes round to Joshua White, whose wife was a sister of John Lane. Although John Lane was killed and buried in Tennessee there is a memorial to him on the grounds of the property.
Fort Hollingsworth White House is located off of Highway 441 between Baldwin and Homer. The address is 2307 Wynn Lake Road, Alto, Ga. 30510. For more information you can visit the website at www.forthollingsworth-whitehouse.com. Although the property is not open on specific days you can email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call either 706 244 1239 or 706 499 8579 for more information or to arrange a tour. Fort Hollingsworth-White House looks very much today as it did in the 1860’s. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.