Standing in front of Liberty Hall is this statue of Alexander H. Stephens (1812-1883), former United States Congressman, Governor of Georgia, and Vice President of the Confederate States of America. In the hidden pictures I show the inscriptions on all four sides of the monument and they are well worth reading. If the man was only half as noble and good as the eloquent words on his monument attest, he was truly a great man.
Stephens was not named for Alexander Hamilton, as many presume, but for Alexander Hamilton Webster, a Presbyterian minister and benefactor who helped Stephens obtain his education.
In addition to his political accomplishments, Stephens was a constitutional scholar. He was the author of a classical book about the War for Southern Independence entitled: "A Constitutional View of the War Between the States." which I mentioned in the earlier tip. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America was virtually the same as the United States Constitution with only a handful of improvements. For example, the first sentence of the preamble to the Constitution of the CSA inserts the phrase, "each State acting in its sovereign and independent character." Also, the Confederate Constitution prohibited the foreign slave trade, which had been allowed under the original United States Constitution.
The monument refers to A. H. Stephens as:
The Great Commoner
The Defender of Civil and Religious Liberty
"He Coveted and Took from the
Republic Nothing Save Glory"
Standing on a sidewalk on the east side of the Taliaferro County Courthouse, facing Alexander Street, you will find the Taliaferro County Confederate Monument, erected 33 years after the ill-fated War for Southern Independence ended. It is a simple marble obelisk resting on a pedestal.
The inscription on the front of the monument is eloquent in its brevity. At the top are the dates of the War Between the States, "1861-1865." Below are these words:
ERECTED TO THE
MEMORY OF OUR
APRIL, 26, 1898
crawfordville was the home of alexander h. stephens, vice president of the confederacy. prior to the civil war stephens owned several thousand acres and owned 34 slaves. in 1842 he was a georgia representive to the U.S. house of representives. stephens was the vice president of the confederacy between 1861 and 1865. a physically frail man that weighed only 96 pounds he was described by a northern newspaper as the "strongest man of the south". even northerners respected his intelligence, judgement, and eloquence. stephens was a very vocal opponent of confederate president jefferson davis. after the civil war stephens financed the education of over 100 students, black, white and female. crawforville is a worth while place to visit for those interested in civil war history.
pictured is the confederate civil war memorial on the grounds of the taliferro county courthouse. this simple obelisk is some what rare in the south. most monuments use the standing solder motif or a draped flag.
The centerpiece of Alexander H. Stephens State Historic park is Liberty Hall the home of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, a United States Congressman, Governor of Georgia, and Vice President of the Confederate States of America.
Stephens bought the estate in 1845 and made his home here until his death in 1883. He once owned several thousand adjoining acres. The "Big House" has eight bedrooms - four on each level. It is now a National Historic Landmark and is maintained by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Behind the main house is a smaller building which contains many of Stephen's books and other personal items. He is said to have spent most of his time here after the War Between the States. During that time he wrote his classic two volume work: A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States: its causes, character, conduct and results; presented in a series of colloquies at Liberty Hall Stephens was a constitutional scholar and authority who maintained vigoriously - and I believe correctly - that it was the Confederacy and not the Union which was the true defeneder of the Constitution of the United States. Some historians credit Stephens with popularizing the name "War Between the States."
The home is open for tours and I have personally taken the tour on a couple of occasions. The tourguides speak of Stephens as though they are old family friends - and perhaps they are - a few generations removed. Anyone with even a modicum of interest in history will find a visit here and the tour extremely interesting.
Behind the Big House are other outbuildings that were a part of the old homestead.
The oldest and largest church in Crawfordville is the picturesque Crawfordville Baptist Church, which sits between Liberty hall and the town's Cemetery. It is on land that was surrounded by the Alexander H. Stephens estate and it predates both the town and the County. It was the first Christian church in the area, originally called Bethel and established in 1802.
Churches of several other denominations in the vicinity have shared the Baptist facility while their own churches were being built. The present structure was erected 1889.
The Taliaferro County Courthouse, which sits in the heart of downtown Crawfordville, was built in the High Victorian style in 1902. Designed by Lewis F. Goodrich, it is the county's second courthouse. The first was built in 1828, and demolished in 1901 to make room for the current courthouse.
Taliaferro County (That's pronounced "Tolliver," Y'all), in east central Georgia was created in 1825 from Greene, Hancock Oglethorpe, Warren and Wilkes counties. It was the 69th of Georgia's 159 counties and is named for Benjamin Taliaferro, who was a colonel during the American Revolution (1775-83), as well as a Georgia legislator and a judge. The land was originally held by Indians, who ceded it to the colonial government of Georgia in 1763.
The seat of the 195-square-mile county is Crawfordville, named for William H. Crawford, an early presidential cabinet member and candidate for U.S. president in 1824. Some of the older buildings in Crawfordville commercial district date back to before the War Between the States.
The first time I remember coming to Crawfordville was in 1964, at the age of the age of 19. I was passing through en-route to the home of my college girlfriend who lived in North Augusta, South Carolina. The thing that stands out in my mind was that we stopped at a service station in Crawfordville, and there were three restrooms, labeled "Men," "Women," and "Colored." This was one of the last areas of the Deep South where segregation died hard. More than half of the population of Taliaferro County is black. For more thand forty years now the town and county have been racially integrated.
Alexander H. Stephens (1812-1883) is buried in front of his beloved Liberty Hall. Stephens was frail and sickly for all of his life and was a lifelong batchelor.
Also, beside the Alexander H. Stephens tomb is the grave of his half brother, Linton Stephens. Linton was a Lt. Col. who served with the Georgia Infantry in the War Between the States. He also served as an Associate Justice in the Georgia Supreme Court.
The inscription on the grave of Alexander H. Stephens reads:
IS A TRIBUTE FROM THE
GATE CITY GUARD
IN MEMORY OF THEIR
ALEXANDER HAMILTON STEPHENS
PATRIOT AND FRIEND
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA
BORN FEBRUARY ELEVENTH 1812
DIED MARCH FOURTH 1883
HIS REMAINS REST BENEATH THIS TABLET
DEDICATED OCTOBER NINETEENTH 1913
Alexander H. Stephens State Historic Park preserves the home of Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confedreate States of America. However, it also has other attractions. In addition to the Stephens home and historic site, there is a junior olympic swimming pool, hiking trails, picnic areas, RV and tent campground, children's playgrounds, two fishing lakes, a large group shelter, a pioneer campground, rental cottages and an exceptionally nice group camp.
The park covers 1,177 acres which is mostly wooded. Wildlife I have seen in the park includes whitetail deer, beaver, wild turkey and numerous small game animals. The park is very seldom crowded and is a great place find quiet and seclusion.
Just by glancing across the Crawfordville Cemetery I would reckon that more people lay interred here that the current population of Crawfordville.
The property for the cemetery was given to Crawfordville, in 1873, by the town's favorite son, Alexander Hamilton Stephens. Ironically, he is not buried here, but lies just a hundred yards or so away in front of his home, Liberty Hall. the Crawfordville Baptist Church stands between the cemetery and Liberty Hall.
Many of the graves here go back to the 19th century and it is a very interesting place for those who like to explore old graveyards. I'm such a person and have enjoyed reading the inscriptions on some of the tombstones and pondering the lives and fates of those whose final resting place is here.
When I visited Crawfordville in September, 2007, it was my first time back to this town in about 15 years. The Golucke Park was not there before, and I was happy to see that it had become a very pretty addition to the downtown area. It occupies a corner lot on Broad Street, across from the court house, where a building had once been.
The new park, which has a platform and benches for outdoor events, is an indication that civic pride still lives in this little town that has known better days.
The Confederate Museum, sitting next to Liberty Hall in Crawfordville, contains one of the finest collections of memorbilia from the War Between the States to be found in Georgia. It is operated by Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites, Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Exhibits in the museum take the visitor down the "Road to War," from home life to battlefield. Artifacts which may be seen include firearms, uniforms, historic documents and much more. When I was pastor of a church in Augusta, about an hour east of Crawfordville, I brought youth groups from our church to visit this museum on 3 or 4 occasions and I have also been here on family outings. I found the museum to be great fun - both educational and entertaining.
Tuesday - Sunday 10-5