Learning about the places we call home Editors’ note: The following is from the WCHS meeting minutes.
The August 2017 meeting of the Walker County Historical Society was held the afternoon of Sept. 24 at the Daugherty Mansion at Mountain Cove Farm.
The program was presented by Charlotte Bible Wardlaw and Susan Bible Jessup who spent much of their youth in the Daugherty House. They had gathered several stacks and books of photographs which documented their childhood living in the house and at Mountain Cove Farm in Cedar Grove. The house was built before the Civil War and has had several owners. Athens, Georgia, attorney William Dougherty purchased 3,440 acres in McLemore Cove and, in 1835, built the large home that bear’s his name. He owned 31 slaves, and the family lived in the mansion for 60 years. By 1899 during hard times, the family lost home to foreclosure to James B. Moore. During the next half-century, Mountain Cove Farms changed hands three times. Dan B. Murphy bought the estate to harvest the timber and lived there until a devastating fire destroyed the mansion in 1923, leaving only the exterior walls. It was vacant through the Depression, until the property was acquired by the Hargress family, who restored the hose and sold it in 1931 to James Smith who raised cattle, corn, wheat, and cotton.
By 1943, T.V. Dubois, a soap and chemical manufacturer from Cincinnati, Ohio, bought the estate and refurbished the mansion. He developed Mountain Cove Farms as a cattle farm with Hereford livestock. George Bible was hired by Dubois to manage the operation. In the spring of 1947, DuBois had a $40,000 show barn built to house his prize Herefords. The estate and show barn became the focus of the local cattle community. Susan Jessup recounted that, around 1946, eight additional houses were built for farm workers in addition to five existing houses. She recalled going with her father to the big barn on top of the mountain where champion Duroc hogs were raised and shown. By the mid1940s, there were 25 employees working the 4,528 acres of the farm. Susan and Charlotte shared many stories from their childhood when there were only two automobiles in Cedar Grove.
During this period, there was a dairy operation, large vegetable gardens, and UGA students lived in the house to work on the farm. Mr. DuBois came often as did his accountant, Mr. Lorenz. Their visits were occasions for excitement in the Bible family and community. At one point, there were 17 children living on the farm and many more in the large families nearby in Cedar Grove. This led to a vigorous educational program at Cedar Grove School with family and children’s events in the community.
In 1958, Dubois died. The mansion and farmland were sold to George Bible, who operated Mountain Cove Farms alongside his brother, Sam, before selling to Wayne Rollins about ten years later. Rollins raised cattle The Walker County Historical Society welcomes anyone who is interested in Walker County and preserving local and regional history. Membership is $12 per year, individual or family, and brings an informative newsletter which documents much local history found nowhere else. Membership forms are available at the Marsh House or at the LaFayette Library History Room.
on the property until he sold to developers, Delos Yancey and Edmond Cash who formed Mountain Cove Properties, LLC. They preserved the estate around the barns and mansion for hunting and recreational use and divided the remaining property into parcels and sold them as smaller farms.
During the early 1950s, the community wanted a club house so the families started a rodeo as a means to finance it. The rodeo was a major event in Walker County for many years. The Bible sisters shared photographs with those present, who included five other persons who had grown up the Cove during these years and who also shared stories. They talked and reminisced for several hours enjoying memories of their youth in a vibrant farming community.
The next meeting of the Walker County Historical Society is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Rossville Library. The program — “History of Rossville as a Milltown” — will begin at 3 p.m..For those who wish to car pool, please be at the Marsh House Parking Lot, in LaFayette, at 2:15 pm.