Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Few stops along the way - Part 4

We had fun today. We only had one more stop before we laid up in Atlanta for the night. However, the time changed last night and we technically should have gained an hour of sleep. This was not the case, William decided that he didn't care and we made it out of our hotel in Augusta by 8:30am this morning. This was out of the ordinary, because all through this trip we have never left a hotel until after 10:00am. So, today we had some time to kill, as our first appointment wasn't until 1:30pm. We made a quick but required stop at the grave site of none other than William Few Jr. The Constitution signer. He was originally buried in a church graveyard in New York State, but in the 19 70's Georgia wanted him back. With the help of none other than Jimmy Carter, William's remains were moved to their current location at the St. Pauls Episcopal Church in Augusta, GA. You don't need to search for his place of rest either. It is the biggest and most prominent headstone on the lot!

Sons of the American Revolution medal.

Here is the official portrait in the library of Congress. There is no doubt that Few's are related. Looks like my dad!
Here is a picture that was hanging in the church of William Few. Likely a young portrait.

After we paid our respects, we decided to go to The Cracker Barrel for breakfast. This was dangerous, as they have their store that you can look through while you wait for your table. We somehow made it through with only buying a post card...this time.

After breakfast, we still had lots of time, so rather than take the direct route to our next Few stop, we decided to go north a bit to Winfield, GA to make a pass through the Few lands that were here. By the  early to mid 1800's the Few family had acquired over 45,000 acres of land in the area. That is over the 70 square miles of land for comparison! The main estate was named Mount Carmel, after the hill in the area of the same name. I say hill, because I was unable to see it over the towering trees that line the current properties so that you cannot see past them. So I took a screenshot of the Google Maps satellite imagery. This is probably only a 5 mile square view of the Mount Carmel portion of the land. Now expand that by nine times. Another example would be, They owned all of the land be tween half the distance from Augusta to Atlanta, and the same distance to the north and south. That is how much the Few family owned prior to the Civil War.

During the Civil War, the Few family fought on both sides of the conflict, and sold the land to help fund the cause for whichever side they were on. This of course depleted the land and the assets associated with them. That so ended the golden age of the Few's. Not before our next friend, Ignatius A. Few came along though.

Thanks to Ignatius, we have pretty good descriptions of what the Few family characteristics were like and a personal look into the lives and families of the era. Additionally, Ignatius was an integral part of starting Emory University, which had its beginnings in Oxford, GA and has since moved to Atlanta. This was our next and final stop Few related stop on this trip. A couple of months ago, I contacted the Dean of Campus Life on the Oxford campus (where all of the Few history is) just to get permission to visit the campus and take some pictures. I was quite surprised to get a response back letting me know that they would be happy to let us stop by and even give us a tour and history lesson! Also, an additional member of the Emory historian team was going to drive 45 minutes from Atlanta to give us the rundown of the place.

Today was that big day, we arrived on campus and Gary, the Atlanta based historian and his wife met us in the parking lot. Joe, from the Oxford campus met us shortly, and we started in front of Few Hall. One of the older buildings on campus. It was once the building the "Few Society" used (did I mention Ignatius Few was the grand master of the Free Mason chapter in the area?) There was also a competing society that I don't remember the name of that was housed on the other side of campus. Few Hall is now a performing arts building.

Few Hall
We were unable to go inside, but just to stand outside of it was pretty cool. Maybe on the next trip! Our next stop was the center of campus, but not before getting a history lesson about the other buildings on campus. Apparently the school was shut down during the Civil War and many of the buildings were used for housing and hospitalizing soldiers from both sides. There are actually grave yards designated for Confederate and Union troops.

 In center campus, stands a monument to Ignatius A Few, of course you can see the Masonic influences. A number of years ago a tree fell pretty close to the monument after some rains and knocked the cap stone ajar. It was repaired, but it was also found to be a bit of a time capsule. The items were left, and the capstone repaired.

Few Monument on Emory Oxford Campus
After touring a couple more buildings and the library we headed off campus to an old church that was original to the area. You see, The property the town and school sit on were originally bought together. The town is set up so that all the roads point to the campus. Students originally would live in town with willing families and faculty members as they attended school. The church had a history of its own. Specifically as it applied to slavery. I will not put the whole story here, but it was not a good situation, and in fact the school later apologized for the things that happened during that time.

"Old Church"
Our next stop off campus was that of the Presidents House. The house was build for Ignatius A. Few, and while it under went some expansions and renovations along the way it remains largely original. Again, we were not able to go inside, as the current resident was away, but it was still good to see the house. It no longer is the residence of the University President, as the main campus moved to Atlanta, but it still is occupied by the Head Dean of the Oxford campus, and is still on a large tract of land.

Presidents House, where Ignatius A. Few lived.
Our last stop was to the graveyard where Ignatius was buried. Thankfully, there were a group of Boy Scouts going around the grave yard placing flags at all the graves for the veterans in memorial of any and all wars. They had a map, and we found the grave rather quickly. Ignatius fought in the War of 1812 and held the rank of Colonel. It was cool to be there as a little flag was placed.

It was fun to meet the historian team for Emory University. We were able to even exchange books. Gary gave me a book he wrote on Emory history, and I gave him a copy of the first few chapters I made of the Few family book I spoke of at the beginning of the blog. History is pretty interesting in and of itself, but even more so if you have ancestors that are a part of it. This time we did get a picture! Thanks to Gary, his wife, and Joe for spending some time with us today. It was great meeting you all! They even said William was a shoe-in to attend the University. We will see what he has to say about that in oh, 17 more years. :)

We are now getting ready to head back home tomorrow. It has been fun, but I am looking forward to getting back into a rhythm and not having to move every few days. Unfortunately, the Holidays are now upon us. Means work will be busy and, you guessed it. more travel! We have had fun, lets see what our last day of travel adventures will bring!

P.S. If you would like to learn more about Emory University history visit this URL: Keep an eye on the "Historians Blog" in the Historians Corner section. I hear we are soon to make the front page!

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