mission and history
Griffin-Spalding Historical Society History
“We are presently doing research to update this history on the house and family.”
The Bailey-Tebault House was built by David Jackson Bailey and his wife, Susan Mary Grantland as the family’s city home. The family had a large property in Butts County, where Mr. Bailey worked as an attorney and served as a member of the state legislature, but they chose Griffin for their city home because of the educational opportunities for their children.
Built on 14 acres just outside of the then developed area of Griffin, the home was located just north of the Plank Road to Flat Shoals, a major thoroughfare for the day. This road was used for cotton to be brought into Griffin, and the stage line traveled over the same route. The New York and New Orleans Mail Line was one of the best mail routes in the country. City leaders chose this road over the addition of a second rail line, therefore the railroad bypassed Griffin and stopped, instead, in Marthasville.
Mr. David Bailey
Construction on the house was begun in 1859 but was not completed until 1862. Completion was delayed because the beautiful millwork for the home was ordered from Philadelphia, but it was held up in Union blockades of Confederate ports. Once the house was completed, the family made Griffin their primary residence. One family story suggests that, during the family's move to Griffin, Mr. Bailey’s extensive library was scattered from Griffin to Jackson by Federal troops.
This home is considered an exceptionally fine example of the Greek Revival style with attention given to the detailing throughout the house and the perfect proportions within the house. The beautiful curving staircase is thought to be unusual for a home of the time. There are projecting plaster crown moldings between the ceiling and walls in the hallway. At some point during the house’s history, the fireplaces in the double parlors were closed and the mantels removed. Today, however, the parlors include beautiful mantels, which came from the former Beeks home on North Hill Street, which were donated by Mr. and Mrs. James S. Murray.
Originally, the kitchen was detached from the house, and was connected through an underground passageway. Today, the kitchen connects to the house through a galley area. The grounds include three dependency buildings just behind the main house. These buildings remain in their original locations and include: Aunt Sophie’s cottage, which is the largest of the three buildings; the tall carriage house with a fireplace so the groom could keep warm; and the apothecary building, which is located closest to the kitchen door.
David and Susan Bailey had 11 children, six of whom lived to adulthood. The children’s bedrooms were upstairs in the house, and Mr. and Mrs. Bailey each had bedrooms on the first floor. Both bedrooms included large closets which were especially unusual for that day. In addition, Mrs. Bailey’s bedroom was connected to the upstairs through a tube system which was used as an early intercom.
While Mr. Bailey served in the Confederate Army, Mrs. Bailey and their children remained in Griffin. Stories suggest that the home was used as a hospital toward the end of the war. Because Camp Stevens on North 9th Street was the main training center for troops from all over the state, many homes in the area served as hospitals. As a testament to that fact, there are names etched in two windows of the Cheatham Parlor at the front of the house. Several of the Bailey daughters married Confederate officers who were trained in the Griffin camps.
Mrs. Bailey was the daughter of Seton Grantland who, among other things, served as newspaper editor in the state capital of Milledgeville, Georgia. David Bailey served in the state legislature, which met in Milledgeville. He was also elected to the U.S. Congress in 1850.
The Baileys were committed to their community. They helped to organize St. George’s Episcopal Church, and Mrs. Bailey gave the stained glass windows when the present church building was completed in 1871. Interestingly, the first commercial phone call in the City was made on May 1, 1889, by the central telephone office to Col. Bailey who was its manager.
Mrs. Bailey lived until 1897. Aunt Sophie, who had been with Mrs. Bailey for most of her life, remained in the cottage behind the house. Mrs. Bailey’s great-grandson, Grantland Barnes, recalled that his mother recalled Mrs Bailey would call to Aunt Sophie each afternoon. “Aunt Sophie, it’s five o’clock. Time to come get your dram!” The two ladies would enjoy their afternoon cocktails on the back porch of the house.
When Mrs. Bailey died in 1897, just six months after the death of her husband, her daughter Sallie Bailey Tebault, who lived in New Orleans, inherited the house. The home later passed to Sallie’s son, then to his wife, and then to the wife’s niece, staying in the family until 1971 when James Rawls bought the property. Although the Tebaults were in possession of the house for decades, they did not live in the home. Around 1909, the house was used as Griffin’s first hospital and school for nurses. Around 1940, the home became the Frank S. Pittman funeral home, and in 1971 it was sold to Mr. James Rawls and became the Pittman-Rawls Funeral Home. The Griffin-Spalding Historical Society purchased the property on May 1, 1987. During its years as a funeral home, the wall between the two main parlors was opened so the large room could be used as a chapel. During the renovations made by the historical society in 1989, the arch was reshaped and paneling was installed in the opening. The original opening would have had double doors between the parlors.
There are two pieces of furniture in the home which belonged to the Bailey family. The large dining table in the Blakely Dining Room was donated back to the Historical Society after their purchase of the home. In addition, a sideboard in the Hightower Dining Room was purchased at a Bailey descendant estate sale and was returned to the home.