Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Georgia


Bowdre-Rees-Knox House

Bowdre-Rees-Knox House, Thomas, Georgia (33.53835, -82.54770)

Primary House         Felling Dates: Winter 1818/19

Site Master 1714-1818 (yellow pine) BKGAx1 (t = 6.38 wxps3; 4.91 WBGx1; 4.88 CLGAx1).

The Bowdre-Rees-Knox House was the main dwelling on a plantation of 1540 acres developed by Thomas Bowdre, who came to eastern Georgia from Virginia in 1806 and began acquiring land near the old Quaker town of Wrightsboro. The full extent of the land, along with 44 enslaved persons, had been obtained by 1827, and the house, with plenty of Tidewater precedents, was a fitting dwelling for such an establishment. It was formerly thought that the house was built fairly soon after Bowdre began buying land, perhaps about 1810.

The house has a hall-parlor plan, common in Tidewater Virginia and southward. The braced framed structure is raised on a full brick basement, though the lower story, directly on grade, is not finished, but was presumably used for storage and service. The frame portion is one-and-a-half stories tall. A continuous, probably original, one-story wing crosses the present front (original rear) and contains a recessed central porch flanked by two corner rooms, one heated and accessed from the main block and one unheated and approached only from the porch. Across the present rear (original front) is another one-story wing that is presumably not original but needs further study.

The woodwork in the main rooms presents excellent examples of fine backcountry Federal style, found often in better houses of the region in the 1810s and 1820s. The mantels are particularly fine; perhaps they are from a craftsman in Augusta, fairly close by.

Dendrochronological analysis has dated six of the timbers from the building. Of the six timbers, one retained complete sapwood, which provided a precise felling date of the winter of 1818/19.

Worthington, M J and Seiter, J I 2020 “The Tree-Ring Dating of the Bowdre-Rees-Knox House, Thomas, Georgia”, unpublished Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory archive report 2020/21




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Contact Information

Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230