Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Georgia


Clarke Haye House

Clark-Hayes House, Watkinsvillie, Georgia (33.744211, -83.332294)

Primary Phase of House         Felling Dates: Winter 1801/2, Winter 1805/6, Spring 1807

Site Master 1717-1806 CHGAx1 (dates as part of area master Georgia1).

William Clark (1764-1849), probably originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, came into the backcountry of Georgia by way of Augusta, where, in 1785, he was Doorkeeper of the Georgia House of Representatives. About 1804 he received a grant of land from the State of Georgia for services in the Revolution. He was living in what was then still Clarke Country by 1806 when he started representing the area in the Georgia Legislature, service that lasted off and on until 1819. Later he served as Judge of the Inferior Court of Clarke County. Curiously, timber for this house was cut from 1802 until 1807, presumably when the house was begun. Perhaps he first built a simple house that served his large family until this fine new one was finished. Family papers tell that the builder’s name was Burch, and the house’s fine framing and woodwork suggest that he was a person on whom more research should be done.

The original block of the house is two stories tall and has a hall-parlor plan. The front, with two window bays flanking the central doorway, is nearly symmetrical, unusually sophisticated for the time and place. The first floor ceiling is eleven-and-a-half feet from the floor, and the second is over nine feet high. The hall, to which entry is given, has an elaborate chair rail with diagonal reeding and a cornice with diamond enrichment. All walls above the wood dado are plaster throughout the house. The ceilings were apparently boards, beaded on the edges. The door and window casings throughout the house consist of double-faced architraves. The inner room (parlor or chamber) contains the winder stair to the second floor and garret and slightly simpler detailing, and the two second floor chambers are simpler still, though still very fine for the context. The garret even had a board ceiling nailed to the bottom of the rafters, probably indicating its use for sleeping.

Single-story, one-room symmetrical wings to each side of the main block are either original or at least very early. The house was sold by the Clark family after William’s death, and it passed through the locally-prominent Marable family until its present owners, the Hayes family, bought it. (Mark Reinberger)

Worthington, M J and Seiter, J I 2018 “The Tree-Ring Dating of Ten Vernacular Buildings in Northeastern Georgia”, unpublished Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory archive report 2018/05




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230