Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Georgia


Old Rock House

Old Rock House, Thomson, Georgia (33.482270, -82.557833)

Primary Phase of House         Felling Dates: Winter 1798/9

Site Master 1645-1798 ROCKx1 (dates as part of area master Georgia1).

The Old Rock House is one of the few surviving remains of Wrightsborough, a thriving Quaker community in the late eighteenth century. It was built by Thomas Ansley (1737-1809), a Quaker originally from New Jersey, who had migrated with a group of Quaker families first to North Carolina and by 1768 to Georgia. This was his plantation house, just outside of the village of Wrightsborough; Ansley had received land grants totalling 2400 acres and presumably wanted a house commensurate with this much land. It has formerly been thought that the house dated to the mid-1780s (when Ansley received the majority of his grants), but dendrochronology has given it the more likely date of 1798-99, by which time Ansley could have improved his acreage significantly and possessed the funds necessary for the elaborate house. The use of stone for the walls may have been influenced by Quaker building in the Delaware Valley, from whence Ansley had come, as well as from North Carolina where Quakers and others built in masonry.

The granite walls of the house enclose a true double-pile house with a full-height basement and a raised main story, the latter having two substantial rooms across the front (each room with a large end fireplace) and three smaller rooms across the rear. Both front rooms have exterior entrances from a high wooden porch. The rear end rooms have corner fireplaces and that to the right contains the stair to the lighted garret. Interior walls are plastered rather than panelled, another feature that recalls the mid-Atlantic. All in all the house is the most sophisticated eighteenth-century structure in rural upcountry Georgia. (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Worthington, M J and Seiter, J I 2018 “The Tree-Ring Dating of Ten Vernacular Buildings in Northeastern Georgia”, unpublished Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory archive report 2018/05




The Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory provides cutting-edge commercial dendrochronological services to homeowners, architectural historians, and cultural resource managers. READ MORE

Contact Information

Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230