Wynne-Russell House


From Wynne Russell...

Not to far from my home and only a few dozen feet from the hustle and bustle of Lawrenceville Highway, stands the oldest house in Lilburn. The Wynne-Russell home. The house sits, appropriately, on Wynne Russell Road, about a block North of the Indian Trail/Killian Hill Road, behind the Prudential Building. The house was built in 1826. I apologize that I get kind of fascinated by old things. I think its nice to get a sense of history. Especially, history in Atlanta that predates the Civil War.

There are a couple of things that strike me when I observe the house. First, how simple the house is. Its easy to get the idea that everybody lived in giant plantations in the South, but it seems that wasn’t the case for the most part in Old Gwinnett. Sort of stands to reason considering the hilly topography making large scale farming unworkable. The second is the placement of three fireplaces in so small a home. Well, I guess it got cold in 1830, just like today, and the fireplace was state of the art heating at the time. The fireplaces are made out of Georgia Red Clay. Third is the small grave yard at the back of the house. There you get the tombstone of Thomas Wynne, James Wynne and Mary Wynne. Thomas, the original builder of the home fought in the War of 1812. James, his son, served the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Some of the reading about the house, marvels at how poor Mary raised nine children under the age of 18, while running the farm after her husbands passing. A remarkable pioneer woman they call her. Well, she did have 10 slaves. That was the last thing I was struck with. To me, Slavery was always a horrific period in American history, but it was somehow distant. This was the first time I spent time on land that actual owned people lived on, it really put the situation into perspective, made it more real for me.

The house was kept in the family until 1971, when the last remaining descendent “Miss Mary” Russell passed on (hence the Russell in the house name). Years later the City of Lilburn took the site over and now uses it as a meeting hall and for special occasions.

There is a nice small parking lot and three picnic tables on the property. If I worked near here, I might choose to pack a lunch and eat it at this serene and nostalgic spot. Heck, if you pull through the nearby Burger King or Chick-Fil-A, you might think about stopping a moment here instead of eating in your car. I promise it’ll be easier on your stomach, and it might just be nicer on your soul.

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