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Memories of Georgia Cottage

Mobile writer and historian John Sledge spent many vacations at Georgia Cottage, which his grandparents had bought in 1935.   Colonel John Murrell of Georgia built the house known as Georgia Cottage for his daughter, Mrs. William A. Hardaway in 1840.    Although now deep within the Mobile city limits, Georgia Cottage was a country house when originally built.   The one-story wood-frame structure, on a brick foundation, is said to be a stylistic blending of Gulf Coast cottage and Greek revival forms. It has a hipped roof and matching side wings to each side of the main block.  It is situated at the end of a long avenue of live oaks planted prior to 1840.

According to William Perry Fidler, Augusta Jane Evans and her family first lived in the house as a rental.   When Augusta’s second novel Beulah sold 22,000 copies in 1859, she earned enough money to buy the house.   She wrote the Civil War novel Macaria at Georgia Cottage as well as her 1866 blockbuster St. Elmo.    In 1868 her father Matthew Evans, near death, refused to give his consent when Augusta sought to marry Colonel Lorenzo Wilson.   The couple waited until Matthew Evans died, then were married in the parlor of Georgia Cottage with Augusta still dressed in mourning.   After she moved to Ashland, Lorenzo’s estate, her mother Sarah Evans continued to reside at Georgia Cottage.   Unlike Ashland, Georgia Cottage still stands today.