Progressive Farmstead

The Progressive Farmstead highlights the departure from subsistence farming and the emergence of the middle class farm family able to utilize advancements in technology to improve their daily life as well as increase the overall efficiency of their farmstead.

Gibbs Farm

1889

The Gibbs Farm includes a barn, pens, buggy shed, and harness room. The farm buildings are arranged along the same basic layout of the original Allen Gibbs farm. The barn at the progressive farmstead is modeled after a Miller County “mule barn” built in 1889. The corn crib and harness room were built about 1880 on a farm near Lenox, Georgia and donated by John and Mona Darden. This restored structure seasonally holds ear corn and other feed and shelters tools and implements from the weather. The livestock kept on the farm are representative of the common farm animals of the time period. “Piney woods rooter” hogs, “native” sheep, goats, dairy cows, horses, and mules are the chief tenants of the barnyard (note: all animals are not represented at all times).

Guest Experiences May Include

Livestock husbandry and management; Industry and technology advancements, from household appliances to farm equipment that improved efficiency and/or comfort; Draft animal demonstrations; Processing animal byproduct and/or small crop demonstrations; Cooking demonstrations and classes; Gardening demonstrations and activities

Gibbs House

1896

The Gibbs House is called progressive because the family that built and lived in the house of this type tried more scientific methods of farming and used more advanced tools and utensils than those who occupied a home such as the Clark Cabin (the traditional farmstead). The Gibbs House was built by Allen Gibbs about 1896 near Ty Ty, Georgia, which at the time was part of Worth County. Mr. Gibbs had 14 children by two wives. The farmhouse was donated by his children, Mr. Nas Gibbs, Mrs. Elizabeth Monk, and Mrs. Mary Paulk. The architectural details and furnishings of the house reflect a rural style of living recognizable as the trends and tastes of the 1890s. The Gibbs House utilizes a wood-burning stove that was easier to use than open-hearth cooking. Cooking was not only safer than, but not quite as hot as, open-hearth cooking because the fire was contained in the stove. The Gibbs House farmstead includes a number of outbuildings, including a smokehouse (where meat was cured after butchering), a syrup house and cane mill (where syrup was made), a hen house, and an outhouse.

Guest Experiences May Include

Industry and technology advancements, from household appliances to farm equipment that improved efficiency and or comfort; Leisure, arts, and entertainment demonstrations and activities; Cooking demonstrations and classes; Gardening demonstrations and activities; Textile demonstrations and activities; Laundry demonstrations and activities

Cravey House

1880s
The Cravey House was built in the 1880s by Benjamin Cravey on a 490-acre tract of land given to him by his father, William Cravey. It was constructed by hand in about a year with the help of one man, and Cravey lived in the kitchen while he built the rest of the home. The home is typical of a late 1800s vernacular homestead and was built in (and moved from) Inaha, GA in Turner County.
The Cravey House is also known as the “Miller’s Cabin” primarily because of its position in front of the Grist Mill. While Mr. Cravey was not a miller, the house does represent a typical farmstead of this time period. As many millers were also farmers, it is a relatively accurate representation of what the miller’s home may have looked like. The Cravey farm was primarily a sustenance farm with crops and animals to feed the family. However, Mr. Cravey planted a pecan orchard on the property as well – which is still standing today.

Guest Experiences May Include

Advances in technology and industry that improved efficiency in the daily life of individuals; Small crops planting, harvesting, and processing; Cooking demonstrations and classes; Gardening demonstrations and activities; Textile demonstrations and activities; Basket making demonstrations and activities

Davis Grist Mill

1879
The Davis Grist Mill is a water-powered mill – water being the traditional source of energy in the area until 1890s, when water-powered mills were replaced by steam-powered mills. When the miller wanted to run the mill, he opened the sluice gate, and the water from the mill pond would flow over onto an overshot water wheel, causing it to turn. This motion was transferred through a series of shafts and gears which shook the hopper and turned the top millstone. The bottom millstone remained stationary as the top stone turned clockwise, and the corn dribbled down the hopper to the center of the bottom stone. The faces of the millstones were cut in a land-and-furrow pattern (grooves are cut into the stone, leaving some areas slightly higher). The corn was ground on the rough surface of the lands, and the furrows directed the ground corn outward until it spilled out into the meal box. The height of the top stone was adjusted to determine the coarseness of the grind. The grist mill also served a social space where local men congregated to visit, share news, or fish in the mill pond while they waited for their grain to be ground.
The Davis Grist Mill was built in 1879 by Barney Kearce in Worth County near Warwick, Georgia. Originally a community mill, the grist mill was later sold to Dan Davis of Sylvester, for whom the mill is named. The mill remained in the Davis family and was given to the Museum by the family of W.A. and Ola Aultman of Sylvester. Inscribed on the mill’s corn bins are the carved outlines of a number of large fish that were caught in the mill pond where the mill was originally located. They represent bass, jack, and brim and are dated 1903 and 1905.
The man who ran the gristmill was an important figure in the rural wiregrass society by providing a vital service to the rural farmer- grinding grains for grits and meal. Many mills may have also contained machinery for cotton ginning, and sawmilling. Serving as another social space, local men would congregate there to visit, share news, or fish in the pond while they waited for their grain to be ground. The GMA gristmill is a water-powered mill, which was the traditional source of energy before the 1890s.

Guest Experiences May Include

Gristmill operation to produce grits and cornmeal; Pole of gristmill in providing goods and services to the surrounding agricultural community; Goods and services bartering/ trading; Leisure time/ social activity demonstrations