Chief Vann House
The Chief Vann House, built between 1804 and 1806 by the Cherokee leader James Vann, is called the "Showplace of the Cherokee Nation."
Vann's father, James Clement, was a Scottish trader who left South Carolina in the 1700s to settle among the Cherokees, and Vann's mother, Ruth Gamn, was a Cherokee. His father founded Spring Place Plantation, on which the Vann House eventually would be built.
Vann, a Cherokee chief, was known to be a well-educated man, though it is
In addition to providing an education to local Cherokees, the Moravians contributed to the building of Vann's two-story brick house. Visitors to the house can inspect the mantels, door jambs, and wainscotings, all of which are original to the house. The doors, known as Christian doors, are of special interest. Their construction features a cross and an open Bible. On one side of the main entrance, which originally faced the Federal Road, is an elaborately carved stairway—the oldest example of cantilevered construction in Georgia.
The bricks used in the construction of the house came from the red clay located on the Spring Place Plantation property. Handwrought nails and hinges came from Vann's own blacksmith shop. In addition to the blacksmith shop, the 800-acre property around the mansion included 42 slave cabins, 6 barns, 5 smokehouses, a trading post, more than 1,000 peach trees, 147 apple trees, and a still.
Vann had the opportunity to enjoy his mansion for only a few years; he was fatally shot in 1809 by an unknown assailant.
Although Vann and his family lost their home and property, he later sued for the loss and was awarded $19,605 by the government as compensation.
Today the Chief Vann House is administered by Georgia's Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites division of the Department of Natural Resources.
Durant Ashmore, "An Interpretive Garden Design for the Chief Vann House, Spring Place, Georgia" (master's thesis, University of Georgia, 1992).
David King Gleason, Antebellum Homes of Georgia (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987).
N. Michelle Williamson, Rome
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.