Students of history constantly state the main reason why they dislike studying the past is due to the large number of dates and lists of dead people they must remember.
I do not blame them. I would not want to read boring lists of dates and names either, but unfortunately, it is a part of what I do. I run across lists of names all the time.
In the past I have written about a dinner the Oddfellows group had here in Douglasville in September 1891. Within that column I could have just told you who the Oddfellows were, the date they had dinner and then listed the names of the men who attended, but that would be boring, right?
Instead I chose a few of the men to research and figure out how they fit into the fabric of Douglasville in 1891.
One of the men I mentioned in that column was A.L. Gosline saying, “Gosline was an architect and builder by trade who had fought for the Union during the Civil War. He mustered out in 1866 in Atlanta and decided to stay and eventually ended up in Douglasville.”
Yes, a Yankee in our midst and not only did the mover and shakers in town allow him to break bread with them, he had been elected as town recorder in 1879.
Albert Lorenzo Gosline was a very interesting fellow from what I can see and not just because he originally hailed from Canada.
Gosline submitted an essay for a book regarding northern immigrants who had made their home below the Mason-Dixon Line. In the book titled “Georgia: From the Immigrant Settlers Stand-Point” (1901) Gosline states, “I have travelled the United States from Maine to Michigan, from Canada to Florida, and can say with truth that where I have been in Georgia, and especially where I now live, is as healthy as any part of the world; and the climate is the most agreeable in this county as any place I ever saw.”
Gosline also advised, “I am an architect and builder by profession. I planned and supervised the building of Governor Bullock’s famous $20,000 barn.” A $20,000 barn in 1901 was an exorbitant sum of money, but realizing Bullock was Georgia’s Reconstruction governor and the barn was built at some point between 1868 and 1871 makes the level of excess go sky high. A few years before Governor Bullock was forced to resign and flee (another story for another time), he bought a parcel of land in Cherokee County from John Miller McAfee who happened to be the white ancestor of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson (also another story for another time).
Governor Bullock built an exceptionally large three-story barn on the property which was in the vicinity where Highway 5 intersects with Highway 92 in Woodstock. The first level of the barn was constructed of rock and cement while the two upper stories were oak timbers cut from the property.
It is said that Bullock kept his thoroughbred horses and mules in the basement level of the barn. The second story was at ground level and was used for the cows while grain and feed stuff were stored on the top floor. According to Juanita Hughes, a Cherokee County historian, the barn was built at a time when the railroad had not yet reached that part of Woodstock.
You must realize that when the barn was built the railroad had not yet reached Woodstock according to Juanita Hughes, a Woodstock historian. Folks wanting to travel to Atlanta generally took two days to make the trip by mule wagon. They camped somewhere along the way, and Bullock’s barn became the spot. It was the “Big Chicken” landmark along the trail before there was a Big Chicken. Today, there is no proof the barn A.L.Gosline designed and built ever existed. Governor Bullock sold the property and the barn was demolished in 1890. The home that Georgia’s infamous governor built stood until November 1933 when it was blown away by strong winds.
Yes, I have to say it. It is all gone — gone with the wind.
This column ran in the Douglas County Sentinel in February 2015. Lisa’s books “Every Now and Then: The Amazing Stories of Douglas County, Volume 1,” “Douglasville,” a pictorial history, and “Georgia on My Mind: True Tales from Around the State”, are available at Amazon and The Farmers Table, Douglasville Welcome Center, and the Douglas County Museum of History and Art.