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The Hayes-Long Mansion

Located side by side with the Mae Pender Harrell Home on the west side of Bryan Street (Hwy 71) as you exit Greenwood going north.

James Hayes was the builder of the Hayes-Long home. This is the same Hayes mentioned in writings regarding Longwood. The early history of both houses would be the same as the Green House and Longwood.

The Hayes-Long Mansion in Greenwood was built int he 1840's by James Hayes.  In 1885 the home was sold to Ada and William Garrett.  In 1907 the Garretts sold the home to R. W. Coulliette.

S.V. Wall, Jr. and Hay Long Wall bought the home in 1912.  In 1913 the home was sold to W. H. Long at this time W. H. Long faced athe wooden home with old brick.

The Longs were pioneers of Jackson County.  It is said Nicholas Long outfitted, by his own resources, a company of soldiers for the American Revolution.  He served as a Colonel, later Deputy Quarter Master General.  His son served as a Captain in the American Revolution.  In 1841 Dr. George Franklin Baltzell married Rebecca Hill Long.  Thomas Baltzell and Richard Harrison Long were both signers of the Florida Constitution.

The Hayes-Long Mansion was in the Long family for 63 years before it was sold by Billy Hay Williams, great-granddaughter of the Longs, to David Walters.  The mansion is now owned by the Don DeMichele family.  Cited from:  

Don and Rosalind DeMichele bought the house in 1994. They have done an excellent job of restoring it and maintaining it. They added the garage, the outdoor dining area and the wrought iron entry gate. This gate came from the carpenters union hall in Lakeland and was installed about two years ago.

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How We Got Great Oaks

I flew a North American T-6 from Greenville, Ms. to the Marianna Airport along with about 150 other pilots on the 31 of March 1953. I instructed here until the end of 1960.

When I first started instructing here we were flying Piper P-18 aircraft (Cubs). We were landing in the grass north of the East – West runway where the experiment station is now growing cotton. We flew our traffic pattern at 600' and some of the patterns took us over Greenwood, so the first time I saw the house was from the air. I subsequently visited the site, and was permitted to go through the house. I was quiet impressed with it and told Becky and the girls about it. We drove out and looked, but we did not go in. We had three girls then, Becky Lee 7, Claudia 5, and Priscilla 3. Rachel was born in 1958 about two weeks after a three inch March snow fall. We had talked about buying the house for seven years, but never researched anything about the house. After Christmas vacation in Tennessee we were returning through Eufaula, Al. and the girls got quite motivated by the lovely homes that lined the main street there and they insisted we buy the house is Greenwood.

So, after getting home, I learned it was owned by Mr. Louis Smith of Graceville. I wrote him a letter indicating I was interested in buying the house and asked him to give me a price if he was interested in selling it. In about four days we received his price in a very brief letter and we agreed to buy it. Mrs. Smith required us to agree to restore the house and paint it white, and paint the shutters green. If you are following this series, please try to remember this requirement, because I will tell you a little interesting story near the end.

In 1972, we tried to get the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but we did not have adequate information regarding its history. About this time I met Etta Bryan Carroll. She was a granddaughter of Hamilton Bryan. She told me she knew where all the information on the house was located. She took me to the court house and showed me Hamilton's 21 annual reports as was required by Mr. Bryan's will. This information we received made us successful in getting it listed on the National Register. Miss Etta's home was on Lafayette Street in Marianna where Jim's Steakhouse is now located.

After the war, Mrs. Penelope Bryan wrote to the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and asked them to recommend a tutor for her girls. They recommended Mr. Louis Smith from North Carolina. He came here and taught them, and later married Emily. We bought the house from their grandson. We are the first people outside the Bryan family to own the house.

Now we will give you some more pictures with comments about the restoration.

Image 1:  The house as it appeared when we bought it in 1961. Note the ladders by the windows. They were fire escapes installed when it was a school. Also, note the addition. This was added to make that space into a kitchen. The original kitchen and laundry were in a separate building that was located about where the camera was set up for making this picture. The foundation for the chimney is extant.

Image 2:  This shows the work in progress. Looking through the old kitchen framing you can see the south entrance we now use. If you look very carefully where the back porch meets the wall you can see a figured post that we used for a pattern.

Image 3:  Carpenter work proceeds all along this area. We had to do extreme cornice work. We are enclosing the old kitchen area and making it into a utility room. We are installing a double window for the room we now use for the kitchen. This was originally a bedroom.

Image 4:  The exterior is nearly finished except for porch roofs. The boy on the back porch is John Toman, the son of Joe and Joyce Toman. He is now 47 years old and lives in Tallahassee.

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The Restoration of Great Oaks

Elijah Bryan died eight years before their family home burned. Mr. Bryan had an overseer named James C. Land. Mr. Land's granddaughter found the 1860 census in the Milton Public Library which listed him as residing on the plantation. She visited in 1991 and brought us several interesting papers, including a statement of purchase of farm implements he had bought for the Bryans.

Mr. Bryan was very wise in the handling of his affairs. He had a well written will that appointed his wife, Penelope and his son, Hamilton as executors of his estate. We have a copy of this and may refer to it more as we go along. He wanted his estate kept together until his youngest child was of age 21.

lizabeth (Lizzie) was born in 1852, the year he died, so Hamilton had to report his affairs to the county judge for 21 years. It is in these reports that we have learned so much about the Bryan family.

We bought the house in 1961 and began the restoration that year. We first tore out all the plaster and lath and began leveling the house. It was five inches out of level. Then we started going around the house counter clock wise, beginning on the north side. I was a general contractor. At the beginning we had one crew, which consisted of me and four others. When the weather was bad or we had no other place to work, we came out to Great Oaks to work. I want to show you pictures of the progress, so this story will take three or four weeks. As our company grew we had more crews, so the work moved along a bit faster as the years went by. We finally decided in 1965 the children would not get to live there unless we completed it soon. We then put a fulltime crew on the job and completed the work in June 1966.

In our next article we will explain the purchase of the house and get you acquainted with the family from whom we bought it.

The house was used as a school twice, once when the Greenwood School House burned in 1918 and again in 1940. I know some of the people who attended. If you know anyone who did, please send me the name and year with any comments you wish to make.

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