Peacewood I - WINGFIELD Wilkes County GAWINGFIELD-CADE-SAUNDERS House (PEACEWOOD) circa 1936

When I really peer beneath the surface of our country’s damaged history, and how human transgressions have been processed by the descendants inheriting it, I’m challenged to find our cultural silver lining.

I believe the healing salve for historic ignorance and human cruelty lies within our yet to be lived future; to be championed by the untainted souls of descendants far removed from the slave legacy [and ongoing fight for civil rights] I inherited.

Am I saying Generations X, Baby Boomers and beyond are hopeless? Sadly, yes.

The longer I live, I find it harder to vest in the goodness of mankind when he’s still very much covered in his Ancestors history-stamped residue.

For example, while scanning this 2010 Tours of Home blog post regarding PEACEWOOD, the plantation my WINGFIELD Ancestors built and sustained while enslaved by Thomas WINGFIELD and his descendants, I immediately became angry reading this narrative:

This beautiful old plantation home is a significant and interesting example of a house assembled from different periods and made into a columned plantation seat in the 1840s and 1850s during the period of prosperity before the Civil War.

Beautiful?! William Johnson is referring to the time period when MY ANCESTORS were bought, sold, raped, bred, tormented, overworked and subjugated to the discretion of his or her WINGFIELD owner. A period when their free labor was exploited, bartered against and/or leased by others. A time when my Ancestors had no voice, vote or protection for themselves and those they loved.

What is a period of prosperity to William [and many others], is a period of great pain and suffering for my family – both past and present.

Having to accept my only knowledge and visual of these Ancestors will forever live etched in the pages of Samuel WINGFIELD’S 300+ page plantation ledger, where their labor translates into years of prosperity for the WINGFIELDS and the many who leased them for labor, only stokes my anger.

Will this sort of willful, skewed, naivete regarding our shared history ever not leave my jaw locked and heart confused about how anyone can dismiss or deny why the historic wounds of today are still so fresh? No! Do I foresee our lens changing – mine or William’s? Not likely!

History this cultivated and wounded requires purging. Have we produced enough clean cycles to clear the “fruit” of history’s yield? I don’t believe so. I doubt we’ll be the descendants to inherit the full harvest a.k.a. The Dream.

It will always be important for my descendants to know [and embrace] their African American history, but I dream of the day, when the disparities of our history will be all but blotted out by the promise of our present and future.

I have no illusions. My WINGFIELD and related Ancestors found no peace [or rest] at PEACEWOOD. I plan to walk the Plantation on my next Washington-Wilkes visit but have very little faith peace is what I’ll experience.

My hope rests in the truly free and empowered descendants being nurtured today. These children and children’s children will know peace. I believe it.

Luckie

WINGFIELD-CADE-SAUNDERS House (PEACEWOOD) – 120 Tignall Road, Washington, Wilkes County, GA circa 1936

Peacewood II - WINGFIELD Wilkes County GASide Elevation

Peacewood III - WINGFIELD Wilkes County GAView of Outbuildings – East of House

Peacewood IV - WINGFIELD Wilkes County GAView of Outbuildings – Back of House

PEACEWOOD History:

This beautiful old plantation home is a significant and interesting example of a house assembled from different periods and made into a columned plantation seat in the 1840s and 1850s during the period of prosperity before the Civil War.

The older portion, which dates from the 1790s, faced west and was a typical plantation plain-style building, providing interesting examples of early craftsmanship.

In 1833, the house was enlarged and rebuilt in the Greek revival style with a columned portico. In the late 1890s, a small structure was attached to the back of the house for use as a kitchen and utility area. The house as it now stands faces south and is fronted by a Doric colonnade. In addition, most of the original outbuildings of the plantation still stand.

The land on which the house stands was originally part of the land grant of 1150 acres made in 1784 to George Walton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. George Walton sold the land to Thomas Wingfield of Virginia in 1786. In 1825 the property was sold to Archibald S. Wingfield and later to Jesse Callaway who sold it in 1851 to Francis G. Wingfield.

When Captain W.G. Cade bought the property in 1874, he added a new kitchen to the house but left the outbuildings standing on the grounds. Later Captain Cade’s son, Dr. E. Boykin Cade, lived here and gave the home the name Peacewood.

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