the promised land then and now

Jun 30, 2009 | Posted by: twomucht

by Dorethia Livsey

Envision with me the scene of a thousand acre antebellum plantation with twenty-six slaves...

The original owner of this historical plantation was Thomas Maguire, an immigrant from Ireland. .He settled at Rockbridge just south of Centerville in 1825. There he built his life around this 956 -acre plantation, he called it "The Promised Land". Along with his 10 children and 26 slaves, Maguire cultivated the land and built a small empire around himself.

He built "The Big House", as it is referred to today. It was comparatively modest in size and ornamentation, but substantial. It stands today. Though one wonders how it escaped the torches of General Sherman's men when they passed by here on their 'March To The Sea'.

This spectacular story can be found in the pages and between the lines of a Farm Journal or diary, that was kept from July, 1859 to July 1866 by the master of this plantation. Maguire came from Ireland as previously indicated and settled in Gwinnett County. He became one of the leading citizens of the county.

His surviving diary, chronicles the daily activities of plantation life. It tells of growing cotton, wheat, corn, vegetables, fruits, raising hogs, cattle and sheep. Activities on the plantation also included carpentry, blacksmithing, ginning, tanning hides, milling flour, grinding cane and making brick. The big house was also used as a court house and post office during the Civil War days. Maguire's journal also records the effects of the War Between States on his plantation and the Atlanta area.

In November of 1864,Yankee soldiers on their "March To The Sea", passed by the Promised Land and burned Maguire's gin house, stables, barn and fences, while Maguire hid out in the woods. The soldiers also slaughtered his livestock. He and his family, along with his slaves, hid out in the woods for three weeks. They were in fear for their lives.

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1 - 7 of 7 Comments Last updated May 27, 2011
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#1
Jun 30, 2009
 
Hard working organized and efficient immigrants like Maguire were the people who built America. Maguire employed 26 slaves and his own family members on a well planned and operated plantation that provided food, clothing, shelter, and other essentials of life to himself, his family, and his slaves. The value of hard work and efficient use of plantation resources benefited all, including the surrounding community.
Even after slavery ended the former farm workers would have taken their skills and experience and become self sufficient. The Maguire family would have carried on the same way. Most of the Maguire wealth was stolen by Federal troops or evaporated with the abolition of slavery. McGuire still had his house and his know how and his willingness to work. The former slaves lost their owner paid medical care, their child care, and their old age security. But, they had their freedom and new public education and the right to vote and an established work ethic and farming skills. It would be interesting to find out the progress of the former workers and how their future differed from the Maguires.
Tom Livsey

Kennesaw, GA

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#2
Jul 1, 2009
 
This is a great detailed history and present description of the Promised Land Plantation.

No wonder Margret Mitchell visited so many times to read Thomas Maguire's journal while she researched her famous novel, "Gone With The Wind".
Betty Talmadge

United States

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#3
Jul 2, 2009
 
Tom Livsey wrote:
This is a great detailed history and present description of the Promised Land Plantation.
No wonder Margret Mitchell visited so many times to read Thomas Maguire's journal while she researched her famous novel, "Gone With The Wind".
Margaret Mitchell did an immense amount of research for her novel. Decades of scrutiny have determined that Gone With the Wind was exceedingly accurate of its portrayal of the War, of Reconstruction, and of the people of Georgia. She captured the very soul of the South and immortalized the spirit of the old Confederacy.
Sandra Barber Rabern

United States

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#4
Jul 3, 2009
 
Well now the slaves are free at last,Thank God allmighty Free at last.
Jonathan Maguire

United States

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#5
Aug 6, 2010
 
It gives me chills thinking of Thomas and then James coming over and building such a great plantation. I just read the obituary for Amos Livsey - and it must have been something these two families.

God Bless.

“Attention InterestDesireAc tion”

Since: Dec 07

Chicago,Il. USA

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#6
Sep 5, 2010
 
Time is denoted in three parts. The past, the present and the future.

However people change in time, because time changes people's way of thinking about their past, present and their future.

Your thoughts today will either remain the same 40 years from now, or change if you spend the time to change yourself before you are left behind.
bobrice

Wilmington, NC

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#7
May 27, 2011
 
I understand that Thomas Maguire was a Free Mason. General Sherman was a Free Mason. I think this is the reason Maguire's Plantation house was not destroyed. During Sherman's march to the sea. He left a lot of houses standing because of this fact.
Bobby L Rice

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