The Hawthorne House, also known as the Col. J. R. Hawthorne House, is a historic plantation house located in east Wilcox County in the community of Pine Apple. The two-story wood-frame house was built circa 1854 for Joseph Richard Hawthorne by Ezra Plumb. Joseph Hawthorne was born in 1805 in North Carolina, but the family had relocated to Wilkinson County, GA by 1810. Hawthorne moved to Conecuh County, AL in the 1830s and finally settled in Pine Apple in the 1850s. He owned several large plantations in Conecuh and Wilcox counties. Hawthorn also represented Wilcox County for two terms as a representative to the State Legislature.
This house was also the home of one of the Confederacy’s “boy heroes,” John Herbert Kelly (1840-1864). Joseph Hawthorne was married three times. His third marriage was to Harriet Herbert of Mobile – his wife at the time Hawthorn settled in Pine Apple. John Herbert Kelly was the son of Isham and Elizabeth (Herbert) of Carrollton, AL and Elizabeth was the daughter of Harriet Herbert. Kelly’s father died while in Cuba when John was four, and his mother died three years later. His grandmother, Harriet Herbert Hawthorne, took responsibility of the young orphan and he grew to young manhood at Pine Apple. When John was about seventeen, he received an appointment to West Point. In 1861 a few months before his graduation, his home state of Alabama seceded from the Union. Hearing the news, Kelly left West Point and joined the Confederacy. He rose through the ranks quickly and became a brigadier general on December 16, 1863. Kelly was shot while leading a charge at a skirmish near Franklin, TN on August 20, 1864. He died on September 4 becoming one of the youngest generals to die during the Civil War, at the age of 24.
The Hawthorne House remained in the family until the early 1900s. In 1935, it was reacquired by Joseph R. Hawthorn’s grandson, Dr. Julian Hawthorne, of Rye, New York. The house was subsequently restored, in the late 1930s, and became the residence of Dr. Hawthorne’s widowed mother and his sister, Gladys. The doctor himself also used the house as a hunting lodge during the winter season. After the death of Galdys, Dr. Edward Childs and his wife, Jackie, of Mobile, AL purchased the house in 1985.
The Hawthorne House was recorded by the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) in 1937. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on March 7, 1985 and to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage (ARLH) on November 9, 1992. The house is also a contributing property to the Pine Apple Historic District that was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on February 26, 1999. It is featured in Jennifer Hale’s Historic Plantations of Alabama’s Black Belt.
This home is located on the left side of Broad Street approximately 0.4 mile north of the Pine Apple City Hall (GPS coordinates 31.880038, -86.988886).
This is a private residence – drive by only.
Sources: 1) NRHP “Hawthorne House” Nomination Form; 2) ARLH “Hawhorne House” Registration Form; 3) Wikipedia.org/Hawthorne House (Pine Apple, Alabama); 4) Wikipedia.org/John H. Kelly.
B&W photographs courtesy of U. S. Library of Congress, Photographer: Alex Bush, Date: March 24, 1937.