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About Seaborn Jones
Timeline: Event: Fact Moved to Columbus, Ga., in 1827
Event: Fact Elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-ninth Congress March 4, 1845-March 3, 1847
Event: Fact Elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-third Congress March 4, 1833-March 3, 1835
History: Named “Seaborn” for his uncle, studied at Princeton but did not graduate because he had to drop out to help his father with some business problems, by a special act of the legislature he was admitted to the bar in 1808; commenced practice in Milledgeville, Ga.; appointed solicitor general of the Ocmulgee circuit in September 1817; solicitor general of Georgia in 1823; one of the commissioners appointed to investigate the disturbances in the Creek Nation; Princeton conferred an honorary A.M. degree upon him in 1833.
Seaborn Jones (1788 - 1864) a U. S. Representative from Georgia; born in Augusta, Ga., February 1, 1788; attended Princeton College; studied law; by a special act of the legislature was admitted to the bar in 1808; commenced practice in Milledgeville, Ga.; appointed solicitor general of the Ocmulgee circuit in September 1817; solicitor general of Georgia in 1823; one of the commissioners appointed to investigate the disturbances in the Creek Nation; moved to Columbus, Ga., in 1827; elected as a Jacksonian to the Twenty-third Congress (March 4, 1833-March 3, 1835); elected as a Democrat to the Twenty-ninth Congress (March 4, 1845-March 3, 1847); died in Columbus, Ga., March 18, 1864; interment in Linwood Cemetery. ["The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress"]
"Columbus on the Chattahoochee"
By: Etta Blanchard Worsley
On the old Stage Coach Road, just across the creek from the Country Club lands is "St. Elmo", the classic structure built by Colonel Seaborn Jones, one of Columbus' most distinguished pioneers, for his wife, Mary Howard Jones, daughter of Major John Howard, a Revolutionary soldier of Milledgeville. It is thought that the house was begun soon after 1828 and completed in 1833, when Seaborn Jones brought his wife and two children to Columbus. The lands adjoin those where "Wildwood" was built for his mother-in law, Mrs. Jane Vivian Howard.
Colonel Jones drew all the plans for his home and called it "Eldorado", land of beauty, - and a place of beauty it was - an imposing white Greek temple, having twelve sturdy Doric columns on the three sides. It was here that noted author, Augusta Jane Evans, a niece of Mrs. Seaborn Jones, had often visited her aunt and here that she finished her celebrated novel, "St. Elmo." In this house she had revised the story, heeding the advice of "Aunt Jones" not to let the heroine die. The home described in the book was the present "St. Elmo", the name of the estate having been changed after 1875 by the next owners, Captain James J. Slade, whose father, the Reverend Thomas B. Slade, was the "Allan Hammond" in the book.
Seaborn Jones' first visit to the scene of Columbus was when, as Major Jones, he was a member of Governor Troup's staff and came over from Milledgeville in 1825 with General Lafayette. Several months later he was sent on a commission to investigate the Indian affairs. AS a lawyer and planter from Richmond County, he was well established and prominent in Georgia when he chose Columbus for a home, having already been solicitor general of the Ocmulgee Circuit in 1817-1818. He was a member of Congress in 1835-45-47.
Several sections of land were bought by Colonel Jones adjacent to the Stage-Coach Road, now the Warm Springs Road. A part of this land was given to his only son, John Abraham Jones, who married Mary Leonard, of Wildwood, - their place becoming known as "Bonnie Doon".
Mary Howard Jones, only daughter of Colonel Seaborn Jones, who, as a girl of three had been a flower-girl for General Lafayette, grew up in Columbus and married Henry Lewis Benning, destined to become famous as Confederate General, "Old Rock". She and General Benning lived and brought up their children in her father's home. There were five Benning daughters and one Benning son, who died as results of wounds in the Civil War. The son was Seaborn Benning Jones who enlisted at the age of seventeen. The daughters were Mrs. Samuel Spencer, Mrs. Reese Crawford, Mrs. Hull, Misses Mary Benning and Anna Carolina Benning.
After the war, during the hazardous times of the carpet-baggers and scalawags, General Benning was afraid for his family to remain at Eldorado, and they moved into town to the old Benning home, which stood opposite the Public Library on upper Broad Street. With them was Mrs. Mary Leonard Jones, whose husband, Colonel John Jones, a member of the 17th Georgia Volunteers had been killed at Gettysburg. Her posthumous child, little Anna Jones (Mrs. Norman Pease) was born at Eldorado, moved to the Benning home in town with her mother and later to "Bonnie Doon", then her sister's home, after the death of their mother.
Mrs. Anna Vivian Jones Pease (daughter of Colonel John A. Jones) is perhaps the only member of her family living today who remembers "St. Elmo" in its hey-day, - at the time it was called "Eldorado".
Mrs. Nina Holstead, Columbus Librarian when the Carnegie Library was built, wrote an article about this historic place many years ago, in which she stated:
Colonel Seaborn Jones built the elegant home now known as "St. Elmo", but which he called "Eldorado" ……Everything that cultured taste and unlimited means could suggest was done to make this place one of the most elegant and luxurious in the vicinity.
The twelve-room house is built of brick made on the place by slaves, and all the interior wood-work except doors and stairways which are of mahogany, is of heavy oak and cedar, felled on the land……There was a conservatory in the yard fifty feet long by twenty-five in which every rare and beautiful flower was grown. Here the lemon, orange, and banana of the tropics grew to perfection. Fountains played and artificial heat made this one of the most perfect and complete conservatories in the Country.
There was also another green house. The writer remembers as a child the wonderful beauty and fragrance of this green house. The music of softly splashing water from the fountains, the sunlight bringing out brilliant colors of rich flowers and of birds lightly flitting about, fairly intoxicated with beauty and sweetness".
A winding, sandy road, over which carriages and horses passed, driven by negro coachmen, led up through rose gardens to the house, where many historic personages were entertained, among them President James K. Polk, President Millard Fillmore, Henry Clay and General Winfield Scott.
There was a lake on one side of the grounds, covered with water lilies, and huge wisteria vines climbed the oaks and cedars. A long scuppernong arbor led to the lake, all of these within the memory of the author.
The lands extended to Wildwood on the East and to the Shepherd lands on the South, one hundred acres owned by Dr. Albert Shepherd, father of Mrs. Abner C. Flewellen and of Colonel William S. Shepherd, who many years later gave his estate for the Ann Elizabeth Shepherd Orphans' Home.
On the original Seaborn Jones property was this beautiful house and grounds purchased ten years after the war by Captain James J. Slade and later used for a girls school. It was inherited by his youngest daughter, Florence Slade, who greatly treasured the historic mansion and the Augusta Evans relics she had collected. Miss Slade opened the house to the public in 1933. The estate originally included what is now St. Elmo Place and St. Elmo Park.
The beautiful house and grounds are a private home at present, modernized with steam heat and extra bath rooms and not open to the public. It is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Mobley.
A well-known architect, Howard Major, A.I.A. of New York has said of St. Elmo, that it is: "One of the most exquisite examples of the classic houses of America, a bona fide Greek temple for a home."
Seaborn married Mary Howard and they were the parents of six children, only two of whom reached adulthood. Seaborn died at his home in Columbus, Georgia.
Seaborn Jones, US Congress's Timeline
February 1, 1788
Augusta, Richmond, GA
May 19, 1813
Milledgeville, Baldwin, GA
March 18, 1817
March 1, 1864