Enter Bulloch Hall today and cross back in time to antebellum Georgia. A time when wealthy coastal slaveholders controlled both the economy and politics of Georgia, and a time when the last expanse of the Cherokee Nation finally fell to the settlers because the state of Georgia forced the Cherokee west on the "Trail of Tears."
In 1830 Roswell King purchased the original land for a mill from a local Cherokee who sat on the Supreme Court of the Cherokee Nation and spoke fluent English. In 1837 Roswell's son Barrington moved to Roswell and began work on the textile mill that would power the area economy. In 1839 he incorporated Roswell Mill and had begun to build a small community, mostly of family friends from the coast. One such friend was Major James Stephen Bulloch.
Georgia's Bulloch family
To those unfamiliar with Georgia history the state might not exist today had it not been for Archibald Bulloch, an early leader in the revolutionary movement in Georgia. This Radical actively sought ways to irk Royal Governor James Wright. He was one of the four who called an organizing meeting at Tondee's Tavern in 1774 and was selected as a representative to the Second Continental Congress to sign the Declaration of Independence. Bulloch turned down this final honor because of pressing issues in the state. He read the document to a gathered crowd in August, 1776, and was appointed executive of the state on February 22, 1777. He died under unusual circumstances the same day.
Archibald Bulloch's son James was 13 when the British took Savannah as part of a southern strategy during the American Revolution. He fled the state, later returning to hold high public office. His son, James Stephen, was the builder of Bulloch Hall.
Building Bulloch Hall
Starting in 1839, James Bulloch built a Classic Greek Revival mansion west of the Chattahoochee just off the town square. Unlike most of the homes in north Georgia, Bulloch Hall was built by slave labor. The mansion was completed in 1840 and immediately occupied by the major, his wife and their children, including Martha (Mittie) and a newborn, Charles, who would sadly become the first person to die in Roswell (1840). Major Bulloch was a shareholder of the Roswell Manufacturing Company.
As the town grew Bulloch played an important role. He helped form the Presbyterian Church and build the church. In February, 1849, Major Bulloch died, leaving his wife with little cash to pay for day to day necessities. Archibald Howell, a neighbor who lived in Marietta (history of Marietta) came to her rescue with a loan against the value of Bulloch Hall.
Mittie and TheodoreEarly in 1851 a 19-year-old Theodore Roosevelt (father of the future president) visited Bulloch Hall, where he met young Mittie Bulloch. Two years later, when Mittie journeyed to Philadelphia, Roosevelt met her again. This time he fell in love. On December 22, 1853, Mittie and Theodore were married in the dining room of Bulloch Hall.
The Civil War and beyond
In 1864, war came to Roswell. The mills that had been the heart of Roswell's growth were destroyed, and Bulloch Hall was seized by the Union Army as quarters. The Bullochs who had not enlisted fled. Martha would not see the end of the war. She died in October, 1864. Mittie returned to house in 1868, and the current owner permitted her to take a remembrance. Mittie chose her mother's cherished glass doorknob. In 1905 Martha's grandson Theodore Roosevelt (Jr.), then President of the United States, visited the house where his mom grew up. Martha Bulloch's other grandson, Elliot, was father to Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Over the years the home passed through various hands, finally bought by the city of Roswell in 1977.
About Bulloch Hall
Bulloch Hall has seen its share of captains and kings come to visit, and not just Theodore Roosevelt and the Union Army. Eleanor Roosevelt visited from time to time, and Margaret Mitchell may have visited the home and used it to inspire Tara, Scarlett O'Hara's plantation in Gone With The Wind. In 1923, shortly before she began writing the novel, she became enamored with the home, going as far as finding the only person still living that attended the wedding of Mittie Bulloch and interviewing her. The home is atypical for the area at the time. Most north Georgians prior to the war were poor farmers who had won or purchased land cheaply. There were very few black slaves. A more typical middle class home would be the Root House, while Kolb's Farm would be more typical of an upper class family.
Visiting Bulloch Hall
Tours of the home are unscripted, but both times we visited the home the docents were familiar with much of the history surrounding the house, although they were more comfortable with the Theodore Roosevelt history than the Archibald Bulloch history. Next to the parking lot is a building where you purchase the tickets, then you are welcome to tour the grounds as you wait for the next group to go. The tour takes you throughout the entire house, including the attic. Much of the decor is period, although little is original. After completing the tour of Bulloch Hall, leave time to visit the outbuildings. We strongly recommend calling Bulloch Hall before visiting to be sure that no closed events are being held.
Other Attractions in Roswell
Swallow at the Hollow
Elisha Winn House
Margaret Mitchell House
Peter Kolb's Farm
Chieftains Musuem / Major Ridge Home