Roselawn Museum
Type:Museum, Home
This Victorian dwelling was home to Samuel Porter Jones, a preacher whose teachings were embraced by post-war America, and later the world. Born in Oak Bowery, a tiny Alabama town, he moved with his parents to Cartersville, Georgia in 1856. He qualified for the Georgia bar on September 21, 1868 and married Laura McElwain shortly thereafter. Jones developed a unique style in his arguments before judges and juries. The combination of pathos and humor won many cases for the noted attorney, and over a period of 10 years he evolved from a lawyer to a public speaker.

Sam began preaching in the evangelistic ministry in 1878, just six years after he vowed on his father's deathbed to convert from his life of sin and drinking. Roselawn was a small 3 room cottage that had undergone various additions when Sam and Laura Jones purchased the home in the 1880's. In 1895, because of the demands of his preaching, the house was renovated and expanded. Laura wanted to keep her beloved cottage, so Sam hired a team of Atlanta engineers to raise the cottage and build the first floor and basement underneath.

The Second Great Awakening that swept across the United States starting in the 1830's had brought many preachers to the forefront of the American way of life. After this movement and the Civil War, Bartow County was pivotal in the formation of the modern evangelical movement. Jones, with a number of other evangelical speakers, re-energized a country still recovering from the war that had torn it apart.

Around the time he purchased Roselawn Jones began work on what he simply called "The Tabernacle," an interfaith meeting hall built with funds out of his own pocket to hold the crowds he began to attract after 1878. It was not unusual for him to attract crowds larger than 20,000 people, twice the size of the city of Cartersville. For more than twenty years the energetic, vibrant speaker sermonized from this House of God, and many other places across this county and Canada. He became the most renown of a group of North Georgia preachers that were internationally popular after the war.

Nashville's Ryman Auditorium was built for Jones. T. G. Ryman, a skeptical riverboat captain repented after hearing a sermon by Jones. The captain funded the building, whose pews would later seat county music fans at the Grand Old Opry.

Today the restored home houses his works and memorabilia as well as those of Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was the first female member of the United States Senate. Her beliefs on the equality of women were embodied in the universal suffrage movement after World War I.

The museum also houses the United Daughters of the Confederacy collection, an expansive array of artifacts of the antebellum and war years in North Georgia from the Etowah Historical Society. The house is one of Bartow County's most noted landmarks. Purchased from private citizens in 1973, the mansion is also used for special events such as weddings, reunions, and meetings.

Many of the original outbuildings remain on the property, including the smokehouse, used to keep donated antiques. A schoolhouse, used by the Jones' children is also nearby.

The windows of the house are unique. To create the effect of lace in the panes, artisans heated the lead and sprinkled it with water droplets. The glass shattered to create lead lace!

Location: 224 W. Cherokee Ave.
Directions: I-75 Exit 288 (Cartersville/Main St.), go west on Highway 113 for 2.7 miles. Turn right on GA Highway 293. The house is on the left.
Additional information:
Hours:Monday-Friday, 10:00am-12noon, 1:00pm-5:00pm
Date added: November 16, 2003
Last update: December 6, 2003

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Etowah Indian Mounds State Park
Cartersville Depot
Allatoona Lake Visitor's Center

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