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Schley Post Office

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Known by Concord area residents as the Patton Hill Post Office. Alternatively named in the National Register of Historic Places as the Woodall-Patton House and Post Office.

Attached is an article I wrote for the Ellaville Sun in 2002.

Schley Post Office

October 20, 2002

From: Michael Dixon
To: Jerry Gaultney
Subject: Schley County house on National Register of Historic Places

Here is the article I promised to write on the former Schley Post Office at Concord. An article and two photos of the house were published in The Tri-County Journal & Chattahoochee Chronicle, April 17, 2002, written by the staff based on information supplied by me. In that article, the house is called the “Woodall-Patton House and Post office” as designated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division. I have tried here to place more emphasis on the official name, Schley Post Office.

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My grandmother recalled the many times she and her brothers and sisters rode in a wagon from their home near Buck Creek to the post office at Concord in northwestern Schley County. For farming children in the late 1880s, the short trip by dirt roads was an outing they relished.

Three days a week, a carrier came on horseback from Buena Vista and Tazewell, dropped off mail, picked up outgoing mail and rode on east to Murray’s Crossroads and perhaps as far as Oglethorpe before retracing his route to Marion County.

Today few passersby on Ga. Hwy. 240 cast a glance at the little house just west of the Concord United Methodist Church. Fewer still know that the house is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Little more than a footnote of Schley County history, the house was the post office at Concord for 17 years. As such, it witnessed the comings and goings of area residents. It served not only as a United States post office but also as a place where news and views were exchanged.

The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Jan. 11, 2002.

The post office was operated in the living room, which was entered through one of two doors on the front of the house. The other door, the one on the left, went into the home’s one bedroom. A porch with banisters stretched across the front of the house, sheltering the two doors and two deep windows.

The living room-post office and the bedroom were connected by a door, and both rooms had fireplaces. To the rear, the living room led into the small dining room, and the kitchen beyond. Two more porches, one off the kitchen on the west side of the house and another off the bedroom and dining room at the rear, rounded out the structure.

Water was drawn from a well. A barn stood about 100 feet west of the house and contained a hay loft and wooden boxes for chickens’ nests. Cured meats were kept hanging in a small smoke house about 20 feet from the kitchen. Finally, a tiny building with one door served as a repository for outdated catalogs and other reading materials.

The post office was established Feb. 13, 1888, according to an official “Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-September 30, 1971.” It was officially designated the Schley Post Office. James W. Woodall was named postmaster. The house was owned by James’ mother, a widow, Elizabeth Woodall. Like their neighbors, the Woodalls earned their living by farming. The post office provided supplemental income while meeting a need in the community. Previously, the nearest post office was at Murrays Crossroads, three miles to the east.

The Schley Post Office was not the first attempt by local residents to establish a post office at Concord. On April 21, 1884, James Franklin Hudson filled out a U.S. Post Office form called a “location paper,” as required by the federal government. Hudson proposed to name the post office Schley. It was to be located at a place called Beulah, 600 yards south of “the route from Oglethorpe to Buenavista (sic) on which the mail is now carried 3 times per week.” Hudson stated that the facility would serve “200 or 250” patrons.

For some reason the proposed post office at Beulah never came into being. Four years later the Schley Post Office was established in the Woodall home.

James Woodall was succeeded as postmaster by his sister, Mary Ella Woodall Patton, on April 21, 1893. Mrs. Patton was the widow of Samuel Patton and the daughter-in-law of Robert Patton, a prominent citizen of Schley County. Patton’s headstone in the cemetery at Concord indicates that he was a captain in the Army of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. He later served as a state senator. He died July 27, 1893, three monthss after his daughter-in-law was appointed postmaster at Schley.

Ella Patton remained “postmistress,” as she was called, until July 31, 1905. On that date the Schley Post Office was discontinued; by that time, patrons were served by motor route from the Ellaville Post Office.

Changing times brought new opportunities. A reporter for the Columbus Enquirer-Sun visited the Concord community and wrote her observations, which appeared in the edition of May 7, 1903. Her story was headed: “Schley, a Flourishing Community Down in Schley County,” and was datelined: Schley Post Office, Schley County, Georgia, May 6 (Special).

Among her observations were these: “Professor Horace Stewart is now principal of the Concord High School here ….

“Thirteen ladies of this neighborhood, unmindful of the unlucky number, got up a fishing excursion to Buck Creek a day or two ago. The spent an enjoyable day, caught lots of fish, and had a fine time generally. The genus homo was excluded from the trip, with the exception of one gentleman and a boy, who went along, the ladies no doubt believing that one or two men would prove ‘handy’ on an expedition like this ….

“The cozy little Patten (sic) house here, kept by the postmistress, Mrs. M.E. Patten, is a hotel where the traveler and his team always get excellent accommodations.”

The tax district in which the lands of the Woodalls and Pattons were located was called “Nubbin Hill” in the early 1800s. By 1887 the name “Patton Hill” appears in the tax digests. Eventually, the Schley Post Office became known, unofficially, as the Patton Hill Post Office.

Elizabeth Woodall deeded her property to her daughter, Mary Ella Woodall Patton, on July 17, 1924. The following year Mrs. Patton married businessman Arthur Hill. Mary Ella Woodall Patton Hill’s two married names were the same as the name of the tax district in which she resided and the eventual name of the post office of which she was postmaster: Patton Hill.

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P.S. — The writer lived in the Patton Hill house as a child. At that time, the house, barn and outhouses remained unchanged from their original construction. More recently, electricity, indoor plumbing, a bathroom and a back bedroom were added. The property currently is owned by the writer’s cousin who lives in Atlanta.