This shot is the Tea Room of the Richardson-Owen-Thomas House in Savannah, GA. After dinner women would retire here for Tea and desert while the men would go upstairs for cards, cigars, and cognac. What a completely different lifestyle people had in the early 1800’s.
It is hard to believe that only three families have owned the property built in 1819. Richard Richardson moved into the home with their six children and nine enslaved men, women, and children in January 1819. Unfortunately for the Richardson’s, the next three years saw steady decreases in their prosperity, including the financial Panic of 1819, a yellow fever epidemic, a fire that destroyed half the city, and the death of Frances and two of the children. By 1822, Richardson decided to sell the house and move to Louisiana, where he had family and business interests. He had been shipping enslaved people, mostly children, from Savannah to New Orleans for years.
By 1824, the Bank of the United States owned the house, which they leased to Mary Maxwell as a boarding house. The Marquis de Lafayette was a guest of Mrs. Maxwell when he visited Savannah in March 1825 as part of his whirlwind tour of the United States for the 50th anniversary of the American Revolution.
In 1830, George Welshman Owens, then mayor of Savannah, purchased the property at auction for $10,000. Owens, who was also a lawyer, planter, and politician, moved in with his wife, Sarah, and their six children in 1833. Over the years, Owens kept nine to 15 enslaved people on the property and held almost 400 men, women, and children in bondage on his plantations.
In 1951, the last descendant Margaret Gray Thomas (granddaughter to George Owens) willed the house to the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences to be run as a house museum in honor of her grandfather, George Owens, and her father, Dr. James Gray Thomas. Thank you for taking time to see what I have been doing lately. Gary