This is the second part of a series. You can read the first part by clicking here.
GILBERT – ALEXANDER HOUSE
In the 1780’s Felix and William Gilbert, Virgin-
ians, camped in a beautiful grove here and were
so pleased with the scenery that they returned
later to take land grants. In 1808 they erected
the brick portion of this house, one of the
oldest brick structures north of Augusta. Their
descendants are the only families who have
occupied it. The burial grounds on the property
attest the continuity of the family for more
than 150 years.
The Alexanders, descendants of the Gilberts,
served with distinction in the War Between
the States. Porter Alexander, who lived here, was
a Brigadier General of Artillery in the Confed-
Porter Alexander was Sarah Alexander Lawton’s brother.
The opposite side of the historical marker is the same, but a bit brighter to read since it faces the sun. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.
Then I did something that I usually don’t do. I drove down their driveway.
Let me explain more about the terror I feel about driving down someone’s driveway unannounced. When I was growing up, and we would be out for a drive in the country and ready to go home, you never, ever (repeat never) turned around in someone’s driveway. It’s rude, and it’s like an unspoken code. You might drive miles out of your way looking for a likely turnaround spot, or a church parking lot, or a road intersection, but that’s just the way it was. Imagine the panic I feel when I not only pull into the driveway, but continue on. Illegal trespassing could get you shot, but strangely has never happened to us. But still, suppressed panic.
So Sugar is egging me on (Drive down the driveway! There’s no sign!), which is easy for him to say, since he’s not the one doing the driving. I get all big-eyed in terror (No sign! We’ll never get this chance again!), and what the heck. The car creeps forward like a trundling ottoman down the allee of young trees (Look! They’ve got an allee! They want us to drive down!), humping over a few tree roots, and he screeches, “There’s statues! Over there! To the back of the house! That’s the cemetery! Get a picture!” I grip the wheel a little tighter, and screech, in a whisper, right back at him, “No! I’m driving the damn car!”, and he wants me to drive closer and closer until we’re almost at the front porch. We decided that was far enough, even though I’m sure that I could gun it and tear across the front of the house and shoot out the other end of the driveway back onto the street, because it appears to me that the driveway in actually an upside-down “U” that connects to the street in two places. Sugar wasn’t so sure, so we decided to back up, which would be quite a driving feat for me since we’ve already traveled down the driveway the length of a football field.
I start to back up, and my car antenna catches on a low-hanging branch of a giant tree. “Spronnnngggg” vibrated the car, and by now we’re sure that there are no occupants in the house, because they surely would have come outside to view the two old people arguing in the bright yellow car that is vibrating like a tuning fork.
We run like hell.
And what does Sugar want to do now? Why, that’s right, he wants to go to the other driveway entrance and approach from that side.
Yes, we crept forward from that side, too, but I was able to agree to try one last photograph and used the zoom feature on the camera. He assured me that people probably constantly drive down the driveway taking photos of the house.
Then I turned the car around and headed out. Pronto.
More driving around. More history.