Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Thomas Dawsey Cabin

Also known as Joshua Davis House,
Old Bates House, and Old Stagecoach Stop

Location: Oak Grove/ Mt. Pleasant, Gadsden County, Florida, between Quincy and Chattahoochee (north side of US Hwy. 90, a quarter-mile east of 379B-Smithtown/Atwater Road).
Description: Frame Vernacular. One and one-half stories, log construction, clapboarding, full-width front porch. The oldest documented building in Gadsden County, it is a good example of a pioneer homestead.

Vernacular buildings are also found all over the state. Many are humble little homes. Their style does not originate from important buildings of a previous era or another nation. They represent the way humble buildings were built in other parts of the world. In the case of Florida many vernacular buildings look like buildings of the common folk of nineteenth century England, although in Florida they were mostly built of wood, which was readily available ... (Burnsed Blockhouse, Baker County; Pensacola Athletic Club, Escambia County; Joshua Davis House, Gadsden County .... ). Note the extensive use of porches and large windows. This, in Florida, along with high ceilings, was very common before air conditioning. High ceilings meant that in the summer the warm air could rise in the room, and the large windows helped air circulation. Florida Architectural Styles

History: In the 1820's, settlers from Georgia, South Carolina and other states came to the new United States Territory of Florida in search of land to homestead. One such frontiersman was Thomas Dawsey, who by 1819 was residing in the Leon/Gadsden County area. In 1827 Dawsey purchased the 160 acres upon which this house stands from the United States Public Land Office, a common practice for homesteaders.

Another pioneer in the region was Joshua Davis, who brought his family from Laurens County, South Carolina to a farm two miles west of Quincy ca. 1828. He soon moved to the North Mosquito Creek community located about a mile northeast of this site. Between 1830 and 1849, Joshua Davis acquired the Dawsey property and moved with his wife and five children into what would be their permanent home.

By 1830, a road had been built through this area from Quincy to the Apalachicola River crossing at Chattahoochee. Stage-coaches carrying mail and passengers through this fertile and well-populated farming region traveled over what was known as "the upper road." Some evidence suggests the Joshua Davis House served as a stage-coach stop and perhaps as a horse-changing station. [....]

This house has been used as a frontier home, tenant house, and storage facility. It was originally built as a one room, 18' by 27' dressed timber structure with a front porch and a heating-cooking fireplace at the west end. Early alterations included a rear porch, attic sleeping loft, and east room. Joshua Davis enclosed the rear porch into shed rooms opening onto a breezeway, refurbished the interior and exterior with hand-beaded siding, and is thought to have added a separated kitchen in the rear. The additions include several architectural elements not commonly found in Florida. This house, which was still the property of descendants of Joshua Davis at the time of its restoration in 1974, is included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sponsors: David A. Avant, Jr. and George Davis Avant in cooperation with Florida Department of State.


Thomas D. Dawsey was my gggg-grandfather. According to some records (undocumented by me), Thomas was born in 1766, lived in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia before bringing his extended family to the Florida Territory in 1819. During his lifetime he farmed, traded livestock, and according to at least one record, at various times he also taught school, published a newspaper, established a mercantile business, became a Methodist minister, and was appointed the first Judge of Probate for Leon County (Tallahassee), Florida. Florida attained statehood in 1845.

Thomas bought 160 acres in Gadsden County, Florida in 1827 and built this cabin about 1828. His sons, John R., James Joshua and Thomas A. (my ggg-grandfather), also purchased nearby land. In 1838, many of the Dawsey family moved again, this time to Poplar Head (now Dothan), Alabama. Thomas Dawsey died in 1854, at the age of 88, three months after the death of his wife, Elizabeth Hooks Dawsey.


  1. Thanks for Blog. I am from Gadsden County originally, Born in Quincy and Raised in Chattahoochee. Like you I live in Orlando area and saw you blog on Minorcan website.

    Yours in the Bond.

  2. Cool! Pleased to meet ya and to learn we're from the same parts.

    I'm from Bonifay and used to travel your section of Hwy 90 as a kid before I-10 opened up. That's pretty country.

    Thanks for visitin' the blog, and please come again.

  3. You got it. I will add you on my fav blog's for people to check out.

    Yours in the Bond.


  4. Thanks, Scott. I added yours as well.

  5. To the person who wrote about the Thomas Dawsey Cabin; I am doing an article on Dawsey's great grand daughter, Annie Lee Ladd. Please contact me.

  6. Cuz Jim
    While I was in Sorrento Italy last summer, cuz
    Annie Lee Ladd died age 107. Sorry I forgot to tell you. She was cremated and ashes interred at
    Dothan City Cemetery next to her husband Robert.
    cuz scott

  7. Jim,

    Thanks for your work and research on the background of this home. It has quite the history! I was lucky enough to get to see and photograph it for myself and have been researching it since, which led me to your page. I will be linking back to your post in my upcoming blog about the site. I hope you don't mind!

    1. Thanks for your note. I'd be happy for you to link to your blog. I also enjoy your research and photography, and follow you on Facebook.