Wheeler Home, c. 1870 Photo:Mary N. Morris
Pond Spring and Wheeler Home
Set on 50
acres of land in Hillsboro, Alabama, Pond Spring is the site of the
Wheeler Home, house of Confederate General Joseph Wheeler and his
family. Pond Spring is situated in rural Lawrence County, 17 miles
west of Decatur, and boasts 12 historic buildings surrounded by
formal boxwood gardens and three family cemeteries.
Originally populated by Native-Americans, the area
was settled by European-Americans first in 1818 when John P.
Hickman and his family built several log structures on his 1760
acres and planted cotton; with the Hickmans came 56
African-American slaves who cleared the land and tended the cotton.
In 1827, the Sherrod family bought Pond Spring and expanded the
largest of two log dogtrot houses into a clapboard-covered
Federal-style home. Col. Benjamin Sherrod was instrumental in
building the first railroad in Alabama. Both the 1818 Hickman cabin
and the Sherrod home still stand today.
General Wheeler came to Alabama during the Civil War
in 1863, and met Benjamin Sherrod's wealthy widow, Daniella.
Married in 1866, they built their home during the 1870s. It is
connected to the original Sherrod home by a covered walkway. The
Wheeler Home still contains many significant artifacts that had
belonged to General Wheeler and his family: books, military items
from the Civil and Spanish-American Wars, antique furniture, family
portraits, and Victorian decorative arts.
General Wheeler was a national figure, serving as a
Confederate Cavalry officer, a member of the U.S. House of
Representatives, and a U.S. Major General during the
Spanish-American War. One of his daughters, Annie Wheeler, lived in
the house until her death in 1955. "Miss Annie" was a cotton
planter, world traveler, and benefactress for the dozens of black
and white tenants who worked her land. In 1994, General Wheeler's
descendants donated Pond Spring to the State of Alabama and the
Alabama Historical Commission.
In December 1999, the Alabama Historical Commission
unveiled a bold five-to-eight-year development plan for the site,
in which they would temporarily close the main buildings so they
can be thoroughly reconditioned and restored. The plan provides for
a new building to house artifacts and for extensive on-site
archaeological investigations and historical research. The
archaeological work will provide the public with the opportunity to
understand people who lived in a different time and to see how
artifacts recovered by archaeologists and historic items like old
china and wallpaper are preserved and cared for.
Project documentation includes a two-page history of
Pond Spring, a four-page press release of the Alabama Historical
Commission outlining its development plan for Pond Spring, and 20
color slides with descriptions.
Originally submitted by: Robert B. Aderholt, Representative (4th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.