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  • Writer's pictureHistoric Columbus

The Nuckolls - Ingram House

SOURCES: Ghosts of Grandeur: Georgia’s Lost Antebellum Homes and Plantations by Michael W. Kitchens, 2012. Columbus on the Chattahoochee by Etta Blanchard Worsley, 1951.


Nathaniel Nuckolls (1800 – 1868) was born in Louisa County, Virginia and moved to Columbus in the early 1830s. He married Louisianna Thornton and together they had ten children. An uncommonly talented man, he experienced success as a mechanic, inventor, gold mine owner, planter, architect, merchant, and possibly also a lawyer. He owned three thousand acres in Russell County, Alabama from which he operated a large plantation. Together with Allen Lawhon and John Townsend, he owned a gold mine in northern Georgia known in the mid-1830s as the Pigeon Roost Mining Company. He is known to have signed at least one document with the title of “esquire,” so he may have obtained an education in the law and become a member of the bar. In 1852, Nuckolls invented a machine for cutting straw that was registered with the United States Patent Office as the “Feeding-Rollers in Straw-Cutters.” For several years, he also operated a retail store in Columbus. Prone to dabble with mechanical items, he trained a number of those he enslaved to become proficient as mechanics and leased them to other citizens who needed skilled labor. All of these endeavors coalesced to make Nuckolls a wealthy man.

Nuckolls was also proficient as an architect. About 1848, he designed a dwelling along Fifteenth Street as his personal residence. The mansion that he built was the equal of any home or manor in the Columbus area. It was a three-story brick structure with a portico wrapped around three sides. The brick exterior was stuccoed to create uniformly smooth exterior walls. Supporting a multilayered entablature and parapet were ten fluted columns capped by elaborate Corinthian capitals. He designed a lace-work iron balustrade to enclose the cantilevered balcony over the front entrance. Both the front door and the door to the balcony were double doors with beautifully carved panels. Nuckolls’s skill as an architect is evident from his impeccable attention to scale and proportion.

For the twenty years between construction and Nuckolls death in 1868, he made this residence his primary home. In his will, he left each of his ten children farms valued at $6,000. Only a few months after his death did his wife follow him. Nathaniel and Louisianna’s son Thomas J. Nuckolls married Emma J. Bradley in 1869 (oldest daughter of Forbes and Theresa Bradley, sister of W. C. Bradley).

These two advertisements for the sale of the Nuckolls's Russell County plantation (top) and the home in Linwood (bottom) are from the Columbus Ledger, April 6, 1869 (top) and the Daily Columbus Enquirer, November 2, 1869 (bottom).

In 1870, Nuckolls’s home was sold to Porter Ingram (1810 – 1893). Ingram emigrated from Vermont to west Georgia around 1840. After he settled in Columbus, he was able to gain admittance to the bar prior to 1850. He married Elizabeth Lewis, daughter of Ulysses Lewis, the first Intendant of Columbus. A few years later, he partnered with Martin J. Crawford and established one of the most respected law firms in central Georgia, a partnership that continued for decades. Just as his partner was active in politics, so too was Ingram. He was chosen to represent the Democrat party at its convention in 1858, he represented his district in the US Congress before the Civil War, and he was elected to the Confederate Congress in 1863. After the war, he returned to Columbus to resume his legal practice. Just two years later, Ingram served his district at the first state convention following the war and was a member of the state convention at which Georgia gained readmittance to the United States.

Following Porter Ingram's death, the house was sold to Johnson Williams, who renamed it Bleak House. Williams would place the house for sale or lease for many years and turned the home into four apartment units with the name Linwood Apartments. At one time the great house was moved across the street from its original location (where the Stewart Community Home, previously Linwood School, now sits). By 1951, Etta Blanchard Worsley in her book stated that it was still standing, but in poor condition. Over the next decade, the house would disappear altogether.

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