Archives: Portfolio Entries

Portfolio

Early Days

George Strother Gaines, an Indian agent for the United States government, came to the Demopolis area and built a home in 1821.  Gaines’ double pen dog-trot cabin was a common style of frontier home.  The cabin had two rooms or “pens” connected by a breezeway with a common…

Making of a Home

After losing three children to a yellow fever epidemic, Nathan Bryan Whitfield purchased the Gaines’ property and brought his family here in February 1843. The members of the family included their five surviving children, six orphans of their cousins and Betsey was expecting their 12th child. To…

African-American History at Gaineswood

The majority of skilled laborers who built Gaineswood were enslaved.  Many of these names are lost to history but we do know that Dick was a mason and master builder.  Sandy was a mason and James, in 1854, was a 24 year old carpenter. We know of a…

Whitfield Family

Nathan Bryan Whitfield (1799-1868) was born in Lenore County, North Carolina in 1799. He was educated at the University of North Carolina and later served in the state legislature. In 1819, he married his first cousin, Elizabeth (Betsey) Whitfield. After searching the southeast for fertile and…

After the Civil War

In 1866, Nathan Bryan Whitfield became gravely ill and his son, Dr. Bryan Watkins Whitfield purchased Gaineswood from his father.  The family moved into the home on Christmas Eve of that year. Edith James Whitfield Dustan bought the home from her brother in 1896.  She made improvements and…

Today

Gaineswood, designated a National Historic Landmark, is open to the public for tours.   As one of America’s finest Greek Revival houses, Gaineswood is a masterpiece.  Designed by owner and architect Nathan Bryan Whitfield, Gaineswood evolved during 1843 – 1861. Exceptional interior spaces have domed ceilings, elaborate plasterwork, and…