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 roof and floor.
While in the area, General Gaines, who played an important role in Alabama history, negotiated treaties with Chief Push-ma-ta-ha. Push-ma-ta-ha, known as the “Indian General”, was a highly regarded regional chief of a major division of the Choctaw nation.
In 1843, Gaines had completed his mission in the area and sold his dog-trot cabin and 480 acres to General Nathan Bryan Whitfield. This was the beginning of the beautiful Gaineswood mansion.