Covington’s extensive history dates back to the very beginnings of the United States itself. It may be difficult to imagine life over two hundred years ago, but fortunately, the lingering remnants of our nation’s past live on in beautiful buildings such as the Burge Plantation. Built in 1809, Burge Plantation is a traditional, southern-style farm that has been owned by the same family for over seven generations. This amazingly preserved historical landmark has a rich background which is truly near and dear to our community’s heart.
Burge Plantation has existed through two hundred remarkable years of conflict, progress, innovation, and discovery. However, the American Civil War is arguably it’s most memorable and fascinating era. Visitors and Covington residents alike can vividly experience the events of this time by reading a book published in 1918 titled A Woman’s Wartime Journal. It is a collection of journal entries detailing the personal experiences of Dolly Sumner Lunt (also known as Mrs. Thomas Burge), one of the first residents of Burge Plantation who also lived in the house during the midst of the American Civil War.
Dolly Sumner Lunt was born September 29, 1817, in Bowdoinham, Maine. Eventually, she moved down South to Covington, Georgia with her sister, despite familial ties to fierce abolitionist Charles Sumner. Upon her arrival, Dolly married Covington resident, Thomas Burge and they began their life together on his plantation. Her life quickly changed when Thomas Burge died in 1858, and she was forced to manage the plantation’s affairs during the Civil War’s heated political tensions and chaotic battles. Her journal begins on January 1, 1864, where she anxiously discusses the approaching Northern army led by General William T. Sherman. Readers glimpse into Dolly’s life as she records the events of local raids, destructive pillaging, and sleepless nights that all took place in or around Burge plantation. Unfortunately, Dolly’s fears became a reality when Union soldiers raided the plantation, and set fire to massive cotton bales in her barn. Luckily, Burge plantation was not destroyed, unlike her neighbors’ plantations which all experienced a similar fate. Her final journal entry is dated December of 1865, where she optimistically writes about her farm’s recovery and transition to the newly introduced sharecropping system.
Today, Burge plantation proudly stands in Mansfield, the same place it has stood for over two hundred years. All visitors have an opportunity to appreciate the landmark’s architectural beauty and historical importance through its regularly scheduled events. The plantation is used for various events such as weddings, special dinners, and hunting, Burge Plantation is a landmark that is still beautiful and elegance.