By Christopher Smith
Nancy Carter Bland is so dedicated to Carter’s Quarters that she plans to “haunt” it if her children don’t keep it owned by the family.
That doesn’t mean Bland, 77, is keeping it all to herself.
The family opened the doors to their property and the Carter House, an antebellum plantation-style home built in 1805, to the public Saturday and Sunday as part of the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society’s Holiday House in hopes to “give back to a community that’s blessed us so much.”
The home, located in south Murray County, was built by George Harlan, a Cherokee, before his removal by the government during then-President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830, a part of history Bland believes is important to remember.
“I very much want the Cherokee part of the history and of the house to be preserved,” she said. “I think it was a very sad and unfortunate time. He (Jackson) just kicked them out and that was that. I think it’s important to preserve those stories and to remember.”
The oldest part of the home features much of the original materials, such as the floor, walls, staircase and mantel. The mantel is hand-carved and has a Cherokee rose on it.
The home went into the Cherokee Land Lottery of 1832 and was bought by Sarah Bosworth who sold it to Farish Carter a year later, giving the home its name. Bland and her husband Jim inherited it from her father Colquitt Carter. At first, it was jointly owned between the Carter and the Hamilton families of Dalton, but now it is exclusively owned by the Carters.
“It’s going to stay that way,” Bland said.
“We’ve had inquiries by businesses to develop our (15,000) acres,” she said. “We don’t want this area to be developed. It’s history. We’re not unfriendly though. We try to open our doors to the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation or the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society or anyone who is open to preserving the past.”
Additions were made to the home in 1935 and the oldest part of the home was rennovated at that time.
Sally Bland Fieldings, Bland’s daughter who splits her time between Chatsworth and Atlanta, says the family wants to “share the family’s culture and the Cherokee culture.”
“We have some carvings on mantelpieces and around the home — Cherokee roses — and we’ve seen arrowheads on our land,” Fieldings said. “We really want to share the history here because we love it. We’ve had Cherokee descendants come as far as Oklahoma who see the (Chief) Vann House and then they come here too sometimes.”
Several people who were “touched by the house” also visit, said Bland.
“For awhile, we kept a yellow legal pad and wrote down the names of everyone,” she said. “One man visited and said he cut the timber — the heart pine that was used to build this home. He wanted to see what had happened with all the timber he cut down. He didn’t know it had become this house.”
Carter’s Quarters is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Bland plans to open the doors to the public in the future.