Meadow Garden was the home of George Walton, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence and, at 26, among the youngest signers. Born in Virginia in 1749, Walton came to Savannah in 1769 to study law, subsequently becoming one of the most successful lawyers in Georgia and an activist for independence from Great Britain.
He was one of the “Sons of Liberty” in 1775 and distinguished himself as President of the Executive Council of Georgia (1775-76) and member of the Provincial Congress. In February 1776, he became a delegate to the Continental Congress arriving in Philadelphia in time to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
In 1778, the British invaded Georgia. Walton, the senior
colonel in the state’s militia, became the acting commander of the
state militia forces. When the British attacked Savannah in December 1778,
Colonel Walton’s men participated in the battle. The stronger British
forces overwhelmed them wounding Walton and holding him captive until
1779. After the war, Walton became Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme
Court (1783-86 and 1793), Governor of Georgia (1779, 1789), United
States Senator (1795-96), and Judge of the Superior Court. He moved
to Augusta around 1787 and made Meadow Garden his home from c. 1791-92
until his death on February 2, 1804. Walton is buried at the Signers Monument
on Greene Street.
Because of his financial problems after the Revolutionary War, Walton never listed the title of Meadow Garden under his own name. The property was held in trust by Robert Watkins, Walton’s nephew, for Walton’s son, George Walton, Jr., who resided there after his father’s death. The property changed hands several times after George Walton, Jr. sold it in 1812. It was not until 1901 that the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the property for $2,000 with the aid of its Augusta chapter. The DAR raised the money by collecting 10 cents from each of its members. In 1961, the National Society deeded the property to the Georgia Society of the DAR, which continues to preserve it. Preservation efforts at Meadow Garden are among the nation’s earliest, and the site was the first house museum in Georgia.
Meadow Garden is a Sand Hills Cottage, a style particularly common in the Summerville area of Augusta. Originally a modest 2½-story frame cottage over a high brick basement, the house was enlarged and converted to a central hall type by a major three-bay extension. A 1-story porch with Doric columns, probably not original, extends across the front. The Daughters of the American Revolution made several of the changes to give the house a more uniform appearance, including adding the central stair to replace two sets of wooden steps and altering the rooflines to match.