Tag Archives: georgia

The Goodall House

A is 54 years old. She was born in Ft. Waldon, Florida and moved to Sylvania, Georgia at 2 years old. She’d been there all her life until last year (2021). A has a thick Southern accent that’s very pleasant to listen to. She told me this story about a house in the town she grew up in and the curse a travelling evangelist laid on the town.

“This one is a true story… there’s actual… um evidence of this one. There’s a house that still stands… it’s an exhibit now… the Goodall House is what it’s called. The story is… this happened in the town I grew up in, Sylvania, but back then it was called Jacksonborough… um… there was this bridge on highway 301… the Jacksonborough bridge…it got the name because of this community that was there way back in the old days… like the 1800s… um there was a family named Goodall, their last name was Goodall… and there was this preacher trying to find help… he was like a traveling evangelist… he would go around and ask for a bed and a meal… and every house he went to he got turned down… see the townsfolk, they were skeptical and they thought he was out to steal and tell ‘em a bunch of mumbo jumbo, mmm so they turned their back on him. He come to the Goodall house, and they were the only ones in the community that took him in, they gave him food and treated him with the utmost respect and hospitality… and the preacher said from that day forward the only thing left standing in the town would be the Goodall house and the rest of the community would burn to the ground… which it did! So it was a curse put on the town. The bible says be careful of who you entertain because you might be entertaining angels unaware… that’s the moral of the story right there… and that’s the only thing left is the Goodall house and you can go and see it today. I grew up hearing about it because I lived about a quarter mile away from it. The historical society takes care of it now.”

The Goodall House, known as the Dell-Goodall House is a historical site in Sylvania, Georgia. Ashlee’s story differed on one main point compared to what I found on this Georgia tourist site (https://www.n-georgia.com/dell-goodall-house.html) and in this article from the Statesboro Herald (https://www.statesboroherald.com/life/the-house-that-wasnt-cursed/) According to local legend, the traveling preacher was Lorenzo Dow, an eccentric self-ordained Methodist whose unkempt appearance and wild, theatrical public sermons gained him both fame and notoriety. He was vehemently opposed to both alcohol and slavery which made him especially unpopular in Southern states like Georgia. The Statesboro article states Dow was attacked by several townspeople and Goodall rescued him by calming the crowd and offering him his house for the night if he promised to leave in the morning. For more information on Dow, see https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/lorenzo-dow-rowing-life-one-oar/. In A’s version, Dow goes house to house asking for food and shelter. While the moral of both versions is something along the lines of Christian charity and “doing unto others,” A’s version is summed up succinctly in the bible quote of “entertaining angels unaware.” For more information see http://georgiamysteries.blogspot.com/2008/04/jacksonborough-curse.html?m=1

Low Country Boil

I don’t know why they call it a low country boil. Probably because it comes from Lousiana, in the swampland. Anyways, it’s a south eastern thing, and you do it outside traditionally in a big old pot. It is often accompanied by bonfires and lots of alcohol.

My dad fills the pot with water and Old Bay seasoning (very important) and fills it with snow crab legs, crawfish, shrimp, eggs, corn, spicy sausage, and potatoes. And, while it’s cooking everybody is drinking and playing games like cornhole to pass the time. When it’s finally done cooking, we pull the big foldable outdoor table out and line it with newspaper and empty the contents of the drained pot directly on the table. Everyone gathers around, and its basically a free-for-all food grab – usually without plates or utensils – where we talk and grub out.

Pro tip: the best way to eat is crawfish is to take it, twist the tail off and suck on the head, getting all the delicious residual juices of the boil.

Context: [informant] I was raised in Florida and we do this for family, birthdays, or whatever, usually in the summer.

Analysis: Having been to a low country boil I can attest that the informant is spot on with their example. The Old Bay seasoning seems to be a staple in a country boil, and the process can get really messy, but fun. Although the seafood is a central component, I think one of the biggest draws of the boil is the social aspect of being surrounded by friends and family, pigging out without the rules associated with traditional dinners. No body is judging you, food is falling on the floor, but nobody cares… you are just having a good time.

Witch in Georgia

Context: The collector is interviewing the informant for tales. The informant (as GL) is a Chinese USC student who went to high school in Georgia. His classmates told him this story in a history class, the content of which was related with witch hunts.


GL: The story happened when there was witch hunting.

Collector: In the US?

GL: Yeah probably. So there were too many hares and they ate up all the crops. So hunters wanted to hunt them down. There was one particular hare that was gigantic, very huge. And so they go consult the witch. They cannot catch the hare so they go to the witch for help. The witch is like, “Okay you guys should just go to this place to find it (the giant hare) and don’t let the giant black dog lose and just let it chase after the hare.” The hunters don’t know what that means. They keep that in mind and they find the giant hare. During the process (of pursuing the hare), a giant black dog jumps out of nowhere and takes a bite on the giant hare’s hind leg. The hare ran off. The giant black dog also ran off. The hunters went back to the witch and was like, “We found the hare, but sorry that we couldn’t keep track with the black dog coming out of nowhere.” But what they figured out was, you know, on the hip of the witch, there was a bite mark like where the dog bit the hare. I don’t remember what happened to the witch later. Sorry.

Collector: Do you think this story happens in Georgia?

GL: Yeah I guess so. You know, there was a time in the 17th or 18th century where there were witch trials and people were suspicious about witches causing misfortunes, you know.

Collector: Do you think people view the story as a legend or just a fairy tale?

GL: Apparently witches are not real. They were just unfortunate women accused as witches. I guess it has some sort of authenticity with it. Well it also can be completely made up by people.


Collector’s thoughts:

As the informant has mentioned, the legend is probably developed in the time of witch hunt. People of that period of time blamed natural factors that had negative impact on their daily production on witches and transferred their anger to innocent women. I think the tale is interesting, and it makes people remember the dark time of witch hunt.

Who’s Got the Rock?

Who’s Got the Rock?

Is a game the source learned at her high school near Augusta, Georgia. Apparently the game was originated by her Latin class, and is still played at the school to this day.

“Our teacher wasn’t very aware of what was going on at most times, so while she would lecture us in the front of the class we’d play this game. Basically someone would just wrap a piece of paper around any solid object they had. I think the original rock was an empty ink cartridge for a printer, but sometimes people would use tennis balls or scotch tape dispensers wrapped in paper. There was always one rock per day at least and people would just throw it from one person to the next to see who could throw it at the most daring time and not get caught. If Ms. Grimaude ever caught anyone and took the rock away, everyone would try to determine who had made the next rock. We had a chant we’d do—well I’m not sure it was a chant, but we’d do that thing where you shout but are also whispering but everyone would say it at different times. Once the first rock of the day was thrown we’d say “who’s got the rock?!” until someone threw the next rock. The funny thing was, we didn’t have that many rocks taken away the whole year. She never really caught us except a few times so much of the time when we would say “who’s got the rock” it was more of a dare for whoever had it to throw it at that exact moment. Ultimately it got out of hand with my class and people started throwing eggs and stuff. My brother though, who is 3 years younger than me told me that they still were playing that game in Latin class when he was there, which made me happy that we had created a game that lived on at the school.”


This game is interesting to me because there doesn’t seem to be any particular point to it. There’s never any winner or goal to the game, except to unite the class against the teacher. It’s also a rite of passage for Latin students at the school, the game continues to this day because if you haven’t played Who’s Got the Rock?, you clearly weren’t part of the Latin program.