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