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Wirick-Simmons House

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From the time one enters through the front door of the Wirick-Simmons House, an air of history is present. All things displayed in the museum are donated or on loan from generous individuals and families committed to the education and preservation of the rich history in Jefferson County. Persons living within the community and those visiting are greeted by fine furniture and artifacts dating almost exclusively from the early to mid 19th century. Rooms within the house are displayed as they might have been seen in the late 1800's.

Downstairs Hall

Just turn the front door knob and the historical tour begins. One enters the downstairs hall to see a Victorian mahogany hall table topped in marble. The chandelier in the hall (circa 1825) was a gift from the Palmer family. Even the lock on the front door holds history. It was given by Mrs. James Ellis Crosby in memory of William John Bailey who built "Lyndhurst", a magnificent plantation house which still stands near Ashville in Northeast Jefferson County. His wife was Eliza Williams Bellamy, daughter of Abram Bellamy, a notable local family.

Dining Room

The dining room showcases a mahogany pier mirror table (circa 1840). The French bust seen in this room is that of Thomas Jefferson for whom the county was named (circa 1800).

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Sitting Room (Northeast Room)

The pair of sofas (Meridiennes), chair and marble top pier table in this room were donated to the Historical Association by Mr. Edwin Pugsley. The sofas were originally from Philadelphia (circa 1825) and were brought to Jefferson County in 1890 by Mr. Pugsley's father. A former slave of the Pugsley's said they were given to him by Florida White, owner of Casa Bianca Plantation.

She had purchased them from Princess Murat, wife of Prince Achille Murat. The Murats lived at "Lipona", their plantation in Jefferson County. Prince Murat was a nephew of Napoleon and was once crown prince of the kingdom of Naples, Italy. The princess was the great grand niece of George Washington.

The chair and marble top table in the Sitting Room are late Empire Style (circa 1850), and the three-tier dumbwaiter mahogany table is English (circa 1800).

On the mantel is a pair of antique brass candle sticks of English origins (circa 18th century), given in honor of Mrs. H.E. Connelly by the luncheon committee of the JCHA. Antique andirons and the fireplace fender were lent to the Association by Mrs. J.B. Brinson Jr. The screen featured in the room was crafted by a member of the Edwards family of Lloyd (circa 1850). The Secretary pictured (circa 1840) was donated to the Association by Esther Connelly. Both the secretary and Syllabub bowl (circa 19th century) were owned by the Denham family.

Southeast Room

A handsome mahogany pier table (circa 1870) graces this room and was donated by friends of the JCHA from Jacksonville, Florida. The corner cupboard is from North Carolina and is made from native cherry (circa 1790-1810). Two of the rooms are displayed as traditional bedrooms while one serves to showcase antiques and artifacts from the county.

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Parlor, also known as the Nella Vason Jones Room (Northwest Room)

All the furniture in this room is early 19th century (circa 1800-1830). This is the "Nella Vason Jones Room", named in memory of our restoration architect, Edward Vason Jones. The pieces exhibited in the room were furnished by Mrs. James Bolling, in memory of her sister.

The piano is a museum quality piece from New York which is both painted and gilded (circa 1830).

On the north wall is a drop leaf library table crafted from mahogany. It came from the New York workshop of Duncan Phyfe (circa 1815). An Astral Lamp (circa 1820) is displayed on the drop leaf next to an English jewel box made of satinwood which once belonged to the room's namesake, Nella Jones.

The pair of mahogany chairs featured in the Parlor were also manufactured in New York from the workshop of Duncan Phyfe (circa 1815), although the seat covers have been modernized.

Two of the Parlor tables are Chinese, oriental export with gilt decoration that were made for the American market. The larger of the two is a tilt top while the smaller was used as a work table, similar to the work table on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

The plaster medallion and cornices are typical of classic Greek Revival Style, and black was the original color of the mantel. The mirror over the mantel has a Victorian gilt frame. A lovely pair of Parisian porcelain plates is displayed on the mantel. The brass candlesticks seen in the room are of English origin and the bronze candlestick on the table is English (circa 1800-1810). American brass andirons and an American wire fender showcasing a "double lemon" design highlight the fireplace. The rug seen in the parlor is from Samarkand, one of the oldest cities in the world located north of Afghanistan (circa 1790-1800).

The English architects desk in the room is crafted of fine mahogany. The top lifts to be utilized as a writing or drawing board (circa 1810). Displayed on this library table is the book "Albany on the Flint", which was written and published in memory of Nella Jones.

The second floor houses three bedrooms and a bath. There is also an attic on the third level which currently serves as a storehouse for the Association.

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Northwest Bedroom

The four post mahogany bed seen in this room is believed to be Empire. It belonged to the Gamble family, who came to Florida from Virginia in 1833 at which time they purchased a large amount of acreage near Waukeenah, another Jefferson County community. They named their plantation "Welaunee". A former owner of the Welaunee Plantation, Mrs. Robert McKay of New York, donated the bed to the JCHA. The plantation was later purchased by Ted Turner and renamed "Avalon". The hand woven blue coverlet that adorns the bed was from Pennsylvania (circa 1851) and was donated to the Historical Association as a gift. The child's rocker in this room was lent to the Association by Mrs. J.B. Brinson Sr. The doll nestled upon it is approximately 50-60 years old.

Displayed on the Mahogany washstand is a set of china typically used in the bedrooms of the late 1800's. An Empire table holds an antique kerosine glass lamp. The mantle clock is Victorian. Shown are the pink dress and pantaloons of a woman dating over 100 years old. Both were gifted to the Association by Mrs. J.N. Hawkins.

Northeast Bedroom

The black walnut bedroom furniture seen in this room was the wedding set of donor Edwin Pugsley's maternal grandparents. He donated the furniture to the JCHA in 1963. The china and clock are typical of the period.

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