The 2021-22 Guide to Richmond Hill, Georgia 2021-22 - Page 75

It was in December of 1864 that Bryan County saw much fighting and destruction as General Sherman passed through on his famed March to the Sea . The house at Cherry Hill was unfortunately in the path of destruction , and was burned on December 12 , 1864 .
The second version of the Cherry Hill house was built in 1874 by William Eliot Arnold ( 1841 – 1883 ) on the site of the original house . Available historical photographs of the house are scant , but photos of it as it appeared before the restoration done by Henry Ford show it to be a simple two-story dwelling with a porch wrapping around the front and right façade .
The 1920s ushered in the beginning of a new era for Cherry Hill when it was purchased by Henry Ford from Dr . Julian Chisholm , along with 26 other storied properties in the area , totaling about 85,000 acres . The Fords initially stayed at the Cherry Hill house , but as Clara did not find it suitable to her needs , construction began on their new winter residence .
Looking at the formidable residence that stands sentinel at the edge of the golf course today , it is not easy to see that it is the house William Eliot Arnold built that once stood at the end of the live oak allée . After being moved several times to different locations inside The Ford , it came to its present location .

It was from Dublin that John Maxwell created a separate tract of 300 acres , developed and christened “ Cherry Hill .” John Butler Maxwell inherited both of his father ’ s rice plantations , but as Maxwell remained loyal to the King after the Revolution broke out , his lands were confiscated in 1782 . It is not clear if the properties were returned to the Maxwell family after the war ended or whether they purchased them back from the Georgia government , but John Maxwell ’ s daughter Mary Maxwell McIntosh and her husband Lachlan McIntosh owned both Cherry Hill and Dublin in 1803 .

In 1823 , Richard James Arnold ( 1796 – 1873 ) of Rhode Island married Miss Louisa Caroline Gindrat of White Hall Plantation in Bryan County , Georgia . Mr . Arnold , a northern businessman and a descendent of Quakers who worked ardently to abolish the slave trade in his native state , acquired White Hall through his marriage to Miss Gindrat as her wedding dowry . This acquisition was the beginning of Arnold ’ s life in the South , and it was in 1824 that he purchased Cherry Hill , solidifying his ties to Bryan County . Through his savvy business techniques and agricultural methods , he eventually became the wealthiest rice planter in the county .
Sometime in the first part of the 19th century , Mr . Arnold constructed the first Cherry Hill house at the end of the oak avenue that now leads to The Ford Clubhouse . The Arnold family ’ s main residence was at their White Hall Plantation farther down the Ogeechee River , and the house at Cherry Hill was most likely used as an overseer ’ s residence .
This home is privately owned and not open to the public .
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