Historic Oglethorpe Club
Molyneux House450 Bull Street
Near Monterey Square
The Oglethorpe Club was originally built as a private residence for Edmund Molyneux, British counel at Savannah. Built in 1857 in the Classic Revival style, Molyneux lived in this stately home, but it also served as the British Consulate until his return to England in 1863. Union General Oliver Howard appropriated the mansion as headquarters for himself and his staff during Sherman's occupation. Much of the library and all of the expensive wine and brandy were found missing after they departed. A Union subordinate later confessed to "finding" the missing items at headquarters, much to Howard's embarrassment. Representatives of the family allegedly presented Howard with a bill for damages in the amount of $11,000.
The Molyneux home remained in the possession of the family until 1885, when it was sold to Confederate General Henry R. Jackson, who occupied the home until his death in 1898. Perhaps one of Savannah's most distinguished citizens, Jackson served as a lawyer soldier, diplomat and poet. He was Judge of the Eastern Circuit of Georgia from 1849 to 1853 and served as a special prosecutor for the U.S. in the famous case of the slave ship "Wanderer." He fought in the Mexican War and as a Confederate Brigadier General in the Civil War. During the Atlanta campaign of 1864 he organized and commanded a brigade of the First (Georgia) Confederate Regiment against General William T. Sherman until the city finally fell on September 1. He served as an ambassador to Austria from 1856-1858 and then as minister to Mexico from 1885-1886. He published a volume of poetry in 1850, which was described as "spirited and lively" and "of a patriotic interest." He is perhaps best known for his poem entitled "The Red Old Hills of Georgia." Judge Jackson loved history and served as president of the Georgia Historical Society from 1875 until his death 1898. He was laid to rest in Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery.
The historic mansion is now home to the Oglethorpe Club, the "oldest gentlemen's club in Georgia." Organized in 1870, the Oglethorpe Club was established by a group of Savannah's leading citizens. It still remains a fashionable private club today.
Of interest to "Midnight" fans, you will recall from the book that Jim Williams' annual Mercer House Christmas party was always a well-known society event. Less well known, however, it is rumored that Williams discreetly followed that party with a secret, wilder one here at the Oglethorpe Club.
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