After Jasper Lewis Clay saw two of his wooden homes burn down, the Confederate soldier turned state legislator built his final home with concrete walls.
While that sort of stucco material is used on many homes these days, that was unusual for the early 1900s, said Hugh Walters, vice president of the Paulding County Historical Society.
“He said, ‘I’m going to build one that won’t burn,’” Walters said.
The home at the corner of Hiram Sudie and Davis Mill roads was built in 1906. It may have had concrete walls that are 12-inches thick, but the porches, insides of the walls and ceiling structure were built out of wood. The walls were reinforced with barbed wire, as was the practice in that time, Walters said.
The large, square-shaped home has two chimneys and the roof is made out of tin. The front porch wraps around the left side of the residence. The right side of the house is painted white, and the front is painted a brick color.
The house changed hands throughout the years, being used at one point as a rental property. It became a government-owned home after its owners defaulted on their loan, and Walters said that at that point, it was offered by minorities and purchased by Doris Arney, who taught at Paulding County High School. The home is still owned by her family.
These days, the house sits off the road with no easy access, and a chain link fence was erected in front of it. Trees grow in front of the porch, and a pavilion has been built in between the home and Davis Mill Road.
Clay was born in 1837 and was raised on a farm. He acquired most of his education at night and on Sundays. In 1861, he enlisted for a year in Company D 7th Georgia regiment. According to a document from the Paulding County Genealogy Society, after Clay's enlistment ended, he joined the Confederate service for the war and was made orderly sergeant. Clay was slightly wounded in the Battle of Yorktown and, after that battle ended, he fought in the Battles of 7 Pines, Rappahannock, Chancellorsville, Knoxville and Sharpsburg, among others. In addition to the battles, Clay fought in 38 minor skirmishes and was wounded twice, though neither injury was serious.
In addition to building his home, Clay, a brick mason, also made the bricks on the old Lost Mountain Store by hand. Clay died in 1913. His wife, Martha Ann Pace, died the next year.