Chickamauga Campaign Heritage Trail
The Marsh House was built by Spencer Stewart Marsh about 1836. Mr. Marsh was born in Chatham County, North Carolina, on November 25, 1799, and was the son of William Marsh, a soldier in the American Revolution for whom the local William Marsh chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is named. Mr. Marsh and his wife, Ruth Brantley Marsh, moved to Covington, Georgia, in Newton County in 1832. The Marshes moved to Walker County, Georgia, about 1835. They settled in the area that was called Chattooga or Chattoogaville at that time; the town was later called Benton and, finally, LaFayette.
The family's first home was a Williamsburg-style cottage on the site of the present house. While their new house was being built, the Marshes lived in a log house near what is now the town square. When completed, the house had four rooms over four rooms with wide central halls on the first and second floors. A large porch with square columns was constructed on the south side of the house; a second story balcony with a door from the upstairs hall was built over this porch. The original kitchen was in the basement on the east side of the house, and food was brought to the first floor by a dumbwaiter. A wing on the east side was added later to move the kitchen to the main floor.
In the mid-1830's, residents of the growing community wished to build a new building to replace the one-room log cabin which served as a school at that time. Mr. Marsh donated the land just south of his residence for the new school, originally called Chattooga Academy and later dedicated as John B. Gordon Hall. The Marsh home became the school-time residence of John B. Gordon who later served as a Confederate general and Georgia governor.
In 1863, when it became apparent that the Civil War would come to Northwest Georgia, the Marshes moved south to Cassville, Georgia. During their absence, the house was occupied by Union troops. After the war the Marshes returned home to find all their furniture and household items had been taken. The floors in the downstairs hall were blood soaked and marked with the hoof prints of horses. The family found many bullets in the outer walls and bullet holes in the glass around the upstairs outer door on the house's south side. The family restored the house but left some of the bullet holes as a reminder that the house had survived the war.
The house remained in the family for more than 150 years. The last member of the family to occupy the house was Mr. Marsh's great-granddaughter, Addie Augusta Wert. Walker County purchased the house in spring 2003. Under an agreement with the Walker County Historical Society, the county owns the building and participates in its preservation through the Walker County Historic Preservation Commission and the Marsh House Community Task Force.