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Wrens

Between Augusta and Louisville the highway follows an old Uchee Indian trail, which later became a stagecoach route. Before the Civil War this region was a part of the old plantation belt, slave labor being abundant to cultivate the large farms. Charm and mellowed grace linger about the old homes, some of which date back almost to the Revolution, but more in evidence is the unpainted shack of the share- cropper, with sagging porch and paneless windows. Below Swainsboro US 1 stretches through the Piney Woods or Wiregrass section, which is pervaded by a strange silence and an air of remoteness. The last part of Georgia to be developed, it was opened in the mid-19th century by small-scale farmers from the Carolinas, who were attracted by the lumber of the pine forests. Wrens was a boyhood home of Erskine Galdwell, who is known for Tobacco Road, God's Little Acre, and numerous short stories, including Kneel to the Rising Sun, all dealing with the tenant farmer. With his father, a Presbyterian minister, Caldwell visited the country people throughout the section, and noted the manner in which the sharecroppers live. When challenged for his presentation, Galdwell re- plied: "It is no more obscene than life." Most Georgians, however, contend that the conditions described are less general than his work implies. Tobacco Road is the name of a dirt road that runs along a ridge from northern Georgia to a point on the Savannah River below Augusta. Over this road tobacco was hauled in mule-drawn hogs- heads to the port where it was loaded on boats. The OLIPHANT HOME (private), a plantation house with slave quarters, built between 1820 and 1830. The master's house is a story-and-a-half structure of wide clapboards with a center hall flanked by two high-ceiled rooms; later rooms have been added on each side of the front porch. The kitchen, originally standing some distance from the house, has been moved nearer the back porch. From the rear of the big house a lane leads between the double row of slave cabins, which are sagging and weather-worn but held intact by their massive stone chimneys. The old gin house still remains on the plantation. Although Sherman's men burned nearby houses on their March to the Sea, they left this place unharmed because, the story is told, the mistress of the Oliphant house was courteous to the Federal soldiers and had food prepared for them.