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'Historic' performances send homeowners back in time
Shirley Says
Howard William, left, Buddy Jowers, Phil Coleman and Jim Wilson perform in the great room at Folly Farms. - photo by Photo provided.
In 1849 Richard James Arnold and his wife Louisa began construction of the Folly Farms main house. When completed in 1850, they presented it as a wedding present to their daughter, Louisa. She married her first cousin Samuel Greene Arnold, Jr.
Walter and Frances Meeks live in the elegant plantation home south of Richmond Hill. Gen. Sherman’s troops marched past the home, sparing it from his Army’s torches. It’s been said Union soldiers camped under the large oaks at Folly Farms while awaiting supplies.
Frances said, “I’ve heard tales that Union officers occupied the home. We’ll probably never know for sure.”
Recently, the 22nd Georgia Heavy Artillery Band held a private Exhibition Performance for Walter and Frances at Folly Farms. The band, dressed in Confederate uniforms, played music from the period of the War Between the States.
The "Confederate soldiers" entertained Walter and Frances in the great room, which is oval in shape. Their performance was reminiscent of what may have happened at Folly Farms 150 years ago. The great room of the antebellum Folly Farms home has seen other special performances. Two movies have been filmed there, “Glory” and “The General’s Daughter.”
The members of the band are Jim Wilson, playing doghouse bass, guitar and trumpet; Phil Coleman, playing guitar; Buddy Jowers, playing harmonica and penny whistle melodeon; and Howard Williams with vocals and percussion instruments. For only Walter and Frances Meeks, these men put on a performance worthy of a standing ovation!
Some of the songs they sang were "Rosin the Bow," "Battle Cry of Freedom" (the Southern version), "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Bonnie Blue." The superb historic renditions by Jim, Phil, Buddy and Howard were fit for a king and queen.
At the conclusion of the private performance, Frances served a traditional Southern pound cake made by Walter ... his specialty, with fresh strawberries and mounds of whipped cream. It’s likely the spirit of the beautiful Louisa Arnold was smiling.

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