THE BULLOCH FAMILY
The Bulloch family came to Georgia from Edgecombe County, North Carolina. In the early 1800s, Stephen Bulloch brought his sons to Greenville, Georgia to live with their maternal grandmother after the death of their mother Winnie Robinson Bulloch. Cyprian Bulloch Sr. settled near Bussey’s Crossroads (present-day Judson Bulloch Road and GA 41 between Warm Springs and Manchester) while his brother Henry moved to Arkansas.
These Bullochs are not related to the family of Archibald Bulloch (b. 1730), the first governor of Georgia. His descendant Martha “Mittie” Bulloch (of Bulloch Hall in Roswell, Georgia) married Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt in 1853. They were the parents of President Theodore Roosevelt and paternal grandparents of Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
The little town of Bullochville, Georgia, established by Cyprian Jr. and Benjamin, was incorporated on December 20, 1893. Cyprian built his house across from the fish hatchery in 1892, and in 1893, Benjamin built his home nearby on a hill overlooking the town, which would later become the original Bulloch House Restaurant.
Cyprian Senior’s sons Cyprian Bulloch Jr. and Benjamin Franklin Bulloch owned nearly 2,000 acres of land in the county, encompassing the town of Bullochville and a large portion of the mountain, as well as a grist mill, a cotton gin, a bank, a coffin factory, and the cold springs, which still feed the Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery. Their brother-in-law William Thomas Bussey was also a prominent figure in the founding of Bullochville.
After the death of Cyprian Jr. in March 1903, the future of Warm Springs and a large part of Meriwether County was directly influenced by Cyprian’s widow Julia and their daughters Mattie, Minnie, Ira Gene, and Mabel. Benjamin passed away in June 1910 and is buried in the Warm Springs city cemetery along with Cyprian Jr. and many other Bulloch family members.
THE WARM SPRINGS & THE ROOSEVELT LEGACY
The region of dozens of warm and cold springs that range between Barnesville and Bullochville were well-known to the Creek Indians who traveled through and lived in the area until 1826. Visitors were drawn to this particular location to enjoy the naturally buoyant water that flowed year-round from the springs on the north side of Pine Mountain, the end of the Appalachian Mountain range. At a steady 88 degrees, it was the warmest of all the springs, and had the strongest outflow. Even on maps from the 1860s, this spot was named “Warm Springs.” Train travel in the late 1890s brought even more visitors who happily vacationed at the nearby Meriwether Inn, built in 1893.
Franklin D. Roosevelt first visited Bullochville in October 1924. Searching for a cure for his polio, he was intrigued by reports of the healing waters from the warm springs. In fact, he was so captivated with the little town that he officially renamed it “Warm Springs” later that year. He began purchasing property in the area in 1926, eventually assembling over 1,200 acres, and made tremendous improvements to the resort and the pools. On July 28, 1927, the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation for polio patients was incorporated. In 1932, Roosevelt built his “Little White House” near the warm springs. On January 3, 1938, Roosevelt established the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. In a fundraising effort during the week prior to Roosevelt’s January 30 birthday, radio and stage star Eddie Cantor made a play on words on the title of his radio show “The March of Time,” and called the project “The March of Dimes.” Over $85,000 was raised for polio research and treatment in this initial effort.
Franklin Roosevelt and Cason Callaway, founder of Callaway Gardens, met in 1925 through Donald Ross, Roosevelt’s golf course architect, and the two men immediately became close friends. Sharing Roosevelt’s passion of philanthropy, Callaway was tasked with leading the 1933 fundraising effort in Georgia for Roosevelt’s foundation. He raised over $100,000, which was an astonishing amount in the depression years. His work led to the construction of the beautiful Georgia Hall, which still stands on the campus of what is now the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation. The Hall was built as a replacement for the badly-deteriorated Meriwether Inn, and that building was subsequently demolished in 1934.
Roosevelt made a total of 16 trips to Warm Springs. He died at his beloved Little White House on April 12, 1945. The house was opened to the public in 1948. At over 9,000 acres, the Roosevelt State Park is the largest in Georgia. A lovely feature of the park is Dowdell’s Knob, the highest point on Pine Mountain at 1,395 feet, where Roosevelt ordered the construction of a grilling pit. It was one of his favorite spots to relax and enjoy the beauty of the view of Pine Mountain Valley.
Other sites you may enjoy:
Roosevelt Warm Springs Archive on Flickr