LOUISVILLE, Ga. — Larry Fincher was working on building a driveway and the footing for a garage last week when he turned up two antique glass bottles and what appears to be a cannonball.
“There’s a history that goes with this property,” Fincher said. “How often do you find a cannonball?”
He said the work crew noticed there was something worth examining closer.
“They were very cautious. If it hadn’t been for the first bottle that he broke and got off his grader to dig out, we never would have found the cannonball,” Fincher said.
Once they saw the remains of a first bottle, Fincher said, they started looking closer, and that’s when they turned up the clear glass pint bottle with a smooth top, what he supposes is a whiskey bottle. Right there beside it, less than a foot deep and no more than 12 feet at most from his house, was a rough iron cannonball.
“From what I have found out, that is probably Confederate,” Fincher said. “They say that the Union cannonballs were smoother. The Confederate cannonballs had a coarse outer skin because their foundries just didn’t have the foundries that the Union had. This one is a dud. It was supposed to be loaded with powder and was supposed to explode upon impact.”
The 8-pound iron ball has a hole about an inch in diameter leading to its core.
“I jokingly tell people it’s a bowling ball for someone with just one finger,” Fincher said with a smile.
Fincher and his wife, Sherry, have been remodeling the old Magnolia House in downtown Louisville for a few years and now call it home. He said they have heard so many stories about the property that they don’t really know what to believe.
He has been told it was the site of Georgia’s first governor’s mansion when the state capital was moved to Jefferson County around 1790. Later he was told no, that was on another lot. Then a third person told him no, he was right the first time.
He also was told that some of the materials in the house were taken from the governor’s mansion.
“We may never know the truth of what really was here,” Fincher said.
Louisville was Georgia’s first permanent capital, and a wing of Sherman’s army sacked the city toward the end of the Civil War.
“We haven’t been with a metal detector over the property yet, but we’re thinking we probably need to do that,” Fincher said.
In the area of the driveway they also found a vase-like 4-ounce bottle with a patent date on the bottom of Dec. 23, 1894.
“I think that’s a medicine bottle,” he said.
Fincher said they ran into what appears to be the foundation of another building with old brick that matches the clay in the area.
“There’s got to be some truth to what we are hearing because of what we keep finding,” he said. “I have been told the house was built in 1882. I do not know that for a fact.”
The records he has found say it was built in 1900, but a former tax assessor whose family once owned the house told him that was just a guess.