Macon History

Macon History

Alpha Delta Pi has compiled a short history of the sites significant to the sorority in Macon, Georgia. Please use this history as a guide when your plan your trip to our birthplace.

Rose Hill Cemetery
At Rose Hill Cemetery, you will actually walk in the footsteps of the Adelpheans. Rose Hill Cemetery was set into the wooded hillsides leading down to the banks of the Ocmulgee River. The picturesque park/cemetery was just a short walk downhill from Wesleyan Female College. It was a place recalled with fondness by Adelphean sisters who spoke of walking along the shaded paths gathering violets.

Rose Hill Cemetery was founded in 1840 and is on the National Register of Historic Sites. It was named for Simri Rose, a prominent Macon citizen, a city councilman, and newspaper editor who created the plans for a new city cemetery. His plan followed the 19th century picturesque style. Rose Hill was designed to serve as both a park and a cemetery for the use of the people of Macon. Carriage rides, picnicking, and concerts at the bandstand were popular weekend activities at Rose Hill.

Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald was buried on the Fitzgerald plot in Rose Hill Cemetery. Mr. Fitzgerald’s monument is the large granite marker. His first wife’s grave is marked by the large white marble monument. The small markers in the Fitzgerald lot are those marking the graves of the children of Mr. Fitzgerald and his first wife. We can assume that the family wealth declined. When Eugenia died at the age of 94, she had very few remaining relatives, and her wealth had dwindled. Eugenia’s grave was marked by a simple cement slab. Under the direction of Martha Emma Watson Anderson, past Grand Historian and The Adelphean editor, and the Macon Alumnae Association, Alpha Delta Pi added the memorial marker to Eugenia’s grave in 1950.

Several generations of Alpha Delta Pi sisters, including Simri’s daughter, Marion Rose, an Adelphean of 1856-57, have been laid to rest in Rose Hill lots. Founder Mary Evans Glass and National President Newel Mason are buried in nearby Riverside Cemetery.

Cannonball House
The Cannonball House is the Macon home most closely associated with the Civil War as it was struck by a wayward cannonball! The Union artillery was probably trying to strike the Hay House nearby which was thought to house some of the Confederate Treasury. The house was slated to be razed and replaced with a parking lot. The Macon Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy purchased the property in 1962 to save it from demolition and to provide for itself a chapter home. There were two additional parlors with no furnishings.

Since the destruction of the “Old Wesleyan building,” both Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu had a set of Victorian parlor furnishings from their parlors at Wesleyan. It turned out to be the ideal situation for each. The Adelphean and Philomathean parlors from “Old Wesleyan” were recreated at the Cannonball House.

The Cannonball House, fully furnished, opened its doors to visitors in 1964. The Sidney Lanier (Macon) Chapter of the UDC no longer meets at the Cannonball House. In 1999 the Friends of the Cannonball House (FOCBH) assumed responsibility and ownership of the property. The Cannonball House operates as an independent house museum, hosting over 10,000 visitors per year.

There are several items in the Adelphean Parlor that were original to the parlor at Wesleyan Female College. These include:

  • 2 carved mahogany chairs with blue needlepoint seats
  • Mahogany and glass vitrine
  • Many books with Adelphean Society bookplates (in secretary)
  • White marble mantle (removed from Wesleyan)
  • Gold leaf mirror above mantle
  • Chandelier
  • Interior shutters (removed from Wesleyan)
  • Stained glass transom (removed from Wesleyan and installed above the door)

Other items that you will want to see include:

  • Portraits of our founders
  • A portrait of Alice Culler Cobb, Adelphean 1853. (Mrs. Cobb founded the Women’s Missionary Society of Georgia in this room at a gathering called by Mrs. Holt, the original owner of the house. A plaque in the room states this.)
  • Pastel drawing of the original Wesleyan Female College
  • Diamond-shaped silver cake basket given to Minnie Bass Burden, an Adelphean, for her wedding in 1880. She in turn presented the basket as a gift to the restored Adelphean Parlor.

You will also want to visit the Philomathean Parlor and see their beautiful artifacts as well.

Wesleyan College

Wesleyan Female College was the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women. The college was chartered on December 23, 1836. Classes started in January 1839 with almost one hundred students.

It was only fitting that the first chartered college for women became the birthplace for the first secret society for women. The history of Alpha Delta Pi and the history of Wesleyan College are intertwined. The Adelphean Society, which was founded by a group of six Wesleyan students in 1851, became Alpha Delta Phi in 1905 and then Alpha Delta Pi in 1913. Eugenia Tucker was the leader of the six founding members who came together to form an association for self-improvement. The college president and two faculty members were sponsors of the organization. For sixty-five years the spirit of Wesleyan nourished the spirit of the Adelphean Society and vice versa.

However, acting on faculty recommendation and in the interest of what they believed to be the spirit of democracy, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees voted to abolish sororities in 1914. The administration barred any further initiations, but allowed those remaining members the privilege of continuing their meetings on campus until graduation. The last Alpha Chapter members graduated in 1916. Although there has not been an active sorority at Wesleyan College since 1916, the influence and presence of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority is evident throughout the campus.

There are several items on the present Wesleyan campus that commemorate our beginnings as the Adelphean Society at Wesleyan.

The Adelphean Bench, silver gray marble and engraved with names of founders, is located near the library. The bench, designed by Emily Langham, Epsilon, was presented to Wesleyan College in 1926, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority at Wesleyan.

The Memorial Fountain is located in the center of the quadrangle. The Alpha Delta Pi coat-of-arms is engraved on the large slanting block at center. The names of the founders of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority are engraved on the stairs leading up to the fountain. The fountain, of white Georgia marble, was presented to Wesleyan in 1936, as a gift to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the chartering of Wesleyan College in 1836.

A bronze plaque is located on the loggia overlooking the quad and ADPi fountain. This plaque commemorates the Adelphean Society founding at Wesleyan in 1851. (The Phi Mu plaque is directly below.)

The Burden Parlor furnished in honor of Minnie Bass Burden, Adelphean (1869) and her husband Richard F. Burden, is located in the Olive Swann Porter building. Minnie Bass Burden was the daughter of William C. Bass, President of Wesleyan College from 1874-1894. The Burden Parlor was furnished by sisters, Octavia Burden Stewart, Adelphean (1902) and Alice Burden Domingos, Alpha (1904) in honor of their grandparents.

The Entry Gates were presented jointly by Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu in 2001 on the 150th Anniversary of Alpha Delta Pi’s founding at Wesleyan.

On the lower level of the library there is a recital/meeting room with exhibit cases featuring the rich history of Wesleyan College. Included in the collection of artifacts are photographs of Adelpheans and Adelphean badges.

Other places of note:

Hubble House
The Adelphean of Alpha Delta Pi of March 1907 describes the house as “The palatial and beautiful home of Mrs. E. J. Willingham.” Mrs. Eula Lowe Felton Willingham was a member of the Adelphean Society, initiated in 1878. The first convention was a very small gathering by today’s standards. All of Alpha chapter was present, along with delegates from Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon chapters. Macon area alumnae were in attendance, along with alumnae representatives from Atlanta, Quitman (GA), Waynesboro (GA), Chattanooga and Birmingham. The first National Council was elected at this convention.

“Old Wesleyan”

The U.S. Post Office on College Street is the site of the original Wesleyan Female College. The original structure stood at the top of “college hill” where the U.S. Post Office is currently located. In 1953, the Fine Arts School was moved to the current campus, and almost all use of the old Wesleyan property on College Street was discontinued. The back campus became a shopping center, and the main building, previously used as the Wesleyan Conservatory, became known as “Old Wesleyan.”

“Old Wesleyan,” mostly empty and slated for destruction to make way for a new post office, was destroyed by fire in February 1963. The hill was then leveled and the existing post office built. The Federal Building and Post Office were built to replicate the style of the original Wesleyan Female College.

This content was created by the History Committee for the Adelphean Compass leadership program. Information that we used in this guide came from Loyally I by Virginia Lee Nelson, Sisters by Linda Welch Ablard, various issues of The Adelphean of Alpha Delta Pi, and information prepared by archivists and staff at Executive Office.