Grovetown officials received confirmation recently from the Georgia Historical Society that a historical marker will be placed in the city to honor a Civil War-era poet who lived near what would later become Grovetown.
Local historian Charles Lord created an exhibit in tribute to poet Paul Hamilton Hayne, who spent the last 26 years of his life in Grovetown. The Georgia Historical Society recently approved a historical marker for the largely forgotten poet.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Paul Hamilton Hayne moved to the Grovetown area in 1866 after his Charleston, S.C., home was looted and burned during the Civil War. While living in a wooden cottage off Gordon Highway near the Georgia State Medical Prison, Hayne produced three volumes of poetry - Legends and Lyrics in 1872, Mountains of Lovers in 1875 and Poems, Complete Edition in 1882.
Among Hayne's most acclaimed poems were Lyric of Action, In Harbor and Aspects of Pines, which local historian and longtime admirer of Hayne, Charles Lord, speculated might have been written about the tall pines that still stand on the unoccupied lot today.
"Paul Hamilton Hayne is just something that caught my attention way back," Lord said about the poet, who spent his final 26 years in Grovetown.
Though Hayne's work is largely unknown today, after the Civil War, he was known as the Poet Laureate of the South and Poet of the Pines for his love of the South's nature. His works were acclaimed by the English poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, and he corresponded from Grovetown with literary legends of the day, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Sidney Lanier and Oliver Wendell Holmes.
"He was worldwide famous," Mayor Dennis Trudeau said.
During his time in Grovetown, Hayne made his living by mailing his sonnets, lyric poems, essays and articles for publication in such periodicals as Harper's New Monthly Magazine and The Atlantic Monthly.
"Now I am so proud that the Georgia Historical Society saw fit to let us get a marker," said Lord, who is a member of the Grovetown Museum board, which spent a couple of years trying to get the marker. "We are now petitioning the (county) ... There is a bridge being built by his house up there, but there's a trestle going over the train tracks. We're petitioning to have it called the Paul Hamilton Hayne Memorial Bridge."
The Grovetown Museum has a large collection of items relating to Hayne, including a book inscribed by him, letters, original photos of his home and several items from the home, which later belonged to the Goodale family.
Hayne died in 1892 and was better known in Europe and in the North than in his native South. A monument was added to his burial site in Magnolia Cemetery in 1931. The only tribute to Hayne in Grovetown is a street named for him, Lord said.
The roughly $2,500 cost of the marker, which is expected to arrive in the next three months, is split between the historical society and Grovetown city government, Lord said.
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