History of Mountain Cove Farms
Mountain Cove Farms is rich in history. From the earliest Native American inhabitants to the frontier days through the Civil War, the Great Depression, privation, and times of plenty, those who have lived with this land have come to cherish its natural beauty and to appreciate its abundance. Located in picturesque McLemore Cove, the land was acquired by the state of Georgia through treaties with the Cherokee Nation. In turn, the state conducted lotteries and sold tracts of 160 acres to settlers and homesteaders from 1805 to 1832.
Prosperous Athens, Georgia, attorney William Dougherty purchased 3,440 acres of the finest land in McLemore Cove and in 1835 built a graceful mansion overflowing with Southern charm. Dougherty’s wealth was readily apparent. He owned 31 slaves, and the family lived in the handsome mansion, working the land for 60 years. By 1899, hard times had come, and the family lost its beloved home to foreclosure to James B. Moore.
During the next half-century, Mountain Cove Farms changed hands three times. Each subsequent owner brought character and crafted a unique chapter in its history. Dan B. Murphy bought the estate to harvest it’s timber and lived there until a devastating fire destroyed the mansion in 1923, leaving only the blackened exterior walls of the once stately structure. Vacant through the dark days of the Depression, the property was acquired by the Hargress family, which restored the home and subsequently sold it in 1931 to James Smith, who raised cattle and cash crops such as corn, wheat, and cotton.
By 1943, in the midst of World War II, T.V. Dubois, a successful soap and chemical manufacturer from Cincinnati, Ohio, purchased the estate, refurbished the mansion to its former splendor, changed the south wing into living quarters and added a broad portico with imposing columns to the front of the original structure. He envisioned Mountain Cove Farms as a cattle farm with prime Hereford livestock. That vision became reality with the contribution of George Bible, hired by Dubois to manage the operation. In the spring of 1947, DuBois had a $40,000 show barn built to house his prize Herefords that captured numerous nationwide awards during the next 25 years. The estate and show barn became the focus of the local cattle community.
In 1958, Dubois sold the mansion and farmland to Bible, who operated Mountain Cove Farms alongside his brother, Sam, for a decade before selling to Wayne Rollins. Rollins raised a diverse range of beef cattle on the estate until he sold to developers, Delos Yancey and Edmond Cash who formed Mountain Cove Properties, LLC. They preserved the estate around the barns and mansion for hunting and recreational use and divided the remaining property into parcels and sold them as mini farms.
In 2008 the State of Georgia partnered with Walker County Government to purchase and preserve the estate. The state acquired almost 2,000 additional acres to set aside into permanent conservation. Cooperatively, the County purchased 285 acres, the mansion and barns to be restored for public use. Today, Mountain Cove Farms welcomes visitors to tour the grounds and experience the majesty and natural beauty of this grand old estate that is steeped in Southern History.
McLemore Cove is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The property contains