The Beautiful Forgotten Lady of Plantation Days and the Years That Came Afterward

Jeannette Holland Austin
4 min readNov 20, 2023

Lizzie Smith Chambliss 1850–1905

Lizzie, born on a plantation in Forsyth County, Georgia, like so many others during that era, was destined to suffer the effects of the Civil War. When General Sherman burned Atlanta and headed south with his Army to Savannah, the patrols visited the Smith plantation, an unpainted two-story wooden structure divided by a narrow central hall. It was the home of her grandfather.

Sherman’s patrols were instructed to destroy all sources of food and forage. Although they were under orders not to pillage and rob families, they did so anyway, leaving behind hungry and demoralized people.

Although Sherman did not level any towns, he destroyed buildings in areas where there was resistance.

After the war ended, the surrounding region of the old plantation in Monroe County was all but abandoned. Lizzie’s parents tried and failed to revive its farm economy. The option to hire farmhands fell on its premise. Not only were the families in the region devasted and too poor, but few people were willing to work.