Dalton Civil War Tour
The beautifully built, Federal style Blunt House, built in 1848, is the second oldest home in Dalton and the home of her first Mayor and Postmaster, Ainsworth Emery Blunt. Blunt was instrumental in the formation of Whitfield County.
Ainsworth Emery Blunt was born in Amherst, New Hampshire in 1800. He was a missionary for the American Board of Foreign Missions and was sent to Chattanooga, Tennessee in the 1820’s where he taught Cherokee Natives English, religion and agriculture at the then Brainerd Mission. He would meet his wife, Harriet Ellsworth while stationed in Chattanooga. The Ainsworth’s had five children, however two of their daughters would die in infancy.
Blunt was a dedicated missionary and often went to great lengths to show Christ to those he taught. When the Cherokee natives were sent west during what is now known as the Trail of Tears, Blunt rode along with them up through Nashville, then into Kentucky until they reached the Mississippi River. During this time temperatures dropped and the Mississippi River froze preventing anyone from crossing. Soon, Blunt became deathly ill and was persuaded by companions to return to the Brainerd Mission, which he reluctantly did. Blunt and a few of his companions returned to Chattanooga where he settled, and it was there that he helped establish the First Presbyterian Church.
In 1843 Blunt entered into the mercantile business with his son-in-law, Benjamin Morse. He moved to what was then known as Cross Plains (Now Dalton) and began building a house for his family. The house he built would become known as the Blunt House.
During the Civil War, in the winter of 1863 and 1864, Blunt and his family welcomed and entertained Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and his staff at the Blunt House. The Confederate Army of the Tennessee was occupying Dalton at this time. However, soon afterwards, Dalton fell to the Union Army and Blunt and his family fled to Illinois to live with his son, John. The Blunt house was turned into a Union hospital and its outside brush arbors used to protect wounded soldiers.
Before leaving Dalton to begin his great March to the Sea, General William T. Sherman burned many of the wooden structures in Dalton, except for the Blunt House. It is unknown why he decided not to burn it; perhaps because it had been used as a Union hospital but also because Blunt was a Union sympathizer. Blunt and his family returned to the house during the summer of 1865, just after the end of the war. Blunt would only survive a few more months. He died in December of the same year. The House was left to his wife and daughter Lillie.
The Blunt House is a Federal Style architecture with a 1910 Victorian Style addition. The original house had four rooms—two up stairs and two down with a central stair hall. The kitchen was probably a separate building with one room attached. The fireplace in the room behind the kitchen shares a chimney with the kitchen fireplace. The room is not in the style of the rooms that were part of the addition but seems more from the era of the original house. It is possible that this one room and the kitchen were used as living quarters while the main house was being built. The addition consists of a dining room, hall, and a back porch downstairs. The hall connects a room, the kitchen, and the addition to the main house. Stairs were removed from the original front hall and were replaced with a larger staircase in the new back hall that leads upstairs to an added hall, bedroom, and a bath. The house was originally located on four acres of land with accompanying outbuildings and a barn.
The Blunt house still stands today and is located at 506 South Thornton Drive in the historic section of Dalton, Georgia. Tours are offered through the house by the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society Thursday through Saturday from 10am until 4pm. However, tours are only given by appointment only. To schedule a tour you can call the Whitfield-Murray Historical Society at 706 278-0217, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Th – Sat 10 am – 4 pm and by appointment
Small Admission for Guided Tours
506 S. Thornton Avenue Dalton GA 30720 United States