If Red Gate Farm’s 200 year-old oak trees could talk – they would tell stories of Indians and Colonists who once called this place home. Unfortunately, the trees can’t talk, but through extensive research we’ve learned:
•From 1861-1864 – The Mackey House land in Savannah, Georgia was an encampment for Confederate soldiers led by General William Hardy
•The property then became occupied by Union Army troops led by General William T. Sherman after their March to the Sea
•In 1898 — a Powder Magazine, used to house ammunition was built on Red Gate Farms, the care-keeper’s house was located on the farm’s property. Remnants from both are still available for viewing today.
In 1918, Harry Edward Martin, Jr. purchased 440 acres of wooded countryside, which he and his wife, Mamie, named in memory of her cousin, Cyrus Steadwell. Cyrus had always dreamed of owning his own farm and calling it “Red Gate Farms.” He would never see that dream come to life; he was killed in France during World War I and Mamie Martin couldn’t think of a better way to preserve Cyrus’ memory than by naming the land Red Gate Farms.
Mr. Martin was a direct descendant of John Martin, a Scottish Highlander emigrant who came to Georgia when it was still a colony in 1742. By 1782, John became governor of the Georgia Colony and as a highlander, was famed for his passion for land and protectiveness of his family.
The Martin’s began a dairy farm and cultivated 300 of the land’s acres for silage corn, grain crops and pasture land for their 140 Jersey cows. Their dairy, hog, and chicken farm became widely known and duplicated throughout Georgia. Mr. Martin led the state in Jersey herd development and became a bit of a “folk hero” when he led a major fight to lower milk prices.
This authentic southern venue is still a family affair in true southern tradition as the farm is still owned and operated by Mr. Martin’s daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.