The Full Story
The Edenfield House was originally constructed by H.I. Olliff in 1895. It bought and sold a few times in the early 1900's; however, it did not rise to great fame until after the Edenfields made it their personal family home.
Henry Clay (H.C.) Edenfield married Mabel Coleman, daughter of the late James A. and Fannie (Lake) Coleman, on August 11, 1926 in Swainsboro. James A. Coleman not only dealt in lumber, owned a city block of stores, and much of the farm land in Emanuel County, but also founded the bank.
Mr. Edenfield was born in Swainsboro on May 10, 1902. His father was born in Emanuel County in 1859 and operated a general store in Swainsboro until his death in 1909. His mother Frances (Lewis) Edenfield was also born in Emanuel County in 1864 and died January 8, 1914. Mr. Edenfield attended the public schools of Swainsboro before attending the Georgia Military Academy at Milledgeville, where he graduated in 1921. Mercer University at Macon was his choice for law school and he graduated there in 1924.
After H.C. and Mabel were married, they purchased the home in 1927 as their personal family residence and to raise a family. The Edenfields had one daughter, Maurice R. Edenfield, who married James Rufus Youmans of Swainsboro and presented H.C. and Mabel with two grandchildren; Mabel Youmans and James Rufus Youmans, Jr. Mr. James Rufus Youmans, Jr. and his lovely wife, Carole, continue to make Swainsboro their home to this day.
The Edenfield family was a prestigious family of great social standing and importance in the City of Swainsboro, Emanuel County, and frankly, the entire State of Georgia. Many people know H.C. Edenfield as a lawyer, or banker, or legislator, or business man, or a farmer—but most did not know that he was actively involved in all these professions—at the same time. To that end, his participation in all of those fields was all on a rather large scale. Next to him for almost five decades, the amazing Mrs. Mabel Edenfield was truly the grande dame of the Edenfield House. Her style and grace fueled the many social events within this iconic mansion.
The Edenfield's owned and operated Pure Oil Agency in Swainsboro for about thirty years. He became a Director of the Citizens Bank of Swainsboro in 1944, Vice President in 1950, and President in 1956. Mr. Edenfield was a Director of the Emanuel County Hospital Authority and the Wadley Southern Railroad.
Politics claimed much of his time. A member of the Swainsboro City Council since his election in 1932, he served in the State House of Representatives from 1946-1952, was State Senator in the 1953-1954 session, and returned to the Senate for the 1959-1960 term.
Mr. Edenfield was a member of numerous volunteer and civic support organizations such as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Rotary International, and the Swainsboro Club. When he had time, he enjoyed hunting and fishing. He was a Methodist and served on the Board of Stewards of the church.
Mrs. Edenfield was also very active in the community. Using the Edenfield House as the perfect backdrop for social gatherings, functions, and parties, Mabel was a model of sophistication and elegance. She managed the home, the manicured grounds, even the gardens and livestock. In fact, there was a cow pen and chicken coop in the back yard to provide fresh milk, cream, and eggs every day. The "chicken coop" still stands today and has been converted into a one bedroom cottage.
H.C. Edenfield died in 1964, while the amazing Mrs. Mabel Edenfield lived on and in their incredible home until she passed away in 1980.
The home was bought and sold by Mrs. Nancy English in 1982-1984. Shortly thereafter, the home was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. James W. Buckley. The Edenfield House was exhaustively restored by the Buckleys in 1985 to exceed its original glory.
Mr. Jim Buckley, a professional architect and engineer, provided the stellar project management oversight on this herculean renovation effort. Conversely, Mrs. Imogene Buckley was truly the creative mastermind that powered the Edenfield House's total rejuvenation.
The collective energy, talents, and personal standards of Mr. and Mrs. Buckley were the driving forces which transformed a beautiful historic mansion into a world-class overnight accommodation destination. As stated in one of their earliest brochures, their vision was to create "the ultimate in warm, luxurious accommodations." They hit the bullseye in 1985 when they opened the Edenfield House as a bed and breakfast inn for the very first time!