The Mills House has been moved successfully to Long County, but the process of saving the historic home was not without trials for new owners, Pastor Tim and Cathy Parrish of Trinity Baptist Church.
“It’s been a long process, and there were trials along the way, but God is good, and he made it all work out,” said Parrish, squinting at the morning sun that rose above the historic house now settling in its new home. “When I look back on the last few months, I see where the Lord has been in it all the way. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, we couldn’t have done it.”
Parrish said money was a regular challenge. Still, he said God blessed him by providing the money precisely when it was needed, such as providing buyers for the personal property, timber and real estate he sold to raise the $40,000 costs for the move and additional money needed to restore the home.
“Whenever the cup started getting empty, God started filling it back up,” Parrish said, laughing.
Finding a reliable mover for the home was another trial. Parrish said he had contracted with a man to move another building for him after first checking out his credentials and reputation.
When that building couldn’t be obtained, the man offered to apply the money Parrish had put down toward moving the Mills House. However, when that contractor was arrested for probation violations in South Carolina, Parrish learned the contractor had “sold” the same property — which he didn’t own in the first place — to several people. Although he and other members of the community lost several thousand dollars, Parrish said he’s already forgiven the contractor.
No money was exchanged between Parrish and the second contractor. However, the Monday before that contractor was to start work, Parrish received a call that they had had serious accident while moving another building and one of their employees was badly injured. They couldn’t move the Mills House.
“I asked him if he could recommend somebody who could do the job, and he told me about T & T (House Moving and Heavy Rigging),” Parrish explained. “I checked them out, and after talking with them, I felt like they had the experience and equipment to do the job.”
Tim LaRue and son, owners of T & T in Cove Springs, Fla., were able to move the Mills House early on Jan. 22, but not without more trials.
During New Year’s weekend, someone kicked in the back door, stripped the home of all of its copper and knocked a huge hole in the kitchen wall in order to get to the copper tubing for the water heater.
Then there were delays. Permits were given to move on Friday, Jan. 13, but two days before the move, the regional office of the Georgia Department of Transportation pulled the permit. Parrish said they were told they could move the house the following Monday, but by Friday, the Jesup office of the DOT changed its mind again.
“I had cranes scheduled to take the second floor off the house, and I didn’t want to do that then have the bottom floor exposed for a week,” he said. “I had to coordinate with (Georgia Power, Canoochee EMC, Comcast and local law enforcement) to schedule the move, and those folks couldn’t change their schedules on short notice. So, I paid the movers and told them to go home, and then I called the Atlanta office of the DOT.”
The state DOT was more than understanding and “bent over backward” to work with Parrish. They called him back and told him to tell them the day and time he wanted to move the house, and they’d make it happen.
“Liberty County and Long County officials were great to work with,” he said. “And the help I got from the state DOT folks more than made up for any delays. We just give God the glory for making it all come out so good.”
The second floor has been placed back on the Mills House. Parrish hopes to have the new foundation ready in about a week, and then reconnect the other sections separated from the house. He said he expects to be living in the house in another month — Lord willing, of course.