Abandoned JUDGE A. E. SINGLETON MANSION Built Between 1900 and 1903

On January 2, 1864, in Thomaston, Georgia, the world welcomed Alexander Edward Singleton into the world. This man was born to Alexander E. Singleton, a veteran of the Confederate Army, and Mary Caroline Pierce Singleton. Before founding his own millinery shop in Union Springs, Alabama, he worked as a salesperson for W. E. Pierce’s emporium.

Mr. Alexander Singleton wed Miss Jimmie Powell in 1889 at Union Springs, at the home of Mr. A. W. Beverly. Eight children were born to the couple: four sons (A. E. Singleton, Jr., James Powell, Charles B., and Bennett Powell) and four daughters (Mary Powell, Lucile Powell, Carolyn Powell, and Frances Powell). Mary Powell Singleton was born to them in 1891. In 1895, the couple welcomed their first child, a male they named after Alexander Edward Singleton Sr.

He graduated from Union Springs High School, then went on to Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, and finally the University of Alabama. When World War I broke out, A. E. Singleton, Jr. was in New York City completing his art degree. He joined the AEF immediately and served for 26 months. Having served in the 1st Division, he was eventually reassigned to the Camouflage Corps after participating in six important battles. He went back to school after World War II and majored in portraiture at New York’s Art Students’ League.

Both Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Singleton attended Methodist services regularly. Mrs. Singleton was active in her local church and cared about the community. In 1896, she hosted the first meeting of the Union Springs Magazine Club at her home and was later named Honorary President of the Women’s Club.

For years, Mr. Singleton worked as a merchant, and he also held the offices of Union Springs mayor (1900 and 1902) and Bullock County probate judge (1900 and 1902). The Singleton family originally resided in this extravagant mansion that Judge Singleton constructed between the years 1900 and 1903. The architectural style is an East Lake variation with Queen Anne embellishments. The tower still has its original shingles on the roof, if you look closely enough.

Mr. A. E. Singleton ran for Bullock County Probate Judge in 1904. He gave up his position as head of the county Democrats to run for office. As a prosperous businessman, he enjoyed widespread respect and popularity in Union Springs. It was a close race, but in the end, Singleton came out on top. In January of 1905, he took on the role of Probate Judge. In 1910, he was re-elected to his position.

In 1911, when the probate court was being audited, Judge Singleton was accused of sloppy bookkeeping and misappropriating funds. In the same year, 14-year-old James Powell, the Singletons’ second son, tragically lost his life after being kicked in the head by a horse while on a hunting expedition. His untimely passing was the first to affect his big family and the entire community.

The will of Theodore T. Walker, who died childless in 1912, was made public and revealed that he had left the bulk of his estate—$50,000 at the time, equivalent to $1.5 million today—to two young men to whom he had grown very close: W. S. Howard and A. E. Singleton, Jr. A. E. Singleton, Jr., who was a minor when Walker made the bequest, received 897 acres of land, 320 acres of stock in the Hardaway farm, and a 50% share in Walker’s personal goods.

Walker’s heirs fought the will, but in 1914, Singleton, then 19 years old, finally received his share of the estate, which amounted to around $20,000 (almost $600,000 today). Alexander Edward Singleton III was born to A. E. Singleton, Jr. and his wife in 1925.

Probate Judge A. E. Singleton was recommended for removal from office on corruption charges in February 1913 by a county grand jury. Attorney General Robert C. Brickell initiated impeachment proceedings against the governor of Alabama a few days later in Montgomery.

With immediate effect, Judge Singleton submitted his resignation to Governor O’Neal. The governor accepted the resignation and quickly filled the position with J. T. Norman, an attorney in Union Springs. After the state examiner found a deficit in Judge Singleton’s books, a bond firm filed a claim in November of that year to recoup about $6,200 that had gone unrepaid.

The Honorable Judge Singleton recently relocated from Union Springs to Macon, Georgia. Returning to Union Springs in 1916, the Judge settled into a new residence on Peachburg Road.

In 1932, the Cope family acquired the Singleton residence through a deal. His career in brokerage began before his health deteriorated. On March 29, 1933, at the age of 69, Judge A. E. Singleton passed away in his house, and his funeral was held there as well. The body of A. E. Singleton, Jr., 38, was found in Lowe’s Creek in Union Springs not long after the death of the Judge in September 1933.

His obituary states that his unexpected and terrible passing was brought on by the loss of a childhood buddy and his own mental health. Five years later, in 1938, Mrs. A. E. Singleton passed away. The Singleton family plot can be found in Union Springs’s Oak Hill Cemetery.

The Singleton ancestral home was renamed the Singleton-Powell-Rivers home by the Bullock County Historical Society in the 1980s. In 1992, Austin and Agnes Jones purchased the property, renaming it the Singleton-Powell-Rivers-Jones Home after the families of the previous owners. Before it went into foreclosure in the 2000s, Mr. and Mrs. Tony Whyte were the last occupants of the house. Since then, it seems like it’s been empty. There is no local contact information for the current owner.

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