Alexander Edward Singleton was born on January 2, 1864, in Thomaston, Georgia. He is the son of Confederate Civil War veteran Alexander E. Singleton and Mary Caroline Pierce Singleton. He came to Union Springs, Alabama in 1886 and worked as a salesman in W. E. Pierce’s mercantile store before opening his own millinery store. In 1889, Mr. Alexander Singleton married Miss Jimmie Powell at the residence of Mr. A. W. Beverly in Union Springs. The couple had a total of eight children: four sons; A. E. Singleton, Jr., James Powell, Charles B., and Bennett Powell along with four daughters; Mary Powell, Lucile, Carolyn, and Frances Powell. Their first child, Mary Powell Singleton, was born in 1891. Their eldest son and his father’s namesake, Alexander Edward Singleton, Jr., was born in 1895. After attending high school in Union Springs, he enrolled at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia and later at the University of Alabama. A. E. Singleton, Jr. was pursuing his art studies in New York City when World War I was declared. He enlisted at once, serving 26 months with the American Expeditionary Forces. He was in six major engagements, and afterward, was transferred from the 1st Division to the Camouflage Corps. After the war, he resumed his studies at the Art Students’ League in New York City, specializing in portraiture.
Mr. & Mrs. A. E. Singleton were members of the Methodist Church. Mrs. Singleton was devoted to her church and interested in the civic life of her small town. She founded the Union Springs Magazine Club at her residence in 1896 and was made Honorary President of the Women’s Club for her work. Mr. Singleton engaged in the mercantile business for several years and served twice as Mayor of Union Springs (1900 & 1902), and twice as Probate Judge of Bullock County. This opulent residence was built by Judge Singleton sometime between 1900 and 1903 and was once occupied by the Singleton family. The style is East Lake with Queen Anne trim. If you look closely at the roof, you can see the original shingles remain on the turret.
In 1904, Mr. A. E. Singleton announced his candidacy for Probate Judge of Bullock County. He resigned as chairman of the county Democratic Executive Committee to enter the race. As a successful merchant, he was well-known and well-liked in Union Springs. However, the race was very close, but Singleton won by a small majority. He began serving as Probate Judge in January 1905. He won re-election in 1910. By 1911, an audit of the probate court was underway, and Judge Singleton was accused of careless bookkeeping and using monies collected for personal use. That same year, the Singleton family was struck with the news of the death of their second son, 14-year-old James Powell, who had been kicked in the head by a horse during a hunting trip. His tragic death was the first in the large family and felt throughout the town.
In 1912, the will of the late Theodore T. Walker was made public and disclosed the fact that the deceased, who had no children of his own, left the bulk of his estate, valued at $50,000 ($1.5 million today), to W. S. Howard and A. E. Singleton, Jr., two young men to whom he had become greatly attached. Walker bequeathed A. E. Singleton, Jr., who was still a minor at the time, 897 acres of land, the stock on Hardaway place of 320 acres, and half interest in personal property. The will was contested by heirs of Walker, although in 1914, a 19-year-old Singleton came into full possession of what was left to him which amounted to about $20,000 (nearly $600,000 today). A. E. Singleton, Jr. married in 1925 and had a son, Alexander Edward Singleton III
In February 1913, a county grand jury suggested that Probate Judge A. E. Singleton be removed from office for corruption. A few days later, impeachment proceedings were filed in Montgomery by Attorney General Robert C. Brickell. Judge Singleton gave his resignation to Governor O’Neal effective immediately. The resignation was accepted and in less than two hours the governor appointed Union Springs attorney J. T. Norman to fill the vacancy. By November of the same year, a bond company sought to recover nearly $6,200 that was never paid back, after it was discovered by the state examiner that Judge Singleton’s books were short. Judge Singleton sold his home in Union Springs and moved to Macon, Georgia. In 1916, the Judge moved back to Union Springs and purchased a home on Peachburg Road.
The Singleton home was traded to the Cope family in 1932. Before his health began to fail, he worked in the brokerage business. Judge A. E. Singleton died at the age of 69 on March 29, 1933, at his residence and his funeral was held in the home. Not long after the Judge’s death, in September 1933, the body of 38-year-old A. E. Singleton, Jr. was discovered in Lowe’s Creek in Union Springs. According to his obituary, the death of a boyhood friend and the state of his own mental health was the cause of his untimely and tragic death. Mrs. A. E. Singleton died five years later in 1938. The Singleton family is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Union Springs.
In the early 1980s, the Bullock County Historical Society referred to the Singleton ancestral home as the Singleton-Powell-Rivers home in tour booklets. The home was owned by Austin and Agnes Jones in 1992, who renovated and decorated the house, and was then known as the Singleton-Powell-Rivers-Jones Home. The home was last owned by Mr. and Mrs. Tony Whyte in the 2000s before it fell into foreclosure. It appears to have been vacant ever since. The current owner is listed as out of state.
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What is the rest of the story? How and when did the home come to be abandoned and by who? Who owns it now?
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I added more info. It is currently owned by an out of state owner. It has been abandoned since around 2008 when it fell into foreclosure.
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Beautiful mansion, absolutely beautiful. I fell in love when I got to the 6th picture going forward. Everything about this mansion spells gorgeous, from the bottom to the top. I wonder what the owner’s plans for this home is as it would be ashamed to just let it continue to sit abandoned.
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This house is amazing! Did anyone purchase the home after Mrs. Singleton passed away? I’m curious about how long it’s been abandoned because it’s still so beautiful and looks to be in fairly good condition! I especially love the photo you took at the top of the staircase. Great work!
What a gracious house
This is an absolutely gorgeous home. Do you know or think that the out of state owner would be interested in selling this beautiful home bc I would love to own it and turn it into a home for abuse women and children but still keep the beauty of it. Please reach out to me and let me know something about the owner and if he’s wanting to sell the house as is. Thank you so much for your time.