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Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home


Wilson House Photo 1

Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home
Rebecca Rogers

Although he is generally associated with Princeton University and the governorship of New Jersey prior to becoming President of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia and spent 13 childhood years in Augusta, Georgia.  The son of Joseph Ruggles Wilson, a Presbyterian minister, he moved with his parents and two sisters  to Augusta in 1858, when his father was installed as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.  The future president, then known as “Tommy,” had just turned one when the Wilsons moved to Augusta. His younger brother was born while they lived in Augusta.

In 1860, the church offered Reverend Wilson a raise and a comfortable new house as incentives to remain.  The salary increased from an above average $2,500 to a generous $3,000 per annum.  The church purchased the house for $10,000.  The Classical Revival 2½-story brick home had conveniences of the day, including gas lighting and running water.  The church justified this purchase by explaining its goal of making the pastor and his family so comfortable in this temporal life that his only earthly concern would be the care of his congregants’ souls.


Wilson House Photo 1

Interior Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home
Rebecca Rogers

The Wilson family remained in Augusta until the fall of 1870 when Tommy was nearly 14. Wilson suggested in a speech in 1909 that his earliest memory was standing at the front gate and hearing someone pass by exclaiming that Abraham Lincoln had been elected, and there would be war.  He also remembered wounded and dying soldiers, when his father’s churchyard had been confiscated by the Confederate government to use as a hospital.  Joseph Wilson, originally from Ohio, defended slavery in a widely distributed sermon and served as Chaplain in the Confederate Army.  Young Tommy Wilson witnessed Jefferson Davis being brought under guard through the streets of Augusta after his capture. 

While living in the house, Wilson formed the Lightfoot Baseball Club with friends and served as its president.  He wrote a constitution and bylaws and conducted the meetings according to Parliamentary Procedure in the carriage house.  This started his lifelong fascination with governing and political science, culminating in the U.S. Presidency and formation of the League of Nations.

Plan your visit

The Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 419 7th St. within the boundaries of the Augusta Downtown Historic District. It is owned and operated by Historic Augusta, Inc. and is open for tours, Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm.  An admission fee is charged. Groups by appointment. Call 706-722-9828.  For additional information, visit Woodrow Wilson Boyhood Home. The home has been documented by the National Park Service's Historic American Buildings Survey.

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