October 31, 2014

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Jim Williams had a warm honeyed Georgia accent that was as charming as he was.
Jim Williams
A man of immense talent, he refurbished and bought and sold homes and antiques in Savannah.

Savannah, Georgia is that graceful,  elegant belle of the south where the past is always alive.
She is filled with the ghosts of her past and they are welcoming to visitors who step into the past as they enter. She is a city made for dreaming of bygone days.

Williams was also the only Georgian ever tried for the same crime four times! A travesty really.

Mercer house was never lived in by any of the Mercer family at all, including composer Johnny Mercer and today, after Mr. Williams death the glorious mansion which occupies one full block on the square in Savannah is a museum.
I suppose after the shooting death  of Danny Hansford inside the house no one offered to buy it after Jim himself passed away.

The house was built by  General Hugh Mercer, of Civil war fame, but he never got to live in the house because of circumstances of the war.
The Mercer family also included General Mercer of the Revolutionary war, General Patton of WWII and the famous song writer Johnny Mercer.

The drama of those days and the charm and quirky atmosphere are memorialized in the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt.
If you want to hear the book I recommend the vocal rendition done by actor Anthony Heald. What an excellant job he does in interpreting every line, every accent and voice.
Jim Williams passed on from walking pneumonia in 1990 having finally been acquitted of murder.
His life, however, was far more than just the book or the movie. 
Mr. Williams personally restored 50 historic homes in Georgia saving them from certain loss  something we should all appreciate.   There just is no building being done today that comes within a universe of the grace and glory of bygone days.
It is sad that a person's life can be distilled down to one part of it while the rest may pass by unknown.

I was inspired to share this with you as I am on my 'umpteenth' listening to the book on tape.
Here are some photos of Mercer House....


Mercer House seen from Monterey Square

Living room
 Be still my heart.  So beautiful.


  1. Such gorgeous house furnishings! I love visited historic houses. By the story you tell, it must have been a sad house though. The south does hold such charm like houses such as these. Thanks for sharing the story.

  2. Happy November 1st Annie; What a great post I've learned a lot about Jim Williams through your post and never realized it belonged to the family of composer Johnny Mercer. I too love visiting historical homes. A shame it was a sad life for Williams. Thank you for sharing this with us. Have a blessed weekend my friend.

  3. Hi Annie! Thank you for this post! I love visiting historic houses too! You have made me want to read more about Jim,

  4. Sorry, my iPad froze. I also love to read histories of historic homes. Going to be looking into this! Have a great Saturday my friend!


I love hearing your thoughts and your visits mean a lot to me.