The Oakland Institute can be found listed on the 1864 Lloyd’s Topographical Map of Georgia.
We can only assume that this was the name of a school and only speculate with some certainty
where it was. According to Bartow County historian, Lucy Cunyus, in her book, “History of
Bartow County, Georgia, formerly Cass”, “In 1840 a two story brick school house with an
auditorium was erected by Col. Simpson Fouche on the present Rowland Springs Road, which
had before and after the Civil War been used as a residence. Here Col. Fouche taught the
Lewis, Rowland and Howard sons.” Lewis family research by descendent Frank Lewis Irwin
may provide the answer.
Across from the Roland Springs Resort property was a two story brick mansion built in the late
1830’s or early 1840’s and given the name “Birdwood”. Much uncertainty surrounds the original
builder, but we do know that one of the early occupants, if not the first occupant was David
Lewis, born in 1793. David was one of ten children born to Jacob and Aulsie Lewis of Randolph
County, North Carolina. At the age of 13 years, David moved with his family to Pendleton
District (Pickens County), South Carolina. Years later, David married Nancy Williams, who
bore him four children, the youngest being a son, Jacob, born in 1825. The David Lewis family
moved to Cass County (now Bartow) sometime prior to 1840.
Another descendent of David Lewis, Olin Dean Lewis, a great grandson, said that his father,
David Franklin Lewis, told him that the upper floor of the house was used as a school once.
Whether or not Col. Fouche was the builder of “Birdwood” or David Lewis does not preclude
the Oakland Institute being one in the same with Birdwood. The old mansion burned in 1949
following extensive restoration.

Source: “Birdwood”, November/December 1994, Etowah Valley Historical Society Newsletter.

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