The Mercer-Williams House was designed by John Norris for General Hugh W. Mercer. He was the great-grandfather of Savannah born songwriter Johnny Mercer. The home was completed in 1868 after being halted during the Civil War, General Mercer actually sold it to John R. Wilder before it was completed. Since John Norris is the same architect who designed the Andrew Low House, there are similarities between the two homes main designs and architectural styles. The owner would would make this house famous was James A. Williams, he was a private preservationist who bought the home in 1969 and restored it to be his private residence. The home carries Williams collection of 18th and 19th century furniture, Chinese proleican and other unique pieces that he collected from around the world.
This house was made infamous because of the murder of Danny Hansford by James Williams who went by Jim. The story goes that the two were lovers and that Hansford and Williams had a lovers quarrel and according to Williams he shot Hansford in self-defense. Jim Williams would go on to be tried four separate times but was acquitted. The book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a novel that was written about the murder and the prominent members of Savannah who were key people in Williams life. There was a movie developed as well that uses Savannah and the Mercer-Williams house as the set of the film.
Although there are tours given, James Williams sister still resides in the house and only allows the first floor and garden to be used for the tours, this is also because upstairs is also not equipped for large groups to tour for fire safety.
Mercer-Williams Tour Times:
Monday – Saturday Tour Times
Sunday Tour Times