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Chronicling the early days of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce

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POSTED: October 9, 2012 8:00 p.m.

The contents of this article were summarized and taken directly from the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce minutes.

A meeting was called at the Liberty County Courthouse on Feb. 13, 1930, for all men interested in organizing a chamber of commerce. H. C. Saunders was appointed temporary president, J. B. Fraser vice president, D. S. Owen secretary and T. H. McDowell treasurer. A set of bylaws was to be drafted and brought to the next meeting at noon Feb. 19, 1930.

At this meeting, the by-laws were read and adopted. The organization’s objective was to promote the civic, commercial and industrial welfare of the people of Liberty County and was to be called the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce. Sixteen men, two from each voting district, were to be selected as directors. Dues were $1 per year to be paid in advance, and no one could vote if dues had not been paid. To resign, one had to submit resignation in writing and pay all unpaid membership dues. There were 76 members, of whom 24 were paid members for one year and four paid for two years.

The board of directors meeting was held at 8 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the courthouse. They elected the temporary officers for 1930 and approved payment of a supper bill of $11.40 given Feb. 9. This was the first meeting of people who were interested. The treasurer could pay all bills when they were signed by the secretary and president.

Four important committees were appointed to promote Liberty County: more and better beef and dairy products, more and better hogs, more and better poultry, and road. The Georgia Forestry Service explained to members how they could render service and advice about reforestation. Fire-tower plans were presented with explanations of how they would work. The Savannah Chamber of Commerce invited Liberty to broadcast over WTOC in Savannah on April 16, which it accepted.

At the May 1930 meeting, a real-estate committee was appointed to assist the efforts of the chamber to boost Liberty County lands. The Savannah chamber offered to print more than 25,000 brochures about “Liberty County, In the Heart of the Coastal Empire.”

The sign committee was authorized to purchase and erect two 10-by-14 signs at the north and south ends of the Coastal Highway, but use as few words as possible and make them as large as possible. Also, L. P. Maggioni & Co. would send someone to meet with the Liberty county farmers and explain their contracts for beans, turnip greens, etc., for their canning plants.
In October, the chamber asked the county commissioners about getting the road from Hinesville to Midway paved and asked the state highway board to allow the contract in 1930. They also asked the commissioners to hire a farmer agent who knew about cattle.

In November, 56 members were enrolled in the new organization handled under the auspices of the LCC of C called “The Hinesville-Unit of the Georgia-Carolina Agricultural Credit Corporation.” The members proved they had been compelled by the necessity to work together. The Truck Growers and Livestock Associations also were organized. Mr. Saunders was selected to attend the tobacco conference in Atlanta.

A balance of $10.60 was in the treasury in February 1931. The directors met at Yellow Bluff Tea Room at 6 p.m. Feb. 12, and ate an oyster supper with 46 members present. (The amount of $6.40 had to be paid to D. H. Johnson for the oysters.) The same officers were re-elected for 1931.

Mrs. Fisher’s Tea Room was the meeting place in March hosted by President Saunders. A resolution was passed in reference to the road paving between Hinesville and Midway. They requested the Liberty County Commissioners to keep behind the state highway board.

In April, the directors voted to sponsor that fall’s Liberty County Fair. Prizes would be awarded for the best crops. The Hinesville Bank offered a pig for the best acre of corn. Mr. E. Smith offered to donate $5 to go with the pig. A prize of $10 and $5 was planned for the best and second-best of corn, sweet potatoes, cotton, tobacco and quarter-acre of sugar cane. They later asked the board of education and the county commissioners for donations of $100 each to help with fair expenses. (Unspent donation money later was reimbursed to the entities.)

The better-government committee set the tax commissioner’s annual salary at $1,500. The group also wanted to continue to educate the people on the manager form of government and take up the matter of calling an election.

On Sept. 1, 1931, a committee was appointed to go after the pulp mill that was to be built in Georgia with the hope of the mill being located in Liberty County.

At the Jan. 13, 1932 meeting, it was noted that Mr. Carmack of Seaboard Airline R. R. Co. would be in Willie the next day to discuss getting strawberries started and that the market would be at Claxton if 300 acres could be secured. The egg situation was discussed and a member would be sent to Savannah to see if a regular customer could be found to buy the eggs from Liberty County each day.

At the Feb. 15, 1932, meeting, the annual report was given for the year 1931. The chamber had held four membership meetings and 11 directors’ meetings. Each director had been a host and they had visited at Yellow Bluff, Riceboro, Taylors Creek and Willie. The chamber had sponsored the Live At Home Plan where they tried to persuade Liberty County residents to raise enough food for themselves and their stock to last the winter months. The Liberty Fair had been a huge success with the help of the good women of the county. They were thanked for their good work.

The county met with the McIntosh Chamber of Commerce and tried to start a movement to join forces with Liberty and Long counties to work together for this section of the state. Long County did not give any assurance of cooperation or support. There was discussion about getting a food-freezing plant in the county to freeze fresh produce, poultry and seafood. This was, in some people’s opinion, the most progressive move ever made toward the material development of this section of the country, which is truly “the garden spot of Georgia.”

This meeting wrapped up the first two years of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, and they had been successful ones with many accomplishments.

 

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