The weather was too cold to do anything but stay inside to stay warm for weveral weeks over the winter. So I had time to reread many of my local history books.
There is always something new that jumps out. I collected several little-known facts from Robert Groover’s "Sweet Land of Liberty" that I want to share.
Hickory Lawn was between Hinesville and Gum Branch. It is the home of Earl and Wanda Phillips today. In 1887, the Liberty County Agricultural Society had headquarters in Hinesville and branches in Taylors Creek and Hickory Lawn.
F.C. Miller published The Southern Home, a newspaper in Walthourville, around 1882, for five years.
Dr. Farmer operated a Young Ladies Seminary at Jones Creek before 1857. After the Civil War, he completed medical school and established a medical practice and general store in Hinesville.
"Doctor Loggins" sold from a gypsy wagon pills, potions and charms for all real and imaginable ills. In April 1879, his ad in the Hinesville Gazette said his fee was never less than $1 and until the fee was paid, the charm would not work. This was for the superstitious people.
Walthourville Presbyterian Church, built on land donated by Andrew Walthour, was destroyed by fire in 1877. The second church, built on property near there, was destroyed in 1881 by a storm. A third was erected on the same spot and dedicated in July 1884. The beautiful historic church still stands, and they have a reunion each year. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. At this time, it actually is in Long County.
Mount Zion Baptist Church, the first house of worship for blacks in Hinesville, was organized on June 15, 1884.
In 1896, there were six black people over 100 years old in Liberty County.
Samuel D. Bradwell, from Hinesville, was named state school superintendent in 1891.
A Hinesville ordinance in 1897 forbade anyone to shoot or discharge any pistol, gun or cannon within 100 yards of the courthouse without permission from the mayor or council.
James R. Bagley settled in Hinesville in 1887. He established five businesses in town and each one burned to the ground with no insurance. Five times he rebuilt. He was a large man with a booming voice and loved to sit on his little porch in front of his store and watch people come and go. He was also the town marshal. He dug the first water well on the courthouse square, and it served the public for more than 40 years. He was also the first person to sell caskets in Hinesville. Everyone knew and liked him.
A large salting operation was established on James Audley Maxwell King’s plantation on Colonels Island in 1862. He sold the salt in Savannah for $35 per bushel. He gave free salt to families of Confederate soldiers. Heavy rains in the fall of 1863 made it impossible to boil salt for three months. The winter of 1863 was one of the coldest anyone could remember.
Benjamin "Squire" Darsey lived in town and operated a large farm where the Fort Stewart main post would be located 42 years later.
Total deposits on the first day of business, Nov. 15, 1911, in the Hinesville Bank were $1907.44.
In 1917, Henry Lowe owned the Hinesville Ice Co. and sold ice for 50 cents for 100 pounds. In 1939, children could swim all day in a small pool located behind the Hinesville Ice and Water Co. for a nickel.
"Meat-less, Wheat-less and Fuel-less days" were observed throughout Liberty County during World War I.
In 1919, farmers in Liberty County were offered "bright leaf" tobacco seeds free by the Georgia Board of Trade to plant for the next year. It was expected that the tobacco would replace cotton as the money crop, but it was several years before many farmers planted it in the county.
Preachers called dancing a sin in Liberty County in 1919 when people danced too close to each other. Four years later the Charleston, where partners seldom touched each other, became popular.