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Old farmer had grit to stay alive
Liberty lore
Margie Love
Marige Love is a history buff. - photo by File photo

Luther Henry Quarterman was born at Canoochee Bluff on Oct. 5, 1870. He married Mary Elizabeth Walker from McIntosh County.

Luther did many things in his long life, but he enjoyed the lumber business most. He was also very interested in starting Presbyterian chapels. He set up the first chapel in Allenhurst, and it is now a very nice church.

In 1939, Luther decided to retire and settle on a small farm. He selected 25 acres across from the historic Flemington Presbyterian Church. He built a six-room, central-heated bungalow. The home is now occupied by Lawrence Hammack.

In 1941, he left Savannah and moved to the farm to have a fling at farming and livestock. The first year there, he supervised building poultry yard with a brooder house, smokehouse, woodshed and two-story barn. He planted several hundred fruit trees, built a large scuppernong arbor and much more.

He bought a small herd of Angus and Hereford cattle, a barn full of mules and horses, and found himself buying and selling stock. He farmed, fished and hunted deer.

Outdoors most of the time, he enjoyed riding Play Boy, his registered Tennessee walker. He had a lot of help with his cattle, which fed on the open range, from his registered English shepherd, Dora Deen.

His dear wife of 50 years died Nov. 6, 1959. Shortly after, he left his place in Flemington and moved in with his daughter, Leonora, in Savannah in the Ashantilly Apartments that he had built 27 years earlier.

He was 90. Luther died at the age of 98 in 1968 and is buried in McIntosh County. Leonora was an artist and did many paintings of Savannah scenes, as well as the sketches for her parents’ books. She died in 1979.

Quarterman also had a son, Edward William "Riley" Quarterman, born in 1913 and also died in 1979.

After Luther turned 90, he wrote "Reminiscences of a Country Boy" about his life. I really enjoyed it, especially learning more about the area’s history. The second edition was printed in 1965. His wife also wrote one, "The Home at the Bluff," about her childhood.

One of Quarterman’s stories made me realize what a tough and ingenious fellow he was. He was on a horse every day, even at the time he was sworn in as a town councilman. Before he got Play Boy, when he was probably 72, he was riding a half-broken filly on his farm in Flemington, looking for stray cattle.

Something spooked the filly in the dense woods. She reared and fell backwards, pinning Quarterman unconscious under her. When he came to, the filly was standing beside him, reins still in his hands. He tied the reins to his wrists and took stock of the situation.

Quickly, he realized his back was broken. He was almost helpless from his waist down. It was nearly dark and cold. He knew if he stayed in that remote area, no one could find him soon enough. His wife would not even be home until midnight, as she had gone to a concert in Savannah. A farmhand had moved off his place just a few days before.

He decided it was up to him, the filly and Providence. Necessity being the mother of invention, he used his wits. He saw a pine sapling 6 yards away, managed to roll over onto his stomach and pull himself along by clutching clumps of wiregrass until he reached the tree.

From time to time, he blacked out. Finally he reached the tree and slowly, one hand above the other, pulled himself up the sapling, despite severe pain. He pulled himself up until he could fall over the filly and left it up to her to find the way home.

He wondered how he would get off when he arrived. But, it just so happened, the farmhand and his son had been to the farm the day before to harvest a patch of sugar cane. The kid had left his shoes in the barn. They were fetching them and just leaving when the filly arrived at the gate.

They helped Quarterman to his bedroom. A man from a tombstone company in Savannah was working across the road in the Flemington Presbyterian Cemetery. He saw the commotion and went to help. He called a doctor and ambulance, and soon Quarterman was in a hospital in Savannah.

Many days later, after eight weeks in a cast from his armpits to his ankles and a loving wife to see about him, he finally recovered. He was back in the saddle and chasing stray cattle again.

Quarterman spent 17 years on his Flemington farm.

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