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Recollections of Coleraine, Sawmills, and Centerville

April 13, 1934

To the Editor of the Herald:

This morning when the rural mail carrier passed our gate and put some letters in the mailbox I began again my "meditations" and to compare in my mind the present with the past.

When the Civil War was over mail facilities were restored and a system that was satisfactory then was established. What was the system? The mail was brought from St. Marys and Camden County to Centrevillage, a distance of 32 miles once a week with a horse and buggy. Sometimes when there was a heavier mail than usual there would be as many as fifty letters and perhaps half a dozen newspapers. Of course as conditions improved more letters were sent and sometimes an ordinary mail pouch would be half filled with letters and papers. It is safe to say that in those days three-fourths of the grown people in Charlton County did not receive a letter through the mails in a year.

For some time Centrevillage was the only post office in the county, and it was with some difficulty that this office was filled. Of the few men left by the war, none were republicans and of course democrats were not eligible. Finally an old man, who was a comical indifferent sort of a character, agreed to become a republican and he was appointed postmaster. He put Mr. John R. Bachlott in charge of the office. The "office" consisted of enough pigeon-holes to use all the letters of the alphabet that was supposed to begin proper names. The case containing these pigeon-holes was about four feet square and was set on the end of a counter near to the front door of a store. Very few, if any, went to the post office to inquire for mail, only on Saturdays when they went to town on other business.

In or about the year 1867, three gentlemen from middle Georgia, Capt. W.W. Parker and Capt. J.S. Tyner, who were officers in the Civil War, and a Mr. David Hill came to Coleraine and under the firm name of Parker-Tyner and Co. erected a sawmill at Muscogee Landing about 3/4 mile up the river from where Mr. Hebard's winter home is located. I learned in my childhood that here is where the Indians used to cross the river. Not long after the sawmill was put in operation, Mr. Hill who was afflicted with a severe case of asthma, ended his life by putting a pistol in his mouth and sending a ball into his brain. Capt. Parker soon sold his interest in the business to Capt. Tyner and returned to Macon where he engaged in the hardware business. Capt. Tyner, who was held in the highest esteem by all who came in personal contact with him, continued to operate the sawmill till the time of his death which occurred as the result of tuberculosis about the year 1875.

Perhaps very few of your readers know that if he had lived, no doubt Centrevillage would have been a railroad town long before Folkston was ever thought of. A company was organized under the name of the St. Marys and Western Railroad Co. having for its purpose the building of a railroad from St. Marys to Tebeauville which is now a suburb of Waycross called Old Nine. Capt. Tyner was one of the promoters of the enterprise and was the civil engineer who surveyed the line. Col. W.G. McAdoo, father of U.S. Senator McAdoo, was president of the company.

Walter B. Baker, who was born and reared in Centrevillage and died in Fernandina a few years ago, and myself, were the chain-carriers. Walter and I were then about 19 years of age and Col. McAdoo assured us that if we remained with them and the road was built we would be advanced as rapidly as conditions and our ability would warrant. I can say with certainty that I am the only living person in this part of the state who ever knew the father of Senator William McAdoo of California, who in my opinion is one of the foremost statesmen of our country and who I hope will be President Roosevelt's successor.

In my next, if I write again, I will have something to say about the sawmill at Coleraine and about matters and persons connected with it.

--W.O. GIBSON

April 13, 1934 - also from that same article “Incidents In the History of Charlton County:”

"In the original Act, Charlton County was created entirely from territory taken from Camden, one of the state's original counties. During the session of the General Assembly of 1855-56 territory was added from Ware County and the line between the counties of Camden and Charlton was slightly changed. There were no further changes until the creation of Brantley County a few years ago."

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