by R. Ward Harrison, Editor

July 14, 1950

Born near the town of Hortense of what was then Pierce County, but now Brantley County in 1880, Joseph Emmett Harvey, Sr. was reared on his father’s farm there. He is a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. W.M. Harvey, pioneer settlers of that area.

After attending the common schools of his home community the subject of this sketch terminated his formal education at the age of thirteen when at that tender age he went to work with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad as a telegraph operator, having mastered the Morse code at night after working on the farm all day.

After a three-months training period as an assistant to the Hortense agent, the 13-year-old lad was given a regular job and went to work as night operator at Hortense in 1903 beginning a career which was to continue without interruption until his retirement in 1947 with more than forty years of continuous service to his credit.

Throughout his long service with the Coast Line Mr. Harvey was given only two assignments, at Hortense and Folkston. After about twenty years service at Hortense he was transferred to this city where he has been located. During his service in Folkston he held the position of first trick dispatcher for twenty years having also been in charge of Western Union’s local agency during that time.

In 1947 Mr. Harvey was placed on the retired list due to physical disability from an eye ailment. At the time of his retirement after more than forty years of service, he was highly commended by the railroad officials for his long and faithful service and the capable performance of duties, not a single reportable accident having marred his record.

Since his retirement Mr. Harvey has continued to be a resident of Folkston. He owns a comfortable home here and says he expects to spend the remainder of his days in this city as there are no people anywhere that he likes better or finds more congenial.

He is a member of the Order of Railroad Telegraphers, Association of Agents and Operators and was formerly active in the W.O.W. An active member of the Free Will Baptist Church he now serves as Supt. of the Sunday School. His chief hobbies are gardening and fishing and is a devoted follower of that sport.

Recalling his early impressions of Folkston Mr. Harvey said his first visit to this city was in 1904. There were only two stores here at that time, he remembers, one of them operated by Jehu Paxton and the other by H.J. Davis. The county seat was then at Traders Hill, having been moved to Folkston shortly thereafter. The post office was located in the residence of Price Robinson, now owned and occupied by Frank Smith. Houston Hathaway, brother of John Hathaway, was then the town Marshal. Mr. Harvey also recalled that he has been a subscriber to the Herald since he first came to Folkston.

In 1905 Mr. Harvey was united in marriage to Miss Addie Bagley. Her death a few years ago was deeply mourned throughout the community. To this union seven children were born, five sons, LeRoy, Tyson, Herbert, Harry and J.E. Jr. and two daughters, Mrs. Grace Cason and Mrs. Margaret Perdue, both of Jacksonville. Mr. Harvey also has twelve grandchildren.

Charlton  County Archives