By R. Ward Harrison, Editor

September 1, 1950

Born in 1901 at Saffold, Early County, Ga., Verne Johnson Pickren has been a resident of Folkston for practically his entire lifetime, coming to Charlton County with his parents when only five years old.

A son of the late Hon. T.L. Pickren and Mrs. Dora Johnson Pickren, of this city, he is a member of one of the outstanding families of this community. His father was a native of Coffee County, Ga., who came to Charlton County in 1906, thereafter becoming one of the leading citizens of the county, being actively engaged in the mercantile business here for 25 years. Active in politics, he served the city of Folkston as Mayor for two terms and for several terms on the Board of Aldermen and as City Treasurer. He also served as president of the county Board of Education; County Convict Warden and Judge of the County Court. He was a member of the General Assembly of Georgia from Charlton County in the years 1915-1924 and was State Senator from this district in 1925-1926. The many positions of honor and trust filled by him attests to his high standing as a citizen.

Verne J. Pickren received his education in the Charlton County schools. He worked with his father in the grocery business on weekends and during summer vacations until sixteen years old. When about sixteen, he established a pressing club, a candy business in a small store on a site where the bus station now stands. He operated this business for about four years with a profitable patronage from the school kids nearby.

In connection with his early business endeavors Mr. Pickren recalls that his first business experience was in selling peanuts, shining shoes, carrying a paper route and also delivering milk for his mother. One of his most faithful customers of that early period, he remembers, was the Honorable L.E. Mallard, our present Tax Collector, who always had a spare nickel to invest with him.

After selling out his first mercantile business Mr. Pickren went to Hahira, Ga. where he worked in the Ford agency there for Herman Davis, who also was a native of Folkston. After working there for several months he next went to the McCants-Hall Co., Ford dealers in Jacksonville, where he was employed in the parts department for some time.

Thereafter he returned to Folkston, bought a garage business owned by George Stewart in the building where Johnson Brothers Feed Store is now located. He operated this business successfully for about three years. With his expanding business requiring more space he built a modern new building in which the Gulf Station is now located, as well as the café building next door, which he owns at the present time. Soon after occupying his new place he bought out the Chevrolet place from William and O.C. Mizell which he continued operating at the place now occupied by Stokes Motors. Later he moved the Chevrolet agency to his own garage where he carried on the business until it was transferred to C.J. Passieu. After this he took over the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership which was later transferred to P.O. Stokes, the present dealer.

In 1933 Mr. Pickren was appointed as Folkston Postmaster, securing the appointment through Congressman Braswell Deen. He held this post for ten years in which he proved to be a capable and accommodating public official.

After his retirement as Postmaster, Mr. Pickren established a successful tourist home in the residence just south of Main Street on the highway, which continues in operation under his ownership and supervision. He also owns other valuable real estate and has extensive business interests.

Always an energetic and willing worker for community progress Mr. Pickren at one time served as the president of the Folkston Chamber of Commerce. He is a member of the Methodist Church and a Mason, being a former state instructor for the Order of the Eastern Star.

In 1942 Mr. Pickren was united in marriage to Miss Leila Jeannette Tracy of this city. They have three children, Verne Johnson, Jr., Porter Tracy and Marcia Leah. Mr. Pickren also has three children from a former marriage, Marion, Jean and Samuel Lovett.

Charlton  County Archives