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Bulloch History with Roger Allen

‘Lost’ towns of Bulloch County

    Bulloch County has been around now for more than 200 years. Many of the very first communities founded have since disappeared. Some were moved elsewhere and some just faded away. In many cases, no one knows how these places got their names and how they were established where they were. Some town names actually made sense — once you heard the tale.
    For instance, when a Central of Georgia Railroad official kept referring to the train depot just west of Statesboro as “where he met her” (referring to his wife, of course), the name stuck, and it became known forever more as the “Metter” depot. In another case, when Alfred Kiefer realized he could hear an echo when he shouted from his home towards the direction of Rocky Ford, he decided to name his fledgling community as “Echo”.
    In the days of the new Rural Free Delivery (RFD), the selection of informal “Post Offices” (PO), in reality simply postal drops, was key to the growth (and death) of many towns. Wherever the location was, the people responsible for handling the mail could request a name. Likely as not, their choice was turned down and another was name given (apparently for no reason).
    Some PO’s were actually allowed to bear the names of important locals: “Leefield” was named after Tom Lee; and “Jimps” was named after either Jimerson Kennedy or Jimps Olliff, depending on who you talked to. Bulloch County’s second official PO was named Bengall: its name has been tied to both the “Bay Gall” shrub found in the area, as well as the “Bengal” variety of sugar cane, grown in the region. The PO at “Club House,” located in Kit Parish’s store, was actually the 45th Militia District’s official meeting place.
    Not all town names were tied to the delivery of the mail. Some were very straightforward: The community of “Social Circle” was named because there were two important Indian Trails that crossed each other there: the High Tower Trail. Whenever travelers came across others at this junction, they almost always stopped to socialize.
    Other towns’ names came from personal choices made by those who lived there. A perfect example is the naming of the community of “Hopeulikit” by L.E. Tyson, the owner of a filling station and playhouse. He saw a race card, which had on it a horse named “Hope You like it”. He decided it would fit his little piece of Bulloch County, and the name stuck. Another such name was that given the community of “Cliponreka”, which was named from the three “Old Field Schools” [Clito, Beaver Pond, and Eureka] whose students were now sent to the larger school built in this community.
Bulloch County has lost many towns, not to their slow (or rapid) economic demise, but rather to political divisions which have at least three times whittled away at the county’s boundaries. When in 1905, Jenkins County was formed, a little bit of Bulloch went with it: the communities of Bliss, Echo, and Endicott were in Bulloch no more. In 1914, two new counties were formed: Evans County, which took with it the communities of Geranium, Green, and Lanham; and Candler County, which took with it at least 11 little pieces of Bulloch history.
    But, despite the loss of these towns, Bulloch County has fared very well. In fact, according to the latest statistics, there is now one city (Statesboro) and eight towns (Brooklet, Denmark, Hopeulikit, Leefield, Nevils, Portal, Register, and Stilson) that make up Bulloch County. The truth is that despite what the maps may show, there is actually much more to our county. In fact, as of 2005 they were 85 populated places (at least one or more inhabited residences) and 621 named places (sites that bear some significance) in the 628 square miles that make up Bulloch County, and every one is special and unique.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger dodger53@hotmail.com

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