Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.
The Electricity Newspaper Company's journal, “Electricity,” for June 1, 1898, reported that "the D. A. Tyson Telephone Company has completed all but a few miles of its long-distance line between Macon and Savannah, Ga."
And, "from Macon to Savannah the line is about 175 miles, (through) Dublin, Swainsboro and Statesboro. It branches out from Swainsboro to Mount Vernon and other points near the Georgia & Alabama Railroad."
It revealed "the towns reached in the trade territory of Savannah are Bloomingdale, Meldrim, Blichton, Arcola, Statesboro, Summit, Graymont, Hillburn, Dardenville, Swainesboro, Stillmore, Covena," and more.
The Bulloch Times issue of Sept. 16, 1898 revealed that "The telephone business (has) assumed such proportions, that (their) office became too small."
"So, the company has (moved to) the room occupied by Col. Tyler (in) the Holland building." The American Telephone Journal's Telephony of March 25, 1919, revealed in 1899 J.A. Matthews bought the city's local exchange.
At this time, Statesboro had 25 subscribers. Matthews merged its exchange with the Dover & Statesboro's "10-mile telegraph line and short toll line." Soon, they were taken "over by the Statesboro Telephone Co."
Furthermore, it added that they have "grown to a common battery system serving 450 city and 250 rural (telephone) subscribers." Next, the Statesboro Star of Dec. 13, 1899 made a major announcement.
It revealed “The wire has arrived for the new telephone line that is to be built down the Savannah and Statesboro Railway.” This "connection will be made at Cuyler with the Tyson Telephone Co.”
“(Swainsboro's) Pine Forest paper shared that subscribers (will get) access to the outside lines." The March 29, 1901 Statesboro News revealed that “The Statesboro Telephone Co. is branching out (and) building new lines.”
And, “Connection will be made from Register to Adabelle, and Undine, and they expect soon to reach Metter, Pulaski, and Parrish. A line is being built to Mr. W.H. Blitch’s from Sylvania (connecting) to the Statesboro (line.)
What's more, "They (now) own a line to Savannah, and you can “call up” anybody you want.” A week later, the April 19, 1901 issue of the Statesboro News gave an update.
“The telephone line between Sylvania and Ogeechee is completed. Work will now commence on an extension of the line from Ogeechee to Statesboro, where it will connect with the line to Statesboro.”
Thus, “The completion of the extension to Statesboro will give Sylvanians and those living along the line a splendid and cheap service with Statesboro.”
Next, “An effort will be made to have the Sylvania, Halcyondale, Ogeechee, and Sylvania lines consolidated (so that) one switch board can be used in Sylvania.”
On Dec. 20, 1901, the Statesboro News reported that “The Statesboro Telephone Co. (now) owns 70 miles of line and an exchange in Statesboro.”
It had “about 50 subscribers." The Central Railroad, Register, Parish, Pulaski, Metter, Clito, Dover, Stilson, Brooklet, Woodburn, and Blitchton are all connected. At Blitch, connection is made with the Sylvania lines.”
On May 30, 1902, the Statesboro News reported that “The Statesboro telephone is spreading out all the time. They now have 63 phones in town, and 20 stations on the country lines.”
The Sept. 19, 1902 Statesboro News reported that “the Statesboro Telephone Co., and the Georgia Telephone & Telegram Co. of Savannah, will build (a) copper metallic circuit.”
Stretching “between here and Savannah, (it will ensure) the people of Bulloch County (have) first-class service. We understand that the line will cost about $10,000.”
The Savannah Morning News issue of Friday, Aug. 28, 1903 announced a new "Big Telephone Deal" which will Affect the Chief Georgia and Alabama Cities."
It added, "these contracts were signed today by W. A. Bisbee of the Southern Long-Distance Telephone and Telegraph Company, and the Georgia Telephone and Telegraph Company of Savannah."
They were "also signed by C. Jerome Simmons, president of the Atlanta Telephone and Telegraph Company. New long-distance lines will be put in operation within the course of the next year."
"These lines will connect Savannah, Atlanta, Montgomery, Birmingham, Columbus, Macon, Milledgeville and Augusta, and all interior towns. The Atlanta company is entirely independent of the Bell."
Most importantly, "it went through a receivership, and is now reestablished on a firmer basis. The line now operated between Savannah and Statesboro will be a part of the new system."
Roger Allen is a local lover of history who provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.