Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the origins and growth of the agriculture industry in Southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.
The journal the Southern Cultivator and Dixie Farmer of September 1888 reported under its “General Alliance News” that Farmers Union “Organizer W. R. Tidwell reports that he has organized a large number of Alliances.”
These included ‘sub-alliances,’ including “Bulloch County (where the) Alliance has been organized with B. E. Turner as president and T. F. Brannen as secretary.”
The Statesboro Eagle, run by J.A. Brannen and his sister-in-law Florence Williams, ran an editorial in December 1890 supporting the Southern Alliance’s official positions.They were: keep all new public lands for more settlements and not Eastern investors; lower or remove agricultural tariffs; have sufficient silver coinage available for the public use and establish a gold standard.
The Bulloch County Banner issue of March 2, 1893 posted an “Alliance Directory.” The Bulloch County Alliance met every third Thursday, as did the Statesboro Alliance, with president G. Emmitt.
The New Castle Alliance president was G.T. Brewton, and they met the Saturday before the third Sunday. The Nellwood Alliance (later Brooklet) met every first Saturday, and their president was T.F. Brannen.
The Echo Alliance, which met at Smith’s Chapel, met every second Saturday and its president was R.F. Stringer. The Harville Alliance met every first Saturday, and its president was J.L. Lane.
The Eureka Alliance met every third Saturday, where C.R. Davis was president. Finally, there was the Mill Creek Alliance, whose president was W. Gould.
In Bulloch County, there were several Alliance newspapers. The Bulloch County Banner (an Alliance paper) was run by H.G. Everett, R.L. Moore, J.N. Woods, J.E.C. Tillman and R.H. Cone.
The June 24, 1908 Bulloch Times had an article which revealed the plans of the Farmer’s Union. It revealed the local Farmers Alliance was “To Establish Warehouse.” It stated, “Mr. D.E. Bird was appointed chairman of a special committee, (and being that) the committee has not been together since its appointment, consequently nothing definite has been (done.)
The paper revealed “Mr. Bird was in the city yesterday, and stated to the Times reporter that it was the intention of the union to either buy or lease a warehouse for the storage of cotton.”
By doing this, he said, this would hold “the staple for the members at a a nominal cost until such time as a suitable market might be afforded. Its challenge was to obtain a cotton warehouse for their members.
Bird revealed “the Farmers Union has a membership of about 500 in Bulloch County.” The Bulloch Times announced in the July 1, 1908 newspaper that the “Union Will Hold Basket Picnic At Agricultural School.
It declared “The Farmer’s Union of Bulloch will hold a grand rally (at) the agricultural school on next Saturday July 4th. Speakers of ability will be supplied by the state union (and) a pleasant occasion is assured.”
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at email@example.com.