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.
Back in the early days, people in Statesboro had some curious thoughts about the way things should run. Take the subject of pigs, or "porkers," as they were known.
The issue came to a head over Bulloch County’s population of porkers. These “filthy things” as the newspaper called them, were fouling the city streets and monopolizing the city’s few sidewalks.
The Bulloch Times issue of Aug. 14, 1895 had an article entitled “Hog or No Hog.” It explained that soon town-folk would be asked to decide if “the streets of the town shall longer be used as hog pastures.”
The article continued, “they are not wholesome-looking nor scented objects to have parading the streets (and) there is plenty of room in the country for those who wish to have their hogs run loose.”
Then, it declared, “There is not room in the town for the hogs and the people both (and) hoped that every lover of decency will cast a vote against allowing hogs to run at large upon the streets.”
The Aug. 22, 1895 edition of the Bulloch Times stated unequivocally “Statesboro can be a cleaner, healthier, and far more respectable town without the contemptible, dirty, stealing razorback running the streets.”
It asked, “Should a thousand citizens of the town suffer the hardship of having the sidewalks, streets, and every other part of town monopolized by the miserable, filthy things.” The vote was clear: “no more hogs.”
The new law stated that a farmer must have 1/8th of an acre set aside as a hog pen within the city limits. Furthermore, hogs found within a mile of Main Street could be beaten senseless if citizens were accosted by them.
On the first day of the law’s enforcement, nine of the county’s most successful farmers were hauled into court: J.F. and B.H. Olliff, H.E. Coleman, J.C. Webb, J.R. Miller, J.F. Akins, J.G. Waters, J. Blocker and H. Rollins.
The Feb. 13, 1896 Bulloch Times beheld a “Letter to Editor” wondering whether or not “the ordinance prohibiting stock from running at large is in force.”
The writer, listed as “East Sider” said he had “some cows, calves, and hogs that are costing me something to keep penned, and I am really anxious to turn them out.” The editor informed it was, and must be kept penned.
On April 16, 1896, the Bulloch Times informed everyone “the ordinance in reference to stock running on the streets was amended so as to impose a fine of $1 upon each hog or cow found on the streets after the 20th.”
The fine had been first set at “10 cents for hogs and 25 cents per cattle.” Apparently, the fine was so small the law was being ignored. One such case was decided with a $1 fine and eight of these critters were hauled off to jail.
Then, in 1906, L.F. Davis’ chauffeur Mahoney, driving Doctor Semple’s shiny new machine, sped by Professor J.E. Brannen’s house and in doing so ran over the family dog.
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.