Note: The following is one of a series of articles looking at events in the history of Bulloch County.
The annual report of the Secretary of State, Henry B. Strange, of the state of Georgia, for the year ending Dec. 31, 1918, was published in 1919. It revealed a number of rural telephone companies.
The first telephone companies it listed in Bulloch County was the Bulloch Telephone Company, with an office in Statesboro, which was listed as a General Telephone Company, and was incorporated in 1916 in Statesboro.
Then, it listed the Brooklet Telephone Company, with an office in Brooklet, which was listed as a Rural Telephone Company, and was incorporated in Bulloch County in 1907.
This was followed by the Statesboro Telephone Company, with an office in Statesboro, which was listed as a Telephone Company, and was incorporated in Bulloch County in 1901.
There were also several other small rural telephone lines: the first was the Bethel Telephone Company, with an office in Statesboro, which was listed as a Rural Telephone Company, was incorporated in Statesboro in 1916.
Following this was the Emit Telephone Company, with an office in Statesboro, which was listed as a Domestic Telephone Company, and was incorporated in Statesboro in 1916.
And finally, there was the Portal Telephone Company, with an office in Ivanhoe, which was listed as a telephone service, and was incorporated in Portal in 1915.
The Bulloch Times and Statesboro News issue of May 13, 1920's informative article, entitled "Interesting Telephone History is Recalled," revealed the phones in use around the world in 1877 was only 877.
Thirty years later, the leading citizens of the small community of Brooklet were in the midst of establishing its own community telephone exchange.
The Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle issue of Jan. 22, 1917 stated the "Brooklet Telephone Company has applied to the Railroad Commission (to) continue (its) telephone service."
And, a copy of this application is on file with the clerk of council in Brooklet. The application will be heard by the Railroad Commission of Georgia at its offices in the state capital in Atlanta on November 26th, 1919.
Next, the Bulloch Herald issue for Oct. 15, 1937 revealed "The petition of J. L. Mathews, C.D. Mathews, and Harvey D. Brannen (to create) a corporation under the name of Brooklet Telephone Company."
With a capital stock of two thousand dollars, "in shares of twenty-five dollars each, all of which has been paid in, and with (a limit) five thousand dollars, (its) principal office and place of business in the town of Brooklet."
It listed the "object of said corporation; a pecuniary gain to its stockholders, and the business to be carried on is that of a general telephone business in the town of Brooklet and surrounding country."
It also reserved "the right to buy, rent, or otherwise to acquire real estate and personal property in Brooklet and elsewhere, and generally do any act and exercise any power usual and necessary in such business."
The Bulloch Herald issue for Nov. 26, 1937 stated that J.L. Mathews was elected to the Board of Directors of the state Georgia Telephone Association, which represented 174 independent telephone associations.
On Oct. 19, 1939, the Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle, announced the Brooklet Telephone Company's desire to surrender its charter, which had been granted by the court on Oct. 29 1937.
Then, in the May 29, 1952 issue of the Bulloch Times-Statesboro News-Statesboro Eagle, it was announced "Need Subscribers for Rural Phones. Subscription List 175 Short of Number Needed."
The article explained "the official approval of the rural telephone application for Bulloch County calls for 175 more subscribers than the 550 that had deposited $10" when the application was filed with the REA.
So, "at a meeting of the board of directors of the Bulloch County Rural Telephone Co-Operative on Monday the groups voted to invite the people from the Brooklet community."
And, "Now being served by the Brooklet Telephone Company, no effort has been made to enroll the organization, even though the co-operative had tentatively purchased the existing telephone company."
In fact, "The other subscriber-owned switching lines will be enrolled prior to starting the work on the lines. This last group traded with the co-operative on the basis of a share of equity in 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.