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Bulloch History: Blitch toll bridge was first to cross Ogeechee River
Blitch toll bridge was first

Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at points of interest throughout the history of Bulloch County.

Blitch toll bridge

The first bridge that crossed the Ogeechee River north of Jenck's Bridge was Blitch's toll bridge at the town of Ogeechee. In 1873, John Gideon Blitch bought a right-of-way across Mathew Donaldson’s land for $25 from Old River Road to the Ogeechee River in order to build a public toll bridge. Blitch's bridge apparently replaced the Donaldson family’s ferry. The yearly income from tolls between the years of 1876 until 1883 ranged from $1175 to $1330. 

Documents showed that W.H. Blitch sold his land and property to John W. Olliff in 1897. On Dec. 20, 1903 farmer Mathew Daughtry was moving with his family from Screven to Bulloch County. His horse accidentally knocked the buggy he and his five children were in off the bridge and two of the children drowned. Daughtry sued, settling in the Superior Court of Bulloch County on Oct 26, 1908 for $200 in damages. 

In 1905 W.H. Blitch sold all of his property to Ebenezer S. Lane of Screven County, who ran the toll bridge until 1916 when Screven and Bulloch counties made it a public bridge. A new concrete bridge was opened to traffic in 1970 that was named in Lane's honor as “The E.S. Lane Bridge.”

Bryan's toll bridge

Operated for at least part of its lifetime by the Bryan County government, this toll bridge was located in Bryan County across the Canoochee River (south of the Bulloch County border). It was mentioned in documents of the time as being in operation as early as 1799.

Burkhalter's Crossing

In 1767, Rudolph Burkhalter (or Rodolph Burgholser) received a land grant of 400 acres on the south side of the Ogeechee River in St. Phillips Parrish at a point where the Mount Pleasant indian trading path crossed the Great Ogeechee River. He improved the condition of the Indian path and established a ferry across the Ogeechee River. In addition to this crossing being named Burkhalter's Crossing or Burkhalter’s Ferry, the indian trail that crossed it then became known as Burkhalter Road.

Copp's toll bridge

In 1905 Charles Copp took the old Foy Railroad Bridge that crossed the Ogeechee River at Rocky Ford and converted it into a toll bridge, which he operated until 1912. It was also known as Capp's toll bridge.

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at

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