Note: The following is the conclusion of a series of columns exploring use of rivers in the early history of Georgia and Bulloch County.
In Bulloch County, the area's very first road, Burkhalter Road, crossed the Canoochee River at Tillman's Bridge and continued on to "The Forks," where the Altamaha River begins.
Bulloch County waterways feed into first the Ogeechee River watershed itself and second the Canoochee River watershed, which empties into the Ogeechee.
The most well-known waterway is Mill Creek, which empties into the Ogeechee River near Leefield. It has had numerous different names. At first, it was called Belcher's Mill Creek, named after settler William Belcher. It also was called Bird's Mill Creek after the Bird family settled there on some 1,000 acres, and Burgon Bird built two mills on the creek.
The second waterway is Black Creek, originally called Weelustie Creek, from the Muskogee words "wiwa" (water) and "lustie" (black). This creek flows into the Ogeechee River near Meldrim.
When it was part of Effingham County, for a while it was known as Ironmongers Creek. It has two branches: Black, which became Upper Black, and Second Black, which became Lower Black.
The third waterway is Lotts Creek, named after "Gentleman" John Lott, who received a land grant in this area. Upper and Lower Lotts Creek also were known to many as Big and Little Lotts Creek.
The fourth waterway is Nevils Creek, named after John Neville, who settled on what was then Bonnell's Creek. It has been "moved" repeatedly - from Burke to Screven, then to Effingham and finally to Bulloch.
The fifth waterway is Sculls Creek, named after John Scull, who moved down from North Carolina and settled near what was then called Shoal Creek. First, it was the northern boundary of Bulloch and Emanuel counties and later became the boundary between Bulloch and Jenkins counties.
While some mills had significant drops in ground elevation in order to power them, others required aids, such as turbine pits. Bulloch County's waterways had many mill creeks, most of which ran year-round on turbine power.
Akins Mill was located on Mill Creek, Cypress Lake Mill on Lotts Creek, Davis' Mill on Spring Creek, Groover's Mill on Mill Creek and Ray's Mill on Ray's Mill Pond.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.