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Bulloch History with Roger Allen: Shearwood Railway connects Nevils to Tybee Island
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Roger Allen

Note: The following is part of a series of columns looking at the founding and general history of southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.

 

The village of Mill Creek sat astride what was originally known as Belchers Creek or Belcher's Mill Creek. Located north of Grimshaw and east of Statesboro, it was a stop on the Midland Railway line.

Originally a stagecoach stop called Mill Ray, located south of Halcyondale and northeast of Statesboro, Millray became the second post office in Bulloch County.

It was established at E.W. Hodges’ General Store on Old River Road, and its Postmasters were Hardy B. and William A. Hodges. It is said the town was named after the S.L. Miller family,

Union commanders (Brig. Gen.) Charles Robert Woods and (Maj. Gen) John Major Corse stopped in Mill Ray on December 4, 1864 while advancing towards Jencks Bridge and Savannah.

The community of Mitchell Forks was located on Old Highway 67 several miles south of Denmark, the furthest point the railroads had reached towards Egypt in 1916.

A village with a population of 94 in 1900, Myers was located alongside Iric Creek. It was four miles northeast of Pulaski, the nearest railroad station on the Dover to Dublin Branch of the Central of Georgia Railroad.

The community of Nellwood, which eventually spawned the town of Brooklet, was located just south of the city of Brooklet's current location. The postmasters were John E. Cromley and Robert M. Southwell.

The Nevils Post Office was established in 1899. The first two postmasters were George P. Strange and John S. Nessmith (or NeSmith). Closed in 1904, it re-opened in 1920 with the arrival of the Shearwood Railway. 

Jake Griner Nevils sold 174 acres to the Shearwood Railway for $1. Once the Shearwood put on passenger cars, local residents could ride the train from Nevils all the way to Tybrissa Pavilion on Tybee Island. 

The railroad carried school children to and from the Brooklet High School. John Nessmith built the first general store in Nevils. New owner C.J. Martin built a two-story brick general store right across from the depot.

Martin's store was soon called the “Best-stocked General Store in the Southeast.” 

Trains would carry truckloads of watermelons out to northern markets, and would bring in truckloads of guano for fertilizing the fields.

 

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

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