Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the establishment of the postal system in the nation, southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.
From the time of the first settlement in Bulloch County, receiving a letter was a very important event. At first, bags of mail were delivered by riders to general stores throughout the county on a weekly basis. These riders were called the local "Pony Express," performing a task similar to Pony Express riders who carried mail across the country.
Records show that the first scheduled mail deliveries to Bulloch County were made by the "Birdville" mail route riders who traversed the Wiregrass on their difficult journey once a week.
Unofficial "post offices" opened inside many general stores. "Statesbo-rough" got its first unofficial "post office" on June 11, 1823. Its mail would arrive every Wednesday (or sometimes Thursday).
Southeast Georgia’s importance in the carrying of mail was made evident when Postmaster General W.T. Barry wrote on May 17, 1832: “The route from Charleston, South Carolina, to Augusta, Georgia (was increased) to a daily line of four-horse post coaches. The route from Savannah, Georgia, to Augusta (was increased) to a daily line of four-horse post coaches.”
Furthermore, he wrote, “The route from Savannah to Macon…has been (increased) to run twice a week…The route from Milledgeville, Georgia, to Tallahassee (was now) directed to run twice a week.”
“Report #103” (1835) explained that the postmaster general allowed an extra $4,000 to be paid for the Georgia route in order to run it daily instead of three times a week as “demanded by the representatives from Georgia.”
The stagecoach mail service was replaced when the Central of Georgia Railway established regular passenger (and mail delivery) between Atlanta and Savannah.
In 1846, Allen Watson was identified as “Statesborough's” postmaster. Bulloch County's first two official post offices opened in Mill Ray on June 16, 1847; in E.W. Hodges home near Halcyon Dale; and then on Jan. 22, 1855 at Lott's Creek Baptist Church in Bengal.
Statesborough's post office kept moving around town, and actually closed down from May of 1857 until March of 1858, and then ceased to exist again from 1866 until 1872.
Then, according to documents, the post office was located at, amongst other places, a whisky store in 1873, in Fields' Hall in 1893, and in Dr. J.C. White’s Drugstore in 1894.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at email@example.com.