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George Sibbald's connection to Statesboro, Bulloch
Bulloch History
courthouse

Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.


  Some say the name for the town of Statesboro was chosen to honor Thomas Jefferson's political philosophy of states' rights.

Statesboro was made the county seat of Bulloch County in 1803. The county's first post office opened in Statesborough in 1823, and its first postmaster was John Wise.

A wealthy Maryland businessman who had settled in Augusta, George Sibbald (often spelled Siebald) was convinced by the Georgia Legislature of the benefits he would accrue by donating 200 acres for a “judicial center” on the wilderness frontier.

His Georgia Asylum Company needed this center before the legislature would consider approving his rather curious (and quickly abandoned) grandiose plan. Sibbald had purchased over 500,000 acres of land on which he and his company intended to settle thousands of new European immigrants.

Thus, Bulloch County's commissioners acquired the land upon which the county's courthouse eventually was built, hence the naming of Siebald Street. The new city of Statesboro was incorporated by an act of the Georgia Legislature in 1866.

In the final days of the Civil War, Sherman's right flank marched through the Bulloch region towards Savannah in the early days of December 1864. Once peace returned to the region, Statesboro grew rapidly.

In fact, between 1890 and 1900, its population doubled. According to the United States census of 1900, the town of Statesboro had 1,197 inhabitants, while the rest of Bulloch County had 2,491 residents.

In 1882, Statesboro had a variety of businesses. The Brannens, Lesters, Olliffs and Turners operated general stores; Daniel Thomas was the town's dentist; W.L. Foss and J.L. Lane were the town's doctors; and Brannen, Griner, Law and Potter (or Porter) were the local attorneys. 

At this time, Statesboro was situated right between the region's two major railroads — the Central of Georgia and the Seaboard Air Line — both of which connected the town to Savannah.

Statesboro also had three banks, an ice manufactory, a blind and sash factory, an iron works and the Bulloch Oil Mill. The new courthouse cost the county's residents $20,000 to build, and the new Statesboro Academy cost $15,000.

In addition, the city of Statesboro had two large sawmill operations: the Fred W. Darby Company and the Howard Lumber Company, which was established by Arthur, George, John, Jud and Nathan Howard in an outlying region but moved to Statesboro by 1920.

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.