Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
There were other smaller operations: W. H. Sharpe set up a turpentine still along the Ogeechee River, W.B. Meyer set up his still near the town of Laston, and R. L. Graham built a still near the Fellowship Church.
In addition, W.W. Bland opened a still in Westside situated along the Metter Road, the Carr Brothers set up shop in Adabelle, and J.A. McDougald and Jessie Outland (B.T.’s son) opened their own business.
The biggest company of all was owned by J.P. Williams, who ran the largest NS Commission House in the entire Southeastern U.S. and managed 700,000 acres of turpentine crops.
In July of 1882, the Savannah Naval Stores Exchange was founded at the direction of the Superior Court. According to records, 63,408 barrels of NS were shipped in the Exchange’s first year.
In June of 1883, the name of this entity was changed to the Savannah Board of Trade. Soon, the ports of Savannah and Brunswick led the nation in all NS shipments, exporting over 1 million barrels in 1891-2.
“Turpentiners” McDougald and Outland partnered with Dr. Charles Herty in his experiments that produced the famous “Herty Cup.”
Charles Herty experimented with a cup-and-gutter system for collecting resin from the pine trees at the First District and Mechanical High School (now GSU) grounds in Statesboro.
His cup and gutter system did not hurt the trees as much as the old boxing system, allowed the trees to be used much longer for turpentine, and helped get more resin from the trees. They were called Herty Cups.
In 1938, the Charles Herty Advanced Materials Development Center was established in Statesboro, as Herty had developed a process to manufacture pulp and paper products.
Dr. Herty’s work, first with naval stores, and then with the pulp and paper industry, led to the creation of an industry in Georgia that brings in more than $25 billion in revenues.
In 2012, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal transferred operation of the Herty Center to Georgia Southern University which works hand-in-hand with the state of Georgia.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.