Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the origins and growth of the agriculture industry in Southeast Georgia and Bulloch County.
After Statesboro merchant J. Fields began selling soda waters in his New York Bargain Store in Statesboro in 1894, Fields and Dempsey Barnes opened Fields and Barnes Bottling Works plant.
The April 19, 1901 Statesboro News reported that J.F. Fields said, “I have bought of Mr. B.P. Maul the Statesboro Bottling Works and Ice Business.”
The April 18, 1902 Statesboro News shared some exciting news. It announced J.F. Fields’ Statesboro Bottling Works and Ice House (had) “a telephone (and) those living around the various railroad lines can place orders just before trains leave.”
Cone and Parker's Ice and Bottling Company opened in Brooklet. The Statesboro News of June 20, 1902 announced “Keep Cool at Parker & Smith’s Old Stand."
Now run by Kittrell & DeLoach, they advertised, “Delivered at your door any day in the week, Sunday included; any quantity from 5 cents to a car; Give us your order and you will be treated fairly.” Telephone #28.
On Jan. 9, 1903, the Statesboro News reported a Mr. Winters was in Statesboro 10 days earlier making preparations to put up an ice factory, and then D.B Morgan and S.L. George, both of Savannah, also came up.
What’s more, “A tract of land on the S&S railroad has been secured for the location of the factory. It is the intention of the promoters to put in a large plant, and to be ready for the spring business.”
In the Jan. 23, 1903 edition of the Statesboro News, it was announced that George and Morgan came up from Savannah (and) raised $6,000 for the erection of an ice factory in Statesboro.”
A charter was applied for under the firm name of the Statesboro Ice Manufacturing Company. The News reported “Mr. W.L. Clay, the well-digger, (would) bore an artesian well for his factory.”
Not to be outdone, “Mr. Fields went out organizing another company, to be known as the City Ice Company, and secured from large numbers of Statesboro’s solid citizens $7,000 in subscriptions.”
Fields next “wired the Columbus Iron Works, a firm who makes a specialty of putting up the kind of machinery needed in an ice factory (even) putting up $1,250 as a starter in cold cash.”
On Feb. 27, 1903, the Statesboro News reported “Mr. J.C. Bertsch (of the) Frick Ice machine Works of Waynesboro, Pa. was in Statesboro...to install the machinery for the Statesboro Ice Mfg. Co.”
On March 27, 1903, the Statesboro News revealed that the “work on the well for the City Ice Co., was started on Wednesday. Messrs. W.D. and H.B. Davis are boring it.”
In addition, “The foundations are all set, and ready for the machinery, which will arrive in a few days. Statesboro now has three artesian wells” that have been dug within the city limits.
Then, in the April 10, 1903 Statesboro News, D. Barnes & Co., the new proprietor of the former Statesboro Bottling Works, announced he received an entire railroad car-load of fresh ice.
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.