(Note: The following is part of a series of articles looking at the growth of roads and transportation in Georgia and Bulloch County beginning in 1807.)
In the 1880s, family-run logging businesses all throughout Bulloch County used “trams”— essentially, large flatbed vehicles — to transport the fallen logs out the woods.
While at first these vehicles were pulled by horses, mules and even teams of oxen, they soon built little railroad engines that ran on movable railroad tracks.
John E., John F. and Edward E. Foy opened the two first such lines. The first was built to operate from the area east of their sawmill in Egypt and the Central of Georgia main line to the pine barrens of the Bay Gall area.
Their second line operated from the Lanier mill in Portal across the Ogeechee River to Rocky Ford, where the Savannah, Americus and Montgomery Railway intersected their line.
This Foy line eventually went all the way to Sylvania, with stops at Woodcliff and Ziegler. The Brinson, Calhoun, Olliff and Shearhouse families all invested in the Foy lines. The operators of these two tram railroads were the Cowart Brothers.
The second Bulloch tram railroad was started by the W.C. Perkins Lumber Company around 1890. Starting from his Hagan mill, the line at first ran to Glennville and then was extended to Register, some 40 miles distant.
In 1902 the Perkins family rechartered the railroad as the new Register and Glennville Railroad (R&G). On November 29, 1901, workers extending the R&G line ran into some opposition from “a crowd of negroes armed with shotguns.”
Apparently, the citizens were unhappy the railroad was passing through their community of “Little Excelsior.” Work boss D.G Swing returned with an armed railroad gang to ensure no further disruptions.
Two men, T.J. and E.N. Lanier, were identified as the ringleaders. After they explained in court that they simply were protecting their land, the judge dismissed all charges.
By 1905 the R&G had completed its line between Claxton in Evans County, where it intersected with the Seaboard Air Line Railway, to Register, where it intersected with the Bruton and Pineora Railroad.
The R&G now stopped at Register, Undine Station, Brookland, Hagan, Winburn, Jennie, Moody, Coo and Glennville. Due to a lawsuit, the R&G entered receivership shortly thereafter and was sold for $225,000.
The new owners rechartered it as the East Georgia Railway in 1915. Plans were made to extend this line all the way to the Darien Short Line Railroad, but the East Georgia Railway closed down for good in 1916.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's historical past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.