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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The origins of Aaron and Adabelle
roger allen colorWeb
Roger Allen

    This article is the first in a series that will describe towns and communities, past and present, that were settled after Bulloch County was settled. Some of these communities have since been cut into other counties.
    Bulloch County is currently the most rural county in the state of Georgia. It has 70,217 people spread out over 682 square miles of land, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
    While Bulloch's population density was 104.4 people per square mile in 2010, in the same Census, the average for the entire state was 168.4 people per square mile.
    At present, according to the census, there are only 10 cities and unincorporated towns: Adabelle, Brooklet, Denmark, Hopeulikit, Leefield, Nevils, Portal, Register, Statesboro and Stilson.
    Believe it or not, there have been 147 populated places with names at one time or another in Bulloch County. This series of articles will share as much information on each of them as I have been able to discover.
    In order to be easy to follow, the towns and cities will be listed in alphabetical order and not according to their size, as Statesboro's population at one point was listed as only 67 people, far surpassed by the burgeoning metropolises of Mill Ray and Bengal.
    The first town listed is Aaron, which also was known somewhat incorrectly as Aaron Station. Aaron Station sat alongside the Savannah, Augusta and Northern Railway lines, while the Aaron community was located off to the west. Aaron is located northwest of Portal on Highway 80.
    While it is a popular myth that the town is named after the brother of Moses, the truth is much simpler: It was settled by Charles Aaron in 1909 and is named for that family.
    The heart of the community was the Aaron Store, run by Charlie and then his son, Herbert, who also ran the Aaron Post Office. Across the street from Aaron's Store was Barry Gay's Drug Store, with its marble floor and soda fountain.
    The second community listed is Ada Belle, also known as Adabelle. In 1738, the community of Turkey was renamed Ada Belle after Miss Ada Williams, the daughter of John W. and Rebecca Williams.
    It sits today near Kennedy’s Bridge (formerly Tillman’s Bridge) on the Canoochee River, on the tracks of what used to be the Perkins Lumber Railroad Tram line.
    Turpentiners Sion A. Alford and Graham McKinnon came down from Robeson County, N.C., with crews of Lumbee (also called Croatan) Indians to work the forests of this area in 1890.
    Manassas Foy and J.W. Williams built a lumber empire based around the Adabelle Trading Company, which was started in 1902. Foy and Williams Company also operated, in addition to the Adabelle Trading Company General Store, a cotton gin, saw mill, grist mill, livestock pens, small school and post office.
    Adabelle was first put into the new county of Evans when it was formed in 1914 and then was returned to Bulloch County when the lines were readjusted in December 1916.
       
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

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