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Bulloch History with Roger Allen - The truth about where Stilson got its name
roger allen colorWeb
Roger Allen

    Note: The following is the 27th in a series of columns that will describe towns and communities, past and present, that were settled after Bulloch County was first settled. Some have since been cut into other counties.
    Stilson, a community in the eastern part of Bulloch County, was actually first known by the name of Siebald, in honor of  George Sibbald, who had donated some 200 acres of land for Bulloch's judicial center in what became Statesboro.
    The community of Stilson was built around the stagecoach stop at the Haskell Simmons place. Later, it sat astride what was the Savannah and Statesboro Railway line. By 1900, Stilson had a population of 138. What has baffled most area historians is how the town got its current name.
    Although it is generally believed to be named after a Brannen child, the truth is somewhat more complicated. According to surviving first-person records, the truth is that the town is actually named after Stilson Hutchinson. Hutchinson was instrumental in getting the new Savannah and Statesboro Railway to pass through this area, even going so far as to obtain right-of-ways from local residents.
    When resident William J. Strickland, who had purchased land in this area in 1870, built a handsome home in the own, he applied for a post office to be called Stilson. It just so happened that W.J. Strickland’s first grandson and the first son of County Commissioner J.E. Euell Brannen and Ida Strickland Brannen was named after Stilson Hutchinson. The first postmaster was William J. Strickland in 1899, and the last postmaster was Edith Hutchinson in 1966. The Zickgraf Lumber Company had a big sawmill operation in Stilson.
    The hamlet of Stilar was listed in Hemperley's book “Cities,” but little else is known about its fate.
    Studentsboro was the first name given to Georgia Teachers College's post office and its entire campus by the United States postmaster general. The post office was renamed soon afterward as the Collegeboro Post Office. The first postmaster was Dr. Guy W. Wells, who served as college president from 1926 to 1934. Jackie A. Strange replaced Wells as postmaster. Eventually, what is now the Georgia Southern University Post Office fell under the direction of the downtown Statesboro Post Office.
    All that is known about the settlement of Swamp is that, according to the book written by Small, the postmaster was Adam J. Iler.
    The tiny town of Tomato was located on the Bulloch and Bryan County line. Again, all that is known about Tomato is that the postmaster was John M. Shuman.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. He provides a brief look at the area's historical past. Email Roger at

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