Ernest Dunlevie and B.H. Allen, from New York, New York, and Montreal, Canada, respectively, on January 12, 1910, established the Southern Lumber Company between Hinesville and Walthourville alongside tracks of the Atlantic Coastline Railroad.
First lumber produced by the mill was used to construct a new building for Bradwell Institute on site of the old structure. A community evolved around the mill and it was named Allenhurst in honor of B.H. Allen. When he severed his partnership with Ernest Dunlevie, the mill became known as the Dunlevie Lumber Company.
Oliver C. Darsey operated the Allenhurst Store Company, a mill activity, while the mill physicians were T.W. Welborn and then B.H. Gibson. Both Welborn and Gibson established medical practices in Liberty County when they left the mill. Vestiges of tram tracks put down by the mill can still be found on the Fort Stewart military reservation and in many parts of Liberty County today.
Allenhurst was named for Byers Allen who came there in the early 1900s to locate a sawmill. It was situated on the Atlantic Coastline Railroad four miles south of Hinesville in the heart of hardwood and yellow pine forests. The lumbering industry was beginning to thrive and small mills began operating throughout the county.
This area was originally a part of the old Sand Hills region, which later became Walthourville, and was settled by the owners of the rice plantations as summer retreats away from the swampy rice fields in the Midway area.
After the courthouse was moved from Riceboro to Hinesville in 1837 and after the War Between the States, the population of the county shifted away from the old settlements to westward locations.
One of the most prosperous communities in Liberty County at the end of the nineteenth century was Bay View, located about 16 miles northwest of Hinesville near the Crossroads community. It had a post office, a public school, a Masonic Lodge, two Baptist churches, a general store operated by Henry Levi, and a cotton gin owned and operated by John Smiley.
There was no trace of Bay View left by 1940.
From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 66; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office
by Kate Jones Martin and Preston Waite DeMilly
The Village in the pine lands
Down on the Georgia coast; I'll sing in humble lines
Though sometime I might boast Of courage, truth and pride
by Lennox Fraser Bishop
Although Hinesville as a township is young in years, it is located in a county with a long and proud history. The unrecorded history of this region lies buried in the secret reaches of time; the recorded history dates back to the time of Spain's colonial empire in America. It was on St. Catherines Island that the first white settlement in Georgia was made in 1565. The great Spanish explorer, Menendez de A viles, placed a garrison and mission here in the midst of a tribe of Indians, headed by an old chief named Guale. This entire region became known as Guale following the Spanish settlement. Menendez had founded St. Augustine that same year before sailing up the coast to Port Royal, South Carolina.
For more than a hundred years, Spain stood firm against England and France in the war to gain possession of the debatable land along the Atlantic Seaboard.
by Virginia Fraser Evans
“Behold, the glory of God is all about us!"
Benjamin Baker and Samuel Bacon and their families must have exclaimed when on the eastern horizon above St. Catherines Island in the new colony of Georgia they saw the glorious sunrise tinting the marshes and reflecting soft hues of gold on the Medway River.
Liberty County celebrated the 1OOth anniversary of the founding of Midway during three days of activities commencing on December 5, 1852. All of the celebration took place in or around Midway Church, focal point for so much of Liberty County history.
Plans to celebrate the occasion were initiated on March 10, 1852, during the annual meeting of the Midway Society. W.S. Baker proposed a resolution.
"Whereas, December 5, 1852, will be a century since the settlement of this community in this place; therefore, "
Resolved, that in token of respect to the memory of our ancestors, and of gratitude to our preservers, we will celebrate that day with suitable observance, and further,
by Virginia Fraser Evans
When the pioneers began moving into the lower part of the Midway country known as the North Newport District, they took advantage of the most desirable locations for their rice plantations.
John and Williams Graves knew their lands were choice. They had received a grant of 2,100 acres in 1756 and 1757 along the banks of the North Newport River, which wound its way through the marshes into other streams and on to sea. The creeks branched in all directions, watering the lowlands and making perfect soil for rice planting. The river was also important for transportation. Rice and other products were loaded on the plantation-made boats, and shipped to Sunbury, the nearest port, and on to local and foreign markets. Another advantage of this location was the road running through the vicinity from Savannah to the Altamaha River, which James Edward Oglethorpe, the leader of the new colony of Georgia, had surveyed and constructed in 1736. Although only a trail, it provided a route by land for Oglethorpe to visit the southern settlements and forts he had established for protection against the Spaniards and Indians.
Mary Jones, one of the main characters in Children of Pride, wrote in a letter in 1830 to her future husband, Charles C. Jones, that,
“Sunbury was such a delectable place to live.”
I thought about this statement two weeks ago as I stood inside the Sunbury Crab Company and looked out the window at the beautiful view of the Medway River. I was also watching for the Tybee Light Power Squad group coming from Savannah in their boats to eat at the restaurant.
Around 1781, this place had more than 1,000 residents living on the 300 acres next to the river. Businesses around the river’s edge were booming and filled with excitement as people came and went. While I was looking out the window, everything was very quiet and peaceful.
Sunbury, now called “a dead town in Georgia,” was named after a town in England that denotes a place in the sun. Here it is, bathed in sunshine, from early dawn until sunset. His Majesty, King George II, conveyed to Mark Carr, one of the wealthiest men and an excellent military leader, 500 acres fronting the Medway River in 1757. He sold lots to various persons on which a trading post and wharves were built.
by Kate Jones Martin
The first mention of Sunbury is found in the memoirs of General James Edward Oglethorpe by Robert Wright, London, 1857, in which he tells of General Oglethorpe's exploratory expedition to the southern frontiers of Georgia. On this trip (in 1734) he embarked in a row boat at Savannah with sixteen men, and followed the inland waterway to St. Simons Island. It was at this time that Oglethorpe was impressed by the beautiful, bold bluffs overlooking the Medway River and its outlying islands, which later became a part of the town of Sunbury. According to tradition, it was on this expedition that the first Masonic Lodge ever organized in Georgia was instituted by Oglethorpe.
In 1757 His Majesty, King George II, conveyed to Mark Carr, his heirs and assigns forever, "All that tract of land containing 500 acres, situate and being in the district of Midway in the province of Georgia, bounded on the east by Medway River, on the west by the land of Thomas Carr, on the south by vacant land, and on all other sides by the marshes of said river."
by Lucile Stacy Martin
Taylors Creek, one of the earliest settlements in Liberty County, presumably received its name from the Taylor brothers, James and William, who, according to the Colonial records of Georgia, obtained grants of land in the 1760s on the banks of the creeks in this area.
Pioneers were attracted to this section because of the beautiful Canoochee River, the creeks and the groves of huge live oak trees and pine forests. They came here from adjoining counties and states and received grants or purchased the land on which to begin a new life.
The Willie Community
by Harris D. Mobley
In the northern part of the county, clear springs feed lazy creeks which flow southeastward to form the big Canoochee. In this beautiful land of cypress and pine a proud community once flourished for awhile but abruptly fell to the needs of a nation preparing for war. That was the summer of 1942.
Before long artillery practice and bulldozer blades had brought to naught what a hearty people had labored half a century to build. Homesteads, churches, schools and businesses were leveled. The community that once boasted of its cotton gins, turpentine stills, sawmills and railroad disappeared for all time. But its people had not. And the community was reborn in the hearts of the dispossessed in the annual meetings of the Willie Community in exile. Begun in 1961, twenty years after they had said goodbye to their native soil, the living community met at Marcus and Eleanor May's home near Pembroke. There the past was rehearsed and good times recounted.