Though the hearth has been removed, the tobacco steps still remain in this landmark outside Brooklet, recently exposed by timber removal.
Thanks to James Lanier for sharing the location.
This is the community center and voting precinct for the Stilson area. An historical marker placed here by the Bulloch County Historical Society in 2014 notes: When the Savannah & Statesboro Railway was completed in 1899, some of the stations along the track began to grow into villages. One of these was Stilson, named for Stilson Hutchinson who was instrumental in getting the Railway to pass through this area. The first postmaster was William Strickland in 1899 and the last was Edith Hutchinson in 1966. In 1900, Stilson had a population of 138. Businesses in 1909 traded in naval stores, melons, cotton, timber and turpentine. The town was surrounded by prosperous farmers.
Dr. Frank Forest Floyd was the first doctor in Stilson. When he moved to Statesboro, Dr. Dan L. Deal began his practice in 1910. In 1901 the new town built a two story school called Stilson Academy. The advertisement announcing the school read, “All Branches Taught. Board moderate. Tuition reasonable.” Professor Ingraham was the first teacher. In 1952, Stilson High School won both the Boys and Girls State Basketball Championships..
In 1903, the Presbyterian minister in Statesboro, S.W. DuBose, established a Presbyterian Mission in Stilson. In 1952 a chapel was dedicated. The mission closed in the early 1970s. With the demise of the railroad and the growth of US Hwy 80 west of town, Stilson began to decline. By 1955, Stilson High had closed and students were sent to Southeast Bulloch High School in nearby Brooklet, Ga.
Notables from Stilson are Bette Beasley Anderson, Under Secretary of the Treasury; B. Avant Edenfield, Senior Judge U.S. Court Southern District; and Faye Sanders Martin, first woman Chief Judge Superior Courts, Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
In From Wiregrass to Sawgrass: The Blitch Family in the Southeast, Diana Voncelle Goolsby Hunnicutt notes that this land was originally owned by pioneer settler James Young. It passed to his son, Major Thomas Jones Young, whose widow, Laura M. Williams Young, later married John Gideon Blitch. Blitch built the landmark house in 1875. He died just a year later, in 1876, and his brother, William Homer Blitch, Sr., became guardian of the couple’s children. William’s family sold it to Ebenezer (Eb) Starnes Lane in 1905.
Thanks to Kenneth Dixon for sharing the history. Thanks also to Shahn-Ryan Schumacher for bringing it to my attention. The house and grounds are beautifully maintained. It is a private residence.