Category Archives: –JEFF DAVIS COUNTY GA–

Fraternal Lodge, Tallahassee

The community of Tallahassee is an historic African-American settlement about 5 miles north of Hazlehurst. It likely gets its name from the nearby highway, which was once the Savannah-Tallahassee Road and one of only two roads passing through the county in the early 1870s. This structure, located adjacent to the Tallahassee Missionary Baptist Church, is likely a fraternal lodge.

 

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Tallahassee Missionary Baptist Church, Jeff Davis County

This congregation was established in 1884. It’s one of the oldest African-American congregations in Jeff Davis County.

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Tobacco Barn, Jeff Davis County

These old workhorses get harder to find every day.

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Wyley J. Byrd House, Jeff Davis County

Though its appearance has been altered by the addition of shed rooms and vinyl siding, this is among the oldest houses in Jeff Davis County. The date of construction is unclear but is thought to be just prior to or just after the Civil War.

Wyley J. Byrd (1825-1908) was a pioneer settler in the section of Coffee County that is now the Snipesville community of Jeff Davis County. He was the patriarch of a huge family (he had 20 children with two wives) who were very involved in the community, donating land for construction of the nearby Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in 1878.

Thanks to Michael Ellis for sharing the location and the vintage photograph of Mr. Byrd and some of his children. The photo probably dates to the 1890s and shows Victorian porch posts, a common “improvement” to Plantation Plain houses in that era. Mr. Ellis writes: ...this was “The Home Place” in my early childhood. My maternal grandparents lived there from sometime in the late 1930s until 1956-1957. I had a ball around there as a young child, until we relocated to Opa Locka, Florida.

 

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Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, Jeff Davis County

Mount Pleasant was organized in 1820 and is among the oldest congregations in Jeff Davis County. This structure, built on land given by the Byrd family circa 1878, was used until a newer structure was built next door in 1989. It is sometimes referred to as Byrd Church.

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Burkett’s Ferry Landing, Ocmulgee River

Burketts Ferry Landing Ocmulgee River Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The site of a historic ferry on the Ocmulgee, this landing now provides public access to the river. It’s truly one of the most appealing areas on the river, just upstream from the confluence with the Oconee and the beginning of the Altamaha River.

Burketts Ferry Landing Jeff Davis County Ocmulgee River Water Trail Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Rock outcrops common to the Altamaha Formation are found here as they are in other parts of the county.

Rock Outcrops on the Ocmulgee River at Burketts Ferry Landing Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Jesse M. Bookhardt recently shared this about Burkett’s Ferry: Burkett’s Ferry is a wonderful place and occupies a special place in my memory. Located in Jeff Davis County just off the old Pioneer Tallahassee Trail, it represents one of several ferries that provided river crossing services. Though not in operation during my time, I remember the site well. Folks from the neighboring communities such as Snipesville often went there fishing, boating, and picnicking. There existed a small spring of cool clear water that seeped from a bank just up stream from the landing. From this pool of fresh water, many fishermen and visitors to the river stopped to drink. It is unknown to me whether the spring still runs or has succumbed to the dynamic forces of nature. Burkett’s Ferry was one of two closely geographically connect fishing spots. Nearby is Pike Creek recorded as Pipe Creek in the original land survey of the area. Both places provided rich fishing waters. Perhaps the “Pipe” referred to a site for making Native American tobacco medicine pipes. Obviously Native Americans once occupied the Burkett’s Ferry site, for in the 1950s when I was a kid, I found pottery and stone artifacts. During the pioneer period, the ferry connected Telfair with Ocmulgeeville, and further to the east Holmesville, the county seat of Appling. When the original plan was made for the old Macon and Brunswick Railroad, it called for the route to cross the Ocmulgee near Burkett’s Ferry. Later the plan was changed and the railroad was scheduled to be built across the Ocmulgee at Lumber City further down stream. Burkett’s Ferry is historically significant to the Ocmulgee and Wiregrass region for it provided much needed access to the hinterland of South Georgia.

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Altamaha Formation Outcrop, Jeff Davis County

Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Flat Tub Broxton Rocks Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

If you’ve ever traveled Georgia Highway 107 between Jacksonville and Snipesville, you’ve undoubtedly noticed these large outcrops near the Coffee/Jeff Davis County line. They’re an extension of the better-known Broxton Rocks, a natural area protected by the Nature Conservancy of Georgia. The area, known as Flat Tub,  is accessible as a Georgia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and recent covenants have led to further protections of this fascinating resource.

Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Flat Tub Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Long thought to be Altamaha Grit, different hypotheses suggest that it could be of Altamaha Formation, but not as “gritty” as other such areas previously identified. Another thesis suggests this may be a more specific “Ocmulgee Formation”, the result of a meteorite impact which may have created the Big Bend of the Ocmulgee.

Flat Tub Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Wildflowers Jeff Davis County GA Natural Area Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Whatever the specific geology, it’s certainly an amazing environment, almost alien in comparison to adjacent lands.

Altamaha Grit Sandstone Outcrop Middle Miocene Flat Tub Wildflowers Jeff Davis County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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