Tag Archives: South Georgia Ghost Towns
At the western edge of Sumter County stand the remains of the African-American community of Archery. As a boy, President Jimmy Carter lived about a mile up the road and in his books has shared fond memories of Archery. One of his earliest role models was Archery native William Decker Johnson, Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
From the historical marker: This rural community of Archery, established in the 1800´s, consisted of a train stop, houses of railroad employees, the St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church, a school for black youth, and a store. The community was named for Sublime Order of Archery, a relief organization of the A.M.E. Church which assisted the southern black families.
Two permanent white families, the Watsons and the Carters, lived here. Edward Herman Watson was the Seaboard Railroad section foreman and James Early Carter, Sr., was the father of Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States who spent his youth here. The other 25 families were African-American.
William Decker Johnson, bishop of the A.M.E. Church, became the most prominent person in Archery. He came here with the purpose of establishing a school for black youth lacking the resources for an education. The Johnson Home Industrial College opened its doors in 1912 and offered technical classes aiding students to obtain jobs. This school offered male and female students primary, high school, collegiate, and vocational classes. Bishop Johnson´s efforts for the cause of education had many faithful supporters who helped the school to flourish. Bishop Johnson is buried in the St. Mark A.M.E. Church cemetery.
Gean Nipper recently suggested I make some photographs at Coney. Having driven between Cordele and Americus countless times over the years, I must admit I had never even heard of the place. A couple of old warehouses and commissaries were still standing in the crossroads community near Lake Blackshear until they were destroyed by a tornado a few years ago. This store, the lone survivor, was owned by Mr. Nipper’s grandparents, Lonnie and Dicy Calhoun. It was closed by the late 1960s and briefly reopened in the early 1970s.
Coney was once a busy rail siding and was also the location of a ferry that crossed the nearby Flint River (long before Lake Blackshear was formed).
Joe Hopkins writes that this the was commissary for the turpentine operations at Toledo. I would go there on Saturday mornings when I was a kid with my great uncle to pay off the turpentine employees. The store housed basic staples and dry goods for the workers living at the Toledo settlement and the business records of the company. The dirt road on the porch side of the commissary was the original road running from Folkston to St.George.