Category Archives: Ellabell GA

Gable Front House, Ellabell

Ellabell Feed & Seed

A user on Vanishing South Georgia wrote: The Pine Mountain Gas Station used to be here but burned down sometime in the 1980s. There was an alligator out back they called Old Joe. If you called him you had better have a burger for him. He would sit and sun himself in front of Jack Shuman’s station next door. The DNR finally moved him.

This store isn’t really that old but the story of Old Joe is too good not to share.

Ellabell United Methodist Church, 1904, Bryan County

Organized as Bethany in 1854, this congregation built their first church around 1860 about a mile from the present location. In 1900, during the pastorate of Reverend J. H. Frisbee, Bethany agreed to move into the town of Ellabell to increase membership. They built this church in 1904, using much of the material from the old location, and David Hess notes that this material was rolled on logs. The interior finishings of the church were done by Reverend Frisbee, who was also a contractor. I’m not exactly sure when the name was changed to Ellabell Methodist, but it was likely around this time.

Many of the early records of the church have been lost and if anyone has pertinent information, please share it here.

Gable Front House, Ellabell

Rossie Shuman Adams House, Ellabell

Faye Morris Sanders writes: This was the home of Rossie Shuman Adams. A very sweet lady who is missed by all the loved ones. I’ve been in the house a few times with my sister, Kaye Morris Shuman who used to married to Ms. Rossie’s son, Ashley Shuman. I can tell you that its a sweet little country home and everything always so neat and so pretty. I loved to walk in her kitchen; she always had something good to eat, whether country foods or home baked goodies! That woman could cook!

Shotgun House, Ellabell

This unusual shotgun house is half the depth of a normal version and features ornamentation uncommon in Georgia examples. Peeking inside, its’ small size is confirmed; it would more correctly be called a single pen house.

This was likely a tenant property. It’s not much bigger than the average den or living room in most modern homes. But to me,  it’s just as important to document these places as it is our finest architectural landmarks.

Though the following account isn’t related to this house, but I’m placing it here because this is the most popular of the Ellabell posts. I’m grateful to Lawrence Hyde for sharing.

Origins of Ellabell, Georgia – Lawrence Hyde

If you have ever wondered how the community of Ellabell got it’s name – Here is the story.

My GG Grandfather, John Morrison, set up a Turpentine Operation in Bryan County and named it for his daughter, Ella Bell, my Great Grandmother. Originally spelled “Ella Bell” somewhere over the years the words got mushed together into “Ellabell”. Here on out – to avoid confusion – I will refer to her by the family nickname “BG”.

When John Morrison married his wife, Iola Bell (Seriously – I can’t make these names up!), a young minister fresh out of seminary performed the ceremony. His name was Henry Van Dyke. He would become a prominent author and speaker later in life with his inspirational books and poetry. My favorite of his books is THE STORY OF THE OTHER WISEMAN. He also wrote the lyrics to Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.

When BG was about 4 or 5 years old, the French Actress, Sarah Bernhardt played Savannah. With a reputation for being a Huntswoman, John Morrison invited her out to hunt on the Turpentine Plantation. Family Lore has it that her private railcar was brought out to Ella Bell for a day or so. Iola Bell sent BG down with a pitcher of Sweet Milk. Sarah Bernhardt pulled her up on her lap and spoke to her in French while her maid translated. One of the family treasure is the milk pitcher that Sarah Bernhardt used.

BG graduated from the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens. She was a talented artist and we still have a number of her paintings spread out among the family. This is my painting from her and it is the only one that she added LCI under her signature.

BG met and married my G Grandfather, John Carlton of Elberton when he took a job as the telegraph operator at Ella Bell. Thus the old joke – he married the boss’s daughter.

Plans for a real town – churches, fountain in the square, etc etc – were drawn up but the town never took off.

While John Morrison set up a few Turpentine Operations around the South, after Ella Bell – he set up another operation in Moultrie, where He and Iola Bell, John Carlton and BG, and my own grandparents are buried. I always crack the joke with roots so deep in Moultrie – that I am related to 1/2 the town by birth and the other 1/2 by marriage.