Cedar Grove is an historic African-American cemetery in Lumber City, across the highway from the white cemetery. It contains a mixture of vernacular and commercial markers. The headstone of Annie Comings is of a style I’ve rarely encountered, which is cruciform but also evokes a human figure or perhaps an angel.
This memorial was originally in a “T” shape, which is a rare form, but not the first I’ve seen. Like most I’ve seen, it has broken over time.
This cruciform memorial is similar to that of Annie Comings but has broken over time. Sadly, the last name of Maggie has been lost.
This commercially made marble obelisk is unique in the cemetery. Mr. Martin’s date of birth would indicate that he was likely born into slavery.
The heart-shaped stone is a typical Victorian commercial theme. Ms. Dailey was also likely born enslaved.
Reverend Williams was a female evangelist, somewhat rare in her time.
The cemetery gate identifies those who administered and saw to the upkeep of the property. President, Albert Clements; Secretary, Gracie Quinn; Treasurer, Bessie Lee.
This simple structure was a landmark in my regular travels on US Highway 341 for many years, and I’m glad I stopped to photograph it one day in 2017, when it was being strangled by wisteria. As of early 2022, it is no more.
Art Reagin notes that it was last open as a package store owned by Willard Davis in the 1970s.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rock outcrops common to the Altamaha Formation are found here as they are in other parts of the county.
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.
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.
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.
Whatever the specific geology, it’s certainly an amazing environment, almost alien in comparison to adjacent lands.