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A post-hamlet of Irwin County, is about six miles northeast of Inaha, which is the nearest railroad station.

[Source]: Georgia: Sketches, Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions & People, Vol. 2, Publ. 1906 Transcribed By: Maggie Coleman.


A post-hamlet of Irwin Count, is located on the Atlantic & Birmingham railroad about five miles east of Ocilla.

[Source]: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Kim Mohler.


A post-hamlet of Irwin County, is a station on the Atlantic & Birmingham railroad, about ten miles east of Fitzgerald.

[Source]: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Kristen Bisanz.


Mystic, a town in Irwin County, is about five miles southwest of Fitzgerald, at the junction of two divisions of the Atlantic & Birmingham railroad. It has a money order post office, express and telegraph offices, some mercantile concerns, and in 1900 reported a population of 97. It was incorporated by act of the legislature on August 18, 1903.

[Source]: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Renae Donaldson


A town in the eastern part of Irwin County, was incorporated by act of the legislature in 1898. It is located on a branch of the Atlanta & Birmingham railroad and a branch of Seaboard Air Line connects it with Fitzgerald. It is the second largest town in the county, and by the census of 1900 had a population of 805 in the corporate limits and 1,740 in its entire district. It has express and telegraph offices, a money order post office with rural free delivery, a bank, prosperous commercial establishments, and an oil and fertilizer company doing a large business, while there are good schools and churches in the town and vicinity.

[Source]: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons, VOL II, by Candler & Evans, Publ. 1906. Transcribed by Kristen Bisanz.


Splendid Enterprise and Rapid Growth of Irwin County's Plucky Little City.

OCILLA, Ga., Sept. 17,—The splendid enterprise and progressive public spirit of its citizens and the rapid, substantial growth of Ocilla has surprised the natives and everybody else aquainted with the town. From a turpentine still in 1896 in a sparsely settled, undeveloped section, and without railroad transportation for several years, it has grown to be a substanial up-to-date town of 1500 thrifty people comprising a citizenship that will measure up with much older towns in point of morals and enterprise, and including progressive men of wealth, character and education. Ocilla is another of the scores of few towns in South Georgia in the upbuilding of which the indomitable energy and progressive spirit of the wiregrass cracker is illustrated. With characteristic pluck and native energy and ability the founders of the place over come difficulties and disadvantages and on building a town that is a credit to the country and the splendid public spirit exemplified by its citizens forces the admiration of everybody and attracts investors and progressive people to make it their home.

Ocilla is not a boom town. Its founders and citizens have wisely guarded against anything like a boom for such methods have wrecked many towns that might have prospered under more conservative management.

From the start, Ocilla's growth has been steady and substantial and the management and methods of its founders were such that a desireable class of people were encouraged to make their homes in the town and by the establishment of first class modern educational facilities, with other up-to-date advantages, made it possible to attract the best people. It has been sufficiently demonstrated in recent years that a town in order to grow and prosper and become a place of importance, must have the best of educational advantages and to have these, it is necessary to develop a moral status, in keeping with the progressive spirit of the times. The people of Ocilla pulled together from the first for the development of these conditions and they have succeeded wonderfully well. In pushing the industrial and commercial growth with such plendid enterprise, they have acted exceedingly wise in not neglecting the moral improvement of the community.

Ocilla's history as a town dates from 1897 in which year it was incorporated and a substantial growth was inaugurated which has not billed for a day. In 1898 the Seaboard Air Line Railway extended its Fitzgerald branch to Ocilla. In 1902 the Ocilla and Irwinville road was built, and in 1903 the Atlantic and Birmingham reached the town and soon afterwards absorbed the Ocilla and Irwinville. The Ocilla and Valdosta railroad was incorporated in 1903 and is now being constructed to a point on the Ocmulgee river where it will connect with steamboats which will give Ocilla much lower freight rates. This road will cross the main line of the Atlantic and Birmingham at Ossiafield to which point it is about completed. So it will be seen that Ocilla will soon have ample railway facilities.

Good Building Record.

During the past twelve months there has been much activity in building, especially in dwelling houses and a marked improvement in the architectural construction of the buildings, some of the residences comparing favorably with similar structures in the large cities. In the past year about 100 nice dwellings have been built, all of which have tenants, and there is not a single vacant residence in town, which shows that the growth of Ocilla has not only been rapid, but of a substantial nature. In addition to the 100 new dwellings, several handsome substantial brick business houses have been recently completed and occupied. There are now 41 business concerns of all kinds in Ocilla, including a number of large, up-to-date mercantile houses, two banks, cotton oil mill, saw mill, ginneries, variety works, bottling works, etc.

The taxable property increased the past year over $100,000 in value exclusive of personal property, and about $85,000 additional capital was invested in manufacturing enterprises, which furnish employment to a considerable number of people; $25,000 was added to the banking capital of the town, $5,000 invested in a telephone exchange and $25,000 added to the mercantil capital.

Important improvements.

Bonds have been issued and sold and the money is now in bank for a modern electric light plant for Ocilla. This enterprise will be completed at an early date, furnishing the town first-class electric lights. This bond issue was floated readily and brought a premium of $600 to the town, which indicates that Ocilla has a first-class credit, and investors who seldom make mistakes have full faith in the substantial prospects of the town. Another important and progressive step is a proposition now before the town council to appropriate $3,000, in addition to the regular appropriation, for the maintenance and improvement of the Ocilla public school. This is a step forward and an investment which will repay the town a hundred fold, for there is no greater drawing card for any community than an up-to-date school.

Ocilla Public School

The Ocilla public school was incorporated in 1902. The school is thoroughly graded and the grades are strictly maintained. The discipline is strict but kind. The main school building is a handsome brick structure which cost $12,000, containing six large class rooms, furnished with single desks and spacious auditorium, supplied with comfortable chairs. The entire building is heated by a furnace in the basement, the hot air being forced through the rooms by a fan operated by a gasoline motor.

The dormitory stands near the school building. It is a comfortable structure, in which the teachers and their families and the pupils board, and its under the management of the superintendent and his wife.

The school has a library of several hundred volumes of well selected books, including historical works, fiction, reference books, etc.

This school observes Monday as a holiday instead of Saturday. Board in the dormitory and in private families and rates of tuition are very reasonable. The faculty is composed of teachers of the highest standard and the number is sufficient to give the pupils ample instruction and assistance. Full information will be furnished by D. W. Paulk, secretary of the board of education.

Colored School.

The Ocilla public school system embraces also a school for the colored children of the city, the building for which is ample and comfortable, costing over $2,000. The enterprising citizens of Ocilla are enthusiastic in their support of this fine school and are determined to make it second to none in south Georgia.

Ocilla's Churches

Ocilla has three thriving churches—Baptist, Methodist and Primitive Baptist—all of which have nice church buildings and large memberships, and the people generally of the community are liberal in supporting their churches.

Magnificent Farming Section.

In addition to its local enterprise and progressive public spirit, Ocilla is surrounded by a large territory of the most fertile lands in wiregrass Georgia which adds immensely to the splendid prospects of the town. This territory is yet practically undeveloped, there being hardly 10 per cent of the available farming land in cultivation. For long years this section was too remote from railway or river transportation for the lands to be in demand for farming purposes, but since the coming of the several railroads through the county, thrifty farmers from the worn out lands of other portions of the country are moving to Irwin county by the hundred.

The soil in this section is of the very best quality in wiregrass George. Practically everything can be raised profitably, including peaches of the finest quality and all other fruits known to Georgia soil. Some experienced men believe that the soil of this part of Irwin county will produce better peaches and hardier trees than can be grown in middle or southwest Georgia. The Elberta thrives here in all its juicy sweetness and crimson perfection. As fine grapes as were ever pulled from a vine and strawberries that command the top of the marked in New York and other Northern cities are raised in this section.

A former Carolinian who has farmed here several years, remarked today that "If a man could not make a first class living and accumulate a nice property here in a few years by farming it would be because he would not half manage his business."

The productiveness of the soil here can be proven by actual results, not on a pet patch or a few selected acres, but on whole plantations of hundreds of acres. Hon. J. A. J. Henderson of Ocilla, one of the largest farmers in the county, made last season three hundred and forty-six (346) bales of cotton, averaging 500 pounds to the bale, on three hundred and eighty-six (386) acres, and this is no unusual result on Irwin county farms. On some farms a bale to the acre is made. Mr. Henderson has a fine plantation just outside the corporate limits of Ocilla, on which he makes abundance of corn, forage, sugar can, peas and potatoes, in addition to his cotton crop. Last year he planted 14 acres in sweet potatoes on which he made 4,000 bushels and sold his entire crop to an Atlanta man at fifty cents per bushel here at Ocilla, amounting to $2,000, or $142.85 per acre. This season he has 21 acres in potatoes with prospects of 280 or 300 bushels to the acre, and he expects to get at least 50 cents per bushel for the crop, delivered here at Ocilla. Actual results from other farms might be stated, but these are sufficient to show what can be done on the farms of Irwin.

As to the health of this section, it will measure up with any portion of the state. The topography of the country is such that it affords natural drainage, and there is nothing of a permanent nature, like swamps or stagnant water, to create unhealthy conditions. The land is sufficiently rolling for good drainage without being hilly enough to require terracing in the fields.

Former residents of North Georgia and the Carolinas who have lived here several years, declare that they have enjoyed the best of health. The old false notion that wiregrass Georgia was a malarious, chill and fever infected section, has been so long and so effectively exploded that it requires no further mention.

Public Schools and Good Roads.

The public school system of Irwin county is under progressive management and is rapidly becoming one of the most efficient in South Georgia. None but thoroughly competent and up to date teachers are employed. The schools are being carefully graded and nice, comfortable school houses are being provided in every school district. The public school system is being enthusiastically supported by the people of the county and under the management of progressive men, commendable headway is being made.

The good roads movement is also receiving commendable support in this county and the public highways are being improved throughout the county. At present the misdemeanor convicts are employed on the public roads and with modern road machines the work is being pushed. Irwin county's roads are naturally good, as the soil is pebbly, with a clay subsoil which makes a natural firm road bed, so that with road machines under competent management, the roads can soon be made first class.

Ocilla's Public Spirited Men.

For native ability, energy and enterprise, the men who are building up Ocilla and doing much for the general advancement of Irwin county, cannot be excelled by the citizenship of any community in the state. In the beginning they had but little capital outside of indomitable courage and determination, but they made up for their financial weakness by uniting in their efforts and working together as one man for the upbuilding of the place. They determined at the start to build up a substantial, progressive and moral town—a place that would attract a desirable class of investors and citizens and where the best people could bring their families and educate their children surrounded by a sound, moral and progressive atmosphere. The founders of Ocilla acted wisely in the formation of their plans for the building of the town and are to be congratulated on their splendid success. Following are sketches of the progressive men who are doing such splended work in the upbuilding of Ocilla and the betterment of the community generally.

Hon. J. J. Walker, Mayor.

Hon. J. J. Walker is a native of Jones county, Ga.; lived in Brooks county several years and has been a citizen of Ocilla five years. He read law under Hon. Robert Bernes of Forsyth; was admitted to the bar in 1894 and has built up a good practice in the courts of Irwin and adjoining counties. He was elected mayor of Ocilla four years ago and has made a popular and progressive mayor, giving much of his time to the affairs of the town. Before coming here five years ago he reserved as mayor of Douglass, Ga., resigning to move to Ocilla. As attorney he represents the Bank of Ocilla and the Peoples' Bank, being one of the promoters and a stockholder of the latter. He is also local counsel for the Atlantic and Birmingham and the Ocilla and Valdosta railroads. Col. Walker is an able lawyer and an enthusiastic believer in the future growth of Ocilla.

Dr. R. H. Rogers, Dentist.

Dr. R. H. Rogers is a native of Tattnall county. He graduated at the Atlanta Dental College in 1903 and located at Ocilla in August of the same year. He has established a good reputation as a dentist and has an extensive patronage in this section.

Bank of Ocilla.

The Bank of Ocilla is the oldest bank in the town. Has a capital of $25,000 paid up, and has been in business about three years, and is doing an extensive business, which is constantly growing throughout this section. Mr. J. H. Powell is president, J. B. Clements vice president, and J. A. Pruitt cashier. mr. Pruitt is a native of Franklin county and has been there three years. He is also a member of the firm of Smith & Pruitt, fire insurance agents and merchandise brokers. They represent ten standard fire insurance companies and are doing a fine business.

Ocilla Pharmacy.

Dr. J. E. Goethe, manager of the Ocilla Pharmacy, is a native of South Carolina and has been here about seven years in the drug business and practice of medicine. He is a graduate of the Baltimore Medical College. His practice is large and constantly increasing. He is surgeon for the Seaboard Air Line railroad. The Ocilla Pharmacy is the oldest drug store in Ocilla. It is the depositor for state adopted school books and carries a complete stock of drugs and medicines.

The Peoples' Bank.

The Peoples' Bank has a paid up capital of $25,000. It has been open for business only a few months and has already on its books a large patronage which is rapidly extending. Its stockholders and directors are among the solid, conservative business men of the community. J. W. Paulk is president, J. E. Howell vice-president, and R. H. Johnson cashier. Mr. Johnson came from LaGrange, Ga., to Ocilla two years ago and has been in the banking business ever since, being at first connected with the Bank of Ocilla.

Col. E. W. Dart, Lawyer.

Col. E. W. Dart, formerly of Brunswick, located in Ocilla five months ago and opened a law office. He was admitted to the bar before the supreme court in December, 1903. He practices in all the courts of the Oconee circuit and elsewhere, by special contract. He has already a good practice and it is growing very rapidly.

Dr. John B. George

Dr. John B. George, formerly of Calhoun county, came to Ocilla sixteen months ago. He is a graduate of the University of Florida in the class of 1884. he is quite popular here as a physician and is building up a fine practice in the community. Dr. George has made investments here in real estate and is a strong believer in the growth of Ocilla. He is also proprietor of the George Hotel as will be seen in another item.

J. P. Cox, Furniture.

Mr. J. P. Cox came from Worth county to Ocilla last July and opened a large furniture store. He is a son of the late S. M. Cox, former sheriff of Worth county. He was connected with the Georgia Southern and Florida railroad as agent at Cordele and other points for several years and made a fine record as a railroad man. He carries full lines of household and kitch- [sic] furniture and furnishings, baby corriages [sic], mattings, carpets, rugs, window shades, suit cases, trunks, valises, etc. He sells for cash or on the installment plan and competes with all in prices and quality. He has a larage patronage.

Henderson Warehouse Company.

The above is the leading cotton warehouse of this section. Messrs. W. M. Henderson and J. C. Floyd are the proprieotrs. [sic] Mr. Floyd, formerly of Abbeville, is manager. Mr. Henderson is a prominent farmer of this section. They do a general warehouse business and pay the highest market price for cotton seed. They sell cotton for the farmers, keep up with the markets and look carefully after the interests of their patrons. Mr. Floyd has had fifteen years experience in the cotton business in grading, selling, etc.

Ocilla Oil and Fertilizer Company.

The above concern manufactures cotton seed products and fertilizers, operating a forty-ton mill, which has a capital stock of $40,000. They also operate a modern ginnery which has a capacity of sixty bales of cotton a day. Following are the officers: J. A. J. Henderson, president; R. V. Paulk, secretary and treasurer. They pay the highest market price for cotton seed.

Hon. J. A. J. Henderson.

Hon. J. A. J. Henderson is one of the founders of Ocilla and is connected with a number of substantial enterprises in the community. He operates a large saw mill and is the president of the Ocilla and Valdosta railroad, which is being built from Ocilla. He is also one of the largest farmers in the county, owning several fine farms near Ocilla. He is a successful farmer and progressive. He represented Irwin county in the state legislature as a member of the house a few years ago. He is owner of considerable farming lands in this section.

The Sapp Drug Company.

Messrs. E. S. Sapp and G. P. Langford are proprietors of the Sapp Drug Company. They carry a general line of drugs and medicines, druggists' sundries, paints, oils, sporting goods and baseball goods. They enjoy a fine trade which is constantly expanding.

Fiveash & Paulk, Merchants.

Messrs. W. N. Fiveash and W. H. Paulk compose the above firm. They carry a good assortment of general merchandise, including almost everything needed on the farm or in the home, and are doing well.

Dr. J. C. Luke

Dr. J. C. Luke is a native of Irwin county, Graduate of Louisville Medical College in 1893. He was the first mayor of Ocilla and one of the founders of the town. He is connected with important enterprises and one of the largest real estate owners in the town. He has an extensive practice throughout this section and his office is equipped with up to date surgical instruments, X-ray machine, hot air apparatus, etc., for the treatment of rheumatism, etc.

J. B. Murray, Meat Market.

Mr. J. B. Murray has an up to date meat market in the People's Bank building. He sells nothing but the best meats and his market is kept as clean as a dining room, which makes his place very popular with the people of the community. His patronage is large and constantly expanding.

G. V. Moore, Grocer.

Mr. G. V. Moore, formerly of Meriwether county, came to Ocilla last March and opened a first class staple and fancy grocery store. He carries a large stock and by good business methods has already built up a fine trade. He pays highest market prices for country produce and sells goods cheap for cash.

Ocilla Hardware and Supply Co.

The above establishment does a large business in general merchandise, carrying a large and complete assortment of everything needed on the farm or in the homes in town. Their trade with the farmers of this section is extensive and constantly expanding. They have a double store which is one of the largest in the county. Mr. J. E. Howell is president and Mr. L. R. Tucker is secretary and treasurer and general manager, Mr. C. A. J. Harper is assistant secetary. Messrs. Tucker & Harper are both members of the town council and the former is also chairman of the board of education of Ocilla. A number of other prominent business men and farmers are stockholders in this concern.

A. I. Turner, Jeweler.

Mr. A. I. Turner, jeweler, came to Ocilla from Emanuel county three years ago and opened a small jewelry shop. He began with a limited capital, has established a good trade. He sells watches, clocks and all kinds of jewelry, and is an expert jeweler and does a large business in repairing. He carries also, as a side line, a nice stock of fresh family groceries.

B. E. Wilcox & Bro., Merchants.

The above firm is composes of Messrs. B. E. & G. S. Wilcox, sons of the late Capt. Thomas L. Wilcox of this county. Hon. B. E. Wilcox is the president Democratic nominee for representative in the legislature from Irwin county. A few years go [sic] he represented the Fifteenth district in the state senate. He is also in business in Fitzgerald. This firm has a large department store and does a general supply business, having a trade of about $75,000 annually. They carry in stock everything needed by the people, including buggies, wagons, furniture, undertakers' goods, etc.

W. McCall, Merchant.

Mr. W. McCall is originally from Webster county, came here from Dawson six years ago and commenced business on a small scale, but by correct methods and energy has rapidly enlarged his business till now he carries one of the largest stocks in town and is doing business in his own brick building, owns also another brick store and several dwellings which he rents. He sells exclusively for cash, carries a general line, including furniture. He buyes country produce at highest market prices and sells goods cheap for cash. He is rapidly expanding his trade.

Powell, Bullard & Co., Merchants.

This large establishment manufactures naval stores and does a general supply business, carrying an extensive stock of general merchandise. The members of the firm are Messrs. J. H. Powell, Ocilla, Ga.; W. C. Powell, Jacksonville, Fla., B. F. Bullard, Savannah, Ga., and Alexander Sessoms, Waycross, Ga. Mr. C. C. Mims, bookkeeper, is a native of South Carolina and has been here several years. He is also clerk and treasurer of Ocilla. The other members of the firm are natives of North Carolina, who came to Georgia several years ago and made money in the naval stores business.

Ocilla Shaving Parlors.

Mr. A. J. Johnson is proprietor of the Ocilla Shaving Parlors, an up-to-date barber shop. He came here six months ago from Berrien county. His shop is first-class and satisfaction is guaranteed his patrons. He treats the scalp for dandruff by latest improved treatment. His shop is kept clean, and customers always receive polite and prompt attention.

Ocilla Racket Store.

Mr. A. T. McLaughlin is manager of the Ocilla Racket Store. He is originally from Telfair county and has been here ten months. He carries a general assortment of racket goods, which he sells at rock bottom cash prices. He is also a watchmaker and jeweler and has a jewelry shop in connection with his racket store. he carries a line of jewelry for sale and does a large repair business. He guarantees satisfaction or money refunded. He has had sixteen years' experience in the business.

Pullen Mercantile Company.

Mr. W. H. Pullen is manager of the above large concern. He carries an extensive stock of general merchandise and is extending his trade in town and among the farmers of this section. He buys all country produce at highest market prices and allows no one to undersell him. He has an up-to-date line of clothing, gents' furnishings, shoes and hats, full line staple and fancy groceries, food stuffs and cooking stoves.

J. H. Gamble, Merchant.

J. H. Gamble is the leading colored merchant of Ocilla. He is a native of South Carolina and has been here two years. He was formerly a porter in the employ of the Seaboard Air Line road, saved his money and established himself in the grocery business here. He carries a good stock of staple and fancy groceries, cigars, tobacco, cold drinks, etc. He belongs to that class of negroes that so conduct themselves as to gain the respect and good will of his white neighbors. He is doing well in business and has a good credit.

Hotel Wilcox

Hotel Wilcox is one of the leading hotels of Ocilla. Mrs. Blanch Wilcox, widow of the late Hon. George K. Wilcox, is proprietress. It is one of the most popular hosteiries in south Georgia and deservedly so, for Mrs. Wilcox is not only a good hotel manager but a first-class housekeeper and pleasant hostess. The rates of this house are $2 per day, and the excellent fare and polite service given its patrons is fully worth the price.

George's Hotel

Dr. J. B. George is proprietor and manager of the above hotel and a clever host is he. He has a well arranged building with large, well ventilated rooms. His table fare is of the best and the service generally is first-class. Dr. George has a habit of seeing to it that every guest in his house gets polite attention. His rates are $2 per day.

The Ocilla Dispatch

The Dispatch is Ocilla's enterprising newspaper. Maj. J. W. Hanlon, formerly of Albany, Ga., is the editor. He has been here eight years publishing his paper and has done much valuable service for the upbuilding of the town and community. It is an eight-page weekly newspaper. Maj. Hanlon is a Confederate veteran, having served four years under Gen. Lee.

[Source: Macon Telegraph, Sep. 18, 1904 -- Page 3. Transcribed by Sheila Pitts Massie.]


A post-hamlet of Irwin County, is about four miles northwest of Irwinton, which is the most convenient railroad station.

[Source]: Georgia Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons. Transcribed by Kristen Bisanz.


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