End Of A Decade (1927-1929)

Charles A. Lindberg made his historic flight from Long Island, New York, to Paris, France, in May 1927. The U.S. Post Office issued a special 10-cent air mail postage stamp that pictured Lindberg’s aircraft “The Spirit of Saint Louis.”


Many persons in Liberty County had phonographs by 1927 and bought the recording “Lindberg, the Eagle of the U.S.A.” by Vernon Dahlhart as soon as it went on sale in Savannah, Georgia.


All was not well with the Hinesville Telephone Company by 1927. The Georgia Public Service Commission instructed one of its field representatives to ” … give it the once over. They need it bad. They need money and management now, but should render better service local and long distance. It’s awful.”


In early June 1928, all service ended between the Hines­ville Telephone Company and the outside world. Numerous complaints were made by subscribers to the Georgia Public Service Commission. Service was restored ten days later.


Barney Parker in 1928 owned and operated the Hinesville Telephone Company, as he did telephone systems in Reids­ville and Folkston, Georgia. He even planned at one time to establish a telephone system similar to Southern Bell and call it the Atlantic Telephone Company. His plans never materialized.


A major hurricane hit the Georgia coast in September 1928. Barney Parker wrote a letter to the Georgia Public Service Commission which read: . “The storm came near tearing down and demolishing the county lines as well as the town lines, and it has been a bad proposition to get the exchange back in working condition. If it don’t break me trying to do so.”


By November 1928, the Hinesville Telephone Company had installed a line to Taylors Creek and Willie. Farmers in the latter community built and maintained their own five­ mile party line, which connected to lines of the Hinesville Telephone Company at Willie. They paid 50¢ a month for their service, while all other subscribers in the county paid $2 a month.


It was in 1929 that Joseph B. Fraser Jr. established the Fraser Lumber Company at McIntosh. It was located along­side tracks of the Atlantic Coastline Railroad.


It was also in 1929 that Fred L. Ginter (1888-1985), a native of Emlenton, Ohio, migrated from South Carolina to Liberty County and built the first steam-powered ice plant in Hinesville for Henry Lowe. He married Hattie Schwartz, and their children were Maytrude , Audry, Fred L. Jr., and Richard D. Ginter. Ginter was a resident of Hinesville for 62 years. He estab­lished and operated the Martin-Ginter Construction Company with Rudolph Martin of Liberty County. They built some of the structures on courthouse square in Hinesville which were still standing with this book was published.


Farming was bigger and better in Liberty County than ever before in 1929. Not a single tractor was being used in Liberty County in 1920. By 1929 more than 10 tractors were being used on county farms.


On October 29, 1929, the worst stock market crash in the nation since 1869 occurred, and 16,400,000 shares of declining values exchanged hands in a single day’s selling rush. The New York Stock Exchange closed for three days. A headline in the Savannah Morning News read, “Stocks Crash in Stampede of Selling.”


Liberty County, like many other parts of rural America, did not immediately feel the impact of the stock market crash. Few Liberty Countians owned stocks and had no way of knowing what a devastating effect the collapse of the national economy would have on them.


Local events were of more interest to residents of Liberty County during the last weeks of 1929. John Denmark, 82, died in late October 1929 at his home near Willie. That was big news since everybody knew and like the Confederate veteran of the Civil War.


One of the biggest news stories in Liberty County during those waning days of 1929 was a visit made to Liberty County by Gertrude Gwinnett, a descendent of a brother of Button Gwinnett, a resident of Liberty County, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.


Gertrude Gwinnett came from England to tour various parts of America, and came to Liberty County to visit Saint Catherines Island, where Button Gwinnett resided at the time of his fatal duel with Major General Lachlan McIntosh. She said the brother of Button Gwinnett never left England, and that her family was very proud of one of Liberty County’s most prominent citizens of the past.


Although a paved highway was completed through Liber­ty County in 1927, virtually all of the county farmers still shipped what they produced, including naval stores, by rail to Savannah, Georgia. Almost all travel between Liberty County and Savannah was by passenger trains several times a day from depots at Walthourville, Allenhurst, McIntosh, and Fleming.


A. Gordon Cassels, a resident of Savannah, Georgia, was elected chairman of the Board of Select Men and president of the Midway Society in April 1929. He had already served for a number of years as secretary and treasurer of the Mid­way Society. He was a direct descendent of Reverend Samuel J. Cassels, who was one of the many ministers of the gospel who went out from Midway Church, was a Presbyterian min­ister for 17 years, died at the age of 40, and was buried in the Midway Church cemetery.


A consolidation of white schools in Liberty County was almost complete in 1929. School buses transported most of the students over many miles of dirt roads which became im passable during protracted periods of bad weather. There were no school buses for black students. They walked to and from classes. Some of the students a t Dorchester Academy lived in dormitories. Others walked many miles each day to school.


The first person in Liberty County to own a radio set was Ernest (“Boston”) Brewton, son of S.B. Brewton of Hines­ville. He got the name “Boston” because he once made a well-publicized trip to that Massachusetts city. The first radio station heard in Liberty County was WTOC in Savannah, Georgia. Its first station was a few miles west of town on U.S. Highway 17. But by the end of 1929 its studios and offices were located on the top floor of the De Soto Hotel in town.


There were 543 square miles of land in Liberty County in 1929, and its population was 8,153. Population of the coun­ty was more than 12,000 before Long County was cut out of Liberty County in 1920. More than three-fourths of the population of Liberty County in 1929 resided on and oper­ated farms, including 4,228 black farmers.


In early autumn 1929 a violent hurricane swept in from the West Indies over East Florida and hit Liberty County. A considerable amount of property was destroyed, and there was an interruption of highway and rail travel for several days. But no injuries or deaths were reported.


Sound motion pictures were being exhibited in some of the nation’s largest cities in 1929, but only silent films were shown in theaters in Savannah, Georgia, and from time to time under tents and in vacant buildings in Liberty County. Music heard on radio station WTOC in Savannah, Georgia, was performed live by pianists, organists, and small orches­tras. It was not legal to broadcast recordings. Inez Tippins Mingledorff was an agent for the Victor Phonograph Com­pany, and sold Victrolas to many Liberty Countians. They bought recordings by such artists as Gene Austin and Ruth Etting in Savannah. Sheet music of the latest song hits was bought by the many pianists of Liberty County, either by mail or in Savannah. One of the biggest song hits of 1929 was “Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine.”