Barney Parker and his brother, Lonnie Parker, established the Hinesville Telephone Company in 1911. They installed their switchboard in one of the offices on the second floor of the building constructed by Joseph B. Way on courthouse square in Hinesville in 1910.
During its first months of operation, the Hinesville Telephone Company strung line from Hinesville to Ludowici, via Allenhurst and Walthourville, and connected with the Ludowici Telephone Company and lines of the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Barney Parker sold his interest in the Hinesville Telephone Company to his brother, Lonnie Parker, in 1912. A few years later, Lonnie Parker sold the company to Charles H. Dasher of Liberty County. Dasher’s oldest daughter, Lillie Dasher, was a student at Bradwell Institute at the time. She quit school and became a switchboard operator with her cousin, Winnie Martin. Dasher arranged living accommodations for them in a room across the hall from the switchboard office. “We lived over the Hinesville Bank.” Lillie Dasher recalled in 1985 “and our salary was $37 a month.”
Charlie Dasher sold the Hinesville Telephone Company to Frank M. Oliver of Savannah, Georgia, in 1921. He almost immediately sold it to Peter Jones, also of Savannah. Jones sold the company to Barney Parker in 1926. Parker was sole owner of the system until World War II.
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.
In 1930 the company installed 18 miles of line to Midway and Riceboro for seven subscribers, two at Dorchester Academy, and the others alongside U.S. Highway 17. All of them paid $5 a month for the service.
The Hinesville Telephone Company in the summer of 1941 had 200 subscribers and six pay stations in Liberty County, 27 pay stations at Camp Stewart, and three switchboards in its original home in the Way Building. Six operators worked around the clock for $45 a month, while lineman received $3 a day wages. The company was valued at $19,000.
In 1946 Glenn E Bryant purchased the Hinesville Telephone Company from J.L. Kirk and later changed its name to Coastal Utilities Incorporated.