The Telephone Comes to Liberty County (1903-1926)

There were no telephones in Liberty County until 1903.


It was that year the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company put down 34 miles of poles and strung 107 miles of line beside railroad tracks in the county. It installed tele­phones in railroad depots at Fleming, Riceboro, Walthour­ville, Johnstons Station (Liberty City), Dorchester, and Mc­Intosh.


Johnstons Station (Liberty City) became Ludowici in 1905. C.R. Sikes of Glennville, Georgia, established the Ludowici Telephone Company in January 1911. He connected his system to the lines of the Southern Bell Telephone and Tele­graph Company and for the first time private citizens of Liberty County had telephone communication with the outside world.


Barney Parker was a captain in the Salvation Army for seven years before he 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.