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Exploring the history of Tusculum

POSTED: April 18, 2013 5:30 p.m.
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Tusculum Christian Church was organized in 1915 and is the only public building left in Tusculum.

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The Tusculum community developed along the Central of Georgia Railway as a stop between Guyton and Egypt. At one time there was a small depot there but no ticket office.

The name Tusculum originated prior to Colonial times along the Indian trail from Tuckasee King on the Savannah River to the Ogeechee River.

Mail was delivered by a mail hook where the mailbag was grabbed by the train workers and the incoming mail was thrown from the train. A post office was opened in June of 1874, with J. L. McLean as postmaster. Others who served this post office were Alzado K. Powers, Donald H. Clark, Sarah E. Clark, Marcilla F. Adams, Joseph R. Bridgeman, William H. Newton, Jesse H. Pomeroy, Leo F. Griffin, Mrs. Annie V. Clemmons, Homer B. Lindsey, Mrs. Addie Moore, James M. Kennedy, Howell Bascom Chitty, Mrs. Audie B. Stokes, Mrs. Lola P. Lee and Walter L. Fort Jr. The post office was discontinued in 1950 and service moved to Guyton.

Two turpentine stills produced turpentine and rosin to be shipped from a loading area on a sidetrack. One was owned by Mr. Howell Chitty of Douglas, and the other by McCall Brothers of Savannah. Mr. Chitty closed his business in the late 1930s and McCall continued until after World War II. Both businesses operated commissaries with “store tokens” instead of cash issued to turpentine workers to pay for weekly necessities on payday.

The first schoolhouse in the area was on Harry Lindsey Road near Highway 17. It was a two-room, wooden-frame building with a fabric divider between the classes. It was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1930-31. A brick school was constructed on two acres of land on Porter Road just off Highway 17 donated by D. H. Clark to the Trustees of the Tusculum School on August 31, 1931.

One peculiarity about the schoolhouse, mentioned by Mrs. Bernice Mock Yarbrough, was that the outhouse was also made of brick. Heated with a pot-bellied stove, it had an outside pump for water. Miss Ethel Heidt taught grades 1-3 and Mrs. Pearl Kennedy grades 4-6. Mrs. Yarbrough recalls lunches consisted of pots of soup cooked on the stove and milk, peaches and prunes supplied by a government program. Students finishing sixth grade had to go to Guyton to further their education.

There were two churches in the community. The Tusculum Christian Church was organized in 1915 by Frank, Walter, Luther and Millard DeWitt, along with J.W. Griffin.  They met in an old school building on the property of Luther Dewitt about five miles above Guyton until the building they were using burned. The church then constructed a building in 1920.

The New Providence Baptist Church of Guyton sponsored a mission church known as Brewer Mission. In 1898, Brother W. D. Pharis requested the deed be given to the Brewer Mission. The deed was given to the mission but some years later the church closed and its members joined other churches.

Several stores operated at various times by the Moore, Malphus, Nettles, Chitty, Smith and Kinzie families. Some living in the area included Donald Clark, an attorney practicing in Savannah, and the Lindsey, Moore, Clemmons, Porter, Mock and Thompson families.

Today this is a growing residential community with no businesses and only the peaceful setting of the Tusculum Christian Church and the Tusculum-Springfield Road sign to acknowledge the community’s former presence.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society from “River to River: The History of Effingham County.” If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at


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