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Answering who was Jabez Jones

POSTED: February 27, 2014 5:40 p.m.
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Shown is the “Lake in the Woods” lodge, built by the late Dr. Jabez Jones.

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Recently a south Effingham County resident called the Effingham Museum and asked, “Who was Jabez Jones?” A road is named for this person is located in south Effingham connecting Georgia Highway 17 to Georgia Highway 30, not far from the South Effingham school campuses.

I had to admit, I did not know who this man was. But now I do.

Jabez Jones Road in Effingham County was named in honor of Jabez Z. Jones, M.D. (Born Oct. 26, 1873, Madison, S.C., died Dec. 31, 1960, Savannah). He attended Emory University School of Medicine and interned at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. While there, he met Miss Fanny May Tabbs (1880-1973), a nurse, and later married her. They had one son, Spencer Calhoun Jones (1909-78), who lived most of his life in New York but returned to Savannah when he retired.

They are buried in Greenwich Section of Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah.

The Savannah Polk’s City Directory of 1902 lists him as Physician in Charge of the Savannah Hospital. His office was located at 247 Bull St. in Savannah. By 1905, his residence was 11 W. Gordon St., where he lived until his death in 1960.

In the early 1900s, it was very popular for physicians, attorneys and others in Savannah to purchase homes in Effingham County to get away from the summer heat. Dr. Jabez Jones purchased 111.4 acres known as the “Old Hester Mill Tract” with a home and outbuildings from Mrs. Jewetta Roberts in south Effingham on May 7, 1928. He purchased several other tracts from Mrs. Roberts at later dates. He sold 116.8 acres to G.P. Morgan in 1943, who sold it to Nola B. and Harold E. Jensen, and they sold it to DeVane B. Middleton, real estate developer, in 1959. He built the lodge called “Lake in the Woods.” When the roads in Effingham County were formally named in the 1980s, Mrs. Enzell Middleton (Mrs. DeVane B.) was on the committee and chose Jabez Jones Road in honor of the outstanding physician.

Dr. Jabez Jones was honored with a memorial in the Savannah Morning News on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 1960:

“Dr. Jabez Jones: A pioneer in surgery and a leading Savannahian for many years died Saturday at the age of 87. His passing deprives our community of an outstanding figure. Among the posts Dr. Jones held during his worthy career was that of Chief of Staff at Telfair Hospital, in which role he served for thirty-three years. He also had been president of the Georgia Medical Association, the Savannah Benevolent Association, and the Seaboard Medical Association. He was one of the first members of the American College of Surgeons. In the field of bone surgery, Dr. Jones was esteemed for his leadership and trail-blazing. His contributions have done much to improve practices and techniques in this area of medicine. As a distinguished surgeon and a credit to his community, he will be missed.”

His obituary noted he was the acclaimed inventor of bolts for joining broken bones and he invented an orthopedic table during his medical career. He was the surgeon for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad and for Southern Cotton Oil for a number of years.

The “Lake in the Woods” home was on the Guyton Christmas Tour of Homes several times in the 1980s and 1990s. I recall seeing the towering Christmas tree and the elaborate décor in the beautiful lodge.

Recently the property was auctioned and now a new generation will hopefully restore and enjoy this hidden “Lake in the Woods.”

Written by Betty Ford Renfro

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: hesheraldexley@aol.com.

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