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Echoes of Effingham: Remembering William Washington Metzger

POSTED: May 24, 2017 3:56 p.m.

William Washington Metzger was born April 25, 1831, on a farm near the small village of Clyo, which lies a short distance from the Savannah River. His life was a happy life, being reared in a family having a great sense of humor.

When he grew into manhood, his neighbors and friends as well as his family loved him for his jovial disposition and respected him for his honesty and integrity. He married Miss Marion D. Exley on Feb. 10, 1858.

In December 1861, he hired a surveyor to survey and measure off two acres and a rod of land that he was giving a group of Lutherans to build a church on. Seven years later he joined this church (Laurel Hill Lutheran near Clyo) which was in the year of 1868.

When the War Between the States became a reality, like the other brave men of the South, William Washington Metzger felt the call of duty, although it was not easy to do. He mounted his horse and rode off, leaving his wife, three small girls and his mother to join the Georgia Cavalry (Chatham County). He was placed in Company B, 21st Battalion as a private. He saw action for a period of time and in the spring of 1864; he was given leave to come home for a short visit with his family.

Soon after his return to his post of duty, his wife Marion became aware of the fact that she was to have another child, which added greatly to her physical and her mental anguish in those trying times. However, the worst was yet to come - her husband was taken prisoner, and she no longer heard a word from him. He was a prisoner in New York for 13 months. He said that he was a man who did not require much food, or he never could have lived through the ordeal of hunger.

As Union Gen. William Sherman marched through Georgia to the sea, he started back up the coastline. When he got to the Savannah River there was a freshet and the water was too swift and dangerous to cross, so they made camp near the Metzger home.

During their stay in the Clyo community, Mrs. Metzger knew that the time had come for her child to be born. Soon the Yankees learned what was taking place, and a doctor from the camp was sent into her home to deliver the baby, which was another girl. Since there were not the necessary things on hand to take care of the situation, the supplies were brought in from the army camp outfit, including the safety pins to dress the baby and mother. 

The doctor was very kind to her and some soldiers were placed around her home to guard it, and to keep the soldiers from looting and frightening her, like they were at every other home in the community. To be continued next week. …

Photo provided by Brandon Metzger & shared by J. W.”Bill” Exley III.

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