About 1912, Brady Shearouse built the first store in Marlow and operated it until his death in 1916. It was a large wooden structure located adjacent to the home of Osborne Mingledorff and his wife, who was the daughter of Brady Shearouse.
The Shearouse family continued to operate the store until 1947. It was a typical country store selling groceries, clothing, shoes, hardware and anything used at that time on the farm or in the home. The post office was located in the corner of the store in the 1940s.
Evander F. Nease Sr. and his son E. Frederick Jr. operated a store at the corner of Oak Drive and Central Avenue. The building burned in a terrible fire accompanied by the explosions of the ammunition stored within the business.
A concrete building replaced it and was operated by Frederick for many years. In later years, the building was occupied by a garment factory and later a cabinet shop. This property later became the site of the First Baptist Church of Marlow.
James Smith operated Smitty’s Store for more than 35 years. For many years it was the only store within miles where you could purchase a loaf of bread or “cold drink.” The building dated to 1865.
Smitty’s was part of four movies with scenes filmed there and the site of commercial advertising, including Harley Davidson and Hummer. It was also popular for SCAD film students to shoot short movie projects during their education. The store, located on Highway 17, has been closed for many years.
The Marlow Methodist Church was deeded one acre of land by Edward J. Purse to be used for a place of worship in 1884. The Marlow Methodist Episcopal Church South was not organized until 1905. It is still an active church at the intersection of Marlow Road and Highway 17.
Norman Mingledorff donated the land for the Marlow Cemetery about 1897 on the Old Marlow Road. It is currently owned and operated by the Marlow Cemetery Association and maintained by local citizens.
Marlow Baptist Church was built around 1890 in the southwestern part of town. In 1915, it was relocated to the present site, 140 Church Hill Rd., and the church was rebuilt. A cemetery also was established there.
Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Miller Chapel Lutheran Church and Zion Lutheran Church became a pastoral charge in 1904. Mt. Olivet’s members had come from the original Mt. Olivet in Oliver.
They built a church in 1919 on a site on nearly the opposite side of the road from Smitty’s. It was a wooden frame building with stained glass windows and wooden shingles. A pump organ provided music and a wood-burning heater provided warmth. The building housed two Sunday school rooms at the front of the building.
The building sat vacant for many years after the church merged with Zion Lutheran Church in 1952. The building was sold for lumber to a Mr. Murray for $500 but burned completely during the process of dismantling the building. Church members collected the insurance and reimbursed the buyer.
When the radio became popular, prior to television, and electricity came to the county, Fairley J. Maner Sr. operated a shop for radio sales and repair at the corner of his property on McIntyre Road. He was the only radio shop in the county for many years. As the television came into fashion, he adjusted his business to sell and repair them as well as installation of outside antennas for better reception. He operated in the same location for more than 40 years.
Sherman included Marlow in his path of destruction. The railroad was his main target but nothing was spared by him and his men, except homes occupied by women or women and children. If the woman of the house was brave and stayed home, nothing was destroyed.
Sherman and his men arrived at the home of Richard I. and Salome K. Fetzer on Dec. 8, 1864. The men were away fighting. Salome and her 5-year-old orphan granddaughter, Ida Dasher, were at home. Sherman killed a turkey in the yard and demanded she cook dinner for him and his group. The general slept in her bed while she cooked.
After they ate, they poured all the dry groceries on the kitchen floor and poured syrup over them, ransacked the house, even finding her hidden gold plate dentures (she never replaced them) and left.
The Lewis Dasher home, next in Sherman’s path, was spared as his wife was home. The Hines house across Little Ogeechee was burned. Sherman’s troops spent the night in Zion Lutheran Church and burned it before they left for Savannah.
Some growth has been seen in the Marlow area including a few subdivisions. Out on the newer main highway, fast-paced traffic whizzes by a modern convenience store at the intersection of Midland Road and Highway 17.
The old road through the main part of the little community is still scenic with a few lovely old homes surrounded by large oak trees laden with moss blowing in the gentle breeze.
This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society from information in the 1976 Bicentennial History of Effingham as well as “River to River,” the history of Effingham County by Betty Renfro. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.