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Looking back on seven years in the Herald
ebenezer creek
Effinghams roots are in Ebenezer Creek, shown above. - photo by Photo provided

Well, folks, it has been seven years since Echoes of Effingham first appeared in the Effingham Herald. As I reflect on preparing around 370 columns, I think of all the old photographs I have perused and all the interesting people I met, interviewed or told you about. I learn new information on a daily basis that intrigues me to share.

My roots and those of Effingham County go back to Ebenezer Creek where my ancestors, known as the Salzburgers, settled in a foreign land, far from their native Germany, seeking asylum where they could worship freely without persecution. These folks were hard-working, God-fearing people who made a home here and from whom many of us today are descended.

The column subjects range from people to places, ways of life and businesses that no longer exist. I find that the early settlers worked very hard to do chores that we take for granted with our mechanical gizmos and appliances to help us work.

Effingham has gone from a single, one-room school in an orphanage at New Ebenezer to a school system that is now known far and wide as one of the best in rural Georgia.

From the stories of early plows, indigo, collard kraut, outhouses and raising chickens to the stories of places long gone such as Pax, Tuckasee King and Lorenzo, each column has shared history. Many of the stories have been based on word of mouth tales told on front porches of our citizens on Sunday afternoon.

Through the years we have lost so many of our natural resources, our elderly citizens, who knew the answers to our many questions. Now I realize how important it is to get the story down in writing quickly because the people who could share so much are leaving us on a frequent basis. Keen minds like Mrs. Edna Morgan, my Aunt Mary Turner, Mr. James Sapp, my parents and many others are there to help fill in the gaps for my stories.

Let me challenge each of you to spend time with our older people and learn of our history before they are gone and the story grows cold and is unfinished. Before it is too late, take notes, make a personal video or just take photographs and document the information we lose every day as we commit our older citizens to Effingham’s cemeteries.

It has been fun doing the research or finding old or unseen photos for the column and for the calendar for Historic Effingham Society over the last decade. I am much honored to receive the esteemed 2012 Member of the Year Award. To receive this twice now is doubly appreciated.

Thank you, HES Board of Directors, for this award. Since I was not attending the banquet, I was very surprised on Jan. 28 when you took your time as board members to be present and to present it to me at the museum. Walt Gnann, your kind words were much appreciated. I had been lured there by a crafty Beverly Poole, who arranged a photo scanning session for someone who did not exist.The distinction for service is very rewarding and an incentive to continue this weekly commitment for a while.

Your suggestions for stories are much appreciated. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get around to it, so remind me and supply the pictures and info to make it happen. It is my wish that this column in some way gives others pleasure and knowledge from week to week.

Lots of good ones are on the way … in the back of my mind.

This was written 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: