By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Memories of a Clyo upbringing
Ech 9-6-07 Mrs
Emma Metzger Williams - photo by Photo submitted

The following was written in 1976 by Mrs. Emma Metzger Williams (b. 1895, d. 1984), widow of Joseph Elliott Williams.  Mrs. Emma was a retired Clyo school teacher.

At the request of my eldest grandson, Joseph Elliott Williams III, I am writing this sketch of my childhood days and our way of life.

I was the youngest of seven children born to Eliza Exley Metzger and Solomon Theodore Metzger, who were members of the Wingard Memorial Lutheran Church, as were all our family. This church now stands in the center of our town of Clyo. We are descendants of the Salzburgers who settled in the little town of Ebenezer on the Savannah River in 1734. My mother, in her girlhood days, was a member of the old Jerusalem Church at Ebenezer, which still stands and has an active membership.

We lived a very happy and contented life on my parents’ farm. Naturally, there were many chores to be done, such as feeding cows, horses and fowl, sweeping yards and bringing in wood for the fireplaces and cook stove. We never complained about helping. We considered it our duty and a part of growing up. Really, it was more a labor of love as we dearly loved our parents who were so kind to us. We were a very close-knit family where love prevailed.

Our home was, and still is, in the center of the little town of Clyo in Effingham County. The Seaboard Coast Line Railroad, formerly the Seaboard Air Line, runs through our town and at one time brought mail and carried passengers to and from Clyo. There was a post office, several stores carrying general merchandise and about a dozen or more homes within a radius of a few miles.

There were many country doctors who came and went from time to time who would make house calls to the sick, in a horse-drawn buggy, for about three dollars a visit, or if money was scarce (as most of the time it was), the doctor accepted instead produce from the farm. There were no drugstores which made it necessary for the physician to supply the required medication from his own supply which he carried in his “little black bag.”

Dr. Sheridon Absolam Williams, who was the father of my husband Joseph Elliott Williams, grandfather of my son Joseph Elliott Williams Jr., and great-grandfather of Joseph Elliott Williams III, for whom I am writing this paper, was practicing physician and dentist in the late 1880s and lived in a house just across the railroad from us. He was the attending physician to my mother when my sister Clara was born.

Clara, now 84, and I, 80 years old, are the only ones of our family living at this time. Jessie, the oldest of the children, died at 80 years; Sidney died at the age of 50; Gertrude died at 81; and Robert died at age 57. The first baby born to our parents died in infancy. Clara and I still live in the home our father built in 1902.  

My son, Joseph Elliott Williams, is a merchant in our town and lives with his wife Margaret Smith Williams in a nice brick home next to the store.  His children, Joseph E. Williams III, Samuel Cary Williams and Ann Williams Ford are all married and each has two children. They are all dear to me and I am proud of each of them.

During our childhood, life for us was very much routine, but never dull, as we and our cousins and friends visited each other quite often. My mother would take us to spend the day with relatives and friends nearby. Sometimes our walks would take us through the wooded areas where we walked on footlogs over little streams and branches. We picked flowers and chinquapins along the way.

When we arrived, a good dinner was on the way with a hearty welcome extended to us. My uncle, Isodore (Dorie) Metzger, gave us free run of the fruit orchards of pears, peaches and plums with luscious grapes and walnut trees dropping their tasty nuts free for our taking. My how we did enjoy those days.

Our toys were mostly handmade from materials found about the yard and nearby Hanberry Store. My brother, Robert (Bob) was adept at putting findings together which resulted in wagons made from wooden boxes, wheels cut from nearby pine trees, and axles and shafts added.  

We were ready to take turns giving each other a ride. See-Saw was another favorite past-time with a wide board slipped through a crack of a fence; we were again ready for fun, with one of us on each end of the board pumping up and down.

Our pets were dogs, cats, calves, horses and chickens.

On Sundays, we attended Sunday School and church services. There was an air of reverence and serenity about the home on this special day of rest and worship and on Sunday evenings, when there were no church services, folks met at different homes for singing.

Without modern inventions such as radios, TVs, autos, etc., to take us to places of amusement, we often gathered around the organ (my oldest sister Jessie performing), my father’s lovely bass voice, and the rest of us doing our best at soprano, we made the old parlor ring with merriment. We were such a happy family.

To be continued next week.

This article was compiled and edited from the Historic Effingham Society files by Susan Exley. If you have questions, photographs or comments to contribute, please contact her at 754-6681 or email