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Remembering George Washington Fetzer
Laura Heidt Fetzer
Laura Heidt Fetzer

George Washington Fetzer, a sixth-generation descendant of Johann Ulrich Fetzer, was born in Ebenezer on Dec. 29, 1844. He was the son of Richard Israel and Salome Kieffer Fetzer, both of whom were Salzburgers.

When about 13 years old, his family moved to the Zion community, their new home about three miles south of Marlow where his father had bought land and built.

At 17 years old, George joined the Confederate Army. He returned home at the end of the war. George and his father cut logs, made a raft and floated logs to Savannah on the Ogeechee River. Logs were sold, many sawed. George and a friend Glenn Duggar, built a saw mill, sawed logs and used lumber to build small shantys for their houses.

George Washington Fetzer and Laura Heidt were married on Dec. 1, 1870. Six boys and three girls were born to this union: Adeline Eliza, William Richard, Evelina Salome, Bunyan George, Claudius Austin, Herbert Josiah, Emma Amelia, Robert Edward and Laurice Elmore.

South of his father’s property, George bought land and started construction of a colonial style home. Before his third child was born, they moved into it when two or three rooms were complete. This continued to be his home until fire destroyed it on Jan. 15, 1922. Eleven people were asleep at 1 o’clock in the morning when one aroused and heard fire crackling. Screams ran through the house, all ran out in night clothes, thankful no one burned. Another house was built and George lived in it until his death, May 17, 1930.

George was an energetic hard working man. He operated a saw mill and turpentine still as long as his health permitted. An active member of Zion Lutheran Church, he was also active in affairs of the community.

He was a member of the Effingham Hussars, which was made up of men from Effingham County in Company 1 of the 5th Georgia Cavalry Regiment, commanded by Col. Edward Bird of Effingham County.

The descendants of Johann Ulrich Fetzer or any of his relatives are invited to attend an annual reunion at Zion Lutheran Church, 121 Noel C. Conaway Rd., Guyton, at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday July 30. A covered dish meal will be shared. Please bring old timey recipes and lots of stories. Bring your suit as there will be water games.

This was compiled by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos or historical information to share contact her at 754-6681 or email