Leonorian Neidlinger was born to Frances Melissa Shearouse Neidlinger in Effingham County, on April 4, 1865. His father, Edwin Samuel Shadrack Neidlinger, died in the Civil War on March 12, 1865, less than a month before his birth.
After Shadrack’s death, Leonorian’s mother, Frances Melissa, moved back to Effingham County from Savannah during the seige of war. She and her young son Eddie came to live with her parents, Emanuel and Elizabeth (Miller) Shearouse, in a house that is still standing on Pleasant Acres Road near Springfield. Leonorian was born in the front bedroom of the house. When he was four months old, his brother Eddie died from a fever epidemic.
Leonorian’s uncle, Jonathan Shearouse, was among the seven interested citizens that came together in a board meeting to organize a public school system in Effingham County in 1871. We know that he was a learned man; it is assumed that he took an interest in Leonorian’s education.
Leonorian became a highly esteemed citizen at an early age. He taught in the Shiloh community grammar school located on the Guyton Blandford Road (now called Little McCall Road). It is there that he first saw Annessnetia “Annie” Shearouse. Neidlinger was ten years her senior. They were married on April 10, 1892. The couple had seven children: Langdon, Laurie, Preston, Corine, Hazel, Leonorian, Jr. “Mosser” and Ellie Lou. Leonorian’s mother Frances Melissa Shearouse and his unmarried uncle, Washington, lived with Leonorian and Annie until their deaths.
Leonorian served one term in 1917-18 as a Georgia Senator. He was a member of the Guyton Masonic Lodge. His grandfather Emanuel Shearouse was one of the first Trustees of the Springfield United Methodist Church and a founder of the Springfield Methodist Campground. He served as Superintendent of the Springfield Methodist Sunday School for a number of years. He was involved with the Pineora Manufacturing Company and was one of the founders of the first tobacco sales in the United States. Leonorian served as Effingham County Treasurer for nine years until the position was abolished. He was serving as clerk of the Effingham County commissioners at the time of his death.
Leonorian was a true Christian who lived the way he believed a Christian should. Each morning the children dressed to come to the breakfast table where the day began with a Bible reading and a morning prayer. He helped people in need in the community without asking anything in return. His only criterion was that they needed his help. Although not an ordained minister, Leonorian preached around the county and was well known for his prayers. It has been said that when he prayed you could “you could feel the contentment of heaven.”
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 email@example.com