A tract of land of 150 acres located 26 miles northwest of Savannah was granted to John Rollison in 1793 for his service in the Revolutionary War. The land was along the Old Louisville Road bounded on the southeast by Ready Branch.
The Marlow family came into possession of the property in 1833. Since 26 miles was a day’s journey with horses for the stagecoach, Robert Marlow established the Marlow Inn. Travelers could stay the night, and the horses could be exchanged before crossing the Ogeechee River. This spot is now where the Maner home sits in Marlow.
In 1838, the right-of-way was obtained for the Central of Georgia Railroad and Banking Company. A 200-foot-wide right-of-way bordered the first row of lots. The railroad connected Savannah and Macon.
The first phase of the railroad was built to mile 26 to enable the railroad to intersect with the stagecoach line. In a few years, trains were a common site, with eight trains a day passing through the village. The early morning “Hustler” carried businessmen and high school students to Savannah and returned late in the day.
A later train was known as the “Shoofly.” The railroad was sold in 1963 and tracks removed, leaving only a grassy median through town.
In 1859, Richard Cuyler, president of the Central of Georgia Railroad and Banking Company from 1842-65, purchased 101 acres of the original tract from sons of Robert Marlow. Since Robert Marlow was a planter who had owned the property and a mansion joining the tract of land, the village was named Marlow in his honor.
The village was laid out with lots and squares similar to Savannah. The plat described 75 lots with some village squares. He also bought some adjacent property. Marlow was full of big oak trees draped in moss.
Cuyler built a mansion on four lots. His home was near Reedy Branch, the railroad and the Old Louisville Road. Edward B. McIntyre, treasurer of the Central of Georgia, purchased the 101 acres and completed the home in 1875. Samuel Joseph Maner purchased the property from the heirs of McIntyre in 1905. It was passed on to his son Fairley J. Maner and is now property of his son F. J. “Joe” Maner Jr. When street names were given it became 256 McIntyre Rd., Guyton.
The village was large enough for a post office to be established in 1875, with Thomas A. Dutton as first postmaster. Many served in the position over the years. It had mail routes delivering as far as the Chatham County line until the late 1950s, when the routes were changed to Guyton. The post office was closed shortly thereafter, and mail routes served the town.
The first church in the village was Marlow Presbyterian. Leaders were W.F. McConnell, Laurie McNeil and Edward J. Purse, who all owned fine homes in the area. Apparently, those who were Presbyterian either died or moved away.
The church building became abandoned and became a meeting place for any denomination. It later came to be a school building. In 1923, Zion and Sand Hill were consolidated into Marlow. The ruins of the old abandoned building that had housed the first through 11th grades are barely visible today next to Marlow Methodist Church. The old school, on what is now Hickory Street, was abandoned when the new brick school was built on Highway 17 in 1935.
Consolidation of all the high schools into Effingham County High in 1957 moved high school students, leaving only elementary students in Marlow. A modern elementary school was built in 2005 further south on Highway 17 to accommodate the growing population and replace an aging building.
There was a school for black children in the 1920s located between Marlow and Pineora. When the school burned, it was replaced with another near the Marlow Baptist Church. It was a one-room frame school with shutters. The school consolidated with Effingham Training School in Guyton in 1955.
Edward J. Purse purchased 10 lots from Richard and Emily Cuyler. He built two large houses, each two stories high. One was for his family and the other his servants. There was also a small building, perhaps for education of the children.
A local newspaper was established at the site. In 1898, Mrs. E. J. Purse sold the property to Archibald A. McEachern, including the Marlow Tannery.
The first turpentine still, lasting several years in Marlow, was operated by a black man by the last name of Davis. R. B. Mallory also operated a turpentine still in the community. C. A. Garbut and son Charlie established a saw mill on the southwestern border of Marlow. These provided jobs for local citizens. Shedrick Zittrauer owned a saw mill and operated a store also for many years.
To be continued ...
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.