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Remembering Dr. Hugh Ryan Tarver
Dr. Hugh Ryan Tarver (1932 newspaper obituary photo) - photo by Photo submitted

Dr. Hugh Tarver was born in Richmond County  on Sept. 23, 1869, the son of Judge F. A. Tarver and his wife, Laura Shruptrine Tarver, who was an Effingham County native. He was an honor graduate of the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Tarver set up medical practice in Savannah at age 21 in 1890. He moved his practice to Guyton in 1891 after marrying Lou Florence Lanier. They had four children.

Dr. Tarver was a charter member of the Georgia Medical Association, master of the Guyton Masonic Lodge No. 428 F & A M., mayor of Guyton, chairman of the Board of School Trustees, a veteran of WWI in the European Theatre and a delegate to the Democratic Convention in San Francisco in 1920.

The first Guyton office was in his home on Central Avenue and his wife served as his part-time nurse. He moved to an office within the original Sweat’s Pharmacy on Second Avenue. Dr. Tarver owned one of the first automobiles in Effingham County.

Dr. Tarver recommended to the county government that a pauper’s fund be established to benefit the local needy. A pauper’s farm was established for a time in Guyton and later in several other communities in the county.  Funds were established to provide reimbursement to local families who took in needy and ill residents and funds to pay for burial of those people as needed.

The people of Effingham County were served by Dr. Tarver for forty one years. Dr. Tarver died on Aug. 25, 1932 of a short serious illness though he had been in failing health for several months. During the week before he passed away his younger son died a tragic death and was buried in the Guyton Cemetery.

Dr. Tarver was buried in the Guyton Cemetery with a Masonic burial service by members of the Guyton Lodge following a short service at the grave with Rev. H. M. Cannon of New Providence Baptist Church, Rev. T. W. Shealy of Springfield and Rev. A. A. Waite of Brooklet. 

Pallbearers included  Dr. W. C. Sweat, Jr. of Stilson, J. W. Davis, Col. C. T. Guyton, R. E. Ratchford, E. H. Robertson and N. P. Brewer of Oliver. Honorary pallbearers included: Dr. T. P. Waring, Dr. J. C. Metts, Dr. Julian Quattlebaum, Dr. Julian Chisholm of Savannah, Judge H. B. Strange and Col. Howell Cone of Statesboro, B. H. Morgan, Dr. W. C. Sweat, Sr. Dr. W. S. Simmons, Dr. B. P. Powers and Dr. Charles T. Brown of Guyton. 

In addition to his wife and children and families he left a sister, Mrs. J. E. Hodges of Springfield. 

The people of Guyton and all over Effingham mourned his loss. Each one had known and loved him for the 41 years of his practice, both black and white. His kind and human heart was revealed best in the vast and charitable service he rendered the entire area. He ever stood ready to do his best for suffering mankind. He was a good man as well as physician. 

This was written by Susan Exley from Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos or historical information to share contact her at 912-754-6681 or email