Adabelle, Georgia now has an official historical marker. Adabelle was once a thriving village in the southwest corner of Bulloch County. The historical marker was unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday, November 13, 2021.

Fay Foy Franklin family Credit: Grice Connect

The marker was created by Virginia Anne and Bill Waters with the Bulloch County Historical Society.

Members of the Historical Society Board L-R: Virginia Anne Waters, Simms Lanier (in back), Frank Parker, Rodney Harville, Bill Waters Credit: Grice Connect

Click here to view a complete list of historical markers in Bulloch County.

In attendance for the ceremony were descendants of W.M. (Manassas) Foy.

Manassas Foy had four children who were represented at the event:

  • J.P.  Foy—Teresa and Betty Foy Sanders 
  • Louis Foy Simmons —  Burney and John represented the Simmons Family
  • Inman  —  Fay Foy Franklin
  • Marian Foy Olliff  — Bill, Bob, Foy, and Bruce Olliff’s family

Kathy Bradley, chair of the Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Foundation hosted the families to a lunch at her home immediately following the ceremony.

L-R: Virginia Anne Waters, Kathy Bradley, Johnny Bradley and Bill Waters Credit: Grice Connect

Grice Connect was in attendance for the ceremony. Below is a video of the entire ceremony:

The Adabelle, Georgia Historical Marker

Adabelle, named for Ada Belle Williams—daughter of J.W. Williams—was established in 1900 and a post office existed until 1907.  It was a stop on the Register and Glennville Railway which connected with both the Central of Georgia Railway and the Seaboard Air Line. Leading men in this area were: Jimerson Kennedy, Remer Franklin, William Wesley Olliff, John Harold Perkins, Washington Manassas (W.M.) Foy and John William (J.W.) Williams. This village existed for about fifty years.

In 1908, its population was 85.  Mr. R.L. Bowen was the depot agent for the Register & Glennville Railroad. Charles K. Spiers was a “woods-rider” for W.M. Foy. Mr. Spiers’ wife was Alice Mae Franklin, daughter of Hiram Franklin. She ran the boarding house and hotel in Adabelle. The house/hotel was on this site and built by J.W. Williams.

The naval stores industry began in this area in 1902 when W.M. Foy and J.W. Williams incorporated their business as the Adabelle Trading Company and purchased the Carr Bros. Turpentine Distillery.  Rosin and turpentine were products of this industry and called naval stores because of their early use in maintaining the wooden ships of the navy.

At its prime, The Adabelle Trading Co. had over 14,000 acres of land and produced 1800 barrels of turpentine a year.  They also farmed Sea Island cotton and corn. Other workers needed for the naval stores industry were:  coopers to make the barrels, wheelwrights, wagon-makers and blacksmiths.   

W.M. Foy had a lumbering business in Tattnall County and the village of Manassas was named for him.  He also built an eighteen-room house on Savannah Avenue in Statesboro, GA in 1901.  W.M. Foy died in 1903 of typhoid fever.  In 1909, J.W. Williams sold his interest in the Trading Company to W.M. Foy’s heirs and to Dr. J.E. Donehoo, Mrs. Foy’s second husband. 

The Adabelle Trading Company dissolved about 1920 and the village gradually disappeared.  W.M. Foy’s sons, Inman and J. P., continued in the turpentine business at Adabelle for several years. In the 1870’s, Croatan Indians migrated to this area from Robeson County, NC, to help in developing the turpentine industry. They are now known as the Lumbee Tribe and are still located in Robeson County, NC.

Supported by the Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Foundation

Become a member of the Bulloch County Historical Society today

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3 WAYS TO JOIN

1. Download and Mail

Join the “historic way” click here to download, print, and mail a form.

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DeWayne Grice

Herschel DeWayne Grice is the founder of Grice Connect an online news and information company in Statesboro, Georgia. DeWayne has been active in the media for over three decades. He brings a unique insight...