African American News and Genealogy

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Descendents Recall Early Appling County Settlers

How much do you know about your family's past? Probably a lot if you all come from one community near Baxley in Appling County. A two-mile stretch of highway there now has a new name. The Heritage Parkway pays tribute to the pioneers of the 1820s who founded the community. "It's just hard to imagine what those folks when through to make the trip across the Altamaha, not knowing what was on the other side, whether they'd live or die," said Greg Kennedy of the Appling Heritage Council. A monument shows the 83 families that settled here. Part of the challenge was knowing which settlers to honor. When Appling County was founded, it included this and 11 other present-day counties. Many on hand at the dedication trace back to more than one family. "Summerall over there--hard to remember them all--Tillman over there. Tyre from my husband's family," said descendent Barbara Baker. Some find their history through descendents of freed slaves. "My grandfather was one of the first black settlers in this community," said Rebecca McTier Ogden. "At the time he came here, there were no other black settlers." The parkway also features new pear trees that pay tribute to today's generation. "We already have some from our Asian community, our African American community, our Hispanic community," said project chairman Stan Brobston. "People have purchased trees. It's not just the early white settlers." People there say they'll think of forefathers every time they drive by. The Heritage Parkway is located off US 1 south of Baxley. Reported by: Dal Cannady,


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