< Back

Waycross

WAYCROSS, , a fairly new town, is given an appearance of age by the large oaks that grow along its streets. This clean and well-paved city has a progressive appearance, to which the trim parks lend dignity. The city owes much of its development, as well as its name to its being at the converging point of nine railroads and five highways. In 1818 settlers began to claim the land near Kettle Creek, now a part of Waycross, and wherever they settled, they built blockhouses and fortifications for protection against the Indians. By 1825 the land had been acquired from the Indians and was granted to in- dividuals under a lottery system. The land lottery system originated in Georgia in the early 1 9th century after the disposal of the lands lying W. of the Chattahochee River. Staking the future of Georgia on people instead of on lands, the officials of the State determined that land should be disposed of in small tracts free of charge. Gov- ernor Troup expressed the policy in these words: "Men and the soil constitute the strength and wealth of the nations, and the faster you plant men, the faster you can draw on both." According to this policy the land was surveyed and charted into parcels, generally of 212.5 acres, and offered to the public through lotteries, each citizen having one chance and heads of families, two chances. Since there were more citizens than parcels of land in every lottery, many people drew blanks. Because the early settlers were very religious, some people have insisted that the name means Way of the Cross. When Frank L. Stanton, Georgia poet and journalist, visited the town in 1888, it was considered the holiest place in the State. He wrote of it that the citizens went to church "six days a week and six times on Sunday." Attendance at a Trinity Methodist Church service inspired him to write his poem, The Love Feast at Waycross. Through out a belt 75 miles wide, beginning at Savannah and running through Waycross to Bainbridge, bee culture has come to be so extensive that Georgia leads the South in the production ofhoney. The blossoms of the tupelo tree provide a heavy amber- colored honey, and the small white blooms of the gall-berry bushes give a clear, almost white, variety. The Waycross industry is ownedby J. J. Wilder, who has 8,500 colonies of bees in 300 apiaries.