Guyton is a city of 1.2 square miles in Effingham County, Georgia. Guyton is part of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located 25 miles north of Savannah.
Some of the early settlers of Guyton came from the Savannah area. However, most came from North and South Carolina. In 1792 a tract of 250 acres of land in the form of a land warrant from Effingham County was issued to Squire Zachariah White. The community became known as Whitesville. When the Squire passed away on February 10, 1838, he was unmarried and had no heirs. Prior to his death, he granted a right-of-way to the new Central of Georgia Railway Company.
White was buried on his own land, as was the custom at the time. His grave is in the rear of the present New Providence Church. Years later, a local controversy was started when some of this community tried to have Squire White's grave moved to the new local cemetery. It was never moved. There is a simple stone marking White’s grave. It is located in the back outside wall of the educational building and reads, “In Memory of Zachariah White who departed this life 10 Feb. 1838. He was the first settler of this place. A good honest man. A good Whig of ’76.”
Shortly after Whites death, the Effingham County Commissioners took over White's land as a result of unpaid taxes. The county had a survey made, laid off lots and streets just as they still are today, and sold it all at public auction as payment of his taxes. Many lots were bought by affluent Savannah residents as a place for summer homes and as a place to escape the yellow fever epidemic that was prominent in Savannah at the time.
When the Central of Georgia Railroad Company, having a charter to build and operate a railroad from Savannah to Macon and on to Marthasville (now called Atlanta), laid their track through Whitesville in 1837 or 1838, they referred to this place as Station Number 3. Railroad officials named the stations and most were given the name of a prominent individual living in that particular area. Other Effingham stations along the route were No.1-Meldrim, No.2-Eden, No. 2 ½-Marlow, Pineora, No. 3 ½-Tusclum and No. 4-Egypt. Part of the agreement for Station No. 3 was that no train would come through without stopping. The right of way for the railroad was two hundred feet wide and thirty miles long with railroad tracks down the center of the strip. Stations were located every ten miles to take on water and food supplies for steam locomotives. These ten mile stations had depots and stopped for freight and passengers. Half stations were located at five mile intervals for wood or water only. Depots were established at all of the stations to bring freight from Savannah and other areas and to allow for shipment of local cotton, produce, lumber and other items to Savannah and locations in the interior of the state.
Soon, locals asked the railroad company to give this place a name so they could request the federal government to place a post office here. Since there was another town in the state named Whitesville, Mr. W. W. Gordon, President of the Central Railroad, named this location Guyton, after Archibald Guyton, a prominent, local citizen. The U. S. Post Office established a post office at Guyton, Georgia, December 31, 1851.
Guyton was an affluent town by the time of the Civil War. During the Civil War, the Confederacy built a hospital in Guyton. There are 26 Confederate soldiers buried in the local cemetery. When General Sherman marched from Atlanta to Savannah on his burn and destroy mission, he came through Guyton with his main body of troops. It took five days for his army to pass through, with some of his troops looting, burning, and stealing. The depot and tracks were destroyed, the area for miles around was devastated, all buildings in the area were torn down, the Confederate Hospital was demolished and materials were transported elsewhere for the use of the Union Army. Some of the looted lumber was used to build the Beach Institute in Savannah, a school built for black students in 1866.
In 1887, Guyton was incorporated and issued a town charter by the State of Georgia. The local member of the Georgia Legislature who had the bill introduced and passed was Colonel Clarence Guyton, a grandson of Archibald Guyton. The first Mayor was Charles A.J. Sweat. Col. Edward Bird, Capt. Thomas F. Stubbs, Benjamin R. Armstrong and Sidney S. Tibson were the first Aldermen. The Board of Assessors consisted of W.B. Mill, Richard J Davant and C.D. Rodgers. These men made up the new government for the town of Guyton. One of the first tasks for the new government was to survey and lay out the streets.
The Guyton City Hall has had many requests for information about the family of Guytons. However, little is known about their background. They were rumored to have come from England to North Carolina. Then, Archibald Guyton came to this area from North Carolina in l825. Archibald was married twice. His first wife was the widow Tondee of Savannah. There is a Tondee farm or plantation listed in Effingham County near Guyton during this period, so she may have had connections there. The Georgia census of l850 shows Archibald came to Georgia in l825. He was in the timber business. His first wife, widow Tondee died of yellow fever and is buried in the old Providence Baptist Cemetery. His second wife was Harriet Patterson, of this area. Archibald had a son, Robert, by his first wife and a son, Charles, by his second wife. There were several girls also as are listed in his cemetery plot. Archibald's grandson, Clarence, was an attorney and maintained a law office in Savannah. Everyone called him Colonel Guyton. He was a member of the Georgia Legislature and was very prominent.
There are no families named Guyton living in the community today. The last Guyton family home, which was occupied by Clarence, his sister Belle Hendry, and also his sister Tallullah and her husband Fred Seckinger, is still in excellent condition. It is located on Highway. 17, just north of the Guyton city limits.
Every December, the spirit of Christmas is highlighted in Guyton with an annual tour of homes. This community-sponsored event will usually host around three to four thousand visitors every year. Visitors will usually tour about a dozen homes and nearly all of the churches are open for the tour. Many homes in the historic district will have lighted doors. The festivities usually begin with a country supper and tour of the historical city. As visitors drive down Main Street in Guyton, they can view the lighted trees that line the old railroad median for the length of one mile. The Guyton Volunteer Fire Department usually illuminates the nearly 7,000 lights each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. (If you are seeking this geocache during the Christmas season, you should take a little extra time to view all of the wonderful holiday lights.)
Many changes have come to Guyton since the Whitesville days. However, there is much history to be found here. The city is much the same s it was in the Victorian era of the 1890s.
In 1982, Guyton was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1993, the Central of Georgia Railroad Company gifted a railroad caboose to the City of Guyton in remembrance of the days of Station No. 3. Today, Guyton is still a small town, but one with much history. As visitors drive through its narrow lanes and streets, they see a Georgia town pretty much the way it was a century ago.
This geocache was placed with permission of the city. I know this really goes without saying, but please be respectful of the surroundings and be careful not to cause any destruction to the area. We don’t want the city to have a bad impression of the geocaching community.
Smaller of the smalls. Larger than a micro. Magnetic. Placed with pencil inside. But, better bring your own writing instrument. Please place back as found ( So, it won't fall, if the magnet should fail.)
4/30/13 - The cache container has been replaced. It is a little smaller than before. it will still hold small trade items. However, the size has been updated from "small" to "micro." You will be seeking a round, black tin. The coordinates have been slightly altered and I hope they will be a bit more accurate.
Most of the information for this cache page was found in the book, River to River From the Savannah River to the Ogeechee River-The History of Effingham County by Betty Ford Renfro.
Congratulations to wimr for being First To Find.