Place Names in Lowndes County
Barretts – According to a resident of the Barretts area who lived there when the railroad was opened, the settlement was named in 1907 or 1908 while the railroad was under construction. The name was taken from “a Barrett who was a railroad man.”1
Bemiss – Originally a railroad stop on the Georgia and Florida line, the Bemiss community was situated around the intersection of Georgia Highway 125 (Bemiss Road in Valdosta) and Cat Creek Road. Originally called Mathis, the Bemiss community was renamed in 1909 to avoid confusion with a similarly named town. Bemiss residents believed it to be named for an employee of the railroad.1
Cat Creek – Cat Creek is the name of both a creek and a settlement. The two theories about the origin of the name are that it was named for wild cats in the area or that it was named because of the many catfish in the creek.1
Clyattville – The community was named for one of the early settlers of the community, James M. Clyatt. A mill operator, Clyatt also owned a store and was postmaster when the post office first opened on June 20, 1849.1
Dasher – The community of Dasher, between Lake Park and Valdosta, is named for O.P. Dasher who, according to The History of Lowndes County, Georgia a was the first settler and property owner in the area.1
Franklinville – Franklinville was the first county seat of Lowndes. Located west of Cat Creek, it is speculated that Franklinville was named to honor Benjamin Franklin as no settlers named Franklin can be found.1
Hahira – Hahira is located 14 miles north of Valdosta on U.S. Highway 41. There are several theories about the origin of the name, but the one most often sited is that a member of the Folsom family, a well-educated bachelor, was impressed by a book which included a section naming riverboat stops in Liberia that he named the town after one of them. This theory has support in the fact that the Folsoms were early settlers of the area.1
Jo Ree’s Mill Pond – Located on Jerry Jones Drive, the name of the mill was probably taken from the name of a bird common in South Georgia, the joree.1
Kinderlou – Kinderlou is a region west of Valdosta located on U.S. Highway 84 and the name has been used for many years. It has been noted that George R. McRee, an owner of extensive properties in the area after the railroad was built, named the section after his sister Lou because many people were “kin to Lou.”1
Little Miami – Little Miami is a section on the south side of Valdosta. The name has its origins during the Florida boom period of the 1920s. It was introduced by a realty firm to induce speculators on the way to Florida to invest in Valdosta.1
Loch Laurel – There are multiple accounts of how Loch Laurel got its name. According to A Study of Place Names in Lowndes County the area known as Loch Laurel is named on a 1908 map as Old Pond. Because there were summer retreats around the lake, this was not seen as an appealing title. It was consequently given the Scottish name Loch Laurel when a club house was constructed on its banks.1
Lowndes County – Lowndes County is named in honor of William Jones Lowndes, a South Carolina politician. He was the son of Rawlings Lowndes, a leader of affairs during and after the Revolutionary War. Curiously, he never actually visited this area. There are also Lowndes Counties in Alabama and Mississippi.1
Naylor – The settlement of Naylor, thirteen miles east of Valdosta, was named for a Captain Naylor who was connected with the building of the old Atlantic and Gulf Railroad, later the Atlantic Coast Line.1
Ousley – Ousley began as a railroad station and mill settlement and is located along U.S. Highway 84 west of Valdosta. The name comes from two brothers, William and Joseph Ousley who moved to the area in 1859 and established a turpentine mill there.
Remerton – Now surrounded by Valdosta, Remerton is named for Remer Lane, a banker that was involved with the development of the Strickland Cotton Mill in Remerton.
Shiloh – Located southwest of of Hahira, Shiloh was a school district and included the Snake Nation area. The name comes from Shiloh Church and School, in operation as early as 1908. Biblical in origin, it is the name of a village in Palestine.1
Snake Nation – There are several stories about the origin of Snake Nation. One is that early settlers frequently killed snakes on hunting trips, leading to a joke between them that the area was “Snake Nation.”1
Troupville – Although no longer in existence, Troupville was the county seat of before Valdosta and was named for Georgia governor George M. Troup. Troupville was situated in the junction of the Little and Withlacoochee rivers and was the seat of Lowndes County for 24 years. With the arrival of the railroad in the area, the people of Troupville decided to move their town to the railroad and renamed it Valdosta.
Tom-town – A former slave by the name of Tom Simmons bought a portion of land from Mrs. John Myddelton in 1882. Simmons was unable to afford the price of the five acre parcel, but instead worked off the value of the land for Mrs. Myddelton. He, and his wife Ann, worked together to build a house out of cypress and developed his new property. This parcel of land, which today consists of that section of East Gordon and East Ann Streets at North Lee Street, is known as Tom Town, after Tom Simmons.2
Valdosta – When Valdosta was established in 1860, the people of Troupville wanted to continue to honor Governor Troup. ‘Valdosta’ was the name of his Laurens County, Georgia residence.1 The name was suggested by Mr. Leonorean DeLyon, who was editor of the newspaper in Troupville.3 In turn, the residence was named for the Italian province Valle d’Aosta.
Many of Valdosta’s streets have names that are significant both to local and national history. In this article by Albert Pendleton, which can be found in his Way Back When Vol. III, the origins of several are described.
Wainwright Drive was named for Jonathon Wainwright, commander of American and Filipine forces on Bataan Peninsula. Ridgeway Drive was named for General Matthew Bunker Ridgeway, first U.S. Army officer to hold supreme commands both in the Pacific and Atlantic areas. In 1951, he succeeded General Douglas MacArthur as Supreme Commander in Chief in Korea.
MacArthur Drive was named for General Douglas MacArthur, who served as Commander of all U.S. Army forces in the Far East. Victory Drive was named for what we hoped would be the outcome of World War II.
Franklinville Drive was named for the first county seat in Lowndes County.
Habersham Road was named for James Habersham, an Englishman who established the first business firm in the Colony of Georgia and founded the orphanage Bethesda.
Willacoochee Drive, at times confused with the Withlacoochee River, is named for a small town near Pearson, Georgia, in Atkinson County.
Williams Street was named for F.S. Williams, County Surveyor for Lowndes County. His land maps are still regarded as authority in landline matters. He moved back too Bulloch County, his native county. Newbern Drive was named for the late J.L. Newbern, prominent attorney and founder of First Federal Savings and Loan Association, father of the late Lamar Newbern.
Youles Street was named for W.R. Youles, who began operating a grocery store in the very late 1890s. He was associated with Mr. O.K. Jones, then had a business of his own, taking brothers Frank and Owen into the business.
Converse Street was named for Albert Converse Sr., who at one time lived on Savannah Avenue and owned much property in the area.
Boone Drive was named for Mr. Henry Boone, who owned much land in this area. The Boone Family operated a dairy in Valdosta.
Fred Nijem, who owned and developed the property, named his streets for the children of his brother, Ernest Nijem. Ricardo Street is named for Richerd Nijem. Toni Terrace is for Toni Nijem, and Dedo Drive is for Mary Jo “Dedo” Nijem.
Twitty Lane was named for Willie Frank Twitty. Mr. Twitty was an employee of the U.S. Postal Department at the time the street was named for him.
Varnedoe Street was named for J.O. Varnedoe, Commanding Officer of the Valdosta Videttes, which was associated with the fire department. he was mayor of Valdosta from 1877-1878. He was a veteran of the Spanish American War. Varnedoe also served as postmaster. Mrs. Varnedoe was an outstanding artist and her works grace many of the older Valdosta homes and capital building in Atlanta.
Magnolia Street was so named in honor of the preponderance of Magnolia trees that once lined its boundaries. The Magnolia tree at the corner of Magnolia and Patterson Streets, at First Prespyterian Church, has always been a familiar landmark. Several years ago, the tree had to be removed and another planted in its place.
1. A Study of Place-Names in Lowndes County, Georgia by Fred Lochlan McDonald
2. Way Back When, Volume II by Albert S. Pendleton
3. The Valdosta Times August 4, 1883
4. Way Back When, Volume III by Albert S. Pendleton