In the early 1920s, Bede was the name of the little post office situated about 5 miles south of Abbeville, near Highway 129. It had a railroad station named Browning Station and a one-room schoolhouse named Longpond School.
J.D.A. "Dave" SMITH helped run the cotton gin and grist mill. There was also a sawmill owned by Mrs. Jane BROWN and her son, R.A.
There was a general store that sold a little bit of everything.
Farming, where cotton was king, and turpentining were the main ways of making a living. The turpentine still at Bede was owned by "Crum" WILLIAMS.
The postmaster at Bede was G. C. WILCOX. The post office also sold a few staple groceries such as chewing tobacco and snuff.
Ox cart rides, peanut boilings, and cane grindings were the most popular forms of entertainment.
The one-room school had up to 50 children attending. They ranged from beginners to 7th graders. A few of the teachers were Miss Alta Smith, Miss Ina CARR, and Miss Essie FULGHAM.
Lebanon Baptist Church was located in Bede in the 1980s.
The tiny community of Browning was located 6 miles south of Abbeville. It got its name from Mr. BROWN, the man who owned the property.
The few businesses were one large store, a cotton gin, and a turpentine still. Browning also had a one-room log school that was used as a church and a railroad depot for the Shortline Railroad, a small 4-5 car train that ran daily from Abbeville to Ocilla and back. Mrs. J. C. STUDSTILL taught at the one-room schoolhouse.
The most prominent families around Browning were the Browns, WILCOXes, RHODES, MURRYs, LANDs, TOMBERLINs, ALLENs, and KEENs.
A man from Rochelle by the name of John OWENS bought approximately 20 acres of land and laid out the city of Owensboro.
The first store was built by a Mr. WILCOX.
The community had 2 gins: one was operated by a Mr. FRYAR, the other by Mr. Egbert RICHLEY. Two additional stores were owned by Mr. LOGAN and Mrs. Elbert BROWN. Mr. PALMER and Mr. Phillip REDFORD operated 2 grist mills. Mr. Palmer operated a blacksmith shop.
Georgia Power began furnishing electricity to Owensboro in 1938.
This settlement was born alongside the tracks of the Hawkinsville-Florida Southern Railroad. Its development was promoted by the Pope City Investment Company, whose offices were located there. The company was chartered in 1912. Its purpose was to set up turpentine stills, to buy and sell real estate, to build houses, to open and operate farms, to establish a general maerchandise business, and to deal in live stock. A Pope City Baptist Church was established.
Pope City clowly faded with the demise of the Hawkinsville-Florida Southern Railroad.
For further information regarding the towns and communities mentioned above, as well as other Wilcox County cities of Pineview, Pitts, Rochelle, etc,... please see The Passing of the Pines: A History of Wilcox County, Georgia compiled by Mary Lou L. McDonald and Samuel Jordan Lawson III. It can be found at many local libraries in Georgia, and it can be purchased here.