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Map of Reynolds| Photos Businesses | 1945 Stores |1911 Newspaper Account | School History

REYNOLDS is featured in the May 2000 issue of the Taylor County Tracer (bulletin of the Taylor County Historical and Genealogical Society)

Reynolds was located on the direct line of the Central of Georgia Railroad between Macon and Columbus.

Origin of Name

There are several ideas about how Reynolds got its name. One source says "John Reynolds, one of Georgia's famous Governors"; another named "L.C. Reynolds, Esq"; yet another refers to the superintendent of the railroad at that time.

Early Beginnings

Governor George W. Towns owned land in this area and he (with H.H. Long) laid out the town with the streets running north and south, east and west. One block was given to the new railroad for a depot; a second was planned for the Courthouse site. [This is now "church park" near the Methodist Church]

The county officials had made the decision to locate the county seat 9 miles west, at Muscogee Station on the railway line as a more central location.

Settlers had moved into the area in the early 1800's...such families as Crowell , Corbin , Howard , Marshall , Carson , Hicks.

Railroad brings first store buildings.

After March 16, 1851 when the railroad arrived, a line of wooden store buildings were built on Talbot and Winston Street. One of these wooden building was on east part of Lot 8 of Block 24 owned by J.J. Ruffin (originally purchased from Isaac J. Ricks Dec 1 1879) JJ Ruffin and his son, G.T. Ruffin sold this building to JC Bryan of Macon and JN Bryan of Reynolds 1885 Oct 20 Deed Bk F pg 488.

It was demolished on August 6th 1890. The first brick building in Reynolds was built by J.N. Bryan and Co. Construction was started in August of 1890 and was completed in just 4-5 months. This was followed by the Souder Building, later enlarged and occupied by D. Coolik and the Telephone Exchange. The 3rd brick building was built by G.T. Ruffin building.

Early Hotel

Deed Book A - pg 233
Taylor 30th Jan 1854 Ezekiel Royal to Daniel Royal
$1900 Lots 7 & 8 Block 10; Lot 12 Block 6 Reynolds together with household & kitchen furniture in Hotel on Lot 6 Block 12 2 buggies, 1 wagon, 1 horse, 2 mules belonging to the stables in Lot 7 & 8 of Block 10
Wit: James T. May, Wm Hubbard.

Early Business

Edward A. Goddard moved from Butler after the Civil War. The first bank was established in 1897...first school house and churches were built. Population had grown to 1000.

Early Citizens

Henry Hodges with his brother Wash Hodges had been in the area along the Flint River prior to the railroads and built a house that became a landmark.

Dr. Christopher came along with the Paris family who established an early hotel called the Paris House. Mr. Paris was the dentist and also served as Mayor in 1890. A Columbus Enquirer article (1890) mentioned Souder and Son, Adams Store (owned and operated by J.A. Adams), Griffith and Frederick Warehouseman.

Goddard's Store was described as carrying a full line of dry goods, groceries and notions and was an undertaker 'and takes care of the dead as well as the living'. Treat Hines built a nice home for his daughter, Mrs. Goddard in 1872.

Governor John B. Gordon had a farm located near Reynolds.

In the Coleman Institute Catalog of 1911-12 the town had a cotton mill employing 400 people, 3 large guano factories; a canning factory and a factory for making doors and windows. Three banks (Reynolds Banking Company, the First National Bank and the Farmers and Merchants Bank) served the area, still primarily agricultural.

Town Minutes - 1913

The earliest town minutes found in City Hall were dated Jan 10, 1913. Officials were: Mayor-J.A. Matthews; Aldermen - J.A. Ricks, J.G. Hill, C.H. Neisler, J.C. Newsome and J.E. Mangham. E.J. Poole was Marshal and J.T. Parks elected Nightwatchman.

Early Streets

Although the town had been laid out professionally (no doubt at the request of Gov. Towns), the wide streets of today were covered then with natural underbrush and narrow, crooked roads meandered through the trees. Adult males were required to pay a street Tax of $5 or work on the streets for ten days.

The original houses were not very close together and all had their own well. In the early 1900's Albert Carter began to supply the town with water pumped from Ruffin Springs, later Carter Springs, northeast of town. A water tank was erected at the intersection of Talbot and Winston Streets.

8 Aug 1911. Butler News.
Mr. G.T. Ruffin is receiving the congratulations of his friends in striking such a bold stream of fine artesian water through the well just bored at the water station. He succeeded in obtaining a natural flow to the survace and at a depth of only 180 feet. The water flows into his reservoir 4000 gallons to the hour and from there is pumped into his big tank at Reynolds which supplies the town.


Early mail carriers were: Lester Carter, Bailey Jones, Cliff Windham, C.S. Sawyer, and J.J. Saylor. Postmasters included: W.I. Powell, E.A. Hollis, J.G. Hicks, W.M Hollis, Blanche M. Brunson.

Reynolds Business Section ca 1945

Contributed by Thomas H. Gregory

1940-1950 era Starting at the Easternmost corner and moving west:

  R.E. Aultman's grocery store, 
Joe Goodrow's appliance store
C.B. Hick's hardware
Jaime Barrow's store,
Powell's Cafe
Hill's grocery (later Virgil Powell (Harry's brother)
Upholstery shop
Lawrence Cook's "five and dime", a stairwell that led to a
second floor hotel which burned in about 1947
Post Office 
Hick's Trussell's grocery and hamburger place,
 a small store that I do not remember very well, **JW Windham identified it as Dry Cleaners**

and last on the corner, Jacob Prager's clothing store.[originally built by G.T. Ruffin, 3rd brick building to be built in Reynolds.] 

It was along the outside wall of the west side of Mr. Prager's store that contained all the names of those that were in the military during World Was II. If I haven't worn you out already, and you would like to know more about any of these stores, I remember them very well, as I spent a lot of time on this block.

It was located in the middle of the block across the street from what is now the Reynolds City Hall. You might be interested in knowing about the other stores in this block. Now, more details about Powell's Cafe, as it was commonly referred to. It was rather narrow in the front, but very long in depth, from north to south. The floor was wooden, which we oiled occasionally to reduce dust. The ceiling was made of squares of embossed tin, as was the fashion at one time. Upon entering the store, on the left side was a short counter behind which was a gas fired grill. This grill was used to fry hamburgers, steaks and almost any meat desired.

The short counter was located at the front of the store to serve sandwiches primarily to black people, who were not permitted normally to go further into the store and sit down.

Next, on the left side, was the ice cream freezer, my favorite spot, followed by a soft drink cooler.

Continuing on the left side was the cash register and then a very long counter with attendant revolving stools, which were a delight to young folks. Behind the counter on the walls were shelves for groceries At the rear was a desk where we did all the necessary paper work.

On the right side of the store in the front there were pin ball machines, a "juke box", and enough open space that it was frequently used by teenagers for dancing. Following that there was a long meat counter set at an angle, since it was too long to sit straight across, behind which was an area for cutting meat, etc. To the rear of the meat market area were several set of tables and chairs for dining. Behind a small screen was a wash basin.

At the very rear of the store, hidden behind a wall, was the kitchen, which was used to cook the noontime meal. If someone wanted a cooked meal, he ordered a "regular dinner". There were no choices, you took what was served you. Only fried meals were served in the evening, steaks, etc.

A little personal background: my mother (Annie Laurie Whatley Gregory and William Harry Powell married in 1944 and mother and I moved to Reynolds. I was then thirteen years old and was immediately "introduced" to the store, that is, it was expected that I would work in the store, which I did all of my teenage life. The ice cream freezer was of much interest to me. Harry died in 1955, so there you have the time bracket of my knowledge of the store. I don't know exactly when Harry opened the store originally, but it was said that he had a store in Reynolds all of his grown life. He was fifty-four when he died.

More Memories of Reynolds
Shared by Joseph Windham:

Thomas Gregory's email stirred some childhood memories for me so I thought I would share a few of my memories, continuing with Thomas' block, which is block 24 on the original layout of Reynolds.The street on the North side was named Talbot St, but in Google & Bing maps it's called William Wainwright St. now. Reynolds has never had any street signs as far as I can Remember.

The small store he couldn't remember was a Dry Cleaners, but I don't know who operated it.Continuing around to the West side, along Winston St, there was a tin awning along the side of Prager's store. Just before you reach the southern end of his building there was a doorway that led to a staircase to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, you turn left into a hallway with doors on the left and one at the far end of the hall, I think.

Most of the rooms were for storage, but the first door led to the telephone operators switchboard room. There was a two position manual (corded) board where an operator handled every call made in Reynolds and beyond. Behind the boards was an area where all the wires connected and left the building. There were 2 operators that I can remember, Charley Philmon Hoats; and my Mama, [Clara Pender Champion Windham]. This was before I started to school so Mama worked the night shift. There was a bedroom next to the switchboard room and I spent many nights there.

The fire of 1947 (?) destroyed more than the second floor of the hotel, it damaged every store between Aultman's and the Dry Cleaners. Mama was there at work and so was I. She was told that if the fire got to the Cleaners we would have to leave because the tank of Napata cleaning fluid could explode and the fire would probably burn the rest of the northern end of the block.

The fire was put out before then, but several stores had to be rebuilt. Daddy, [Cliff Windham] was one of the mail carriers and the metal box he carried on his route with receipts, stamps and change partially melted in the fire along with the coins.

The Bonds owned the phone company in Reynolds then along with Lizella, Roberta, Butler and Culloden. Later it became "Public Service Telephone Co." There's more I could tell about this independent telephone co., but I'll save it for next time.I don't remember if there was an older building next to the doorway, during the '40s and early '50s, but the brick one there was built as the new phone company building. It has been expanded and replaced the store that was next. All I can remember about it is they were the propane dealer.

Next was/is the alley the runs through the block from East to West. In the alley, which opened up behind the stores was a building where mechanical work was done.On the southern side of the alley, all the way through the block, there are only memories now. All the building have been torn down. The area enclosed with fencing with cell towers and cable TV equipment there.

During the '40 & '50s there was "Brady's," a shoe store, etc.

Next was Swearnington's Chevrolet Dealership. It went to the end of the block and wrapped around to the southern side on Marion St. His daughter married Jimmie Childre who served as Reynolds' mayor at one time and now owns multiple car dealerships in and around Milledgeville.

Next was the Georgia Power Service Store. You could pay your bill, get or disconnect service and buy appliances. Don't see these any more. The Movie Theatre was next. Yes we did have one. There were two entrances, one on each side of the Ticket Office, The left was for whites and the right was for blacks. The Concession stand was next, between the two hallways. The left led to the bottom seats and the right led to the staircase to the balcony. I'm not sure which had the better seats for watching the movies. The price of tickets was a dime. I would walk from where we lived in the last left house west on Talbot St to the theatre and back after dark.

Beyond the theatre, I believe there was a shed like area the had equipment, etc. stored by the hardware on the Southeast corner of the block that also wrapped around to the east side on Macon St. I believe this was Hinton's Hardware before they moved to their new location. Past Hinton's there were no stores, just storage buildings. Joe Goodroe had one here where he steam cleaned used appliances to repair for resale. This takes us back to the east side of Aultman's Store. [Written Jan 2017]

There was no mail delivery in Reynolds town. Everyone had to go to the Post Office. There were 4 rural routes. Daddy had two (Crowell [N to Flint River] and Beechwood [SE into Macon Co.]) and Mr. Sawyer had the other two (Potterville [SW into Macon Co] & [w toward Butler?]). Daddy's route was about 65 miles, mostly on dirt roads as was Mr. Sawyer's.

The Butler Herald was sent through the mail.

1911 Newspaper Accounty Transcribed by Carla Miles

The Butler Herald
Tuesday, June 20, 1911
Page Two


Reynolds is a thriving town of Southwest Georgia in
Taylor County, on a direct line of the Central of
Georgia Railroad, between Macon and Columbus. It is
located on a hill about four hundred and fifty feet
above the sea level, and is surrounded by a very
fertile and prolific farming section. The country
around Reynolds is generally level.  The land is a
dark gray with a deep red subsoil, and is adapted to
almost any kind of farming.

Just out of the incorporate limits of the town is the
famous farm of the late Gen. John B. Gordon.  This
farm is very beautiful and produces fine crops of
cotton, corn, etc., besides a large number of cattle
and horses. However, this is only one of the numerous
fine farms of this section.

Reynolds was founded in 1853, and was named for John
Reynolds, one of Georgia´s famous governors.  Since
that date it has continually grown year after year,
until now it has a population of over 1,200.

Nature has painted a beautiful picture for Reynolds.
The streets are shaded by original oaks.  There is a
beautiful park of these trees in the center of the
town, planted there by nature´s hand.

The driveways are hard and level; the air is
wholesome; the climate is excellent, neither severe in
winter, nor excessively warm in summer, and a more
healthful place could not be found.

In fact, Reynolds is the most beautiful town of its
size in Georgia. Reynolds is also a manufacturing
town, having a large cotton factory, giving employment
to four hundred operatives; two large guano factories,
a canning factory, and a factory for the making of
doors, windows and other materials for house building.

There are three banks, which contribute to the wealth
of the town, and a great aid to the farmers.

Reynolds markets every year seven or eight thousand
bales of cotton; one hundred and twenty five cars of
peaches and a vast amount of corn, peas, syrup and
sweet potatoes.


map of Reynolds
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