Harold Ray and Dovye Alva (Millen) Edwards moved to the Oak Hill area in the year of 1923, coming from Monticello, Georgia, where they were both born and brought up. At this time, there were four children namely, Lamar, Evelyn, Alton and Marion. When we arrived in Oak Hill, we spent our first night at the home of Mr. Charlie Simmons and family, who then lived south of Oak Hill at what was called “E-Day Groves”. We moved to Dave Ritchie’s citrus nursery, which was a mile or so south of Oak Hill
Mr. “Charlie” Harris and family were our neighbors. From there we moved to what was later called “The Bellamy House”, where an unnamed baby boy was born, he only lived about 24 hours. This was about 1925. Later, we moved to a little house on US1 (where “Boo” and Arley Baldwin later built their home and where Arley still lives). Marion died while we lived there, in December 1936. While living here, the last three boys were born – Milton, Lowell and Hal. This house burned in November 1939. After the house burned, we moved to the “Old Woodmen Hall”, which stood on the hill east of Baldwin’s store. We lived there until Daddy built their home, and a little frame grocery store, sometime in 1948. He operated the store until he retired around 1960. He died in December of 1962. Hal died in May 1964 and Mother in September 1967. Lamar, Evelyn, Milton and Lowell all live in the Oak Hill area at this time. (Submitted by Evelyn (Edwards) Simmons, March 1984)
Elmer S. and R. Helen Ware came to Oak Hill in October 1957 from West Virginia. They rented a house from M.A. (Polly) Sutton and lived there until 1960. They went back to Virginia for about 4 months and when they returned they moved into Morris Wilson’s house on the river, with the understanding that Elmer would build Helen a house on the island. It was land thrown up to build an island that a dredge built when they deepened the river. Elmer finally got the house built. They started building the house in the winter of 1961 and moved into it May 5, 1961.
They had their own well with a hand pump in back of the house. They heated with kerosene, but had a gas stove and refrigerator, which used little gas. They had a gas driven generator for electricity, but it was used only for power tools. They used kerosene lamps or gasoline lanterns for their lights.
They had two dogs, a cat and some chickens.
When someone wanted to go over and visit them, they used their own boat or blew the horn on their car, or at night they would blink their lights to get the Wares’ attention so they could come and get them in their motor boat. They had a lot of visitors, because it was a very pleasant place to visit.
Helen and Elmer made their living fishing and shrimping. Helen caught at 8 ¾ pound trout from the pier Elmer built. She also got to witness the mating dance of the Ibis, which is very unusual.
They went back to Virginia in August 1965 and worked until retirement in 1972. Then came back but couldn’t move back on the island home because the State had made it part of the National Seashore systems. Elmer and Helen rented a lot on the river owned by Mabel Wilson and lived in their travel trailer.
This property was sold to Clifford Jenkins of Tennessee, he made it into a travel trailer park, and this is where the Wares are presently living. Mr. and Mrs. Ware said they dearly loved living on the island and wish they were still living there. The island is now designated on the map as Ware Island.
Frank LeFils and Virginia Teague were married April 7, 1924 and moved to Oak Hill in 1925. When they were married, they had to walk seven miles to Allenhurst, and they were tired. Virginia graduated out of the eighth grade, she went to school in Shiloh where one her teachers was Mrs. Thelma Miller.
When they came to Oak Hill, they bought the fishing camp on the north end of Canal Road and ran it for a few years, then sold it. They bought out the LeFils camp and in fact built it mostly. They had a dredge pump the fill and put cabbage tree logs all around it to hold the dirt in. They leased it to Cal Dietz for a few years, and then sold it to William and Adelbert Dewees; they still own it and improved it more with fill and Del put trailers on his part and William Bud did also.
They had two sons, Frank and Ed. Ed has been dead many years.
Frank and Virginia gave the Baptist Church of Oak Hill two lots. Virginia belonged to it for many years and worked in most all phases of the teaching and was faithful in support of it also.
Frank died several years ago and their son, Frank Jr., because quite ill with his heart, so Virginia moved to the West Coast to live.
Virginia’s parents were Mr. and Mrs. William (Bill) Teague. They first settled in Allenhurst and operated a fish camp there for years. They came to Oak Hill in about 1930. He made beautiful furniture. They both died in the 1950s – she in 1957 and he in 1959 while living here on the river.
Earnest and Clayton McCullough live here. Clayton owned a grocery store with Earnest in about 1910.
Earnest lived on 160 E. Halifax Avenue next to the old church building. His wife, Minnie, ran a boarding house mainly for schoolteachers.
Clayton had two children, Ralph and Dot. He was killed by a train at the Putnam crossing in 1943. Earnest died in 1950.
Earnest and Minnie had a son, June McCullough and he and his fie, Denise live in Georgia in the mountains. His wife is a great artist. The old house is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Horace Treadwell.
The Summerset built and operated the Hotel and Garage across the street for a number of years. The garage has been owned and operated by the Treadwell family ever since. The Hotel was owned by several people, but both are closed now.
Rufus Brooks lived in this area for a long time. He was a citrus grower. He had one daughter; her name was Lorraine. She was married to T. Hall and they and a son and daughter named Mike and Glory.
Arthur Brooks, brother to Rufus, lived here also, he married Eva Sargent who was a schoolteacher. Their home was on the land where the Baptist Church is now. Rufus died in 1945 and Eva died in 1983.
Fred M. Stanley lived here in the 1920s. He owned and operated an ice cream shop and bus station at the corner of Halifax and US1. His wife, Ada, taught school here. Fred was Dorothy Williams’ father and Dorothy Hutchinson and Allen Williams’ grandfather. Ada was their step grandmother.
Today the same place is owned and operated by Dana and Bobby Greatrex, and is an ice cream parlor.
The J.T. Cochran family came here from Georgia and owned a home on oak Street. He died in 1971 and Eva in 1973. They have several children here and in Georgia. Those still here are Mildred Watkins, and Benton.
The ministers of Oak Hill were: Rev. J.L. Moore in 1930, Rev. Diamond, Rev. W.W. Clifford, Rev. Horace Bills, Rev. Henry Adams, Rev. Wm. T. Hammond, Rev. Felix Zeigler, Rev. Bryan Knight, Rev. Felder Rowan. Rev. Tom Myers, Rev. Bill Massey in 1982.