Got Faith? Plant an Oak Tree – Part 2

Brannen Oaks by Old Savannah Road

Brannen Oaks by Old Savannah Road


When you look southeast down the dirt road in front of our house, you are looking down the Old Savannah Road (see photo). It’s not called that these days, and most folks don’t know that for a time in the early 1800’s it was the Savannah Road. I happened to come across the information while researching the history of this area of our county in Georgia (Bulloch).


Brannen Oaks Closeup

Brannen Oaks Closeup


The photo captions reference the Brannen Oaks, so I’ll head in that direction. William Brannen came to America from Ireland before the Revolutionary War, and after marrying a wife, Elizabeth, in North Carolina, he worked his way to southeastern Georgia, and eventually ended up in northern Bulloch County.

John, one of their six sons, was born in 1798. He and his wife, also named Elizabeth, moved to the southern end of the county (where we live) where they raised their family.

The information said John and Elizabeth had a home in the “Iric” area. In the photos above, If you were on Google Earth and could turn right and look down about a half mile, you could see the woods where Iric Creek runs.

The narrative stated “At the beginning of the nineteenth century, along the Savannah Road in Bulloch County, between thirty and forty miles west of Savannah, were the spacious plantation homes of John Brannen and five of his sons.” One of those homes can be seen on the right in the top photo.

It was the home of John and Elizabeth’s son, William A. Brannen. In the description particular note was given to the twelve huge water oaks that stood on either side of the “Savannah Road” in front of his home. The photo shows the oaks that remain. The house was restored in the 1940’s (and several more times with an addition or two since then) and is now the home of our nearest neighbors. Mr. Brannen is buried in a brick-walled family cemetery about a quarter mile behind the house (down toward Iric Creek.)

A neat verification of part of this came about several years ago when there was a reenactment of the Pony Express-like mail run that in the early days came out of Savannah heading towards Milledgeville (I think it was Milledgeville). Two neat parts were that they did a rider/horse exchange on the road in front of our house, and we found they had verified this was the right road because of the huge oak trees that were mentioned in the early records.

This post seems to have become a history lesson, but the Lord is in all of those, too. Elizabeth (John’s wife and William A’s mother) was a Donaldson before she married. Her father, Robert Donaldson, and brother, Matthew, were preachers who organized a dozen or so churches in this part of Georgia in the early 1800’s. The church we attend, Lanes Church, was organized in 1831 and the early records mention that Matthew Donaldson was the preacher there at one time.

The Lord keeps working through time. I’m thankful to Him that I’m blessed to live on a small part of what was William A. Brannen’s plantation, and especially thankful that Mr. Brannen’s uncle is part of Lanes Church’s 183 year history. A history the Lord has made me a part of now.

For the Lord will not forsake his people;  he will not abandon his heritage; (Psalms 94:14 ESV)






Old Doctortown and God’s Old Paths

Railroad Bridge over Altamaha River at Old Doctortown (SE Georgia)

Railroad Bridge over Altamaha River at Old Doctortown (SE Georgia)

This railroad bridge and Old Doctortown are isolated in the back reaches of land owned by the Rayonier Paper Mill outside Jesup, Georgia. The Altamaha River that the bridge crosses is one of the largest along the Atlantic coast and for decades was filled with barge traffic bringing lumber and naval stores down to the coast.

Doctortown was once a thriving community located at one of the few crossings of the Altamaha. There’s nothing left now except a few mounds and some signs that denote where a few of the buildings were, and oak trees huge enough that it’s obvious they were growing there long before there was a Doctortown.

Being an engineer, I sure would like to see the drawbridge work (if it still does?)

As I get older, I seem to notice more places called “Old” something. In this busy, technological, digital age we can think things were so much different long ago, and “old” was just, you know, so old. But, as Solomon wrote “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 ESV).

People are still people. Doctortown, before it was Old, had good people, middle of the road people and bad people, sorrows and joys, life and death, just as we have today. But, the greatest thing is the Living God back then is the same Living God we have today (“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”)! For that reason, we need to remember the old days and learn from them, changing things that need to be improved, but making no changes just for the sake of change, or especially, not making changes because the culture demands it. We need to follow the old paths when they are God’s paths.

“Thus says the Lord:  “Stand in the ways and see, And ask for the old paths, where the good way is, And walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16 NKJV

Doctortown Historical Marker (Southeast Georgia)

Doctortown Historical Marker (Southeast Georgia)

Here’s the Historical Marker for Doctortown. It’s located upriver from the actual site, at a location that’s accessible to the public.