History of Blythe Georgia

The Story of Our Town

Blythe is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Augusta, Georgia, off State Highway # 1 and Georgia Highway 88. The population in 1970 was 330. The 1990 census was 468 and at the 2010 census, and now 721 residents call Blythe home. The first home was built by Sam Tarver in 1832 on state grant land (500-540 acres). This home is presently owned by Mrs. Portwood.

In 1840 there was no post office, but there was a “club” composed of area farmers. Each took a week to travel to Berzelia for the community’s mail.  At this time and for several years the homes in the community were miles apart, even homes far into Burke County were considered a part of our community.

Around 1845 a post office named “Bonnie Doon” was opened at the home of James Palmer.  Henry Farmer carried the mail between Bartow, on the Central Railroad, and Berzelia, on the Georgia Railroad, once a week. Several years later the post office was moved to the home of Sam Tarver, and the name was changed to Tomb’s Post Office.  For a number of years, the post office was here, then for a short time there was no post office at all.  The people had to send to Berzelia once again for their mail. The next post office was in the home of Dr. Robert McNair on Highway 1 and was called “Boggy.”

In 1866 Miss Oliver Hazzard and John Perry Byne married and moved into the Tarver house. After Byne died, his widow married V.J. Murrow and gave him legal rights to her inheritance.

In October of 1883, an application was made for the U.S. Post Office.  Also in 1883, a narrow gauge railroad was built from Augusta to Gibson and on to Sandersville in 1884. V.J. Murrow was the first postmaster and depot agent. John Beasley built the depot in front of the Murrow home from lumber furnished by Murrow. The Augusta Southern Railroad, completed in 1885, ran from Augusta to Tennille, complete with wood-burning locomotives.

The community of Blythe was built around the Tarver house, the railroad depot/post office, the school (built in 1881), and a store opened in 1883 or 1884 by R. J, Atkinson.  The first store, after the railroad was completed in 1885, was opened by V.J. Murrow and James H. Tudor (a conductor for the Augusta Southern Railroad). They were co-owners of the Mercantile Establishment, this building is now owned by Vester Hayes.
The name Blythe was given to the community in 1885. The first name suggested was Murrow, but Mr. Murrow did not want this. Blythe was the name chosen by Mr. Murrow for the post office and community.

Murrow offered a free lot to the first person to build a house in the newly named Blythe. Ed. O Beckum took his offer and built the home now demolished.  The second house was built by O.S. Willis, now owned by Mr. Redmond.

A.M. Clark built his home in 1888 on Clark Street. The home is still owned by Charles Clark. The Clark Store was built about three years before his home. The old Clark Place in Burke County burned in the first decade of this century. The John Templeton home was built about 1885 and is owned by F. H. Templeton, Sr. James H. Tudor built a home at 113 Clark Street in 1887, now owned by Jerry and Pat Cole.

The county built the first school in 1894. This school was a three-room frame building with an enrollment of 35 students. This building later became the Hood home and is now owned by Mr. Cooper In 1917, Mrs. Elsie Wright Murphy, then teacher and principal of the school decided that Blythe needed a new school.  She collected contributions from friends and neighbors, and finally in 1920, the sum of $13,500 was turned over to the Richmond County Board of Education. Blythe got its new and much larger school. This school served the area until it burned on August 18, 1975. Mrs. Murphy attended the dedication ceremony of the present Blythe Elementary School on October 23, 1977. The school opened on August 25, 1977, with grades K-7. The school has 16 classrooms, a media center, a music room, and a cafeteria.

The Blythe Baptist Church was moved from Pine Tuckey in 1886. The establishment of the church in Blythe was due to the efforts of J.E. Carswell, W. R. Trowbridge, V.J. Murrow, and Rev. Edmund Morris.

The Adman Carson house was built in 1910 and is now owned by E.T. Welch.

In 1920, the land for the Methodist Church and school was donated by Edgar Norrell. The lumber was donated by T.C. Wise.

The Augusta Southern Railroad faded and was replaced by the Georgia and Florida Railroad.

During World War II, Camp Gordon moved 400 families out of what is now known as Fort Gordon Training Areas. With the loss of these families, their income, and business, Blythe slowly decreased in population. Mac Byrne, then Depot Agent and Postmaster retired. Miss Marion Clark became postmistress, but no one replaced Mr. Byrne as Depot Agent. The Georgia and Florida Railroad stopped sending passenger trains through Blythe first and then freight trains. With the loss of the railroad, Blythe slipped back into its original beginnings – a farming, residential community.

Blythe at one time was a very busy community with businesses booming. Farms run by the Cloers, Dyes, and Templetons were prosperous. The Templetons and Cloers were large sawmill operators. Other businesses in Blythe included a casket maker, a blacksmith, a ginhouse, the Palmer-Reese Drugstore and Hardware, Dye & Dozier Grocery, Frank Turner, Sr. Grocery (former member and President of the Richmond County Board of Education), Powell Grocery, and Johnny Martin’s Barber Shop & Pool Hall. All of these businesses are now closed.  Our closest store and gas station is Mack’s Country Store in the curve of Hwy 88 near Hwy 1.

A Community House, which burned in the 1960s, served children and adults alike.

Fire protection was voluntary until Richmond County built a fire station in Blythe. Behind the fire station is Blythe’s Community Center which may be rented for parties or meetings. Blythe has a Police Department, a City Hall, and a city clerk/administrator.  There is a nice park with playground equipment and a gazebo. Blythe has its own Water System.