How Waycross became Waycross

Conflicting tales exist concerning the naming of Waycross, Georgia but almost all center on the railroad. One recounts a meeting Dr. Daniel Lott, one of our founders, Major Henry Haines, Superintendent of the Savannah Railroad and Mr. B. F. Allen, editor of “The Georgian”, a local newspaper. These gentlemen met in a motel in Blackshear (yes Blackshear existed before Waycross) to come up with a name for the junction of the existing Savannah Railroad and a new rail line from Brunswick to Albany. These lines would cross nine miles west of Blackshear. Among the names considered were Westcross, Eastcross, Southcross, Crossways, Newcross and Waycross. Newcross almost won the day but the trio decided at some point in time the City would grow old and the name would no longer be suitable. Waycross was decided as the name.

An expansion of the above, involves Mr. Allen’s son. As the trio discussed the names, Mr. Allen’s son was busy in the back room setting type for “The Georgian” and suggested, “Why not name it Waycross, the crossing of the ways into another State”.

Another tale still involves Major Haines but a different family. Mr. Haines, invited Miss Isabella Remshart (another founding family) and Mrs. Wm. Foster Parker, her sister, to ride with him on his car out a little way towards Brunswick where he was to review some work being done by a crew. Arriving at the destination Mr. Haines remarked, “I don’t see the gang,” to which Mrs. Parker responded, “I think I see them ‘way across’ there.” Mr. Haines remarked that would make a good name for our then coming into being town.

Others attribute the name to Rev. W. H. Thomas, a beloved in the early Waycross community, who contends it was named as the “Way of the Cross”.

Thomas Larry Gattis (This article includes information taken from By The Way…It Happened in Waycross by Larry Purdom with Joe Ballentine; This Magic Wilderness by Robert Latimer Hurst and History of Ware County Georgia by Laura Singleton Walker.)

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