Her name was Fanny Milikin. 

Her age was fifteen in the late 1880s.

Her character was remarkable.

She is remembered as a mighty force in Jesup, Georgia.

Background:
In 1883, the Milikin family moved from Appling County to Jesup and later bought a home from Mr. J. L. Bohannon, an English lawyer and Episcopalian. It was through their friendship with the Bohannon’s that Fanny became interested in the Episcopal faith.

Upon graduating from high school in Jesup, Fanny attended the Baptist school, Shorter College, in Rome, Georgia.

Her roommate was Laura Hume who just happened to be an Episcopalian. Together they attended the Episcopal Church in Rome for two years. Upon graduation in 1891, Fanny became the first woman from Wayne County to earn a college degree!

 

The School:
Although Fanny benefitted from a private education in Wayne County, somehow she was profoundly affected by the lack of education for girls in Wayne County. You see, at that time, boys were sent to school, girls were not unless they could afford private education. Recognizing this as a huge problem, she solicited the help of her college roommate and another graduate from Shorter, Bettie Ledbetter, and they moved to Wayne County to open The Milikin School for Young Women.

Birth of a Church in Jesup:
While they were at it, these three ladies also established a Sunday school to study about God and specifically the Episcopal approach to God. They met in the school. It was the first organized effort of the Church in Jesup. By the way, this Sunday school turned over many times and stayed as a weekly group until 1967.

In 1893, Bishop Cleland Kinloch Nelson, the Third Bishop of Georgia and the First Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, confirmed Miss Milikin and Captain Harry Whaley. The following year, five students, including three of the Milikin’s sisters, were baptized.

Over the years, the Unorganized Mission met at the Milikin School. They also were invited to meet in the Baptist and Methodist Churches and in the home of Captain and Mrs. Milikin, Fanny’s parents.

Fanny also turned her attention to the major issue of illiteracy in Jesup. She looked at the many books that had been sent to her school to support her students and came up with a plan. She decided to share the school’s books with the community and established the first lending library in Wayne County.

An unintentional outcome of Fanny opening her doors to the public was that the people coming to borrow books also came in contact with the church group. The community became curious about those folks called Episcopalians and what they believed.

The numbers grew as a result, and in the fall of 1904, Bishop C. K. Nelson celebrated a service in Jesup and discussed with church members the possibility of building an Episcopal church. A committee was formed, land was donated by W. H. Whaley, Sr., and St. Paul’s was constructed in the fall of 1905.

This church building, located on Cherry Street, remains there today. In the early 1900s, St. Paul’s grew slowly and steadily. Membership reached 44 baptized members. A wonderful two-story Parish Hall and classrooms were added in 1947. In the 1950s, St. Paul’s experienced dynamic growth. This was attributed to Rayonier moving in so many employees who just happened to be Episcopalians plus the energy around the church brought in people from other denominations. The 1950s found St. Paul’s confirming 179 new members!

Today:
In September 1961, St. Paul’s on Cherry Street was overflowing and plans were made to build a new church. The Milikin family donated the land at 745 South Palm Street. A building committee was formed and the current church building was consecrated on June 14, 1964.

St. Paul’s has been a part of the Jesup community for more than one hundred and twenty years and continues to be an extremely active, growing community to close to 300 members filled with children and adults seeking to deepen their understanding of God and how to be the hands of Christ to each other and the community.

We have a grand past that was ignited in the spirit of a remarkable young girl, Fanny Milikin. We look at the future with the understanding that the best is yet to come.