The Katie Underwood is the main ferry serving Sapelo Island. Its namesake, Katie Hall Underwood (1884-1977), was born on Sapelo and began working as a midwife in the 1920s. She assisted almost every birth on the island until retiring in 1968 and was among its most beloved citizens. She was the last in a long line of midwives who served Sapelo from slavery days onward. Mrs. Underwood lived in the north end at Raccoon Bluff but carried her black bag all over the island, to the scattered communities of Hog Hammock, Shell Hammock, and others. A story is told of her delivering a baby on the north end one morning and walking seven miles to the south end to deliver another in the evening. She is said to have never lost a child during delivery.
The ferry was dedicated on 28 October 2006. It was built by Geo Shipyard in New Iberia, Louisiana.
The interior has seating for 102 passengers.
The boat is 70’9 3/4″ in length and has a maximum speed of 26.6 knots. It’s powered by two Caterpillar C-18 engines rated 700 hp.
A covered upper deck provides open-air seating for 48. 10 additional seats are located on the bow.
Alethea Jane Macon (8 January 1882-3 October 1977) was among the best-loved educators of 20th-century Brunswick. She began her career at Arco Elementary School in 1903 and later transferred to Glynn Academy, where she taught English & Literature until 1952, having served the children of Glynn County for nearly fifty years. She also wrote Glynn Academy’s Alma Mater.
She was definitely a lady of another time; she never learned to drive nor owned a television. She was a often seen walking around and knew virtually everyone in town. She was also a serious genealogist and published several books related to her family history, including Gideon Macon of Virginia and Some of His Descendants; John and Edward Tuck of Halifax County, Virginia, and Some of their Descendants; and Four O’Kelley Sons.
Jane Macon Junior High School (now Jane Macon Middle School, in Sterling) was established in her honor in 1958. A “Jane Macon” azalea cultivar was named for her, as well, but I’ve been unable to locate more information about it.
Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places
Best known as City Hall today, this was originally built as a single-story engine house for the Board of Fire Commissioners in 1884. A second floor was added in 1895 for use by the McIntosh Dragoons and the Masons. Remodeled as a service center by Mrs. Talbot Smith in 1944, it was home to the USO during World War II. Since then it has been used by the police and fire departments and the second floor was used as the public library until the construction of a more modern facility on U. S. 17.
Vernon Square-Columbus Square Historic District, National Register of Historic Places