FIRST JUDGE OF ORDINARY COURT
Judge William Mitchell Roberson was one of the best-loved citizens of Brantley County, at least by folks residing east of "Fire-Tower Ridge or Caney Bay Road." After Brantley County was created by the Georgia Legislature in August 1920, he was elected by the people as the first Judge of the Ordinary Court. He also had responsibility as County Manager, and was Treasurer for Brantley County until the State of Georgia created the Commissioners of Roads and Revenues in 1928.
William M. Roberson was noted for his wisdom and cordial manner of dealing with people. He was honest, jovial, and often told tales which placed "himself" in amusing situations. Yet, with this type personality, Bill Roberson was the catalyst for "stirring up a fighting spirit" among the east county voting constituents for the very first election of county officials.
When Brantley County was created, the Georgia Legislature identified only one "precinct" and placed the only ballot boxes at Hoboken. At a time when no paved roads existed, and very few voting constituents owned automobile, this action almost assured the Hoboken slate of candidates being elected. Bill Roberson arranged for "free train rides" to carry east county voters to the election booths, and created a tremendous voting populace."
Bill Roberson is also identified as a major force in relocating the county site from Hoboken to Nahunta. He was viewed as the culprit which instigated the "stealing of county records from Hoboken" and relocating them to Nahunta. He denied this accusation saying, "I was visiting friends on St. Simons Island the night this incident occurred."
While Judge Bill Roberson was Ordinary Judge, and the County Manager/Treasurer, he headed up programs for construction of new permanent brick school buildings to accommodate consolidation of 38 one-room school houses. He was a strong advocate of the Brantley County road system in the early days of Brantley County, helping to lay the ground work for what is now U. S. Highway 82 and 301. Indeed, "Judge Bill Roberson was A Champion of the People."
Judge William M. Roberson has often been referred to as "The Father of Brantley County." Born in April 1869, he was one of the early pioneers of the Brantley County area.He died on July 25, 1948, and was buried at Jesup, Georgia, side of his wives, (1) Aunt Mattie, and (2) Aunt Sallie.