Round Oak Community is located in northern central Jones County.
It is five miles from the Jasper County line on the north and ten
miles from the courthouse in Gray, on the south.
Tradition says the village was named first Sylvania, later Round
Oak, for a huge oak tree under which the Indians held their powwows
and which was over a hundred years old. The Indians were living
through here when Clinton was a village. About 1810-15 the Indian
children were at play on the west side of Falling Creek while the
white settlers’ children were at play on the east. The railroad came
through in 1885 and a large water tank was built under the old oak
which leaked and killed the tree by 1895. The tank was moved to
Hillsboro in 1907.
A half mile south was the old Sunshine Church, a log building (no
one knows the denomination), also used for a field school. The
Battle of Sunshine Church took place here. In November, 1864, this
church was burned by Sherman’s forces, and in 1875 a church was
built on the hill at Round Oak. This church has (in recent years)
been named Sunshine Church II.
Children attended the old field school or had private teachers,
until a small subscription school was started. About 1880 a school
house was built on the church grounds, the school burned in 1910. In
1912 a new two-story building was constructed near the depot. This
building had four teachers and 125 pupils. In 1923 this building was
considered unsafe and was taken down and the material used for a
one-story building and auditorium, which served until 1946 when the
school was consolidated with the Jones County High School at Gray.
The first stores were run by L. O. Benton & Co. from Monticello and
the clerks were John Malone and Milton Campbell. They had large
stables where they sold mules, wagons, and farming implements.
George Gordon also had a cotton warehouse. Early one morning, a fire
broke out in the store owned by E. P. Hunt which burned the whole
town except a store owned by J. T. Williams.
In 1900 the second Jones County Fair was held here. This fair was a
red-letter day in this little town and many oldsters still tell of
the horse running away and of the prizes awarded by the Judges, the
drawnwork, the exhibits of farm products, and the picnic at “Smith’s
“Fiddler’s Rest,” long since disappeared, was a notorious place for
drinking and gambling, two miles west of Round Oak. This was a
crossroads where men gathered at a store and barroom run by George
Mann, who held shooting matches, gander pulling, gambling and
Round Oak has a population of about 200, a post office with R. L.
White as Postmaster, it is on Highway No 11, Central railroad, and
is adjacent to the many thousands of acres owned by the U. S.
Government, called “Piedmont Wildlife Reserve,” on the west and
“Soil Conservation District,” on the east, also “The Hitchitee
Reserve,” on the southeast.