The City of Pooler’s Namesake: CAPTAIN ROBERT WILLIAM POOLER
Story by Jean Williams
Captain Robert William Pooler’s father, John Estah Pooler, and his wife, Ann, arrived in Chatham county, Ga., from England sometime before 1784 just after the Revolutionary War.
In 1804, John Pooler was a Justice of the Peace in Savannah. John and Ann had three daughters and one son—Captain Robert William Pooler (1796-1852). John Pooler’s real estate holdings expanded 3 counties, totaling 5,000 acres.
Captain Pooler was born and raised in Savannah and graduated with an engineering degree from West Point Military Academy in 1815. In 1821 Captain Pooler married Mary Eliza Julia Wayne, and they had one daughter and one son—Robert William Pooler, Jr.
In 1850 Captain Pooler’s extended family lived in District 13 of Savannah. The Pooler family members together owned real estate in different counties valued at over $30,000.
After his death in December 25, 1853, Captain Pooler’s estate was managed by the Chatham County Probate Court and his widow, Mary J Pooler, who owned property in the Brown Ward and Lot 10 on Broughton Street, Savannah. Captain Pooler’s estate listed 1,650 acres of land owned in Chatham, Effingham and Houston County.
Captain Pooler is buried in Savannah’s Laurel Grove Cemetery North. On January 22, 2007, the West Point Society of Savannah placed a new grave marker at Captain Robert William Pooler’s grave with a full military honors ceremony including taps. This was a fitting tribute for the 100th Anniversary of the City of Pooler.
A Strong Advocate of Building a Savannah to Macon Railroad
In 1833 a group of Savannah officials obtained a state charter for the Central RailRoad and Canal Company with the intent of building either a railroad or canal link from Savannah west 190 miles to Macon, Georgia to transport cotton and other products to the port of Savannah.
Building this railroad in Georgia was significant in order to compete with South Carolina’s railroad that was already transporting people and freight from the Savannah River near Augusta to the port of Charleston. In 1836 the name was changed to Central Railroad & Banking Company to sell bonds to fund the project. The first president of the company was William Washington Gordon, a friend and West Point classmate of Captain Pooler. Mr. Gordon was a former Savannah Mayor, a lawyer, banker, engineer, business man and the Grandfather of Juliet Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. Captain Pooler was appointed as an Agent of the company and was commissioned to produce a Feasibility Study of building a railroad from Savannah to Macon.
Captain Pooler traveled and surveyed the 190 mile route through every town, county, across every river and swamp to produce the study and lay out the route. Captain Pooler sold his land to the Railroad Company for the site of the first railroad station located at the corner of Rogers Street and W. Collins St / U S Hwy 80 East, 10 miles west of Savannah.
Construction began in 1835 and the first station was named “Pooler” in honor of Captain Robert William Pooler. The City of Pooler was incorporated in 1907 and has become a thriving city. The Savannah–Macon Railroad enhanced the economy of the City of Savannah and the seaport.