Learning from the mistakes of the Suwanee Canal Company, the Hebard Lumber Company carefully studied the timber of the swamp and decided to employ railroads to harvest cypress.
They leased the property to the Hebard Cypress Company, which built a large sawmill near Waycross and constructed a railroad to the northwestern rim of the swamp in 1909-10.
They built a sawmill and purchased steamboats and steam logging equipment in an effort to raise money by harvesting the cypress timber. In 1899 the property was sold to the family of Captain Henry Jackson of Atlanta, the canal company's former president.
With the railroads came sawmills and turpentine stills, store-bought goods, circuses, and new people.A line connected Waycross and Jacksonville, Florida, in 1881, passing within less than a mile of the eastern edge of the swamp.Daniel Hebard, the son of the Hebard Lumber Company's founder, built a hunting cabin in the hammock on Floyds Island in 1925.Family and friends camped on the island during the following decade, usually hunting ducks.The self-sufficient lifestyle of these settlers continued until the early twentieth century.
Sailing vessels visited Traders Hill, fewer than ten miles outside the Okefenokee, by the first decade of the nineteenth century, and steamboats regularly traveled the St. Outside of these developments, there was little change in the Okefenokee landscape or livelihood until the railroads reached the rim of the great swamp in the 1860s.Roads and forts were built around the perimeter of the swamp, and Georgia militia and U. That Seminole band abandoned the swamp in 1838, but skirmishes continued to occur along the Georgia-Florida boundary as late as 1840.Settlers moved into the areas east, north, and west of the swamp after the land lottery of 1820.Many articles extolling the wonders of the Okefenokee wilderness were published in newspapers, magazines, and books.A number of writers urged that the swamp be purchased as a refuge.Since 1937 most of the Okefenokee has been a National Wildlife Refuge.