Nelson Cash enjoyed a different Columbia County than the subdivision-packed suburbia most residents know today.
When he moved to Martinez in 1931, the roads were dirt, the residents were mostly farmers and Augusta was a place far down the road.
Mr. Cash, who died Wednesday at the age of 92, helped form the first Boy Scout troop in Columbia County and served on the county zoning board in the 1950s. He was a trustee for the Evans school system for 12 years and helped build the county's first school lunchroom.
In 1937, Mr Cash bought 330 acres of vacant land among Washington, Belair and Columbia roads. The purchase price, $10,000, included the roads themselves.
He operated a large dairy farm along what has become today's Washington Road.
"I remember driving the tractors, moving the hay and getting the cows up," said his daughter, Martha Harrison. "I always told people I was a farmer's daughter."
Mr. Cash also worked at the Stevens Creek Hydro Plant along the Savannah River for 44 years, operating machinery and performing maintenance at the oldest dam on the river, still owned and operated today by S.C. Electric & Gas Co. For 38 of those years, he was the project's superintendent.
Over time, development crept westward, engulfing the farm Mr. Cash and his wife, the late Ila Mae Marshall Cash, operated for many years. Grocery stores, shopping centers and car lots replaced the quiet pastures where Hereford cattle grazed on oats and hay.
"Back in those years he was very active in the Farm Bureau and he knew the other farmers all over the county," Mrs. Harrison recalled.
Over time, fewer and fewer farmers remained active as the county yielded to the demand for residential growth.
Mr. Cash, who watched the county grow from 9,500 residents in the late 1930s to more than 100,000 today, always took a keen interest in local politics and faithfully attended County Commission and other government meetings for many decades.
"He knew all the (elected) officials and was always interested in the elections when they came along," his daughter recalled. "He could always tell you who was going to win. Don't ask me how he knew, but he did."
Graveside funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. today at Bellevue Memorial Gardens, with the Rev. Larry Harmon officiating.
Memorials may be made to the West Acres Baptist Church Building Fund, 555 Gibbs Road, Evans, GA 30809.
Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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