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Biographical Note: Judson Larrabee (J. L.) Hand was born in Houston County, Georgia on March 20, 1850. He attended the University of Georgia and graduated in 1871. The following year, he moved to Pelham, Georgia and established a sawmill and turpentine distillery. In 1876, he created a commissary to serve his employees that would grow into the largest mercantile business in southwest Georgia, the Hand Trading Company. Mr. Hand became Pelham's first mayor and postmaster and served several terms in the Georgia General Assembly. At the time of his death on October 14, 1916, he was president of the Hand Trading Company, Pelham Manufacturing Company, Pelham Phosphate Company, Pelham Oil and Fertilizer Works, the Farmers' Bank of Pelham, Pelham Loan and Investment Company, and Flint River and Northeastern Railway.
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