Half-brothers Fuller Earle Callaway Sr., and Ely Reeves Callaway Sr., were sons of the Reverend Abner Reeves Callaway, a Baptist minister, teacher and farmer. Reverend Callaway had nine children by his first wife, Sarah Jane Howard. After her death, he married Mary Wilbourne Ely and had three more children.
Fuller and Ely were distinguished industrialists, businessmen and philanthropists. Instrumental in shaping the economic and industrial scene of Georgia, both men sought to enrich the social, religious, and cultural affairs in the area. Fuller, founder of Callaway Mills, served as a role model and mentor to his younger sibling.
Fuller Earle Callaway was the father of Cason Jewell Callaway, founder of Callaway Gardens. Due to the untimely death of his mother when he was just 8, Fuller spent a lot of time on his own. He was industrious and spent his younger years farming, selling spools of thread, and eventually living with an older brother.
When he was 18, Fuller opened a store, Fuller Callaway’s Mammoth Department Store, with $500. In 1896, he took over a single cotton mill and eventually developed it into a complex of cotton mills and gins that gained international recognition. Fuller Callaway was a driven man whose wife, Ida Cason Callaway, said he lived by the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, work like blazes and economize.”
Ely Reeves Callaway first went into business at the age of 10, selling and delivering The Literary Digest. With the money he made, he leased an acre of land and hired someone to grow peach trees on it. This venture made a $700 profit and was the first of his many successful business endeavors.
The Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl is the result of a generous donation from Ely Callaway’s son, Ely Reeves Callaway Jr., in memory of his father and his Uncle Fuller. Ely Callaway Jr. was the founder of the successful golf club manufacturer, Callaway Golf.
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