Historical Markers

United States vs. Darby Lumber Company

Location: Zetterower Avenue, Statesboro, Georgia

County: Bulloch

Coordinates: 32.438275, -81.780927

Dedicated: 2011

Marker Type: Bulloch County Historical Society


United States vs. Darby Lumber Company

     The Darby Lumber Co., owned and operated on this site starting in the Spring of 1919 by Fred Darby, flourished for many years as one of the largest, most prosperous, and respected employers in Bulloch County.  Mr. Darby employed many Bulloch County residents at his lumber mill over the decades and served customers throughout the state and across the South.  With the first federal hourly minimum-wage, the 44-hour workweek, and record-keeping requirements enacted in 1938's Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division began investigations of employers throughout the country, and one of those investigated was Statesboro's Darby Lumber.

     The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division investigation led to indictments of Darby and several other lumber companies in the area in November 1939 for "employ[ing] workmen at less than the prescribed minimum wage" and "failure to keep records showing the hours worked each day a week by each of his employees," in the words of the Supreme Court.  Although local violations of the Act were not widespread, investigations of firms in the southern lumber industry like Darby Lumber Co. were thought by some to stem from the industry's criticism of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Supported by the Jack N & Addie D. Averitt Foundation 


United States vs. Darby Lumber Company

     In a February 1941 decision authored by Associate Justice Harlan F. Stone on behalf of a unanimous Supreme Court, United States v. Darby Lumber Co. held the Fair Labor Standards Act as a Constitutional exercise of the Commerce Clause consistent with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.  "One who employs persons, without conforming to the prescribed wage and hour conditions, to work on goods which he ships or expects to ship across state lines, is warned that he may be subject to the criminal penalties of the Act," Justice Stone wrote.  No such concerns fell upon the Darby Lumber Co.  The Statesboro firm agreed to abide by federal statutes, and endured as a familiar local institution and employer in Statesboro until 1978.

Supported by the Jack N & Addie D. Averitt Foundation 

The Bulloch County Historical Society’s historical markers are funded by the
Jack N. & Addie D. Averitt Foundation.

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