Ivey Bacon has strong roots in Bryan County, her family having lived in the Pembroke area for more than a century. Her grandfather helped survey sites on horseback for rural mail delivery and was the first rural mail carrier. Her parents, Ulysses J. and Lillian Carter Bacon, had four children who were all born and raised in the Pembroke area: Aileen, Gerald, Ralph and Ivey.
During World War II, Ivey met Paul Beardslee. Paul was a member of the U.S. Air Corps, serving as a tail gunner. He had been shot down over Spain and was held in a detention camp before being released and returning to the States. They were married during the War and began housekeeping in Orlando following its end, with Paul working for Western Electric. It was during that time Ivey's father called to tell them that part of the Sikes Telephone Company, with all its 212 phone lines in Pembroke, was for sale.
With hard earned savings from the war, some borrowed money and lots of energy, Paul and Ivey took the chance of their lifetime with the little company. On March 21, 1946, as Ivey was expecting their first child, they moved into the company offices to man the switchboard and keep the office running. At that time, the offices were above what is now Gabrielle's Grooming Shop at 45 E. Bacon Street. Their work was twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week without holidays. They answered phones, tracked down the local doctor when needed and literally built the phone system with their own hands.
Right after World War II it was almost impossible to buy equipment and even harder to keep existing equipment operational. The majority of the company's time was spent locating materials and keeping the lines in good working order. On occasion, the Army offered some cable and wire for sale at reasonable prices on a first-come, first-served basis. Full advantage was taken of this opportunity and it allowed the company to expand phone service to more customers. Mr. Leroy Harvey, an employee of Southern Bell Savannah, assisted by heading up a weekend crew to install lead cables to replace the open wire that was hanging from the telephone pole cross arms down the main streets of Pembroke.
Paul was killed while stringing wire on November 29, 1951 at the age of 33 years. Ivey was left a widow at 26 with three young daughters: Mary Anna, Jeanne and Carol. With the help of her father, brother and others in the community, Ivey didn't just keep the phone company running, she built it into an integral community resource.