About the old Morekis Dairy

It exists only in our hearts and memories now, but back in the day the Morekis Dairy (sometimes called simply the “Morekis Tract”) occupied much of what is now southside Savannah, Ga.

The dairy was established by my great-grandfather Costas Morekis circa 1907, after he arrived in the U.S. from the beautiful island of Samos, Greece. With a background in shepherding but an artistic spirit as well, Costas found himself involved in dairying soon after his arrival through Boston and down south to Savannah. Those who knew him best say in a perfect world he might have been an actor or even a writer.

Costas was married to Maria Nikita Morekis, who inevitably was known to most of the family as “Big Yiayia” (yiayia being Greek slang for grandmother). She’s remembered as a shrewd businesswoman and a stern disciplinarian.

If you’ve been to Samos, you’re undoubtedly now asking “Why in the world would anyone voluntarily leave?” Well, answering that question is complicated — it was a different time with different values — but it’s all part of the fun of exploring family history.

Here’s Costas on the farm in 1926:

Costas’s first venture, the Samos Dairy, was on some property along White Bluff road that he rented. About 1920, he purchased his own farm on the other side of White Bluff Road. The 200 or so acre farm hosted a variety of Jersey cows which provided milk for the entire Savannah area, both wholesale and retail. The Morekis Dairy was one of the most well-known and popular dairies around here for many years.

The enterprise continued after Costas’s untimely death around the time of World War I. The new head of the household would be Evangelos “Kelly” Morekis, who of course was simply known to me as “Papoo.” Together with his wife “Bessie,” aka Vasileia Stragalas Morekis and siblings Heriklea, Angela, Leonora, and Annie, they formed the nucleus of our modern family, with most of us still living in and around Savannah.

Papoo Kelly sold the Morekis Tract in the early 1960s. In short order, it became the generic asphalt sprawl that is now southside Savannah, so different in every way from the genteel, gorgeous Historic District downtown. All that remains of our legacy in that area is a short residential street called Morekis Drive.

We mourn what the old Dairy has turned into, but its values and history are with us always. This still-under construction website will be our tribute to it and what it represents.


One Response to “About the old Morekis Dairy”

  1. Richard McAuley Says:

    In case you are unaware, the youngest son of Hariklia Morekis Nettis, Steve Nettis (1939-2010) just passed away in October. My parents met the Nettis family in the 1960s, through the CB radios, not long after the dairy was sold, and just before “Granny” Nettis (Hariklia) went back to Greece for her first visit home since she came to America. At that time her eldest son, Charley Nettis (died 1995) and his brother, Steve, lived in their parent’s home in west Savannah at Fell Street and Augusta Road, while their mother had bought a house off Waters Ave. Charley later bought a shrimp boat the Mike Keene, moored at Thunderbolt and worked for Trade Winds and afterwards Williams Seafood, 1968-73.

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