The governor’s proclamation reads: “One of the many Confederate soldiers who made a significant contribution to the state was Captain John Derst, a German immigrant who lent his services as a soldier and a baker. After the war, he formed the Derst Baking Company, which remained a family-run business for over a dozen decades of operation. Through their business practices and good works, Derst and his family have contributed significantly to the economic and cultural development of the City of Savannah and the state of Georgia.”
Derst founded Derst Baking Company in 1867 on Broughton Street in Savannah. He came to America at the age of 17 after the death of his mother in the small Rhenish village of Pfeddersheim. He served as an apprentice to a baker for three years and carefully documented each recipe in both English and German. He then volunteered as a private with the DeKalb Rifles. The last two and one half years
of his service in the Rifles found him listed as chief baker at the Confederate hospital in Atlanta, where he was sent after becoming an invalid, according to the Derst Baking Company history information.
Derst was an alderman for the City of Savannah and was instrumental in starting
the first fire department in Savannah.
“It is a great honor that has been bestowed on my great-grandfather and the contributions he has made to the City of Savannah and the state of Georgia,” said Morgan Derst, who works at the company founded by his great-grandfather. “Through his dedication he helped bring our company where it is today, still producing quality goods with distribution throughout the Southeast. So many jobs
have been created by our company, and many other jobs have been created outside our company as a result of our business.”
Derst Baking Company LLC was founded in 1867 in Savannah. Its quality baked goods are distributed throughout the Southeast. It merged last year with Flowers
Foods. Derst Baking Company LLC provides employment to several hundred people in South Carolina and Georgia.
Contact: Morgan Derst at (912) 233-2235