30 March 2007

Driving West...

Ok, these are pictures I took on the way to my first major stop. The title picture is what appears to be an F80 Shooting Star fighter jet, outside the Willacoochee Masons lodge. Next four pictures are around the Atkinson county courthouse including the courthouse itself, their war memorial, Confederate memorial, and marker for the county. Next two photos are markers around the town of Pearson, GA. Next is the chamber of commerce building (railroad car) for Willacoochee, GA. Anyone who has seen the movie Renaissance Man should understand why the town name is funny. (Hint: the redneck in the movie is from there.) Next photo is a marker outside the town for the Old Coffee road. Next four are around the Irwin county courthouse, the Confederate memorial, county marker, courthouse itself, and war memorial.

29 March 2007

Back home

Ok, so I just got back from a little four day tour of southwest Georgia. Keep watching here for the next several days for (hopefully) regular updates showing the trip. But to get started, here are some stats:
1037 miles
2 states
2 National historic sites
2 State historic sites
2 state parks
1 National wildlife reufuge
4 museums
4 cemetaries
14 county courthouses
82 historic markers
86 monuments

13 March 2007

Along Highway 17....

Ok, so this was originally going to be part of the Darien post, but that one turned out to be so freeking huge anyway, I decided to break off yet another chunk. Now this and the last three posts (not including the disclaimer) make up one day. Yikes. So, these are all sites along Highway 17 south of Darien. First four pictures are of the Butler Island plantation and its markers. Pierce Butler was in the British army when he came to America, but got out to start this plantation after marrying Mary Middleton, from the important South Carolina Middleton familly. He fought in the Revolution and was a Constitution convention delegate. He had one daughter, Sarah, and the plantation was passed on to his grandson, Butler Mease, who legally changed his name to Pierce Butler II. He married the British actor Frances Anne Kemble, who came down to see his plantations later and kept a journal. She hated slavery and had many debates with Pierce until they finally divorced, and she published her journal as part of the anti-slavery movement, titled Journal Of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation. After the Civil War, Pierce and his daughter, Sarah, returned to the plantation, where she wrote the book Ten Years on a Georgia Plantation, to document the Reconstruction era. The house in the picture is not the original plantation house, but one built by Colonel T.L. Huston, who bought the island in 1926.
The tall chimney in the foreground is all that is left of a steam powered rice mill that was once there, and the structure in the second photo was part of a tide powered rice mill. After these first four photos, the next ones are markers for General's Island, Boy's Estate (Elizafield Plantation), and Hopeton on the Altamaha. The last two photos show the Needwood Baptist church and school and its marker. These were built for former rice plantation slaves. Reference: Touring the Coastal Georgia Backroads by Nancy Rhyne.

12 March 2007

Darien, Georgia

Warning: Long post!! Oh, and another disclaimer to add to my last post. I call the War Between the States the Civil War. If you are diehard and want to call it Northern Aggresion or anything else, more power to you. I only say Civil War because it is short and I'm lazy.
Ok, this is the companion post to the last one about Fort King George. This is about Darien, the town settled after the fort was abandoned, and situated just upriver. In 1733, the British under James Ogglethorpe, established the city of Savanah. In 1736, they realized they needed to expand southward to limit Spanish expansion. A group of Highlander Scots were chosen to settle in the area where Fort King George was (see last post). The new site was selected and named Darien in honor the former Scottish settlement in what is now Panama. That settlement was established in 1698, but due to the Spanish and disease, it was abandoned in 1699. So, Past posts have made reference to English-Spanish aggresion, particularly Ogglethorpe's attempted seige of St. Augustine. These were due to the War of Jenkin's Ear. Under the 1729 Treaty of Seville, the British had agreed not to trade with the Spanish colonies. To verify the treaty, the Spanish were permitted to board British vessels in Spanish waters. After one such incident in 1731, Robert Jenkins, captain of the ship Rebecca, claimed that the Spanish coast guard had severed his ear. Encouraged by his government (which was determined to continue its drive toward commercial domination of the Atlantic basin), in 1738 Jenkins exhibited his pickled ear to the House of Commons, whipping up war fever against Spain. To much cheering, the British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declared war on October 23, 1739. Why do I bring this up now? In 1740, some of the Highlanders had established a fort near the present Florida-Georgia border, and were attacked in June. Very few survived to return to Darien. The war also had one of the most important events in this area: The battle of Bloody Marsh. This battle took place on St. Simons island, south of Darien, in 1742. After the Highlander victory here, the Spanish stayed out of Georgia. One of these days I will get up there to see the site. Darien was a center for rice, sugar, indigo, and cotton, until the Civil War. On July 11, 1863, Federal troops, including the 54th Massachusetts, made famous in the movie Glory, burned the town. After the war, the town became a leader in the timber buisness (see last post). So, photo captions (this post is huge so hold on): The title photo shows the tabby ruins of the original waterfront buildings. The building behind the ruins to the far left is the Adam Strain building, that was burned in 1863, but later refurbished. It is the oldest commercial building in Darien. The next three photos are markers for Darien, the fort, and the port. Next two photos show the tabby remains of Fort Darien. The modern visitor center is located on top of the ruins. Next two photos are of the St. Cyprians Episcopal church and its marker. This church was built for African-Americans, by former slaves. Next is St. Andrews Episcopal church, and a site for the original Bank of Darien. Next is a picture and marker for Vernon square, which in Darien's heyday was the center of town life. Next pictures of Darien United Methodist church and its marker, which also mentions John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Next picture shows city hall, which appears to be in the process of renovation or something. The lady at the local visitor center didn't even know about it. (This is an anomaly that I am finding disturbingly frequently in this part of the country, tourist center workers who don't know anything.) Next pictures show the marker for the burning of Darien in the Civil War, the county Civil War and Vietnam war memorials, the marker discibing Mcintosh county, named for the leader of the Highlanders, and the county courthouse. Next is the marker for Ogglethorpe Oak, where he supposedly stayed when he visited Darien. All that is left now is the stump. Next is the memorial to the Highlanders who founded the town and beat the Spanish. It has been knocked down, probably by vandals, and once again, the tourist center lady knew nothing about it. Sheesh. Next two photos show the inside and outside of the old town jail, followed by First African Baptist church, which was the main church for freed slaves after the war. Next photo is a memorial to the town's original settlers, listing their names. Next three pictures show Columbus square and its two markers. This is where the town's train depot, vital to its lumber industry, was located. Next photo is the Grant house, the only residence to survive the burning of Darien, followed by photos of the First Presbyterian church and its marker. References: Darien tour guiode, and Touring the Coastal Georgia Backroads by Nancy Rhyne.