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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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