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Living on the Georgia Tidewater
(Echoes June 1998)
Charles Oliver Fulton (1848-1911) and his wife Harriet Clifford
Townsend (1854-1938) were the grandparents of Natalie Fulton Webb and Patricia
Fulton Skipper. The following is just a portion of their living experiences on
the Georgia Tidewater.
Charles Oliver Fulton’s
parents William James & Amelia Andrews Fulton are buried in the Little Flemming
Cemetery in Liberty County.------- His great grandfather, John Fulton is
buried in Midway Cemetery in Liberty County.------- His great great great
grandfather was Samuel Fulton. In February 1762 Samuel Fulton , was one of
a group of inhabitants of Williamsburg District in the Province of Carolina who
migrated to Georgia, he brought his wife, 6 children (3 sons and 3 daughters),
and 23 slaves. He settled upon land granted to him on a stream which flowed
into the north side of the Altamaha River in St. Andrew Parish (Now McIntosh
County), some 30 miles southwest of Midway settlement. It is not known how
Samuel Fulton came to Georgia. Historians say many early settlers in Carolina
who had come from some of the northern colonies drove their livestock overland,
and Samuel Fulton may have done the same. Shortly after reaching Georgia,
Samuel Fulton was appointed Esquire (Justice of Peace) for St. Andrew Parish and
Commissioner of Roads for the town of Darien.
years between 1762 and 1777 there were several Fultons residing in both St.
Andrew Parish and St. John Parish . Some of these participated in the patriotic
meetings in the Province of Georgia. In 1777, the parishes of Georgia were
formed into counties. The county formed from the parishes of St.John, St.Andrew,
and St.James was called Liberty County. At this time most of the Fultons
were found in Liberty County. In 1793 the former Parish of St. Andrew was cut
off therefrom to form McIntosh County.
later, in 1873, Charles Oliver Fulton marries Harriet Clifford Townsend in
McIntosh County. In 1875, he purchases Black Island from Marsden C. Mints.
Charles Oliver was a “LAND-LOVER”. He purchased large tracts in Belvedere
Plantation, Marengo, Jones, Jones Station and Mosquito Plantation.
Oliver Fulton was one of the most enterprising merchants in McIntosh County
during the Reconstruction and postbellum periods. He owned considerable acreage
in the north western section of McIntosh County at Jonesville on which he raised
cattle to supply his meat business. In 1873 Fulton opened the Darien Market,
in which he specialized in meats and vegetables. In October 1877 it was
reported in “The Darien Timber Gazette” that Mr. Fulton has sold out his
Market to Capt. C. H.
Steadwell. Fulton has embarked in a new business that of a Wholesale Butcher.
Capt. Steadwell will manage
Oliver purchased 1030 acres at Marsh Landing on Sapelo, from Mrs. Nellie
Spaulding. On October 1, 1898, the hurricane, tidal wave devistated McIntosh
and the islands. Charles Oliver’s daughter, Effie and her husband Lee Russell
and their small child, were living on Sapelo with Effie’s unmarried brother
Charlie when the storm covered Sapelo. Along with visiting friends and
neighbors they took refuge from the storm by climbing a large live oak tree.
These adult children of Charles Oliver and Harriet Fulton managed their fathers
crops, live stock and vegetable & meat store on Sapelo.
Harriet Fulton lived on Black Island. Their house, as described by their
daughter, Minnie, was a big “barney” structure, with 4 rooms up and 4
downstairs. It had a hallway in the center, and a big fireplace in every room.
The Fulton’s had nine children, three of them were girls, six of them attained
adulthood. Natalie and Pattie’s father was James Wilbur. Som of the
children attended private school. Most of the time they would ride to and from
school. If the horse was being used for some work on the place, they would
walk, a good two miles to school. Minnie describes the isolation and beauty of
Black Island. It was three miles to town. “There was first ashort strip of
causeway, then a bridge over the river, then more causeway --the road winding
with a few curves, very narrow and no way to pass another vehicle if you met
one. Then add to that a dark night, maybe a hightide which would wash over
parts of the road, or a skittish horse, liable to put you in the ditch. Or
perhaps a few cows “parked” at the gate end of the bridge hoping for a chance to
get out. All of this and maybe more, so no wonder a girl living in such a
few boyfriends and was
likely to die an
(Echoes September 1998)
Buddy Sullivan was born and raised
at Cedar Point, McIntosh County. His forbearers came to McIntosh County,
the Georgia tidewater in the nineteenth century.
The following is about the Hunter-Johnson-Sullivan
Family of McIntosh County.
In the spring of 1894, young Thomas Marshall Hunter
graduated from the Southwest Seminary of Clarkesville, Tennessee. In the
summer of that year, Hunter was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and
immediately accepted a call to fill the pulpit of the Darien Presbyterian
Church, effective July 1, 1894. The journal of John Girardeau Legare notes
that Rev. Hunter arrived in Darien to begin his pastorate, and took a
brief leave in the fall of 1894 to return to Clarkesvllle where he married
Miss Sallie Owen of Charleston, South Carolina.
Sallie Owen and her sisters, Mary and Kate Owen , were
daughters of the prominent Owen family of Charleston. Kate Owen (died
1977) married Willie B. Ravenel of Charleston. Mary Owen married into the
Geer family of Charleston.
During his Darien Presbyterian pastorate, Thomas
Marshall Hunter and his new bride, Sallie, lived in the Presbyterian manse
and, for a time, at the Ridge. A year into their pastorate at Darien, a
son was born to the Hunters, Howard Owen Hunter (1895-1964). The
Legare journal and other sources indicate that Rev. Hunter was a highly
popular minister in Darien and was active in the community while making
numerous friends in the county. In 1897, T. M.. Hunter resigned his
pastorate from the Darien church. According to the Legare journal, Rev.
Hunter accepted a call to the Presbyterian church in Trenton, Tennessee.
There, in 1898, a second child was born to the Hunters, Marshall. Marshall
Hunter married J. 0. Peery of New Orleans. She died in 1973. Thomas and
Sallie Hunter later moved to Beaumont, Texas where he served the
Presbyterian church there until his death in 1954.
Dr. Henry Herbert Johnson (1862-1937) of Macon,
Georgia, married Wilhelmina Polhill Wheeler (1872-1955) of Macon.
They had three children, Wheeler Johnson, Herbert Johnson, and an adopted
daughter, Mary Jackson (1893-1968). In 1908, the Johnson family
established a vacation home at Cedar Point, McIntosh County. Dr. H. H
Johnson was a pioneer in the field of dentistry and was president of the
Georgia Dental Association for many years. In 1925, the Johnson's built a
two-story frame house at Cedar Point, overlooking Cedar Creek and
Creighton Island. It burned in 1973 alter serving as a home for three
generations of the Hunter-Johnson-Sullivan family.
In 1920, Mary, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. H. H Johnson,
married Howard Owen Hunter at a time when young Hunter had recently
graduated from Louisiana State University and was the Southeast Executive
of the Boy Scouts in Macon. To them were born two children. Howard Owen
Hunter, Jr. (1922-1983) and Mary Kate Hunter(1924-1954). Mary Kate was
named for her two Charleston great-aunts.
Howard and Mary J. Hunter were divorced in 1932. That
same year, Mary Hunter moved into the Cedar Point home of her parents with
her two young children. Except for two brief periods when she resided in a
home on Vernon Square in Darien, Mary Hunter lived at Cedar Point for the
rest of her life, until her death in 1968. For many years she was McIntosh
County Nurse. Her children, Owen and Mary Kate, both attended the Darien
Howard Owen Hunter, Sr. become a key figure in the
administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was a friend of both
President Roosevelt and his aide, Harry Hopkins. Hunter played a key role
in the Roosevelt Administration’s efforts to bring America out of the
Depression of the 1930’s. Hunter entered government service in 1931 and
later became Acting Commissioner of the federal Work Projects
Administration (WPA), while Hopkins was administrator. From 1939 through
1943, Hunter was the head of the WPA’s Federal Writer’s Project, in which
he was directly involved in the nation’s first comprehensive effort to
gather and record local and state history. Many of the well-known state
guidebooks were published during Hunter’s administration as head of the
WPA. A complete set of these 48 volumes, once owned by H 0. Hunter, are in
the special collections of the Ida Hilton Public library in Darien, being
donated to the library by Wanda A Hunter, wife of Hunter’s son, Howard
Owen Hunter, Jr. H. O. Hunter, Sr. left government service and served as
president of the American Institute of Baking in Chicago, Illinois from
1949 to 1963. He and his second wife, Edna Hunter, who he married in 1945,
resided in Chicago where they were intimate fiends with the writer John
Steinbeck who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Howard 0. Hunter
never forgot his McIntosh County roots, returning often to the county of
his birth. He died unexpectedly in early 1964, shortly after he and his
wife Edna had moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The daughter and second child of Howard 0. And Mary J.
Hunter, Mary Kate Hunter, married Roy Earl Sullivan (b.1921) of Tifton
Georgia in February 1945. Mary Kate was nurse and Earl was an officer in
the U.S. Army, having seen combat in World War II campaigns in North
Africa and Italy. He was a descendant of the Sumner family of Worth County
(Sumner), Georgia and the Sullivan family of Decatur County (Bainbridge),
Georgia. Earl and Mary Kate Sullivan spent the first six years of their
marriage at Cedar Point where he and his brother-in-law, Owen Hunter, and
their fiend Bill Hubbard, were partners in the oyster and shrimping
business at Cedar Point. They owned the shrimp boat White Rose, the
rotting remains of which are in the marsh behind the Point. For a time,
the three men managed the Cedar Point Canning Company, one of the most
active oyster canneries on the Georgia coast in the post-World War II
period. One child was born to Earl and Mary Kate Sullivan in McIntosh
County during this period-Roy Earl (Buddy) Sullivan, Jr. in July 1946. The
seafood partnership broke up when Earl Sullivan rejoined the Army to serve
in the Korean War and Owen Hunter began a career at the Brunswick Pulp and
Paper Company. Later Owen and his wife, Wanda Atwood Hunter, moved back to
McIntosh County where they lived at Valona He died in 1983.
Mary Kate Sullivan died of cancer, the age of 29 on
Valentine’s Day, 1954 in Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. Wilhelmina
Polhill Johnson (d.1955), Mary Kate Hunter Sullivan (d.1954) and Mary J.
Hunter (d.1968) are all buried in Darien’s St. Andrew’s Cemetery.
1999) Dr. Samuel Pellman Boyer
was a 23-year old Pennsylvanian who joined the US. Navy in 1862 after
his graduation from medical school. He was stationed aboard the U.S.
barque Fernandina assigned to blockade duty in company with the gunboat
Wamsutta in Doboy Sound starting in February 1863 The following excerpts
are from Dr. Boyer’s personal diary kept while he was living on the
Georgia Tidewater during the ‘War Between The States”.
islands forming this sound [Doboy]
are Doboy, on which is a beacon light; Sapelo, on which is a
lighthouse—and a beautiful one at that; and Wolf Island.
“Feb. 20, 1863—Took
a tramp on Sapelo Island; While
there, I mounted the lighthouse, ascending the steps, each one 12 inches
high, and ere I reached the cupola I had to ascend a ladder 12 feet
high. The cupola is about 14 feet high. 156 panes of glass form the
lights of the said cupola, outside of which is an iron railing. The
tower is built of brick, In short, it is a splendid affair. The
carpenter killed a snake in the vicinity of the tower. Some call it a
‘calico snake,’ for it looks very much like a fancy calico pattern. I
preserved said snake in alcohol and intend to take it North with me.
5p.m., the Wamsutta arrived in port, having been to Sapelo Sound...
“Febv 21. 1863—Took
a tramp in the interior of Sapelo
Island. After traveling six miles through swamps, briars, etc. we
arrived at an old hut inhabited by 7 superannuated contrabands [former
slaves] and one cripple-all as poor as Job’s turkey. From them I learned
that a man by the name of Randolph Spalding used to live on this island
and occupied the large mansion, which is built in the Corinthian style.
He was in possession of 300 darkies ere the war, but they have been
removed to the mainland....
contrabands all the way from
Darien, Ga. Made their appearance today on board, having cut the
“March 8 1863—Sand
flies are as plenty as
politicians up North; whether they are as dangerous or no I cannot tell.
‘March 9, 1863—My
steward, R.D. Adams, is taking a stroll
on Sapelo Island. The captain at my request granted him leave to do so .
Adams is some what indisposed—cause, homesick. Poor d—l—he is tired of
the service and wants to go home.. .The Wamsutta arrived this morning at
11 o’clock. At 2p:m. all hands to quarters for the purpose of target
practice with our heavy guns. Some fine shots were fired. All passed
‘March 16, 1863.Took
a stroll on Sapelo Island.. The
doctor and paymaster were on shore on a rabbit hunt and returned at
3p.m. with 27 rabbit—rather a good day’s hunt..
“March 17, 1861
At 2 a.m. Captain Moses and myself..
proceeded on board of the steamer Wamsutta. . .and started up the River
Darien.. .5:30 a.m. we arrived opposite the deserted town of
Darien (save for a few contrabands). Ere any of us landed, we first
trained our port battery on said place, after which Executive Officer
Bryant of the Wamsutta and Mr. Gibson of the Fenandina with 20 armed men
landed and entered said town of Darien and found one man skedaddling
like thunder. , , Six superannuated darkies, hogs thickens, cattle, and
sheep, beside plenty of fine buildings, which were locked, was all that
remained in the one-flourishing and striving town of Darien.. .We
ascertained from some of the contrabands that a squad of men, Rebel
pickets, were camped at the Ridge... and that some of them had been in
town early in the morning hut took to their heels upon the approach of
our gunboats..! The darkies appeared to have an unholy horror of
us Yankees, supposing us to be vandals. Etc. I suppose the Rebs
poisoned their minds against us... Not finding anything of any account,
nor being bent on a plundering expedition, we left Darien as we found
it, at 7 a.m.. I counted as many as 15 warehouses or stores on the river
bank, all large buildings painted with a solution of lime, which we
Yankees at home call whitewashing. Upon one is the name “Mitchell and
Smith” painted in large black letters.. .4 or 5 large sawmills
were on the river bank. The houses comprising the town were principally
built of lumber, all painted white, and green shutters.. .Upon the door
of the residence of the former consul of Mecklenburg,Carl Epping, was
posted a notice, signed by said Carl Epping, consul,,, “warning all
civil and military authorities from molesting said building, the wharves
on the river of the Darien side,” etc. as they belonged to and were
under his control. From the tenor of said notice I suppose that the said
Carl Epping * must have been a man of some”pumpkins” in Darien. In
short,! think that in times of peace Darien must have been a beautiful,
flourishing, and striving town
“March 24, 1863.The
Wamsutta went up the Ridge
River for some lumber. Arrived at the Ridge. Subsequently, the party was
attacked by Conftderate cavalry and it retreated back to the Wamsutta.
The gunboat then stopped at the Palmetto Mills on Hird’s Island for
lumber. The proprietor of said mill was Isaac M. Aiken~—at least he was
on January l’~, 1860 as shown by ...Rules and Regulations.. .found..
posted up in what used to be his office ,,..,We obtained plenty of
lumber, several gnndstones, chains, etc. Arrived on board the Femandina
at 12 am., tired and weary.
March 26, 1863.
Steward took a run on shore.. .The
lighthouse lookout signalized a schooner in the
offing sailing northward. He supposes it
to have been the Hope returning from St. Simons Sound.. .Took a
run on shore.
‘June 10, 1863...
Large fire seen on the mainland. The Rebels are burning cotton, etc.,
for I have no doubt but what they
have an idea of an expedition, etc.
“June 11. 1863.
The Army boats Harriet A Weed,
Sentinel, and John Adams arrived in Doboy Sound this morning.. The U.S.
steamer Paul Jones arrived at 9a.m.. .The Army steamers then left for
Darien, after which the Paul Jones brought up the rear The Army boats
shelled the various mills, etc as they passed along.. We remained at
quarters until 5:15 p.m....At 3p.m. the Army troops—i.e Colonel
Montgomery’s regiment of contrabands, set fire to Darien, and in a short
time the whole place was one mass of flame. The sight was beautiful.
Whether it was proper and pat to burn the place! know not, but I do know
that the place was reduced to ashes. “The Harriet A. Weed managed to
capture a schooner loaded with cotton which intended to run the blockade
tonight. Thus the rose was nipped m the bud.. We are only sorry that an
Army instead of a Navy vessel captured the prize. She is valued at
$25,000 Colonel Montgomery landed his troops at Darien and captured
about 20 contrabands, after which the place, as stated above, was set on
fire.. We did not ascend the river all the way to Darien on account of
our vessel, the Paul Jones, being too large a craft. Consequently, we
have nothing to do with the burning of Darien, being merely spectators.
“At 9 p.m. we made tracks for Doboy Sound again. The Army boats returned
at 10 and 11 p.m. They succeeded in obtaining contrabands. furniture,
cotton, etc.,etc. Darien, Georgia is amongst the things that was. Those
beautiful mills, houses and stores are no more. All that remains of a
once beautiful town is one mass of smouldering ruins—one of the effects
of civil war...
Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater [pg.310]
by Buddy Sullivan
SURGEON—Blockading the South-1862-1866
THE DIARY OF DR SAMUEL
Edited by Elinor Barnes and James A. Barnes
(Echoes April 1999) Capture of 23 old men in 1864
Living on the Georgia Tidewater— There is a Georgia Historical Marker,
located on US 17,8.8 miles north of Darien, titled: CAPTURE OF 23 OLD MEN
IN 1864. The following account of this incident is from Early Days on
the Georgia Tidewater by Buddy Sullivan.
After the destruction of Darien in June 1863, the
courthouse and a loosely-organized civil government of McIntosh County was
relocated to Ebenezer Church north of Darien about eight and a half miles
on the road to Sapelo Bridge. A controversial incident there on the night
of August 3, 1864, perpetrated by Union naval forces, created almost as
much furor among McIntosh Countians and their coastal neighbors as the
burning of Darien by the Yankees the year before.
On the night of August 2-3, a Union naval force of 115
men landed at Sapelo Main (Baisden’s Bluff), marched overland several
miles and made prisoners of 26 McIntosh County men who were holding a
meeting at the church at Ebenezer. (Ebenezer was a branch of the
Presbyterian Church at Darien at one time.) Union naval officers kept
abreast of local developments by reading the Savannah newspapers, and it
was through this source that they learned of the meeting of the McIntosh
men. The men. most of whom were too old for front line service in the
Confederate Army, were meeting to discuss the defense of the coast in
light of increasing pressure from the offshore federal naval forces. The
men, along with others captured at nearby Sapelo Bridge, were subsequently
marched southward to Blue and Hall’s landing at the Ridge, transferred to
Union warships and transported to Union prisons in the North.
Following is the report of Commander George M.
Colvocoresses of the U.S. sloop of war Saratoga, regarding this
"Doboy Sound, Ga. August 6, 1864. Sir: I have the
honor to submit the following report of an expedition which left the
Saratoga. on the evening of the 2d instant:
It was to surprise and capture the male inhabitants who
had been ordered to meet at the court-house of McIntosh County, Ga., on
the 3d day of August, for the purpose of forming themselves into a coast
guard, which order I read in the Savannah Republican of the 27th of July,
1864... The expedition left the ship on Tuesday, August 2, 4:40 p.m. in
seven boats, and reached the mainland shortly after 9 o’clock p.m. The
night was very favorable to our design, there being no moon by which the
enemy could discover our movements as we approached the landing. As soon
as the expedition was landed [at Baisden’s Bluff], I sent all the boats
back to the ship, with an order to the executive officer to let them meet
me the next day at the landing called the Ridge, some 7 miles distant from
the first landing but nearer to the ship.. .we began our march. We did not
meet with any persons or see any house until 12 o’clock.. When the signal
for attacking was made we immediately charged at a double quick and
completely surrounded the meeting, and all who composed it were captured
except 3, who succeeded in making their escape. .1 gave the order.. .for
the expedition to again form into line and placing the prisoners in the
center, we started to return.. The expedition arrived safely at the Ridge
at sunset, but as my order in regard to the boats had been misunderstood
we did not reach the ship until about noon next day. The following is a
summary of what the expedition accomplished: We took 26 prisoners, 22
horses and buggies, destroyed 2 bridges, and burned a large encampment
which the enemy greatly needed for the protection of his forces, and we
did this in broad daylight and 15 miles from our boats without losing a
single life or meeting with any unpleasant accident..."
Commander Colvocoresses furnished Rear Admiral Dahigren
with the following list of the McIntosh County men he captured in the
Joseph S. Durant, 33. planter and tax collector for
William Summerline, 57, planter.
Converse Parkhurst, 51, merchant.
William Donnelly, 53, farmer & coroner McIntosh
William Nelson. 51, farmer.
Charles Trezevant, 50, farmer.
William Townsend, 58, farmer.
William J. Cannon, 60, fanner and salt maker.
William Thorpe, 46, farmer and justice of the peace for
James R. Webber, 55, sawyer and farmer.
C. Bennett, 51, shoemaker.
George Young, 51, farmer and wheelwright.
Macgregor Blount, 52, farmer.
William Sallet, 58, planter.
William D. Rowe, 52, farmer
James D. McDonald, 50, farmer and saltmaker
B. LeSeur, 32, saltmaker at South Newport
Samuel R. J. Thorpe, 40, farmer
John Hendrickson, 51
George Johnston. 16
Daniel Lane, 16
Obed S. Davis, 20
John Chapman, 55, planter.
Isham L Johnston, 36, planter and justice of inferior
(Echoes June 1999) McIntosh County Academy
Living on the Georgia Tidewater—The following are excerpts from a book:
McIntosh County Academy, McIntosh County, Georgia—Minutes of the
Commissioners 1820-1875--Account Book of Students 1821-1834--Edited by
Virginia Steele Wood, 1973.
. People generally assume that public schools,
providing free education for everyone, have always existed. During the
greater part of the 19th century, education in Georgia was very much a
local affair, with its quality dependent on the initiative and enthusiasm
of local support. McIntosh County Academy was typical of the locally
sponsored efforts during this period.
On 1 July 1783, the general assembly of Georgia enacted
legislation to promote county academies. In 1784 commissioners of
academies were empowered to sell confiscated property. An academy was
managed by a board of commissioners or trustees who obtained a charter,
corporate power and who promoted interest in education in their community.
Buildings varied in design. Children usually boarded with some family in
the town or in a school boarding house. Many of the teachers were from New
England. The most frequently taught subjects included Latin, English
grammar, arithmetic, Greek, writing, geography, reading and French. In
addition to these traditional subjects, higher mathematics, surveying,
rhetoric and social sciences were gradually added to the curriculum.
Chemistry, natural philosophy, astronomy and other science courses were
offered in the 1830’s.
McIntosh County Academy was chartered in 1794, one year
after creation of the county itself. Apparently the academy at Baisdens
Bluff was established prior to 1815, for in 1825 it was recorded that..
."the academy of this county has been established at Baisden's Bluff more
than ten years, and during that period the best exertions of the
commissioners have failed to keep it in operation more than half of that
time." On 2 July 1820, all Academy records were lost in a fire at the
store of their secretary, and that fall the commissioners were hard
pressed to ascertain the balance due the Academy for sale and interest of
land lots. Nevertheless in December certain alterations were planned for
the Academy at Baisdens Bluff. In addition, the ambitious undertaking of
establishing four branches of the Academy in various parts of the county
for poor children was resolved by the Commissioners, with the Darien
branch located at the Masonic Hall. These free schools were suspended in
January 1822. At the end of January 1831, the Commissioners announced that
two children attached to the Female Asylum (Presbyterian) in Darien could
receive instruction at the Academy free of charge.
Under Matthew Lindon, principal, the Academy at
Baisdens Bluff appears to have prospered during the period 1822-1823. The
building, a two story structure, measured thirty by sixty feet. A large
classroom on the first floor, with twelve foot ceilings, also served as a
place of worship on Sunday. The second floor, with nine foot ceilings, had
eleven "lodging rooms." A chimney with four fire places on the south side
had been added in 1820-21, along with a school room for boys.
Disaster struck in July 1823, when heavy rains
undermined the bluff on which the Academy was situated. Nearly one third
of the lot was washed away and the building itself fell into a ravine.
Matthew Lindon died as the result of exposure while trying to save the
school. School was resumed in January 1824 and on September 14-15, coastal
Georgians experienced a disastrous hurricane The "tabby" building at
Baisdens Bluff, which had been used for a school was abandoned as unfit
and unsafe. A new site was chosen two miles from Darien, and the
commissioners were again faced with collecting all money due and paying
all demands against the Academy.
The next decade was one of upheaval for the
Commissioners. In January 1831 a proposal was made and accepted to build a
boarding house, complete with kitchen, for the Academy. That same month,
the Commissioners were faced with misconduct of their principal. Censored
for visiting billiard tables, his action was considered "entirely
incompatible with the character and conduct which aught to distinguish an
Instructor of Youth." Although reprimanded and fined for intoxication, the
principal was evidently considered valuable for his connection with the
institution was not severed until three years later.
In November 1836, Commissioners reported that "in
consequence of the damaged state of the Academy funds" school would be
suspended on the first of February. By December the picture had changed,
and a new principal was engaged on condition that he accept all tuition
money as payment. His resignation before the end of term in 1838 was
viewed by the board as a violation of their agreement and they considered
it "inexpedient" to purchase his chemical apparatus. In August the
Commissioners with drew their charge against their former principal and
set about finding a new headmaster. At this same time they were faced with
the possible prosecution of a teacher who had married without obtaining a
proper license. Although the Board of Commissioners was legally entitled
to a five hundred dollar fine, they dropped their case. The ceremony had
been performed by the Presbyterian minister in Darien, a former
Commissioner of the Academy.
The last meeting of the Commissioners, prior to the
Civil War, was recorded in January 1861.
(Echoes January 2000)– Robert Austin Young, Jr.
Living on the Georgia Tidewater— Robert Austin Young,
Jr. (1900—1988) and Armanda Lloyd Harrison (1907—1982 ) were the parents
of Lloyd Young Flanders of Darien and Meredith Young Rogers of Statesboro.
Robert was descended from several generations which were born and reared
in McIntosh County. Lloyd Flanders has written the following sketch of her
father. She quotes some of his words as given to his grandson Robby
Flanders in 1981 for Ebbtide Magazine
Robert A. Young , Jr. was born in Darien on February
25, 1900. He was the third child of Austin and Rosalie Gardner Young.
His elder brother was named for their maternal grandfather, Warren Gardner
and his sister was Edna Rosalie, two years older. Rosa Young died in
childbirth, when Robert was less than two years old. Austin Young arranged
for housekeepers to care for his home. They lived for a time in Darien
near the Presbyterian Church and at Ashantilly in the "Old Tabby". Robert
always said Ashantilly was where he first remembered himself He learned to
swim at a early age because Captain Dolbo took him out into the creek
holding him on his back. Austin remarried in 1906, to Ruth Middleton. They
had two daughters, Edith and Winnie.
Ebbtide-- "We had a pretty good little timber
shipping business here from 1900 up until 1912 or ‘15. I remember as a boy
seeing sailing ships come up into Darien. I remember four-masted schooners
come into Darien, and down at Lower Bluff where the museum is now. Lower
Bluff originally was the Fort there and that was originally the first
mainland you hit. Later Pico Cut was cut and this river started to fill
up. But I remember, as a small boy, a four-masted schooner could turn
around because the river was large enough."
Robert Young attended Darien Public Schools and then
followed his brother Warren to Georgia Tech. It was 1918, WWI, and Robert
enlisted in the Navy. When the Armistice was signed, there was a big
Parade in Atlanta. Austin Young became ill and Robert came home to help
his father. Austin owned the Meat Market on Broad Street across from the
Adam Strain building. The cattle, which supplied the market were kept on
the islands. Austin owned Egg Island, which was one of the islands used to
raise cattle. Austin was Tax Receiver for McIntosh Co. from 1893 through
1928. In 1930 he became Darien’s first elected Mayor. Austin Young
(1866--1967) lived 101 years.
In 1920, Robert went to work with the highway
department constructing Highway 17. He was timekeeper and assistant
Ebbtide—: "I worked one month and I got off every
Saturday and ran my father’s meat market. And the boss told me , "Young,
we’ll have to let you go unless you can work on Saturdays." I said, "Well
let me go. That’ll be all right." So he let me go and at the end of the
first month he came back to me and said, "Young, if you’ll come back,
we’ll let you off Saturdays." So I stayed and completed the job." The
highway opened on June 15, 1921.
In 1927 a law was passed consolidating the offices of
Tax Receiver and Tax Collector, making a full time job of Tax
Commissioner. Robert Young was the first elected Tax Commissioner of
McIntosh County. By re-election he served the people for 36 years, from
1928 until his retirement in 1965. He was always accessible in his office
and was proud that he had advocated and helped in the passage of the
Homestead Exemption Law, which reduced taxes for most of the people of
Robert owned and operated Young Oil Co., the Gulf Oil
Distributorship, from 1946 to 1974. He was an active member of St.
Andrew’s Episcopal Church, having served in many capacities. He donated
the land for the expansion of St. Andrew’s Cemetery.
Robert Young was adjutant of the Unknown Soldier
American Legion Post #137 during most of WWII years. He donated the land
for Live Oak Lodge # 137 F.&A.M. and was a continuous member of that Lodge
from 1924 until his death on January 14, 1988.
Robert Young was well know and respected for his wealth
of knowledge of local families —their ties and their properties. He was a
rich source of information about McIntosh County and its history and was
generous in sharing this information with other people.
(Echoes April 2000) John McIntosh Kell
Living on the Georgia Tidewater — John McIntosh Kell (1823 — I 900)
was McIntosh County’s most celebrated participant in the Civil War, and
one of the most distinguished officers of the Confederate Navy. Below are
excerpts from Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater by Buddy
Born, January 23, 1823 at Laurel Grove plantation near
Darien, Kell was a descendant of the founding Scottish Highlanders, being
the son of John and Margery Spalding Baillie Kell. John McIntosh Kell’s closest friend was his cousin, Randolph
In 1841, Kell received an appointment as a midshipman
in the United States Navy and , by 1855, had advanced to the rank of
lieutenant. His 20-year career in the U.S. Navy was one of distinction,
highlighted by his participation in Commodore Matthew C. Perry’s
expedition which opened Japan to American trade in 1853, and the Paraguay
expedition of 1858. On Perry’s voyage to the Far East, Kell served
as Master of the steam flagship Mississippi.
In 1856, John McIntosh Kell married Julia Blanche
Munroe. He returned with his bride to McIntosh County that year and was
entertained by Randolph Spalding at South End House on Sapelo Island.
Kell resigned from the United States service on the day
Georgia seceded from the Union in January 1861. His younger brother
Alexander Baillie Kell (1828 — 1912) also served the Confederate cause by
joining a local cavalry unit as a lieutenant. John M. Kell served briefly
in the tiny Georgia navy under Commodore Josiah Tatnall at Savannah until
April 1861, after which he received orders to report to Commander Raphael
Semmes, CSN, at New Orleans. Kell biographer Norman C. Delaney notes that
Semmes "personally selected Kell to be his Executive Officer aboard the
Sumter," one of the first Southern commerce raiders.
Sumter was decommissioned in 1862 after which Kell
joined Semmes, again as second-in-command, of the new Confederate raider
Alabama which had been secretly built and fitted out at Liverpool,
England. Kell provided outstanding service aboard Alabama, and
Semmes and other Confederate officers praised Kell for his efficiency in
managing the ship and its crew of mostly English sailors.
After the Alabama sank USS Hatteras in a
gun-duel off Galveston, Kell was promoted to Commander. Alabama
went on to become by far the most successful of all Confederate commerce
raiders, accounting for sixty-five Union vessels captured or sunk in less
than two years.
His ship worn and in need of repair, and his crew tired
and battle-weary from the constant attrition of time spent on the high
seas, Semmes brought his ship into the French port of Cherbourg on the
English Channel where the U.S. steam sloop Kearsarge finally caught
up with him.
Although the two ships were almost evenly-matched,
Alabama with eight guns to Kearsarge‘s seven, the Yankee vessel
had the heavier armament, including two 11-inchers. In addition,
Kearsarge‘s guns would be better served: she was a fresh ship with a
crew at peak efficiency. Semmes would have been wise to seek accommodation
with the French as long as possible and remain in port at Cherbourg.
Nonetheless, he accepted the challenge of Winslow of the Kearsarge,
and steamed to the outer harbor to do battle.
For just over an hour the two wooden steam warships
maneuvered in concentric circles about 900 yards apart, firing broadsides
at each other. The marksmanship of the Kearsarge, as expected,
proved to be the most effective, and the Northern vessel began landing
shots with telling effect on Alabama. The Confederate raider, holed
several times below the waterline, sank, and Kell, Semmes and other
survivors were plucked out of the water by a nearby English yacht and
transported to England — much to the disappointment of Winslow who was
hoping to capture Semmes and Kell and take them to the United States to
stand trial for what many Northerners were convinced was piracy on the
After the war, Kell retired to a life of farming at his
Sunnyside, Georgia home in Spalding County near Griffin. In 1886, he was
appointed Adjutant-General of Georgia by Governor John B. Gordon, an event
which focused new attention on Kell as a Confederate naval hero.
The final years of Kell’s life were greatly satisfying
for him. His work in the state capital in Atlanta kept him active. The
Kells also spent a great deal of time, in the 1870’s, with the well-known
poet and flutist, Sidney Lanier, who was a close friend. Lanier , before
his death in 1881, played his flute and read poetry on numerous occasions
in the parlor of the Kells’ home at Sunnyside.
In his memoirs, published just before his death in
1900, Kell described the satisfaction of a man who has reached the end of
a productive and fulfilling life:.
"I have reached three score years and ten. My life has
been long, happy and eventful. Of course it has been checked with the
grief and sorrows that fall to the lot of all, but nearing the sunset of
my days, beyond which are the ‘hills of light,’ I can look backward into
the past of holy memories without regret, and hopefully into the future,
my lifeboat gliding on, no anchor dragging, Christ’s love at the helm, and
(Echoes October 2000) – St. Catherines Island
Living on the Georgia Tidewater – Kelly Spratt, LAHS
member and wife of Jeff Spratt who will present our November program , has
contributed the following article for the Altamaha Echoes. Kelly worked
with her husband Jeff on St. Catherines Island prior to the birth of their
daughter Hannah. Through the years, those person’s living on St.
Catherines Island , Georgia have truly experienced the magic of "Living on
the Georgia Tidewater".
St. Catherines Island is a 14,000 — acre barrier island located
approximately 4 miles east of Liberty County, Georgia. Like her sister
islands, St. Catherine’s was formed as a dune ridge along a former beach
shoreline some 40,000 to 25, 000 years ago. When the Ice Age glaciers
began to melt and sea levels rose, the island chain we know of a the
Golden Isles began to form. Sometime before 2500 B. C., the Guale Indians
arrived on St. Catherines Island. Over the next 4,000 years, the Guale
lived in various camps and settlements throughout the Island. In the late
1560’s a group of Jesuit missionaries were sent north from the newly
established Spanish colony of St. Augustine to determine the feasibility
of building a network of missions along the coast. Soon after, Franciscan
monks established the Mission Santa Catalina de Guale on St. Catherines
Island. In 1597, a Guale Indian rebellion took place and spread along the
coast. Two Spanish priests were killed at Santa Catalina and the Mission
was burned to the ground. By 1605, the Mission was rebuilt and remained
until 1680 when English forces from Charles Town laid siege to Santa
Catalina. The Spanish were able to withstand the attack, but abandoned the
Mission shortly thereafter. For the next 300 years, the location of the
Mission was a mystery.
In 1748, the Creek Indian Mary Musgrove, who had served as an
interpreter for General Oglethorpe, came to live on St. Catherines with
her husband, the Reverend Thomas Bosomworth. This notorious couple lived
there until their deaths and are buried somewhere on the Island. In 1765,
Button Gwinnett purchased the Island. St. Catherines remained his primary
home until his death due to wounds incurred during a duel with General
Lachlan McIntosh in 1777. The house built on the Island by Gwinnett still
stands today. During the antebellum period, the Island passed through a
number of ownerships, eventually falling into the hands of Mr. Jacob
Waldburg. Waldburg operated a thriving cotton plantation and built a
cotton gin, the remains of which still stand on the north end of St.
Catherines. During the Civil War, Waldburg abandoned the Island and many
of the black slaves that lived there. The end of the War brought the
charismatic and visionary Tunis Campbell to St. Catherines Island.
Believing himself to be the appointed governor of the region, Campbell
composed a constitution, a Senate and a House of Representatives to rule
the freed slaves that occupied the area. His headquarters for the
"government" was the Gwinnett House on St. Catherines. He also established
two schools on the Island. Eventually, federal troops were sent down to
remove Campbell and his kingdom fell apart.
During the Reconstruction Period, the Island again passed through
several hands, while a population of slave descendants continued to live
and farm there. In 1876, Jacob Rauers of Savannah bought the Island and
established an elite private game preserve. By the end of WWI an oyster
business was established on the south end of the Island by a Rauers
descendent, Captain Umbler. This operation supplied oysters up and down
the east coast. A store was built and a church established, which was
largely attended by blacks from neighboring islands. In 1929, the Rauers
family sold the Island to three investors from New York: Coffin, Wilson
and Keys. Their intent was to build an exclusive vacation resort. The
country was fast approaching economic crisis, however, and their dreams
were never realized. The threesome was forced to sell the Island back to
the Rauers family. The Island played a defensive role during WWII as army
guards were stationed at points throughout the Island as lookouts for
In 1943, Edward John Noble, a businessman from New York, purchased the
Island from the Rauers family and began a cattle business there. Noble
died in 1958, but the Island remained in his estate under control of the
E.J. Noble Foundation. Noble’s daughter, June Larkin, along with her
husband Frank Larkin, founded the St. Catherines Island Foundation, which
operates the Island today. In 1974, the St. Catherines Island Foundation
entered into an agreement with the New York Zoological Society to
establish a breeding center for rare and endangered species. This Wildlife
Survival Center remains in operation today with over 40 different species
of birds, mammals and reptiles in its collection. The Center specializes
in the reintroduction of endangered species back to their native habitats
all over the world. In addition, the Foundation supports a large
archeological project on the Island through the American Museum of Natural
History. In 1980, Dr. David Hurst Thomas rediscovered the lost Spanish
Mission site on the Island. Examination and interpretation of the site and
its artifacts continue to this day. The S.C.I.F. continues to support a
variety of scientific research and conservation efforts on the St.
Catherines Island, a truly unique place.
(Echoes Jan 2001)
"So Sings The Mighty River"
Bessie Lewis was editor of the weekly newspaper in McIntosh County in the
1940’s. She wrote a popular feature column called "So Sings the Mighty
River". Below are some excerpts from her columns in THE DARIEN GAZETTE
COMBINED WITH McINTOSH COUNTY NEWS.
"So Sings The Mighty River"
BY BESSIE LEWIS
All through the centuries the mighty Altamaha has been
singing — the words of its song are the
story of the people who live in its basin, the music an ageless melody,
changing in rhythm and tone with the shifting seasons and times.
The song of the Altamaha has been heard around the
world, it’s music has drawn to the shores of the great stream people from
near and far—the river has sung of romance and riches, the rise and fall
of cities and fabulous enterprises—and it will continue to sing until the
end of time.
No one will ever know all the words and music of the song
of the Altamaha, parts of it have been buried forever in the years that
are past—because they were unrecorded. "So Sings the Mighty River" is the
score of the Altamaha insofar as I have been able to find it—it is written
in the hope that it may preserve that score for those who may be
interested and dedicated to the men who since the beginning of time have
been lured by the song of the mighty river to follow its fortune.
The scene is Darien, the time a moonlit night in spring
of the year 1874. Eight vessels are in port, loading with lumber from the
mills and logs from the rafts in the river.
Negroes are loading the vessels, strong arms lifting,
backs bending and rising to the rhythms of a river chantey:
Above the bluff and through the town, and out over the
marshes the deep haunting tones of the melody filled the night, while the
rhythm lifted the great timbers and lumber into vessels destined for
northern and foreign ports.
Eight vessels in port— three barks, the Margararetta,
the Saga, the Tegner; three schooners, the Stephen Burnett, the Sm. G.
Mosely, and the Helen A. Bowen; one brig. The Der Prommer, and a ship the
Those vessels meant a great deal more to Darien and
other places in the basin of the Altamaha than the business involved— the
checking and loading, the sale of the timber and lumber and of the
supplies to the ships and all the other financial transactions which
revolved about them— they were a symbol of the courage and ingenuity of
men, with the resources of the Altamaha.
Only nine years before, at the close of the War Between the States, Darien
had been an ash strewn waste, with only its blackened chimneys rising to
tell of the busy little city it once had been. Nine years of toil and
struggle, against obstacles and through trials that seem almost
unbelievable when we read and hear of them today, and in 1874 Darien was
again on the way to becoming a prosperous business city and port. A glance
through the pages of the Darien Timber Gazette for almost any week during
the summer of 1874 shows the general stores of A.&R. Strain and of Atwood
and Avery advertising almost every item necessary for human comfort at the
time, from china dishes to ship chandlery. O. Hopkins and D. B. Wing were
timber inspectors; Wm. M. Young was the city watchmaker and Wm. Shenck
made boots and shoes; Chas. 0. Fulton advertised a MI line of the best
meats at his market and WA. Burney was a plasterer and bricklayer.
Of bar rooms, both as to number an character, there are
still many tall tails, but one at least is on record—the Altamaha House
operated by Mike Mahoney, who advertised.
AT. Putnam ran the livery stable and sold Black Sumatra
Chickens on the side.
Down by the river front the Magnolia House, operated by
A. E. Carr, was a favorite stopping place for travelers who came to Darien . A page of its "arrivals" for a day in
1874 is interesting. They were: Col. S. Spencer, Ridge; E. A. St. Clair,
Doboy Island; Charles Belsighner, Cincinnati, Ohio; Thomas Spalding, (I.
Sapelo Island; Wm. Almo, Str. Ajax; Capt. John L. Day, Str. Clyde; H. E.
Daniels, mate, E. E. Dorband, 1st Engineer, Thomas Bowher, 2nd
Engineer, officer Str. Clyde; Burr Winton, Brunswick; P. T. Donnelson,
Jacksonville, Florida; M. L. Mershon, Brunswick; James Roache, Savannah;
Captain Thomas White, Str. Ajax; Milledge Carvell, New York; P. C. Brown,
City; J. J. Robertson, Appling County; Joseph Tillman, Appling County; M.
Danforth Macon; B. P. Mosely, City; Wm. C. Clark and wife, Ridge.
[Str. = Steamer]
(Echoes April 2001) – William Bartram
Living on the Georgia Tidewater – William Bartram was
born in Philadelphia in 1739, Bartram and American Natural Science came of
age together. At age 34 he set out on a pioneering botanical survey of the
South. Four years later he returned home to paint his discoveries and
write his epic "Travels ". By his late sixties he was teemed the
grand old man of nature study in America. Today his book Travels is
considered a classic in the literature of exploration. Though written in
antique prose and peppered with Latin plant names, the book remains
favorite with nature-loving, history-conscious people.
Below are some excerpts from Travels about
Broughton Island and The Altamaha River: --------
Having completed my Horn’s Siccus, and made up my
collection of seeds and growing roots, the fruits of my late western tour,
and sent them to Charleston, to be forwarded to Europe, I spent the
remaining part of this season in botanical excursions to the low
countries, between Carolina and East Florida, and collected seeds, roots
and specimens, making drawings of such curious subjects as could not be
preserved in their native state of excellence.
During this recess from the high road of my travels,
having obtained the use of a neat light cypress canoe, at Broughton land,
a plantation, the property of the Hon. Henry Laurens, esq. I stored myself
with necessaries for the voyage, and resolved on a trip up to Alatamaha.
I ascended this beautiful river, on whose fruitful
banks the generous and true sons of liberty securely dwell, fifty miles
above the white settlements.
How gently flow thy peaceful floods, 0 Alatarnaha! How
sublimely rise to view, on thy elevated shores, you magnolian groves, from
whose tops the surrounding expanse is perfumed, clouds of incense, blended
with the exhaling balm of the liquidambar, and odours continually arising
from circurnambient aromatic groves of illicium, myrica, larus and
My barque being securely moored, and having
reconnoitred the surrounding groves, and collected fire-wood, I spread my
skins and blanket by my cheerful fire, under the protecting shade the
hospitable Live Oak, and reclined my head on my hard but healthy couch. I
listened, undisturbed, to the divine hymns of the feathered songsters of
the groves, whilst the softly whispering breezes faintly died away.
The sun now below the western horizon, the moon
majestically sing in the east; again the tuneful birds became inspired:
how melodious is the social mock-bird! the groves resound the unceasing
cries of the whip-poor-will; the moon about an hour above the horizon; lo!
a dark eclipse’ of her glorious brightness me slowly on; at length, a
sliver thread alone encircled her temples at this boding change, an
universal silence prevailed.---
But, before I leave the river Alatamaha, we will
proceed to give a farther and more particular account of it. It has its
source the Cherokee mountains near the head of Tugilo , the great west
branch of Savanna, and, before it leaves them, is joined and augmented by
innumerable rivulets; thence it descends through the hilly country, with
all its collateral branches, and winds rapidly amongst the hills two
hundred and fifty miles, and then enters the flat plain country, by the
name of the Oakmulge; thence meandering an hundred and fifty miles, it is
joined on the east side by the Ocone , which likewise heads in the lower
ridges of the mountains. After this confluence, having now gained a vast
acquisition of waters, it assumes the name of Alatamaha, when it becomes a
large majestic river, flowing with gentle windings through a vast plain
forest, near an hundred miles, enters the Atlantic by several mouths. The
north channel, or entrance, glides by the heights of Darien, on the east
bank, about ten miles above the bar, and running from thence with several
turnings, enters the ocean between Sapello and Wolf islands. The south
channel, which is esteemed the largest and deepest, after its separation
from the north, descends gently, winding by McIntosh’s and Broughton
islands; and lastly, by the west coast of St. Simon’s Island, enters the
ocean, through St. Simon’s sound, between the south end of the island of
the name and the north end of Jekyl island. On the west banks of the south
channel, ten or twelve miles above its mouth, and nearly opposite Darien,
are to be seen the remains of an ancient fort, or fortification; it is now
a regular tetragon terrace, about four feet high. and bastions at each
angle; the area may contain about an acre of ground, but the fosse which
surrounded it is nearly filled up. There are large Live Oak, Pines, and
other trees, growing upon it, and in the old fields adjoining. It is
supposed to have been the work of the French or Spaniards. A large swamp
line betwixt it and the river, and a considerable creek runs close by the
works, and enters of the river through the swamp, a small distance above
Broughton island. About seventy or eighty miles above the confluence of
the Oakmulge and Ocone, the trading path, from Augusta to the Creek
nation, crosses these fine rivers, which are there forty miles apart. On
the east banks of the Oakmulge, this trading road runs nearly two miles
through ancient Indian fields, which are called the Oakmulge fields; they
are the rich low lands of the river. On the heights of those low grounds
are yet visible monuments, or traces, of an ancient town, such as
artificial mounts or terraces, squares and banks, encircling considerable
areas. Their old fields and planting land extend up and down the river,
fifteen or twenty miles from this site.
After a few days I returned to Broughton island. The
Cherokees and their confederates being yet discontented, and on bad terms
with the white people, it was unsafe to pursue my travels in the north
western regions of Carolina. And recollecting many subjects of natural
history, which I had observed in the south of the isthmus of Florida, when
on a journey some years ago with my father, John Bartram, that were
interesting, and not taken notice of by any traveller; and as it was then
in the autumn and winter, having reason to think that very many curious
subjects had escaped our researchers; I now formed the resolution of
travelling into East Florida; accordingly, I immediately wrote to doctor
Fothergill, in order that he might know where to direct to me.
(Echoes June 2001) Burning of Darien
Living on the Georgia Tidewater — The burning of Darien
in 1863 is told in detail in many books. Below are excerpts from THEY
CALLED THEIR TOWN DARIEN by Bessie Lewis and DARIEN, The Death and
Rebirth of a Southern Town by Spencer B. King, Jr.
Came the 11th of June, 1863 — Darien lay still in the
summer sun. No human being walked the oak-shaded streets. The few women,
children and very old men who lived in the town had fled to The Ridge a
few days before. There was an unearthly quiet in the town, the quiet of
empty houses , of silence where there should be voices. The great mills at
Lower Bluff and at Cat Head were still, the wharves were deserted,
churches, schools and all business houses were closed.
Some time before noon, Captain John Lane, commanding a
twenty-man detachment of cavalry which patrolled the coast and was the
county’s only protection, sighted a gunboat and two steamers entering
Doboy sound. He watched them from a thicket near The Ridge. The vessels
moved rapidly, headed south until they reached the Altamaha and turned
The fleet was under the command of Col. S. C.
Montgomery the Kansas Jayhawker, who brigade was stationed on St. Simons.
Early that morning they had embarked "to present his compliments to the
rebels of Georgia."
His force comprised five companies of the Second South
Carolina, eight companies of the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, Colonel Shaw,
all Negro except the officers, and the Third Rhode Island battery, Captain
Brayton. The gunboat John Adams, Captain Smith, and the transports
Sentinel and Harriet Weed constituted the fleet.
As they steamed up the river, the John Adams threw a
constant stream of shot and shell into the woods, along the shore and into
the town as they came abreast of it. The Sentinel and the Harriet A. Weed
eased up to the wharf, Colonel Montgomery gave the order to disembark and
form a line of battle in the public square. Pickets were sent out to the
edge of town, and the command was given to search it, take to the boats
everything of value, then fire it. Colonel Shaw strongly objected to these
orders, but to have refused to obey would have rendered him liable to
court martial. In a matter of minutes every house was broken into. Fire
had already begun — started by a shell thrown before the troops landed —
and a high wind drove the flames down Broad Street.
An officer of the 54th Massachusetts later wrote of the
scene: "Soon the men began to come in ... loaded with all sorts of
furniture, stores, trinkets, etc We had sofas, tables, pianos, chairs,
mirrors, carpets, beds, bedsteads, carpenters’ tools, coopers’ tools,
books, law-books, account books in unlimited supply ..." An immense pile
of lumber that lay on the wharf was loaded on the boats. Droves of sheep
and cows were driven in and put on board. Others were shot in the streets.
The stores along the river front were fired last, then
the troops hurried on board the ships — not a minute too soon, as the town
was a sheet of flame, and heat at the water front was so bad the soldiers
had to stay on the opposite sides of the ships. The rosin took fire, and
as night came up a terrible thunder storm added to the fury of the blaze,
the town was an inferno.
A traveler passing through later that summer wrote to a
friend, "Darien is now one plain of ashes and blackened chimneys."
On the day after the burning of Darien Robert Shaw
wrote to his mother telling her about the expedition which ended in the
destruction of the undefended little town. The letter expressed not only
his abhorrence of the deed but also his denial of responsibility for it.
But even as he condemned his fellow officer, one senses , as he reads
between the lines, a bothered conscience. The letter
was more than a protest expressed in the privacy of correspondence with
his mother, it was a confession of his inner thoughts.. Deep within
himself he shared the shame of it. However, he did not go so far as to
take on himself any blame for obeying General Hunter’s orders.
Nevertheless, his humanitarian spirit which had shown so much concern for
enslaved black men now rebelled against the inhumane treatment to which
their masters were subjected.
Five Years after the war ended and seven years after
her son’s death, Sarah Shaw sat one day in her North Shore home near the
boat landing at Sailor’s Snug Harbor in the town of New Brighton on Staten
Island. She was reading the New York World. In it was a plea for
financial assistance to help the people of St. Andrew’s parish at Darien
to restore their house of worship. It was signed by the Reverend Robert F.
Clute, and his senior warden, William Robert Gignilliat. Sarah had
followed intensely through her son’s letters the events of that June day
seven years before when the church had gone up in flames in the
destruction of Darien. And after Robert died at Fort Wagner she had kept
and treasured his letters. They were tangible bits to give more substance
As she scanned the World, suddenly a sentence
stood out vividly upon the page: "On June 11, 1863, without an engagement,
the town of Darien, Georgia, was taken and burned by the United States
Colored Troops, Colonel Shaw, Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment,
Mrs. Shaw went hastily to her desk to write the editor
of Harper ‘s Weekly asking him to aid her in correcting what she
knew to be a grievous error. --------------
Setting the record straight in Harper s Weekly
was one thing, but Sarah could not be satisfied until she had won the
Darien people over to her side and proved to them that Robert should not
be condemned ------
Thanks to Mrs. Shaw’s efforts, a total of fourteen
hundred dollars was received in response to St. Andrew’s call for help.
The Reverend Clute and his forty-four parishioners went to work
immediately to build a modest little chapel on the Ridge. The building was
completed and ready for consecration by May 1871. When first built it was
a plain, square room, and the windows were of plain glass. Later, a porch
was added, stained-glass windows put in, and the east end of the building
made semicircular to provide for an enlarged chancel.
Within a year after the chapel on the Ridge was
consecrated the congregation of St. Andrew’s began to make plans for a new
sanctuary in Darien.
(Echoes October 2001)
William G.(Bill) Haynes, Jr.
Living on the Georgia Tidewater — William G.(Bill) Haynes, Jr. August
10, 1908 — August 24, 2001
William G. Haynes, and Norman Edwards, at the
urging of Hans Newhauser organized The Lower Altamaha Historical Society
Genevieve Wynegar wrote the following tribute, which was published as
the lead editorial in the August 30 ,Darien News.
The Loss of a Friend
An elderly man passed away last week in a small town in Georgia. Not a
very newsworthy item in most towns or in most newspapers in America, but
the town is our own town of Darien, and the man in question was William G.
(Bill) Haynes, Jr. The news of his passing last Friday morning is still
sending ripples to all parts of the world as his friends and fans learn of
the loss of their dear friend.
Bill Haynes was so much more than the elderly, infirm, profoundly deaf
man of his later years. Yes, his deafness isolated him from so much of the
world later in life, and to a large extent, he retreated into his
much-loved books and papers. But he was first, last, and always — an
artist. His art manifested itself in several forms, but primarily in
painting and printing.
He spent his life as a conservationist and preservationist of coastal
Georgia, its wildlife and history, and was an early member of many of the
organizations that today are established guardians of that preservation of
Georgia’s scenery and history.
Bill Haynes loved more than coastal Georgia, and his world encompassed
more than just our corner of the world. Bill traveled across the globe
during World War II and immediately thereafter, and was stationed in New
Guinea for several years during the -war.
His artistic bent took him to New York City, where he also honed his
familially- inherited love of books working for many years in the New York
City Public Library to support his art school classes. It was there that
he met his beloved wife, Natalie, and discovered the fine art of hand-set
in 1954, he came home to Darien for good, with Natalie , and
spent many years designing and implementing improvements for Ashantilly,
together with his sisters Frances and Anne Lee, and his wife. He founded
the renowned Ashantilly Press in 1955.
Although Bill Haynes outlived all of his immediate
family and most of his close friends, he made new friends everywhere he
went, including many in recent months as he took up residence at Sears
Manor Nursing Home in Brunswick. His friends, including board members of
The Ashantilly Center, Inc., brought him home to Darien as often as
possible to visit his home at Ashantilly and to see his many friends. His
last visit home was for his birthday on August 10, when he was surprised
on his 93rd birthday with a party held at The Darien Restaurant, where he
ate lunch every day for so many years. He was obviously delighted to once
again be in the company of a group of dear friends.
For most of his life, Haynes was an active member of
Darien Presbyterian Church. Until 1995, he hand-printed and hand-typeset
the weekly church bulletins, utilizing his stock of beautifully carved
wooden type and his trusty hand press. Bill personally rang the church
bell 11 times at 11 a.m. every Sunday morning to signal the start of the
church service. He thoroughly enjoyed this duty, which he performed until
the day he entered the nursing home after a fall at his home in 2000.
On Wednesday afternoon, August 29, at 2 p.m., the bell Bill Haynes so
loved will be tolling once again, in his memory, to signal the beginning
of his memorial service at that church. While all of Darien and McIntosh
County mourns the passing of a friend, we will also celebrate the special
achievements of a lifetime.
So long, dear friend.
(Echoes January 2002) Founding of Darien
Living on the Georgia Tidewater – In 1997, the University of Georgia
Press, published Dr. Tony parker’s book, Scottish Highlanders in
Colonial Georgia — The Recruitment, Emigration, and Settlement at
Darien, 1735 — 1748. The following are excerpts from this book. Dr. Parker
will be autographing his book luring the Scottish Heritage Days.
The Founding of Darien
The morning of 10 January 1736 launched a day filled
with excitement, anticipation, and, no doubt, some trepidations for the
newly arriving immigrants from the Highlands of Scotland. On board ship
was a mixture I people preparing to make a new start in a new world:
ardent Jacobites and strong supporters of the Hanoverian government,
Episcopalian and Presbyterians,- a mariner, a surgeon, three tailors, one
joiner, one weaver, four men listed as gentlemen, twenty-five farmers,
seventy men named as servants or laborers, a minister, and the complement
of women and children that made up the families of this settlement on the
British southern frontier in America. As Savannah came into view, the
Prince of Wales, commanded by Captain George Dunbar, sailed into the
harbor at Tybee Roads on the coast of the colony of Georgia, after nearly
three months on the wintry Atlantic. As ordered, Lieutenant Hugh Mackay
immediately set about sending the immigrants to Barnwell’s Bluff on the
Altamaha River, which was to become their new home. Mackay left first with
a detachment of the men in the periaguas to take possession of the site
and erect a shelter for the rest of the families, who were to follow later.
The little flotilla sailed down the coast of Georgia
and in less than a week reached the mouth of the Altamaha River. They then
traveled through the low marshy islands that divided the broad river into
narrow channels until the group landed at the foot of the first high
ground. This had been the site of Fort King George, Britain’s first
attempt to defend the southernmost frontier of her continental colonies.
It had been abandoned in 1727. Within a mile and half of the fort’s ruins,
the Highlanders decided to make their stand and build their settlement.
They called he town Darien "at their own desire," certainly named after
the failed attempt at a Scottish settlement in 1698 on the Isthmus of
Darien in Panama. That venture failed because of tropical illness and the
efforts of the Spanish to eliminate the settlers. Choice of Darien as a
name seems to have been a gesture of defiance on the part of these new
immigrants against the Spanish in Florida.
The spot designated was situated on the mainland, about
twenty miles northwest of St. Simons Island. The town was built on a
branch of the Altamaha River on a bluff twenty feet high; the site was
surrounded on three sides by woods. The soil was sandy and black, with
little to recommend it as fertile ground, but the site had not been chosen
with agriculture in mind. The Spanish treat was to the south, which was
the reason for the Highlanders’ settlement at Darien. Some of the Carolina
people tried to persuade the Scots to settle in Carolina and not to
antagonize the Spanish by settling on the Altamaha. They attempted to
discourage the Scots at their landing aby saying that the settlement would
be so close to the Spanish fort that the Highlanders would be shot from
within the Spanish houses. With typical Highland bravado, the Scots
replied, "We will beat them out of their fort and shall have houses ready
built to live in."
Under Hugh Mackay’s direction, the Highlanders
immediately set to work to secure the site. The relatively mild
temperature and clear sunny winter days in south Georgia, similar to the
late spring and early summer of the Highlands, were an opportune me to do
the heavy labor of clearing land out of a wilderness. The palmetto brush
and scrub pine soon fell before axes, swords, and fire; within weeks
Darien was taking shape, By the time General James Oglethorpe arrived on
22 February, the Scots had constructed a "battery of four pieces of
cannon, built a guardhouse, a storehouse, a chapel, and several huts for
particular people." They had got so far as to build a house for the widow
of one of their men who had died on the journey.
The experiences of a new world were not without
lighthearted predicaments. En route to visit the new Scots’ settlement,
Oglethorpe’s party met a boat carrying Hugh Mackay and John Cuthbert, who
were coming from Darien bound for Savannah. Mackay and Cuthbert returned
with Oglethorpe to Darien. Along the way Cuthbert told Oglethorpe’s group
the story of an unidentified Highlander’s first encounter with a persimmon
tree loaded with of ripe fruit on one of the islands. The Scot could not
climb the tree because it was too tall and thorny. Frustrated and not to
be denied, the Highlander cut down the tree and "gathered some dozen," not
thinking of future harvests.
As Oglethorpe arrived to view the new settlement and
meet his southern most defenders, they turned out under arms and presented
a "most manly appearance with their Plaids, broadswords, targets, and
firearms." This was a proud moment for the highlanders as they donned
their plaids and carried their traditional weapons, perhaps for the first
time since the carrying of weapons by clansmen had been outlawed in
Highlands in 1726. The young men who had signed on for the adventure of
the frontier and were hopeful at the prospect of fighting the Spanish must
have felt a keen sense of exhilaration when the general’s boat landed on
the shore at the foot of their settlement.
Oglethorpe was well pleased with what he saw at this
busy new frontier outpost. In honor of the Highlanders, he had come
dressed in the Highland "Habit." He must have looked comfortable and
natural in it because Samuel Eveleigh, a member of Oglethorpe’s party,
reported later that when they arrived at Darien, several of the settlers
cried out, "Mr. Oglethorpe, where’s Mr. Oglethorpe?" — not being able to
recognize him from the "rest of their brethren."
(Echoes September 2002) Scots Live on Tidewater
Living on the Georgia Tidewater—The early days of the settlement of
McIntosh County is told in tile book They Called Their Town Darien
by Bessie Lewis. Excerpts from the book are below. The first Highland
Scots landed at Barnwell’s Bluff, January 19, 1736. The second embarkation
arrived in February, 1742. The Battle of Bloody Marsh was July, 1742. The
Highland Scots prepared to Live on the Georgia Tidewater.
The Battle of Bloody Marsh was over — the harassment of
the troops who had taken refuge in the fort and the final driving them
from the island were almost anti climax.
But the Highlanders were not yet to settle in peace and
start rebuilding their town. There were still treats of another invasion,
and General Oglethorpe planned to stop it before it could begin. Taking a
company of grenadiers, the Highlanders, a detachment of his regiment, the
Georgia Rangers and a number of Indians, he started for Florida. Landing
on the south side of the St. John’s River, he surprised a large force of
Spanish troops quartered at Fort Diego. Forty Spaniards were killed in
this battle. The British forces went on to St. Augustine, but the
Spaniards had been warned and did not come out to fight.
The troops returned to Georgia , this time to stay. The
town to which the Highland soldiers returned after the Florida campaign
must have been a sorry sight indeed. Almost neglected, except for the
light work which could be done by women and children, the homes, gardens
and the fields were in deplorable condition. To men less determined the
situation would had been hopeless, and the years which led up to it
Not so the Highlanders of Darien — this was their
opportunity to start anew, to carry out the plans made by the first
embarkation seven years before.
Now the fighting men were home, and except for duty
with the Rangers patrolling the out country, could attend to the business
of making a living. They set to work to improve the farm lots adjoining
the town, to plant and to raise stock. Once more the indentured servants
were working with the pit saws , getting out lumber for the public use.
Grants of land in the district were being made, some of
them for distinguished service in the war, and soon these tracts were
being cleared for cultivation.
Lieutenant Sutherland was one of the first to receive a
grant, recommended by General Oglethorpe. The tract given to the
lieutenant still bears his name, though he traded it soon for acreage in
another area, and there is no evidence that he ever lived at Sutherland’s
General Oglethorpe left Georgia for England in the
summer of 1743, never to return, and the Highlanders missed his friendship
Lachian McIntosh and his younger brother, George, went
to Charles Town; Lachlan to work in the counting house of Henry Laurens
and George to attend grammar school.
The Highlanders were not a people to live contently in
a village. They asked for and received grants in the district, and soon
were moving out, clearing and cultivating plantations along the tide water
John McIntosh Mohr, returned at last from Spanish
prison, settled on Black Island, near where the highlanders landed when
they came to Barnwell’s Bluff, voluntarily giving up his other lands near
Darien to obtain this. He was appointed Conservator of the Peace for
Darien. and continued to be leader and mentor of his people. Three Clark
brothers, who came to the colony in 1736 with their parents, were given a
grant to the Great Thicket, a tract on the mainland facing the river,
starting at a point opposite Black Island and including the lands now
known as The Thicket.
Oldner’s and Barbour’s islands were granted as early as
1744, and under cultivation.
The second bluff on the Sapelo River (now Belleville)
was an early grant to John McIntosh (son of Benjamin) one of who grandsons
was to be the Indian Chief, General William McIntosh.
Daniel Demetre, coxswain on the scout boat, received
acreage on Dickenson’s Neck (Harris Neck) and on Creighton Island, then
called by his name.
Anne McIntosh, only surviving daughter of John McIntosh
Mohr, was granted lands at the head of the Sapelo River, adjoining those
of Hugh Morrison. Across the river to the north, lay the 1500 acre rice
and indigo plantation of her brother, George McIntosh. Later, when she
married Lieut. Robert Baillie, they lived at Saperlo Main (now Eulonia). A
map of the Robert Baillie lands (including Anne’s dower) dated 1773, shows
the avenue of oaks which still shade the highway there.
On the Cow Horn Road (now Highway 99) lay the lands of
William McIntosh — The Cottage (Filson), Borlum and the Forest. William
McIntosh also owned Fair Hope on the Sapelo River; later it was the home
of his son Col. John McIntosh, Adjoining Fair Hope to the north was
Mallow, where the eccentric Captain Roderick McIntosh (Old Rory ) and his
spinster sister, Miss Winncwood McIntosh, lived.
In the north end of the district, near the South
Newport River, Donald McIntosh Bain lived, his grant including the swamp
he called Strathlachlan, which held the "great Indian mount" within it
bounds. To the east of his tract, between the South Newport and the Sapelo
rivers, lay the plantation of Angus owned nearby Bro Neck, and Roderick
McLeod lived in the same area.
Across the river from Darien, Lachian McIntosh owned
and planted rich rice islands, and managed Broughton Island for Henry
Laurens of South Carolina. Other rice lands in the area were in absentee
ownership, but those of Henry Laurens were probably the richest.
Sir Patrick Houstoun, father-in-law of George McIntosh
owned a 1000 acre plantation at Cat Head, west of Darien. Further up the
river were the holdings of McClelland, McCullough, Lewis and Fulton, who
had come in from Williamsburg, South Carolina, in 1754.
At Turkey Camp Swamp, Norman McDonald had a large
plantation, and north of him, on the Broad Road, lived Robert McDonald.
With all this removal, the center of population
changed, and before 1750 the Meeting House (Presbyterian) was built near
Houstoun Swamp about eight miles north of Darien. This served the district
for many years, both for church services when a minister was available,
and for meetings of a civil character.
In 1751 the inhabitants of the lower part of the
district petitioned for a military guard to placed at Barrington, the most
important pass over the Altamaha River, to prevent Spanish and Indian
depredations. There is no exact date on the beginning of construction of
Fort Barrington. It seems to have been built in stages, probably as funds
were available, and completed in the 1760’s, when Jonathan Bryan applied
for a grant of land on the Altamaha "2 or 3 miles above Fort Barrington"
Lieut. Robert Baillie, who built the post, was in command there as early
For several years there was a strong tendency to ignore
the town of Darien, as though it did not exist. In 1751 there was a
petition asking that the road from the Meeting House to Darien be
discontinued, that instead a road from just south of the Meeting House to
Cat Head be opened and kept up.
(Echoes September 2003) Roswell King
Living on the Georgia Tidewater - Roswell King is a familiar name in
the early history of Tidewater Georgia.. Excerpts below are from "All
Under Bank" Roswell King, Jr., and Plantation Management in Tidewater
Georgia 1819-1854 — Edited with an Introduction by BUDDY SULLIVAN
Roswell King, Sr. (1765-1844), son of Timothy King and
Sarah Fitch King of Windsor, Connecticut, had migrated in 1789 to Darien,
Georgia, where he be came active in lumbering, contracting and the
brokerage of cotton. In 1792, King married Catherine Barrington, daughter
of Josiah and Sarah Williams Barrington of San Savilla Bluff on the
Altamaha upriver from Darien. The Kings’ first child was Roswell, Jr.,
born at Savannah on April 2, 1796. Two other King sons, Barrington King
(1798-1866) and William King (1804-1884), also became active in the
social, cultural, religious and business affairs of tidewater Georgia
during the antebellum period.
In 1802, Major Butler engaged the services of the
energetic and enterprising Roswell King, Sr. , as the resident manager -
of his Georgia plantations (Butler and his family resided in Philadelphia
following years of prominence in the social and political affairs of
coastal South Carolina). The eminent Savannah historian, Malcolm Bell,
biographer of Major Butler, attributes the elder King with considerable
talents as an agriculturist but notes that he was sadly deficient in the
management of the 959 Butler slaves for which he was responsible during
his 17-year tenure. "The elder King’s untiring efforts and capability as a
planter did much to make Major Butler a rich man, a goal Roswell King
pursued with relentless determination that warped his sense of decency in
his relations with the hundred of black slaves he controlled," Bell notes.
"(But) his departure from the Butler estate was not friendly. Major Butler
believed his manager responsible for the loss of slaves during the - War
of 1812. Second generation Butlers (Thomas Butler and his sisters, Frances
Butler and Sarah Butler Mease) believed him dishonest and self-serving.
(King’s) lack of compassion in acting as a surrogate owner for Major
Butler may have sprung from a subconscious reaction to the miscegenation
he and his son (Roswell, Jr.) practiced at Hampton and Butler’s Island
In 1819, King Sr., departed the Major’s employ under
acrimonious circumstances, after which he pursued his sawmill venture in
Darien in addition to his increasing activity as a director of the Bank of
Darien. With his son, Barrington, the elder King and other members of his
coastal Georgia circle migrated inland to Cobb County where, in 1836, they
founded the towns of Roswell and Lebanon, near the Chattahoochee River and
present-day Atlanta. King, assisted by his son, established flour mills at
Lebanon and, by 1837, had also begun a thriving textile mill powered by
the waters of Vickery Creek at nearby Roswell. The Roswell Manufacturing
Company received its incorporation in 1839 with Barrington King as
president. His home, Barrington Hall, was built in Roswell in 1842 and is
regarded as one of the outstanding examples of Greek Revival architecture
in upper Georgia.
The pioneering Kings laid out the town of Roswell and
included an academy and churches for Presbyterian and Methodist
congregations. The new town was originally comprised of six families from
tidewater Georgia, all of whom were closely allied through long
friendships. In addition to Roswell King and Barrington King, there were
James Stephens Bulloch (1793-1849), John Dunwody (1786-1858), James Smith
(1766-1854) and the Rev. Nathaniel Alpheus Pratt (1796-1879), the latter
being the Presbyterian pastor of the church in Darien then serving in a
similar capacity at the Roswell Presbyterian Church founded in 1839.
Roswell King, Sr. died on February 15, 1844 and was buried in the
Presbyterian cemetery in the town which bore his name.
(Echoes January 2004) Mill Chimney at Butler Island Plantation
The Mill Chimney at Butler Island Plantation is a Landmark of Darien,
Georgia. One hundred and seventy one years ago , this steam powered
threshing mill was constructed on Butler Island in the Altamaha Delta. In
the introduction to "All Under Bank ", Buddy Sullivan gives the
account of this chimney. Below, are excerpts from this book.
Most of the
rice shipped to the Savannah and Charleston markets from the Georgia
plantations was in the form of "rough rice," or rice that had been
threshed, winnowed and cleaned of chaff and straw, but not pounded
(polished). On some plantations, rice was threshed by means of beating the
stalks with flail sticks on elevated threshing floors. Later, many
plantations acquired steam-powered threshing engines to greatly expedite
the process of preparing rough rice for shipment. Threshing and winnowing
on the plantation began in early September and, in the case of rough rice,
shipments to market were expedited in stages throughout the fall and early
The most prosperous rice planters usually equipped their plantations
with a pounding mill to further process the crop. This entailed a final
stage, the preparation of the rough rice into "clean rice," or rice that
has been pounded to remove the outer shell then polished by a system of
steam-powered stone pestles. However, this equipment was prohibitively
expensive for most planters and only the largest of the plantations had
their own pounding mills. Roswell King, Jr., was a proponent of on-site,
steam-powered, pounding mills, feeling they improved the plantation’s
productivity and efficiency.
Pounding mills employed tidal power until the introduction of steam
engines for mill operations during the decade of the 1820’s. Meanwhile,
threshing continued to be done by the laborious hand -flailing method on
threshing floors. Greatly increased production resulting from the
development of steam pounding mills placed unacceptable constraints on the
hand threshers to keep pace, thus mechanical processes were soon developed
for the threshing stage to maintain balanced processing levels. Consequent
upon these technological advances in production was the need for increased
cooperage to accommodate the growing amounts of processed rice. More
slaves were thus employed in the building of wooden barrels (tierces) for
the storage of polished rice as it came from the pounding mill.
In 1832, King successfully prevailed upon Thomas Butler to allow him to
acquire a steam engine to power his rice threshing mill and pounding
machinery at Butler’s Island. This mill was built near the overseer’s
house adjacent to the river landing at Butler’s Island and was ready for
operation by late 1833. Because the ground at the mill site was subject to
periods of wetness, even occasional flooding, since it was at times below
the level of the adjacent river, King employed the slaves in the
emplacement of thick pilings in the soil to provide greater stability for
the steam engine.
Planters had the option of shipping their rough rice to Savannah where
it was sold in bushels of 45 to 50 pounds, and then pounded at mills on
the Savannah River, or they contracted neighboring planters to pound their
rice for a fee. Clean rice usually brought greater profits to the planter.
This rice was shipped in large casks, or tierces, each holding about 600
(Echoes April 2004) Hammond’s
In 1875 a
former slave acquired an acre of land situated on the OLD UPPER STEAM SAW
MILL ROAD in McIntosh County. In 1999 , the
Great Grandson of this slave acquired a portion of this land and gave it
the name of
Hammond’s Cove. William Hammond Andrew Collins, PD, D. Ph., the
Great Grandson of Cain Hammond (1820— ca.1903 ),
tells of the evolution of this property and his family.
Dr. William Collins has done extensive research on his family and the
property where he now lives. The location was clarified and interpreted by
the late Attorney Charles Stebbins as being the present Old River Road.
The address of Hammond’s Cove is 804 Old River Road, Darien, Ga. Old River
Road begins at 7th Street in Darien as Houston
Street on Cathead Creek ends. The road runs five blocks Northwest, then
curves at the Upper Mill Cemetery, and goes West through Mentionville.
Thus, the Hammond Property is the first plot of land on this old Indian
trail which was made into a road in 1739 when Lieutenant Robert Baillie
and the Scottish Highlanders first marched over the road on their way to
invade Spanish Florida.
Cain Hammond ,born a slave in Georgia 1820 ,
died in McIntosh County ca. 1903. At his death, Cain Hammond was residing
on the property known today as Hammond’s Cove. His first child of record
was a female named Adelia ,born in slavery, Liberty County in 1840, died
as Adelia Hammond Smith in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1950.
Just after the War, circa 1865, Cain married, Betsy Waters
(1840— ca. 1898). Cain and Betsy had eight children. The oldest daughter
of these children was Clara ( circa 1870 — 1934). . Clara
married John Williams. This couple’s first child, Sara, was the first
grandchild of Cain and Betsy.
Pride in his family and in personal ownership of land is shown when in
1899, Cain deeded one lot of his Old River Road property to Clara Hammond
Williams (Mrs. John Williams) as Trustee for his first grandchild, Sara
In 1902, Cain Hammond sold one-half acre of the property to his
daughter Clara for the sum of fifty dollars ($50.00). When Cain
passed away, it is assumed that the remainder of the property was left to
his eight children, with Clara as executor of his estate. She paid the
taxes on all of the property until her death in 1934. Her daughter, Sara
(Mrs. Isaac Morrison) then assumed that duty.
Sara Morrison started selling off lots on the Old River Road property
in 1950. It would be forty nine years before William Collins would acquire
this property in Darien that his Great Grandfather had first purchased one
hundred and twenty four years ago.
William Hammond Andrew Collins is the grandson of Cain and Betsy
Hammond’s youngest daughter, Mary Hammond Wright —Thomas. He was graduated
from Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, with a doctor of
pharmacy in 1971. After purchasing the property
in 1999, Collins added on to the house; changing it from 887 square feet
to ? square feet.
Dr. Collins is a member of LAHS, he lives at: Hammond’s Cove, A
Landmark in the City of Darien, GA. since 1875.
(Echoes Oct 2004)
Homes in Darien circa 1830 Burnette
Vanstory, in her book Georgia’s Land of the Go/den Isles
describes some homes in Darien circa 1830. Excerpts from this book are
Darien was a town of shady streets and comfortable
houses with yards enclosed by picket fences and beautified by flowers,
shrubs, and orange trees. Two of these houses were considered show places.
One was Ashantilly, a mile or so east of town, built by Thomas Spalding
for his mother, used after her death as winter home for the family, and
later the property of the Spaldings’ son Charles. The other was the
beautiful Troup house upon the promontory known as Cathead, a serene
tree-shaded point overlooking the river and marshes on the west side of
Built in the early eighteen hundreds, the Spalding
house was named for the Barony of Ashantilly to which Thomas Spalding’ s
father had been heir in Scotland. Designed by the Laird of Sapelo himself,
Ashantilly was unique and charming. A two-storied house with one-storied
wings, built wide and low to the ground, its spacious, beautifully
proportioned rooms were ornamented with hand-carved wainscot, cornices,
and mantels; the exterior was of expertly finished tabby, and at either
end was an open portico with columns of Italian marble. An unusual
architectural feature was the series of floor length windows across the
front, while the entire back of the house was a solid wall-perhaps an
early experiment in the modern idea of solar heating.
The Troup residence, a large house constructed, like
Ashantilly, entirely of tabby, was designed by that gifted young
Englishman, William Jay, who drew the plans for the famous Habersham and
Owens-Thomas places in Savannah. An apprenticed architect in London, young
Jay came to Savannah in 1818, and although less than twenty-five years of
age he soon made a name for himself along the coast, and designed some of
the most beautiful buildings in the region. The Troup house was the town
residence of Dr. James McGillivray Troop, planter-physician, who was one
of the most prominent men of McIntosh County. The Darien physician served
as justice of the county, as commissioner of the McIntosh County Academy,
as president of the bank, mayor of Darien, and as state senator.
It was one of Dr. Troup’s daughters, Clelia, who
married Daniel Murray Key, a grandson of Francis Scott Key. A son of this
marriage, Francis Murray Key, grew up in the coastal region, and as a
young man went to the Philippines and later to South America where he
spent the test of his life. In 1952 his son, Francis Scott Key, came to
the United States and visited relatives and friends as he traveled along
the Georgia coast.—
2001. The estate is managed by a private trust,
Ashantilly Center, Inc.
Ashantilly was the home of the Haynes family from 1918 until the death
of William G. Haynes, Jr. 1908
The remains of the Troup house are in the vicinity of Ga 251 and 195.
(Echoes Jan 2005)
The land that is now the state of Georgia was once one of the most
coveted territories in all of North America Throughout
the 1600s and early 1700s, years before General Oglethorpe settled
Savannah, three of the world’s mightiest powers, Great
Britain, France, and Spain, all vied for a claim to this area’s
rich resources of timber, wildlife, animal firs, and
bountiful river systems
The British considered the territory to be a part of its southern most
colony in North America, South Carolina, established in 1670. The Spanish
regarded the settlement of South Carolina as an intrusion upon their
empire They had colonized St. Augustine,
1565 and went on to establish an extensive string of missions throughout
the Southeast in efforts to Christianize the Natives These missions
extended all the way from St. Augustine, westward around the
Apalachicola River region, and as far north as Paris
Island in South Carolina.. In addition to Christianity, the
Spanish missionaries sought to teach the Indians agricultural methods
that would produce surplus grains to furnish
the colonists and soldiers of St.
Augustine Many of these missions were maintained
throughout the 1600s until the
Spanish retreat from the area during the 1680s.
In 1698, the French settled Biloxi thus creating
the colony of Louisiana Soon they were anxiously
colonizing neighboring areas, Mobile in 1702 and New Orleans in 1718. In
1717 they built Fort Toulouse in northern Alabama in an
attempt to expand their empire eastward, guard against British
encroachments, and establish diplomatic alliances with the
area’s Natives, especially the Creek Indians, Also, the French
coveted the Altamaha river with
waters that stretched for miles across the
southeast and emptied into the
Atlantic about one hundred miles north of Florida The French
valued it for its appeal as a conduit
of transportation to the
Atlantic. These developments helped launch the
French strategy of imperial encirclement, a plan to
contain British colonies along the eastern coast and
Forced to choose sides, the Southeastern Native
Americans were drawn into this international power
struggle The many tribes were
most familiar with the land and its rivers and, in
many instances, held the potential to tip the
balance of power into one nation’s favor
All too aware of this, the
Europeans were eager to establish loyalty from the Indians,
and they fought to extend their
influence and control over various Indian
tribes throughout the
With the threat of French
and Spanish imperialism, and the unpredictability of Indian
alliances and loyalty, the British grew anxious over
the security of their southern colonies By 1720
South Carolinian colonists and officials, fearing
enemy attacks, began clamoring for some sort of
protection along their southern borders.
The following year Fort King George was built
along the Altamaha River under the
direction and leadership of Colonel John "Tuscarora Jack" Barnwell.
Given that rivers were the only
source of transportation in this remote frontier he
chose the location in order to guard access to the river and
prevent any foreign intrusions into the area. The
fort consisted of a blockhouse, soldiers barracks,
officers’ quarters, and a guard house
which doubled as a hospital, all made from cypress timbers and
planks cut and processed by sawyers
Barnwell brought with him.
The garrison that manned the fort was known as
His Majesty’s Independent Company of Foot. Most of them
were mustered for service from England. Though Colonel Barnwell
and Governor Francis Nicholson of South Carolina had
requested ‘robust young soldiers to garrison Fort
King George, instead they were sent a company of "invalids"
from the Royal Hospital at Chelsea in England.
Invalids, as they were referred to then,
were products of a system in England
devoted toward the welfare of elderly,
—or maimed soldiers from the British Regular Army. This system dated
back to 1681 and provided government subsidized
hospital care and pensions for these seasoned veterans, In time, invalids
were divided into in-pensioners and out-pensioners
By the early seventeen hundreds, as domestic
and foreign conflicts once again
began to surface in England, the out-pensioner
invalids were put back in service. However,
these out-pensioner invalids were given lighter
duties such as guarding prisoners of war, attending
the sick, and securing small forts or towns.
As the British-American colonies expanded in the I 600s, conflicts with
neighboring powers and Natives began to increase and, consequently, the
need for military provisions and reinforcements were in demand. In 1719, a
Regiment of Invalids was created from among the out-pensioners in England
and was to be broken up into twenty-five Independent Companies Most of
these men were formed into the 41st Regiment of Foot and sent to
Portsmouth to serve under Colonel Edmund Fielding However, a small
fraction of them, arriving in May, 1721, were ordered sent to Port Royal,
South Carolina to render service unto that province. The company consisted
of 100 privates and several officers with Governor Nicholson serving as
Captain Later, in 1721, Colonel Barnwell was named commander-in-chief of
the garrison and Fort King George.
It was a tough ride over to the New World for these soldiers upon the
ships Mary and
Carolina. On their way about half of them contracted scurvy,
most likely as a result of their general debilitation combined with a poor
diet. Many of them were heavy drinkers as well. As a result of their
condition, the men had to spend a lengthy period recovering in a hospital
at Port Royal, South Carolina after their arrival there in Spring of 1721.
They did not make it down to Fort King George until nearly a year later in
Commerce in Darien and on the
Altamaha River in the early nineteenth-century included Flatboats, Poleboats,
Steamboat. Below are excerpts from Swamp Water and Wiregrass by George A.
Rogers and R. Frank Saunders, Jr.
From the very first English settlement, agriculture, cattle
raising, and lumbering were the main economic interests along the Georgia coast.
One of the earliest resources harvested was live oak timber. The USS
Constitution, famous as Old Ironsides, was built of oak grown on St. Simons.
Similarly, an unexpected windfall of funds from a cattle
roundup on St. Simons helped pay for the construction of Fort Barrington on the
Altamaha in 1760. In the early nineteenth century sea-island cotton was the
leading crop on the coastal islands. First grown by the Scots on St. Simons as
early as 1778, sea-island cotton quickly spread to other islands along the coast
and replaced indigo as the staple crop. --------
The limited zone marked buy the"ebb and flow" of the tides
was the preeminent domain of the great rice plantations ---- an extension of the
South Carolina rice plantations culture. Local planters developed an ingenious
and extensive hydraulic engineering system of dikes, canals, sluice gates, and
dams that controlled the flow of river water into the fields at high tide and
drained them at low tide. James Hamilton Couper’s plantation, Hopeton, was one
of the most productive in coastal Georgia. At Hopeton, located on the south side
of the Altamaha in Glynn County about five miles above Darien, Couper rotated
rice, sugar cane, and sea-island cotton on his swamp lands.
For most of the nineteenth century, the Altamaha River system
was the main artery of commerce between middle Georgia and the coast; Darien was
it seaport. Flatboats were largely used to float cotton down river to Darien.
Incapable of returning upstream , these boats would be dismantled and sold for
lumber. One of the earliest to drift a flatboat down the Oconee and Altamaha was
Freeman Lewis who brought down 5,000 bushels of corn in July 1806. Poleboats,
operated by thrusting long poles into the river bed, carried passengers and
freight in both directions. By 1806, A. Mills, a poleboat operator, reported
that he had made seven round-trips between Milledgeville and Darien. Traveling
upstream from Darien to the "Forks" by poleboat sometimes required 15 to 20
Darien prospered and, although its population was never very
large, it was designated the county seat of McIntosh County in 1818. That same
year its first newspaper was published and the Bank of Darien was chartered with
a capitalization of one million dollars. This bank, with branches in seven
Georgia cities, was the major financial institution in Georgia for several
decades. A new aspect of Darien’s port city function was ushered in when the
first steamboat to travel the Altamaha left Darien late in 1818 and arrived in
Milledgeville early in 1819. Actually steamboats never completely replaced
poleboats because the latter could navigate at low water. The Macon-Atlantic
Navigation Company, the last line to operate on the river, continued until the
1930s. On a typical haul, cargo included groceries, hardware, sugar, and
fertilizer that was put off at Doctortown and other landings on the Altamaha —
at Lumber City, Jacksonville, Hawkinsville, and Macon on the Ocmulgee, and Mount
Vernon and Dublin on the Oconee. Cargo downstream was cotton, naval stores, and
lumber. During the prohibition era, numerous whiskey stills along the river
supported a lively sugar traffic. When the Central of Georgia Railroad reached
Macon in 1843, steamboat lines were forced to reduce freight rates to meet this
competition. Other rail lines and a network of highways, completed in the early
twentieth century, doomed the surviving steamboats. Today the river is used
largely by pleasure
William G. Haynes, Jr. (1908-2001) of Ashantilly was a guiding force and inspiration to Darien and McIntosh
County for more than eighty years. Ashantilly ( THE OLD TABBY) and The
Altamaha River have been the driving forces of this man. Below is a sketch of
Bill Haynes living, working and contributing on the Georgia Tidewater
Ashantilly was built by Thomas Spalding on the Georgia mainland no later than
1820. Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island needed Ashantilly as a convenience to his
business holdings in Darien and throughout Georgia. Spalding was born in the
town of Frederica, on St. Simons Island. He inherited property from his mother,
Margery McIntosh, granddaughter of John McIntosh Mohr. Spalding named Ashantilly
after an ancestral home in County Perth, Scotland. The house was constructed of
tabby, a mixture of lime, sand, shell and water. After Spalding’s death in 1851,
his son Charles abandoned Ashantilly because of the expense of repairs and
maintenance. It was after the War Between the States when Charles sold some of
the property for new home construction. Charles built himself a home just across
the road from THE OLD TABBY (This was the name the locals used.
Ashantilly referred to the subdivision of homes as it does today. ) The
Wilcox family purchased The Old Tabby in 1870. They rebuilt the house and
made several changes. A hip roof with wood shingles was added, while the
classical columns and marble flagging were removed.
The Haynes family moved to Ashantilly in 1918. The Haynes
family, William, Sr. and wife (nee Laura Grant from Atlanta), Frances, Ann Lee
and Bill, Jr. were moving from Columbia, S. C. to Darien. The two older girls
had attended South Carolina Women’s College in Columbia. Bill was 10 years old.
Frances the older sister taught school at Atlanta Girls High , then went on to
Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee, where she became a research
librarian. Ann Lee taught school in Savannah for several years before going to
New York City to pursue a career in Commercial Art. Bill attended school
in Darien. After being graduated from Darien High School in 1927 he went to New
York City to study Art. He worked at the New York City Public Library, attended
Art School and lived with Ann Lee in her apartment. The conservative
transportation between Darien and New York in 1927 was by Steamer Ship from
Savannah. Bill remembers that first trip to the City. Ann Lee met him at the
dock and he was truly "a country boy come to town", Savannah didn’t have this
many big, tall buildings.
In 1936, Bill returned to Darien and Ashantilly to
contemplate which career in art he could follow that would bring him back to the
Georgia Tidewater which he loved so much. That year he designed and painted, in
tempura, four panels for back drop in the Darien Chamber of Commerce Exhibit at
the Savannah State Fair of 1937. The Chamber of Commerce was awarded a twenty
five dollar prize for this Exhibit. One of these panels hangs, today in the
Haynes Auditorium of the Ida Hilton Public Library.
A fire gutted the interior of Ashantilly in 1937. The family
moved to temporary housing. It was 1939 before restoration began. Bill Haynes
located and purchased doors, mantels, and other period pieces in salvage yards
and from Antique dealers in Savannah and Charleston. Using a local carpenter
,Bill was able to dry in the house in order for the displaced family to move
back in. The Crown molding in the living room was accomplished by Bill Haynes,
by pulling a profile stencil over wet plaster. This technique was done at
ceiling height. The formal garden to the north of the house was designed and
planted by Bill Haynes during this same period. Restoration efforts on
Ashantilly were interrupted when Bill Haynes was drafted into the Army in
1941. He served at Fort Stewart, Georgia and in New Guinea. The people and the
landscape of New Guinea were recorded by Haynes in many small watercolor
In 1945, after World War II, Bill returned to New
York. He entered Cooper Union Art School. It was here at Cooper Union that he
was introduced to the art of typography and the printing press. The art of the
printed page with the selection of type, arrangement, color and illustrated with
his own wood cuts became the dream of Ashantilly Press in Darien, Georgia. The
summer months were free from school and Bill returned home to continue work on
Ashantilly. In the summer of 1946, Bill found the little Hand Press in Riceboro
on which he would later print his first book, Anchored Yesterdays. He
also purchased his first types. When he returned to New York, he acquired more
types, new, and second hand in very good condition, hardly used at all.
They were sent home for future printing. The Cooper Union course ended in 1948.
He met Natalie Erdman. He worked at a small advertising agency in an on
the job training experience. He resumed his job at the New York Public
Library. In 1951, Bill went to work with the designers and typographers that
were publishing the "Frick Catalogue". He was chosen as an inexperience artist
who they could train to do this perfection work. The knowledge and techniques
learned here for the next three years would only add to the art and perfection
of the books and ephermia of Ashantilly Press over the next four decades.
Bill and Natalie married in 1952. In 1955, they moved to
Ashantilly and created Ashantilly Press. A Fort King George Map was drawn by
Haynes at the request of Miss Bessie Lewis. Bill and Natalie printed the map by
silk screen in four colors. This was printed in the south room of Ashantilly.
The first book, Anchored Yesterdays was printed on the little hand
press , also in the south room in 1956, The large letter press was purchased in
1958 and operated in the south room until the print shop was built.. The weekly
Worship Service Program for the First Presbyterian Church was printed on
Ashantilly Press for thirty years. Haynes was a successful business man in
McIntosh, His contributions to the community are untold. In 1979 he was the
primary force in establishing the Lower Altamaha Historical Society.
(Echoes October 2006)
from Seas of Gold, Seas of Cotton
by Martha L. Keber describes Christophe Poulain DuBignon and his family , living in
the Horton House on Jekyll Island in the eighteenth century.
Having indulged his taste for port
at the home of Scotsman John Couper on St. Simons, John McQueen found himself
the unexpected guest of DuBignon on Jekyll Island. He put in at DuBignon’ s
wharf when gout seized him with spasms of great pain. Years before, McQueen’s
debts had clouded Dumoussay’s title to Sapelo and the legal sparring that
followed was one of the distractions that plagued the Sapelo Company, but the
DuBignons did not hesitate to welcome McQueen. Madame DuBignon nursed him for
four days and the bed rest, combined with the “exceedingly attentive” care,
enabled McQueen to continue his journey.
McQueen’s convalescence at the Horton House
occurred during the most prosperous period of the DuBignon. plantation. That
prosperity may not have been obvious from McQueen’s bed, as the DuBignons still
lived in the modest tabby house built fifty years earlier. If the residence was
considered a “handsome dwelling” in Oglethorpe’s day, the two-story house, with
a red-hipped roof and a back verandah that opened out from both floors, offered
cramped accommodations for the family. The almost fifteen hundred square feet of
living space was divided into two rooms downstairs and sleeping accommodations
on the second floor. Dominating the kitchen on the ground floor was a large
cooking hearth, where family and servants naturally gathered. The kitchen
enjoyed the most activity in the house, but the parlor across the hail had more
formality. As in the kitchen, a fireplace was the focal point of the room. A
wooden wainscot, however, lent to the room a touch of refinement missing from
the plain plastered walls of the kitchen. In deference to Jekyll’s warm climate,
the British builders of the Horton House constructed a two-story verandah that
caught the spring and summer breezes and opened up onto the rear garden. The
house gave the DuBignon family shelter, some comfort, a rustic setting in the
shadow of the maritime forest, but little else.
DuBignon sacrificed the amenities of gracious
living to the needs of the plantation. He invested instead in slaves. With the
labor of slaves he could make the sandy soil yield the long, silky fiber of sea
island cotton, and the expansion of his workforce was his first priority. When
McQueen took his leave, the neatly hoed fields were promising with spring
growth. He did not fail to appreciate the potential wealth represented by the
green fields and the black hands that workedthem.
From 1795 until 1799, DuBignon purchased
forty-one slaves, representing an investment of well over $8000. Thirty were
adults, nearly equally divided between men and women, for which he paid an
average of $250. His largest acquisition occurred only three months after
McQueen’s unexpected visit, when DuBignon bought thirteen adults and five
children for $3200. Many of his slaves were probably French speaking, as
DuBignon preferred to do business with his fellow emigres, such as Savannah
merchants Thomas Dechenáux, Jean- Baptiste Goupy, and Peter Reigne. When the new
arrivals were added to the slaves he already owned, DuBignon had a labor force
in excess of sixty slaves.
With a slave population of that size, DuBignon
would not be ranked among the elite of the planter aristocracy. For example,
John Couper, a Scottish immigrant who settled on his St. Simons plantation about
the same time Dubignon came to Jekyll, owned more than one hundred slaves. As a
planter of the middle echelon, however, DuBignon participated actively in the
management of his plantation. While his overseer assigned work to the slaves on
a day-to-day basis and his black driver set the pace in the fields; DuBignon
regularly monitored the progress of the crop and was in frequent enough contact
with his laborers to know John Louis and Mitchell and Caro and all the others by
name and by their capabilities. DuBignon chose not to be an absentee owner.
Unlike some planters who retreated to the more social life of Savannah, DuBignon
during these early years was as rooted into the sandy loam of Jekyll as were the
palmettos and live oaks. He shrugged off shrill warnings of those who believed
that the miasma, noxious vapors said to arise from the swamps on stifling summer
nights, would poison his family with malaria. DuBignon preferred to remain on
Jekyll attending to business than to daily in Savannah.