Site of Oglethorpe's First Camp - Savannah, GA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member onfire4jesus
N 32° 04.870 W 081° 05.486
17S E 491371 N 3549436
Quick Description: Yamacraw Bluff is the site of General Oglethorpe's first camp after landing at what would later become the City of Savannah. It is now a park located just west of City Hall.
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 6/10/2008 9:28:14 AM
Waymark Code: WM3ZA2
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Rayman
Views: 83

Long Description:

39. SITE OF OGLETHORPE'S FIRST CAMP, on Yamacraw Bluff, in the small park on the north side of W. Bay St., is marked by a marble bench placed by the Colonial Dames. The spot has been designated by the D. A. R. as the most outstanding historic site in Georgia.
--- Georgia: A Guide to Its Towns and Countryside, 1940

From the Our Georgia History web site:

Selected by Oglethorpe, Colonel William Bull and Peter Gordon, leader of the Tythings, a small band of militia, the site was cleared for the settlers as Oglethorpe and Bull returned to Port Royal. Governor Johnson had recommended a site further south, along the Altamaha, but that was too close to the Spanish for the fledgling colony. The Tythings also constructed a set of stairs running up Yamacraw Bluff.

On February 1, 1733, (February 12, 1733, New Style) during the mid-afternoon 116 men, women and children made their way up the flight of steps and into a partially cleared and fortified compound. The rise afforded an excellent view of the surrounding area including the Yamacraw (Creek) village a short distance away. Initially, the settlers set up five tents for protection from the mid-winter weather (Oglethorpe had his own, smaller tent).

John Musgrove and his Creek wife Mary owned a trading post (est. 173?) near a settlement of Yamacraws and lived on Yamacraw Bluff. It was John, son of a governor of the Carolinas, who helped Oglethorpe negotiate the first treaty with the local chief, Tomochichi. The Creek chief had been forthright with Oglethorpe, telling him that he did not have the power to make the treaty the Englishman wanted.

Work began on a stockade for protection almost immediately. Once work was completed on this "palisade," a crane was built at the top of the bluff near Oglethorpe's tent. The crane would be used to hoist incoming freight to the fledgling colony. Members of the colony were concerned about the occasional alligators that would pass through the streets of the new city.

From the City of Savannah web site about the bench:

The bench was erected in 1906 by the Georgia Society of Colonial Dames of America, and is sited 75 feet east of Whitaker Street and 23 feet north of the north curbline of Bay Street in the spot where British General James Edward Oglethorpe pitched his tent and rested on the first night he spent in Georgia. It is a curved granite bench with scrolled ends. Two semi-circular steps lead up to the bench. The top step is decorated with a stone tile mosaic, oval-shaped, with a scroll motiff around the perimeter, in a Mediterranean style.

The desire to erect a monument to General Oglethorpe had been gathering momentum for many years. The 1890's saw the formation of many patriotic societies such as the Sons of the Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution, The Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the Confederacy, etc. In 1901, the ad hoc Oglethorpe Monument Association was incorporated with representatives from these patriotic societies. However, by 1905, they had still not been successful in getting an appropriation from the state for a statue. It seems probable that the Colonial Dames decided to go ahead with this memorial, rather than wait any longer.

The historical marker reads:

James Edward Oglethorpe, the founder of Georgia, landed with the original colonists, about 114 in number, at the foot of this bluff on February 1 (February 12, new style), 1733. The site where he pitched his tent is marked by the stone bench located about 100 feet west of this marker.

Savannah was for more than 100 years built according to Oglethorpe's unique city plan. Bull Street, the principle street of the city, is named in honor of Colonel William Bull of Charleston, S.C., who assisted Oglethorpe in laying out the city.

The colonists sailed in the ship Anne from Gravesend, England, November 17, 1732; landed at Charles Town, S.C., January 13, 1733; proceeded later to Beaufort, S.C., and thence, in small boats, through the inland waterway to Yamacraw Bluff. The town site had already been selected by Oglethorpe in friendly negotiation with Tomo-chi-chi, Mico of the Yamacraws, and with Mary Musgrove, the English speaking, half-breed Indian Princess who later, as niece of Emperor Brim of the Creek Nation, claimed sovereignty of southeastern Georgia.

The bronze marker on the monument reads:

"This is Yamacraw Bluff where the Colony of Georgia was founded, February 12, 1733, by General James Edward Oglethorpe. Voted by the Georgia Daughters of the American Revolution - the Most Historic Spot in Georgia."

Book: Georgia

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 257

Year Originally Published: 1940

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