Archive for the SavannahGA Category

Fort Frederica, Savannah GA

Posted in History, SavannahGA on May 8, 2023 by tommcge

 Fort Frederica, the first fort 

Established in 1736, Fort Frederica is built. Its construction had been created as a defense against Spanish encroachment. At the time of Georgia’s founding, the colony would eventually become a barrier between English and Spanish territories . When James Oglethorpe arrived in 1733, the colony lay on land under Spanish control with “a number of missionaries along the Georgia coast.” When these were abandoned, the English moved in for their defense and the construction of the fort began 

Challenges soon arose and ushered in a period of tension. Fort Frederica stands as a symbol of British power and a barrier against Spanish invasion. A year later the two nations were at war. King George’s war began when Oglethorpe made a move on Spanish St. Augustine. This military scheme failed however and Oglethorpe’s men returned northward. “The Spanish response came two years later.”Thirty-six ships with 2,000 men sailed to St. Simons Island and eventually captured the fort there. Once seized, the British evacuated and returned again to Fort Frederica. 

Spanish troops, commanded by Manuel deMontiano went after them.. General Oglethorpe however was prepared and the the latter had to scramble back to Fort St. Simons. Thus ending the War of the Austrian Succession. Never again would the Spanish try to get a foothold in the colony of Georgia.

When Oglethorpe first stepped onto the new world however, his vision had been one of a social experience. He and the trustees of the colony dreamed of transporting debtor from Great Britain to work in cooperation with each other. But, soon they realized the colony would need a population consisting of skilled craftsmen to thrive. By 1743 there were fewer than 1,000 people left and the peace treaty of 1748 left Fort Frederica in ruins when the last British troops were withdrawn.

The Yellow Fever Epidemics of 1820, 1854 &1876

Posted in History, SavannahGA, Yellow Fever on May 6, 2023 by tommcge

The symptoms, the burials the mass graves; being buried alive!

Why is Savannah so haunted?

The city of Savannah has had its share of disasters, disease deaths, etc. It is considered to be the most haunted (depending on what region of the country you’re in, but certainly is in contention.) There were three major Yellow Fever outbreaks during the history of Savannah: 1820, 1854 and 1876; with the1876 virus considered the worst. A plaque, in regards of the 1820 epidemic located in Colonial Park Cemetery reads, “almost 700 people buried here.” Note, the actual number of dead is 666. 

When you contacted Yellow Fever you initially exhibit muscle aches, vomiting and perhaps bleeding. This, followed by delirium and then the victim would fall into a coma. After death came, the body would be thrown into a mass grave.  For the lucky who got placed into a coffin, the chance of being buried alive became all to real.

This is evident by by the scratches from inside some of the coffins uncovered at the city’s cemeteries. The cause for this is simple, the victim’s would become comatose, their heartbeat would slow with their breathing non-detectable. Thus, the trauma of being buried alive is born. The solution: to tie a piece of string extending from the corpse’s finger to a bell near their headstone.

Yellow Fever has left its mark on Savannah and for the spirits of its citizens it has reached into the heart of history.

The Pirate House Restaurant, Savannah GA

Posted in History, Pirates, Restaurants, SavannahGA, travel on May 2, 2023 by tommcge

Eat where pirates used to dine? Or, did they…

When you stop in to The Pirate House Restaurant, you will step back in time to Savannah’s golden age of piracy. Eat where famed swashbucklers used to dine.  Hear tales of their and the victims they Shanghaied. 

Imagine eating in a place where visitors used to be kidnapped and forced to work as pirates. Where these rogues would conspire to get young men intoxicated then used the tunnels beneath the city to get them aboard ships, usually destined for the Orient. These men were abducted and usually transformed into pirates themselves. But, how factually accurate is this?

The Pirates House, constructed in 1794 in the poor Irish section of town . It sits on land once established for a Botanical Garden, which ultimately failed  The restaurant is opened in 1953 by Jim Casey, a visionary and historian. Casey immediately capitalized on the myths of the golden years of piracy. The house began telling tales of shanghaied sailors, ghosts of pirates and  underground tunnels leading to the Savannah River. 

Ultimately, the truth will prevail however. Pirates probably did not frequent the famed pirate house; but privateers most likely did. Privateers were legalized pirates. In other words, the former were hired by a government while pirates were outlaws. Many of these swashbucklers became fierce sea dogs after 1714, the end of Queen Ann’s War (War of Spanish Succession). Many sailors, who had been in the employ of England entered the world of piracy. Men, suddenly unemployed and wanting revenge against the nation they once worked began the illegal seizure of British assets. On a downward swing by the time of The Pirate House construction, it is unlikely famous pirates walked its floors. And…

Concerning those underground tunnels, they were most likely used as a storage space for nearby Fort Wayne. Sailors probably were Shanghaied but by privateers, not pirates. The latter would have no need to kidnap young men because those in the piracy realm were treated much better (given an equal share of the treasure, had a vote in the days activities , etc.) than privateers. In fact, some claim privateers were the real pirates.

Nevertheless, The Pirate House Restaurant is a great place to dine. There are guided tour but, please remember fiction is always stranger (and stronger) than the truth. The truth is not important, it’s how the story is told.