Sunday, September 25, 2011

London Docks

When Oglethorpe and the Georgia settlers gathered on the London docks, they were both excited and a little afraid of the adventure ahead. Around 114 to 125 people left London on November 17, 1732, and their voyage to Georgia took eighty-eight days.

Life aboard ship

Besides its passengers and crew, the Ship Ann carried sheep, hogs, ducks, geese, and several dogs. The ship was probably crowded with all the people and their animals and belongings. The ship stopped in Madeira to take on five barrels of wine to go along with the ten barrels of Alderman Parson’s best beer already on board. The food was salted pork and peas or dried beef and sweet pudding. Bread and hard cider were served with meals. There were few fresh vegetables other than carrots and onions. Fish were caught and cooked whenever possible.

Only two deaths were reported among the colonists on the trip, both of them babies. The passengers spent their days playing games, talking together, and planning what they would do when the voyage was over. Finally, land was sighted, and the Ann docked at Charleston, South Carolina. The ship stayed in Charleston one day, then went to Port Royal (Beaufort), South Carolina, on January 14, 1733.

Finally! Landed in America

Before the Ann left Beaufort, Oglethorpe had to make friends with the Yamacraw Indians and their chief, Tomochichi. Oglethorpe went to the trading post in the Yamacraw village to find a translator. The trading post was operated by John Musgrove and his wife Mary, who was part Native American and part British. Oglethorpe offered John Musgrove about 100 British pounds a year to translate between the Yamacraw and settlers. John agreed to act as a translator, but Mary soon took over for him. With Mary’s help, Oglethorpe and Chief Tomochichi established a close friendship that lasted until the chief’s death in 1739. The South Carolina colonists, delighted to have new neighbors, loaded the ship with barrels of rice, a hundred cows, thirty hogs, sheep, and oxen and 2,000 British pounds. One South Carolinian, Mr. Hume, even sent along a silver baby spoon to honor the first child born in the new colony.

Why did Oglethorpe choose Yamacraw Bluff?

The passengers waited on board while Oglethorpe and his staff searched for a permanent settlement site. The place decided on was about eighteen miles from the mouth of the Savannah River. On February 12, 1733, Chief Tomochichi allowed the Ann’s passengers to land on sandy Yamacraw Bluff overlooking the Savannah River. According to the report sent to the trustees, Oglethorpe chose the spot on Yamacraw Bluff because, “ Fresh, Springs coming out from the Sides of the Hills. . . .I thought it healthy; For it is sheltered from the Western and southern Winds by vast Woods of Pine Tree.” T