In His Own Words | George Oglethorpe’s Georgia

Welcome to the newest addition to our website, the FEATURE page! Along with highlighting one of our titles, we will talk about its contribution as well as some goings on in Savannah. ENJOY! 

General Oglethorpe’s Georgia is a personal history of the first decade of Georgia between 1733, when James Oglethorpe came to America to establish the new colony of Georgia, and 1743 when he returned to England. The letters, more than two hundred, written by Oglethorpe himself as well as by nearly anonymous colonists, discuss grand strategies, public controversies and the problems of daily living. It is an exciting story, told in the first person on the spot in the midst of action.

To learn more about General Oglethorpe, visit this link from for a deep dive into his life and the founding of Georgia, and more specifically, Savannah.

Some excerpts here:
“As (a) visionary, social reformer, and military leader, James Oglethorpe conceived of and implemented his plan to establish the colony of Georgia. It was through his initiatives in England in 1732 that the British government authorized the establishment of its first new colony in North America in more than five decades. Later that year he led the expedition of colonists that landed in Savannah early in 1733. Oglethorpe spent most of the next decade in Georgia, where he directed the economic and political development of the new colony, defended it militarily, and continued to generate support and recruit settlers in England and other parts of Europe.”

“Oglethorpe worked tirelessly on behalf of the colony during the initial months. Sometimes violating Trustee policy, Oglethorpe permitted Jews, Lutheran Salzburgers, and other persecuted religious minorities to settle in Georgia. On the matter of importing enslaved Africans from any source, Oglethorpe never wavered in wholly opposing slavery in Georgia. With respect to Georgia’s Indians, he had an enlightened policy, always respecting their customs, language, and needs. Land cessions were always agreed to by treaty according to proper Indian custom. Also, Oglethorpe actively sought to protect the Indians from unscrupulous white traders.”

And here is a summary of the end of James Oglethorpe’s grand plan (from
“Here, the settlers would have to conform to Oglethorpe’s plan, in which there was no elected assembly. Three major laws governed the colony. The first dealt with the distribution of land. The second and third reflected Enlightened (sic) ideals. No slavery was permitted in Georgia, and the possession of alcohol was prohibited. Each debtor was to receive 50 acres of land to farm. This land could not be sold. Silkworms were transported from Europe with the hope of developing a silk industry in Georgia’s mulberry trees.”

“Unfortunately, the plan itself was a miserable failure. Georgia residents complained that some citizens received fertile land while others were forced to work uncooperative soil. Since they could not buy or sell their land, they felt trapped. The mulberry tree plan failed, because the trees in Georgia were the wrong type for cultivating silk. The alcohol ban was openly flouted. Cries to permit slavery followed as the Georgians envied the success of their neighbors. Eventually many simply fled the colony for the Carolinas. King George revoked the charter in 1752 and Georgia became a royal colony. One of the world’s best organized utopian experiments came to an abrupt end.”

And that was that.



Preserving the Past, Planning the Future

One giant thing that is happening for our beloved Forsyth Park in downtown Savannah is the creation of a Master Plan, initiated by the Trustees Garden Club. Creating a Master Plan to act as a guideline for the park’s use and development is the best way to protect this precious asset while also allowing it to evolve to meet the demands of modern life.

“This has been a wonderfully inclusive process which has included robust community engagement facilitated by Friends of Forsyth during each phase of the project. Every community member has the opportunity to play a valuable role in envisioning the future of the park. The goal of the process is a Master Plan that is reflective of the collective vision of the community as well as initiating the nomination of the park as a National Historic Landmark.”

Jump in and see what’s been going on and if you live in Savannah, get involved!  Click here to view the proposed design options and complete a survey. Deadline for submissions is April 30.

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