Outlined below is a brief history on the foundations of Georgia as a state.
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The foundations of Georgia
The History of Glynn County
Glynn County is situated in the state of Georgia, the 24th largest state in the USA, it is one of the original 8 Counties of Georgia. Glynn County was built in the early 1770’s and finally established in 1777.
The visionary and founding father of Glynn County was a man called James Edward Oglethorpe, an English man born in London in 1696. He came from a well-off family and was subsequently raised in wealth, gained by his father’s family business. He attended Oxford University and later went on to hold a seat in Parliament when he was elected in 1722.
During his time in this role James was responsible for the London prison reform. In 1729 after witnessing a friend die whilst incarcerated for debt, he decided to lead an investigation that exposed the dire conditions that led to his friends death, he discovered many prisoners faced the same conditions and treatment. Realising this was not an isolated case James pushed for reform and change. After this James had become a well-known and well-respected humanitarian.
With the goal to develop a new colony in North America, Oglethorpe convinced King George II to allow him and a group of skilled men to head to America and establish a new colony there. A charter was drawn up outlining the plans and execution for this.
The idea was to take advantage of the rich amount of resources the land had to offer in the local area for trade such as silk for example, they would be able to then live off the land comfortably as a community without the economic pressures they faced previously in London. In total 114 men, women and children were selected to be the ones to settle the colony.
Oglethorpe and the other colonists arrived on American soil in 1733 first arriving in Charleston, then making their way to Port Royal in South Carolina. It was in Carolina; Oglethorpe recruited a group of rangers who knew the local area and they went to look for a place to settle.
Eventually they arrived in a place on the coast of Georgia now known as Savannah, approaching an area called Yamacraw Bluff. This area was inhabited by an American native tribe the Yamacraw Indians.
The Yamacraw tribe was roughly established in 1728 by an American native Tomochichi originally from the Creek tribe. The Yamacraw tribe was comprised of two tribes of Native Indians, the Creek tribe and the Yamasee tribe. Their Chief Tomochichi, decided to leave his tribe after disputes about allowing the English and Spanish to colonise the tribes local land. The other two tribes overall wanted no part in allowing this to happen where as Tomochichi wanted to encourage the new visitors to settle.
So Tomochichi gathered those from the two tribes that wanted to trade and have a relationship with the foreign settlers and asked them to establish a new tribe with him. A tribe that could take advantage of the links to trade with the English and help them to build a solid diplomatic relationship with their new English inhabitants. Tomochichi headed to Yamacraw Bluff with his newly formed tribe and made it their home. The tribe’s location was in close proximity to what later would be a hub for English traders and settlers.
Knowing they needed to have a good relationship with the local natives Oglethorpe approached their Chief Tomochichi and struck up a deal that would allow them to settle peacefully, while also having the support of natives. After some negotiation Tomochichi agreed that they could establish Savannah and that it could be used as a place to settle and create strong trade routes and relationships between the natives and the English. Over the years Tomochichi had a vital role in the communications and agreements between Oglethorpe, the English and the Native Americans, even travelling to England at one point to represent the natives of Georgia.
Over the next decade he would spend his time developing and building the colony he had envisioned in Savannah, however this was done using enslaved African Americans he had got from South Carolina, which went against the eventual plans he had for racial integration. His ideal was to create a society where everyone is equal and given the same opportunity no matter their background or ethnicity. He didn’t want it to be structured like England was, where a large amount of the countries money came from only a few elite families leaving the majority population in poverty.
His aim was to avoid this by placing restrictions on land ownership and by prohibiting slavery, Oglethorpe felt that having a diverse free community for people to flourish in would create a more equal and fair society. He wanted a community where people were free to live without persecution and where people could buy their own land to be able to work and trade independently. He also spent much of his time encouraging those from England and parts of Europe to travel and settle there too and take advantage of the opportunities he was offering.
That said these ideals were not agreed upon and went against the original charter created and agreed to back in England, however this didn’t deter him from his goal. Over time he allowed more minorities to move and live in Savannah so they could avoid the persecution they were under in other places and they were able to invest in their own land.
This bliss was short lived, as the tensions between the English and Spanish became more and more evident it wasn’t long before the English settlers had to form a military based defence to protect their settlement and the other neighbouring colonies, this was something outlined in the original charter, but up until the Oglethorpe had mostly avoided it being heavily influenced by the military.
Oglethorpe travelled back to England in 1737 to try and get King George II to allow him to return to Georgia with a regiment of soldiers that he would direct as coronel. Meaning he was able to defend their colonies if the Spanish invaded as tensions were mounting.
In 1742 the Spanish did invade arriving in ships on the coast of St Simons in large numbers. Oglethorpe and his regiment along with others from the local community forced the Spanish to retreat after a stand-off and a brief but very violent battle occurred at a marsh. This event was later termed as the battle of bloody marsh, and its impact was so great on the Spanish that they never attempted to invade the East coastline again. King George II got word of this success and appointed Oglethorpe as the brigadier general in her majesty’s army.
Over the years Oglethorpe married and returned to England periodically, but his plans for Georgias growth and establishment continued to expand, construction began in the early 1770’s on what is now known as Glynn County. Again this was built to mimic the ideologies of Savannah and recreate the community he had begun there.
The county is named after a member of English parliament, John Glynn.
John Glynn was an English man, he took up the position of Serjeant-at-law in January 1763 a very prominent position to have. He was known for his practice of law throughout England and represented for some very high profile cases of that time, relating to journalist John Wilkes. For 11 years John was also a member of Parliament a representative for Middlesex he was elected in 1768 and held the position until his death in 1779.
Courtney, W. Glynn, John (1722–1779). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 13 Oct. 2020, from https://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/odnb/9780192683120.001.0001/odnb-9780192683120-e-10841.
Jackson, E. Oglethorpe, James (1696-1785). New Georgia Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 10 Oct. 2020, from https://m.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/government-politics/james-oglethorpe-1696-1785
Sweet, J. Tomochichi (ca. 1644-1739). New Georgia Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 10 Oct. 2020, from https://m.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/history-archaeology/tomochichi-ca-1644-1739
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