Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is it True that Georgia was Settled by Convicts?

Is it true that convicts settled Georgia? Not in the way that you were taught.  The loose reference is that General James Oglethorpe brought prisoners from Highgate and Fleet Prisons in London to Georgia.  As the colonial records, document and official correspondence of the trustees bears out, deliberate and calculated selections were made from artisans and industrious persons who would help the colony succeed, especially the trustees' own silk business.  They interviewed many prospects, making the best choices from those who could afford to pay their own passage and those who would be transported on the charity of the trustees. But something unexpected occurred. On January 10, 1734, a sloop was ship-wrecked during a storm upon the rocks of Yamacraw Bluff, the steep hill overlooking the sea from Bull Street. Onboard were six women and thirty-four men. Also onboard were a number of corpses, including the captain. Oglethorped questioned the survivors who were wont to provide a true story of what happened. The conclusion was drawn that they were irish prisoners being transported to Barbadoes. He sent of them into the service of the Germans at Ebenezee.  Noble Jones of Mulberry Grove plantation to one into service, later charged with thieving.  Oglethorpe's guess proved correct, because they were mostly thieves, and two of them (one a woman) committed the first murders in the colony. Source:Colonial Georgians by Jeannette Holland Austin (available to members) on www.georgiapioneers.com;List of Early Settlers to Georgia by Coulter; Egmont Papers, Phillips Collection, Hargrett Rare Books and Mss., University of Georgia.

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