Page images
PDF
EPUB

* When we came near the mouths of the Alatamaha, we met a boat with Mr. Mackay and Mr. Cuthbert (who is lieutenant of the Darien) coming from the Darien to Savannah. They were very agreeably surprised to find Mr. Oglethorpe on board us. They returned to Darien taking Captain Dunbar with them, whilst we stood the shortest way to St. Simons. Mr. Cuthbert told us, that one of the Highlanders met with an orange tree full of fruit on Duboy's island; he was charmed with the color, but could not get them by reason of the height of the tree, which was so full of thorns, that there was no climbing it, so he cut it down and gathered some dozens.

“On the 18th in the morning we arrived at the island of St. Simons. We were ordered to look to our arms, new prime our swivel-guns, and make every thing ready for fear of accidents: we also landed the Indians, who soon met a party of their friends, who informed them a ship was come into St. Simons, but that they did not know what she was, nor would not speak to the people, having been ordered by their chief war captain, in case they saw any ship come in, not to shew themselves to them, but to watch the men if they landed, and not to hurt them, but to send him notice. That they had sent to him, 'he being upon Sapola island. We stood down one of the branches of the Alatamaha, close under the reeds, so as not to be seen till we fully discovered what they called a ship to be the Midnight sloop. They were very joyful at our arrival, and we also not a little pleased to hear that the captains of our ships said that they had found water enough to bring in their ships, excepting one place. That there was sixteen or seventeen fathom within the harbor; that the entrance was very easy, except one place on the bar, where they had found it shoaly by reason of a spit of sand, which they had not opportunity in coming in to try round, but would go down in the sloop, and the first calm dáy did not doubt finding a good channel round the spit. Mr. Horton, Mr. Tanner, and the men were all brisk, and in good health. Mr. Oglethorpe immediately set all hands to work, marked out a booth to hold the stores, digging the ground three foot deep, and throwing up the earth on each side by way of bank, raised a roof upon crutches with ridge-pole and rafters, nailing small poles across, and thatching the whole with palmetto leaves. When

upon Sapola

under the reeds one of the branched

the sloop came first up, the ground was covered with long grass. Mr. Tanner fired it, and it destroyed all vermin, and made the country round clear, so as not to be only pleasant to the eye, but convenient for walking.

“Mr. Oglethorpe afterwards laid out several booths without digging under ground, which were also covered with palmetto leaves, to lodge the families of the colony in when they should come up; each of these booths were between thirty and forty foot long, and upwards of twenty foot wide. Mr. Oglethorpe made a present to Capt. Barnes for having come in the first to this port; and Captains Thomas and Cornish both said, they did not doubt but we should bring in their ships.

“We all made merry that evening, having a plentiful meal of game brought in by the Indians.

“On the 19th, in the morning, Mr. Oglethorpe began to mark out a fort with four bastions, and taught the men how to dig the ditch, and raise and turf the rampart. This day and the following day was spent in finishing the houses, and tracing out the fort. The men not being yet very handy at it, we also in this time unloaded the sloop, and then she went down to discover the channel.

“On the 22d a periagua from Savannah, arrived here with workmen, and some provisions and cannon. These were English, who rowing hard, had passed the boat with Germans, which did not come up whilst we were here.

66 We set out for Darien, ten miles from Frederica, up the northern branch of the Alatamaha, leaving Mr. Hermsdorf and the Indians here, and Mr. Horton's party, which was now augmented to fifty men. Mr. Tanner went along with us. We arrived there in about three hours. The Highlanders were all under arms on the sight of a boat, and made a very manly appearance with their plaids, broad swords, targets and fire arms. Capt. Hugh Mackay commands there. He has mounted a battery of four pieces of cannon, built a guard house, a store house, a place for divine service, and several huts for particular people. One of their men dying, the whole people joined and built a hut for the widow. The Highlanders were not a little rejoiced to hear that a town was going to be settled, and a ship come up so near them; and also, that they had a communication by land to Savannah, Capt. M'Pherson having been here with a party

of Rangers from thence. Capt. Mackay invited Mr. Oglethorpe to lie in his tent, where there was a bed and sheets (a rarity as yet in this part of the world.) He excused himself, choosing to lie at the guard fire, wrapped in his plaid, for he wore the Highland habit. Capt. Mackay and the other gentlemen did the same, though the night was very cold.

“The Scotch have met with a great deal of game in the woods, particularly wild turkeys, of which they have killed many. There was a party of Toma Chi Chi Indians there, who agreed mighty well with the Highlanders, and fetched them in venison. They have a minister, Mr. M'Leod, a very good man, who is very careful of instructing the people in religious matters, and will intermeddle with no other affairs.

“This town stands upon a hill on the northern branch of the river Alatamaha, on the main continent of America. The country behind it is high and healthy, and very fit for cattle, though not so good for corn. The land near the river is fruitful, and a river falls into the Alatamaha about half a mile above the town, on both sides of which is excellent good land. The timber upon the high land behind the town is some of the best in Georgia.

“We left Mr. Tanner there, and then set out for the ships, going down to Duboy's island, and from thence coming back the same way that we went. I take the whole distance by the channels, from Tybee to Frederica, to be about one hundred and thirty miles, though it is but sixty miles south upon the globe."

On the 25th Capt. Yokely in the James, who had not sailed all this while, seeing that Mr. Oglethorpe was come back, sailed in the night, without sending any word, or waiting for further orders; so that we knew nothing of it till we saw him the next morning, too far over the bar to send any message to him.

Col. Bull acquainted Mr. Oglethorpe, that pursuant to his desire from England, he had agreed for some hundreds of cattle to be delivered on the Savannah river for the Trustees; and that the price of cattle was much risen since. Indeed the prices of cattle and provisions rose every day after our arrival, insomuch that rice, which Mr. Oglethorpe had bought, when he came over with the first colony for thirtyfive shillings currency per hundred, was now sold for three

pounds currency in Carolina ; and a cow with its calf, which then would have been sold for ten pounds currency, fetched now from fifteen to twenty pounds. Col. Bull also acquainted him of his having bespoke boards, timbers, and boats, according to the orders of the Trustees; that part of them was ready, and the rest would soon be so. This timber was designed for building barracks, but for want of boats to bring it down, the year was far advanced before we could get it to Frederica.

On the 26th the captains Cornish and Thomas returned in their yawl. Before they came on board the ship, I saw disappointment in their countenances. They brought up a draught of the bar, and declared they had not time to discover it sufficiently to carry in their ships; but that they had found water enough for the James, and the Peter and James, to go in. They farther told us that there were great fires on the main over against Frederica, which were supposed to be made by the Spanish Indians; which was only a groundless apprehension, for these fires were made by the Creek English Indians.

Mr. Oglethorpe finding it impossible to prevail with the ships to go to Jekyl sound, called the freeholders together, acquainted them with the new difficulties of one hundred and thirty miles passage in open boats, which might take up fourteen days, and could not be performed in less than six; that they must lie the nights in woods, with no other shelter than what they could get up upon their arrival, and be exposed to the cold frosty nights, which were not then over, and perhaps hard rains, that there might go by sea on board the Peter and James, as many as that ship could contain; but that it would not hold near their number: that (considering the difficulties of the southern settlement, almost insuperable to women and children, of which they had great numbers) if they were desirous thereof, he would permit them to settle at Savannah, and the neighboring lands.

He gave them time to consult their wives and families, and appointed them to meet him again in two hours. When they returned they acquainted him, that as they came to make a town and live together, they had all been resolved before they came from England, and in their passage had confirmed their resolutions, and would not forsake one another; but desired leave to go all together, and settle the town of Frederica, as was first promised: that brothers, sons, and servants were gone before them, and it would look very base, and be very inconvenient to forsake them, or send for them back: that they all desired to go through the inland passage together, and were well contented to lie without cover not only for six days but for a much longer time, since it was no more than what they expected before they left England.

The Symond and London Merchant not proceeding to the southward, occasioned a new expense and trouble; for besides the demurrage during the delay, whilst the Captains gave hopes of going, these two large ships were now to be unloaded into the Peter and James, which could not carry above one hundred tons; therefore sloops and other vessels were to be freighted to carry the remainder to Savannah, the only place where there was house-room enough to keep the goods dry, until they could be sent to the southward, as occasion should serve.

We wanted a great many periaguas for to carry the families to the southward through the channel between the islands. They daily arrived, some from Savannah, some from Port Royal, and some which returned from having carried down the Highlanders to the Darien, and the workmen to the southward; so that we had soon enough, and by the Ist of March had put the remainder of the colony on board them.

These, periaguas are long flat-bottomed boats, carrying from twenty to thirty-five tons. They have a kind of a forecastle and a cabin ; but the rest open, and no deck. They have two masts which they can strike, and sails like schooners. They row generally with two oars only; but upon this occasion Mr. Oglethorpe ordered spare oars for each boat, by the addition of which, and the men of the colony rowing, they performed their voyage in five days, which a single periagua is often fourteen days in doing. Mr. Oglethorpe accompanying them with the scout boat, taking the hindermost in tow, and making them keep together; an expedient for which was the putting all the strong beer on board one boat, which made the rest labor to keep up with that; for if they were not at the rendezvous at night, they lost their beer.

On the 2d of March the periaguas and boats, making a little fleet, with the families on board, all sailed with the

« PreviousContinue »