Copyright, 1889



Our friends










    THE remark of Ruskin, that he could not visit America because "it possesses no historic ruins," has slowly been losing its power to wound our historic imagination. With our two centuries and a half of age we are fast recovering from the reproach of newness. With its lengthening years, American history has gained a perspective, --- its past far enough removed to be the subject of romance, its buildings and monuments far enough "in ruins and ivy-grown" to be the subject of patriotic interest. Certainly, to the American, while he will never see his country strewn with remains of temples and abbeys, nor giant obelisks pointing their geometric fingers heavenward (unless he borrows them), still there is an interest, deep and lasting, in the cities and battlefields, where the different stages of his country's growth have been evolved; in the buildings and monuments which have been associated with the great names of American history. And, after all, if true history be the record of the struggle of principles and the evolution of nobler ideas of justice, religion, and freedom, rather than the record of pagan splendor and feudal castles, we can say to Mr. Ruskin and other critics: "Come to America, and we will show you plenty of ruins: The ruin of the idea that men can be taxed without being represented; the ruin of the idea that religion can be forced upon the conscience of men by State enactment; the ruin of the idea that Privilege belongs to hereditary classes rather than to sterling worth." These are splendid ruins, and they and similar ones are scattered over the face of American history.

    It is gratifying to note the growing appreciation of the principles and ideas that constitute the true genius of our national life. Centennial celebrations all over the country have called the people's attention to them; glowing orations have pointed the moral, and patriotic odes have adorned the theme. Magazine articles have re-illuminated the past. In less fugitive, and in more permanent form, historic volumes have appeared, recalling and preserving the records of each separate locality. The Moses King Company, of Boston, has issued a score and over of these descriptive works. In this way the people's imagination has been appealed to, and the historic sense created.

    These remarks introduce us to the design of the present volume. It is intended to give such an outline of the history of Savannah, from its earliest to its latest period, as, without the necessity of consulting dusty records and ponderous tomes, will place each citizen in sympathy with the chief events of its history; and, concurrent with this purpose, to picture and preserve its historic buildings and monuments before they have yielded to the work of time, and gone the way of all --- brick and mortar! Hence the suitableness of its title, "Historic and Picturesque Savannah." The "Historic" portion of the narrative has been done by Miss Wilson; the "Picturesque" we owe to Miss Weymouth.

    The historical narrative deals with the facts of the city's foundation and development with great care and painstaking. While it is continuous from the settlement of Savannah by Oglethorpe, down to the period when, through the throes of the Civil War, the new Savannah arose, yet the greatest emphasis is laid, as is proper, upon the three important periods: the Settlement by Oglethorpe; the Revolutionary War; the Aspect of the city during the War between the States. This last period has been written by one thoroughly conversant with this theme. His facile pen has done as much to recall the glow of that now distant period as his famous utterance, "We are here to hold the fort, not to surrender it," did to shed lustre upon it. The other two marked epochs, the Settlement of the Colony and the War of Independence, together with the thread that binds all parts of the narrative together, have been the work of the careful and painstaking authoress. A hasty survey of these parts will reveal to the reader the original nature of much of the material facts now published for the first time; original autographs and letters of famous persons now first seeing the light of day; old newspaper accounts and city records resurrected from the dust of years. We are at a loss which most to admire, the patience and fidelity with which old facts have been gathered, or the freshness and naivete of the style with which they are made to move before our eyes. We frankly confess that we sat down before the volume as a learner, and have risen knowing more of our city's history than before, and have been charmed along the path, without the irksomeness of learning, by the simple, natural, and unconventional style of the narrative. We recall scarcely a single interest in the multiform life of the city which has not received its proper need of mention. The Churches, several of which have been associated with famous preachers of history; the Military Organizations, which have ever been the pride of the city; the Bar, which has carried in the past, as it carries to-day, some of the brightest names upon its roll; the Medical Profession, who, through plague and pestilence, have vindicated their title to the highest skill and the kindest humanity, --- have all their just share of honorable mention. The book is the outcome of loving interest in the history of the Forest City, and as such we bid it a right royal welcome into our homes.

    The "picturesque" part of the volume, the product largely of Miss Weymouth's graceful pencil, keeps faithful company with the descriptive narrative. Looking over the scores of illustrations --- some of which are from photographs and others sketches with pen and ink --- the reader will find that no object that possesses any claim to historic interest has been omitted. To many objects and buildings in the city his attention will be directed for the first time. Thus, connected with colonial times, are the pictures of Oglethorpe and Tomochi-chi; the collection of antiques in Solomon's Lodge, said to have been donated by General Oglethorpe; an autographic copy of Oglethorpe's will secured in London. He will, indeed, wonder why the old chimney of the house on State street appears, but his wonder will soon subside into reverence as he learns that it is a bit of brick and mortar from old Savannah, having been a part of the Old Barracks, where the Continental troops were surprised by the British. One of the best sketches is the gateway of the Old Cemetery, through a corner of which appears the site of Sir Patrick Houstoun's tomb, although that monument itself has been removed. Sketches connected with later times are the Commercial Way, soon to be destroyed; the Kent House, with bullet-hole still surviving the repairing zeal of carpenter and mason. Buildings of great antiquity and historic interest, that would have been lost to the historian, are the Washington House, once occupying the site of the new Odd Fellows' Hall; the Inn, Savannah's old-time hotel for man and beast, within whose shabby walls men as famous as Lafayette have supped; and next to it the first Masonic Hall, both of these time-honored and time-worn structures giving way to the rising walls of the new Bethesday Building; but all of them are preserved to us by the rescuing hand for the diligent artist. And so, all over the city, with historic research, with graceful touch, monuments and buildings; tombs of the dead and temples of the living; houses which received the city's honored guests, as Washington and Lafayette in early days, and Lee and Davis in later times, are thrown before us with their historic associations. If olden scenes can live again, and be clothed in something of their former truthfulness and beauty, then the combined skill of the pen and pencil of our authoress and artist have done this for the Forest City of the South. Thus united, "Historic and Picturesque Savannah" is a volume of which her citizens may feel justly proud, and into which they may delve with constant and increasing interest.

    In the preparation of such a volume "to whom shall acknowledgments be made?" is a question which can be better answered by the word "legion", than by a special list of friends and helpers. Nevertheless, some special mention must be made to Colonel Charles H. Olmstead, for his contribution of "Savannah in War Time," one of the most delightful portions of the volume, as well as for the material of the sketch of the First Volunteer Regiment of Georgia. For his artistic supervision of the art portion of the work, and of the plates as they came from the press, especial acknowledgment is made to Mr. Thomas E. Sweeney, artist, Boston, Massachusetts. The writers feel bound to acknowledge their indebtedness to Mr. William Harden, Librarian, for valuable assistance at the Library of the Historical Society, and to Mr. Frank E. Rebarer, Clerk of the City Council, for courteous access to the city records. The following histories and magazines have been freely consulted: Colonel C. C. Jones' and Right Reverend William Bacon Stevens' Histories of Georgia; White's Statistics; F. D. Lee and J. L. Agnews's Historical Record of Savannah; "Magazine of American History" ("Washington Number," February, 1888), Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, editor; and Colonel I. W. Avery's article upon the City of Savannah, Georgia, in Harper's "New Monthly Magazine" (January, 1888). Thanks are also tendered to the Boston Public Library and the Boston Athenseum, for favors received; also the Public Record Office, of London, England, for the fac-simile of Oglethorpe's will.

    To the many friends who have helped with counsel and aided them with valuable hints and suggestions, the writers feel it a pleasure to express their heartfelt gratitude.

C. H. S.


Chapter First.

The Aborigines of Georgia.
Chapter Second.

First Commercial House in Georgia established in 1744.
Chapter Third.

Accession of George III.
Chapter Fourth.

The British turn their Attention to Georgia.
Chapter Fifth.

The Formation of chatham Artillery, the Oldest Military Organization in the State.
Chapter Sixth.

Three New Sects in Savannah: Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholics.
Chapter Seventh.

Shock of Earthquake in Savannah in 1811.
Chapter Eighth.

The Great Fire of 1820.
Chapter Ninth.

Savannah's Population in 1838.
Chapter Tenth.

Chapter Eleventh.

Col. Charles H. Olmstead's Sketch of Savannah in War Time.
Chapter Twelfth.

Modern Savannah.
Chapter Thirteenth.

A Brief Glance at the Past History of the Savannah Bar.
Chapter Fourteenth.

A Brief Glance at the Medical Profession of Savannah.


The Will of James OglethorpeFrontispiece
CoinsOpposite Chapter I.
General James Oglethorpe7
Autograph of John Wesley13
The Tree under which Whitefield Preached21
Sir Patrick Houstoun's Tombstone24
Autograph of James Habersham36
Commercial Way58
Scarborough and Kent Houses67
Washington's Headquarters76
The Old Chimney83
The Gateway to the Old Brick Cemetery88
The Washington Guns92, 93
The Old Masonic Hall and Inn98
The Old Bible of Solomon's Lodge105
The Exchange108
The United States Bank110
The Theatre and Chatham Academy113
Fort Oglethorpe119
The Independent Presbyterian Steeple and Pulpit130
Mickva Israel136
The Owens Mansion142
Autograph of Lafayette143
The Habersham Mansion146
The United States Barracks149
Christ Church154
The Old Library157
Hodgson Hall159
Interior of the Cathedral162
St. John's Steeple164
Interior of St. John's165
Autograph of Henry Clay168
The Old County Jail169
Fac-simile Poem171
Autograph of Daniel Webster177
Forsyth Park184
The Water Tower185
Autograph of W. M. Thackeray194
Fort Pulaski199
The Green Mansion205
Autograph of General W. T. Sherman206
The Sword of General R. E. Lee214
The Weil Mansion; Autograph of Chester A. Arthur215
Autograph of Alexander H. Stephens215
The Comer Mansion; Autograph of Jefferson Davis217
Telfair Academy219
Autograph of Grover Cleveland220
The Gordon Mansion221
The Martello Tower226
The Canal232
The Court House233
The Art Room; Telfair Academy235
The Hermitage238
Colonel Estill's home on the Isle of Hope240, 241

    If you have resources for Chatham County or would like to volunteer to help with look-ups, please e-mail - Tim Stowell
Historic and Picturesque Savannah
Chatham County
You are a welcome visitor since 28 Jul 2011 -- thanks for stopping by!

There were 1687 visitors from 20 Jan 2006 to 28 Jul 2011 and there were 870 visitors to this page from 17 Feb 2004 to 20 Jan 2006.

Last updated: 21 May 2017