It is hard for us to imagine the hardships borne by these original citizens to get to their new home.
They were aboard the Ann for more than 2 months crossing the Atlantic. The Ann was a 200 ton ship, which not only carried the colonists and their belongings, but supplies, others bound for Charlestown, the ship’s crew and to add to it all, they stopped to load 5 tons of Madeira wine, (which come to think of it probably made the trip somewhat more pleasant).
Crossing the North Atlantic in mid-winter, when the cold artic storms reach well below the Ann’s route, was horrendous on the men, women and children. Arrival at Charlestown was welcomed, but they did not get off the ship for the several days she was in port, then, on to Beaufort, South Carolina, where the Ann left them, and returned to England.
This was an incredibly difficult voyage already, but the last leg must have been the most taxing.
The remaining portion was made with Oglethorpe, the Doctor and his family, Boat crews, South Carolina Militia and the 114 colonists with their possessions and supplies. Somehow, they all loaded into a “sailing sloop and four ‘smaller’ boats”, which are believed to have been rowed boats.
They left Beaufort with the outgoing tide, making their way down the Broad River, when weather forced them to take refuge in Port Royal, barely a outpost at the time.
The next Morning, February 12th , they set out again on the outgoing tide, and made their way past Hilton Head Island, on their left, staying close-in and passing behind Daufuskie and Turtle Islands, until they came upon the Savannah River near Cockspur Island at the incoming tide. The upriver flow helped carry them the remaining 10 miles to Yamacraw Bluff.
Unloading themselves and their possessions, climbing the steps to the bluff took more effort, soul, spirit and hope than we can imagine today.
We celebrate their strength of character and will, which kept them going on the journey and after they arrived.
Today the site of the landing and Georgia’s First Day is memorialized in front of the Hyatt Hotel on the peak of the bluff with an historic plaque and a marble bench placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1906. It marks the spot of Oglethorpe’s tent and the site where Georgia began, and should be an object of tremendous encouragement to everyone who recognizes their struggle.