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This Day in Georgia History

March 17, 1734

Ebenezer Site Chosen

On March 15, James Oglethorpe, Baron von Reck, Salzburger minister Israel Gronau , and two other Salzburgers left Savannah to search for a site for the Salzburgers to settle. On March 17, they agreed on a location on a creek about twenty miles northwest of Savannah. While still at sea, the Salzburgers had planned on erecting a stone marker at the site of their new Georgia home, which they hoped to call Eben Ezer, which meant “stone of help” or “monument to God’s protection.” [On March 26, James Oglethorpe would agree to their request and formally name the new settlement Ebenezer.] Initially, Baron von Reck and the Salzburgers were enthused about the site. However, Ebenezer’s location proved too far from the Savannah River, meaning everything had to be transported by land. Moreover, the soil quality was not good, and there was frequent flooding. Eventually, the Salzburgers would receive permission to move to a new site on a bluff where the Ebenezer Creek entered the Savannah River. Here, they would build New Ebenezer, one of colonial Georgia’s most successful communities.