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In Their Own Words

May 31, 1737

Drunken Encounter Recorded

Thomas Causton was the first bailiff of Savannah and kept a journal of his work from May-July of 1737. His entry for this day shows how boisterous some inhabitants of the young colony could be, especially when intoxicated and remembering rivals from back home:

“… James Smith … complained that William Sterling had assaulted & abused him with a great Stick without any provocation. I sent for Stirling by the officer of the Guard to answer the Complaint, & it appeared that Sterling with others of his Country men were walking up & down Bull street, while Smith & others with him were Sitting on a piece of Timber by the water side: that Smith held a Stick, which he pointed towards Sterling, who came to him directly, asked him what he meant, held up his stick & threatened him. That Smith said he did not fear him for all he was a Scotch man: upon which Sterling beat him, & bruised his shoulder… . . In half an hour after this one of the millwrights labourers being drunk at the water side, & Seeing Mr. Cuthbert & Andrew Grant coming down Bull street, he shook a hammer which he had in his hand, & swore if he could have his will, he would knock them Scotch Sons of Bitches brains out. Edward Jenkins overhearing these words, brought him before me, & he appearing to be very Drunk, I Sent him to the Stocks… .”

Source: [No author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), pp. 245-246.