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In Their Own Words

September 20, 1739

First Hand Account of Slave Revolt

After James Oglethorpe’s trip to the Creek Nation, his group returned by way of Augusta and then down the Savannah River. On the final leg of their trip, Oglethorpe learned first hand of a Carolina slave rebellion, as recorded by Patrick Mackay in his journal:

“September 20th a Negro came to the General and told him that was said of the Negroes rising in Carolina was true and that they had marched to Stono Bridge, where they had murdered two storekeepers, but their heads off and set them on the stairs, robbed the stores of what they wanted and went on killing what men, women and children they met, burning of houses and committing other outrages and that one hundred planters who had assembled themselves together pursued them and found them in an open field, where they were dancing, being most of them drunk with the liquors they found in the stores. As soon as they saw their masters, they all made off as fast as they could to a thicket of woods, excepting one Negro fellow who came up to his master. His master asked him if he wanted to kill him. The Negro answered he did, at the same time snapping a pistol at him but it missed fire and his master shot him through the head. About fifty of these villains attempted to go home but were taken by the planters who cut off their heads and set them up at every mile post they came to.”

Source: Ed Cashin, Setting Out to Begin a New World: Colonial Georgia (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 83.