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In Their Own Words

November 03, 1736

Positive Report from Early Georgia

Phillip Thicknesse, who came to Savannah as a servant for Thomas Causton, wrote to his mother back in England of his favorable impression of Georgia:

“I have been landed in Savannah about two months and I think I know as much of this town as I can, so I shall give you a little account of it and myself. There are upwards of 300 houses, besides huts. The country seems to agree with me very well, for every coat and waistcoat I have is so much too little for me, that it will not button within four inches and I am grown tall and tanned with the sun, so that nobody guesses me to be under twenty years of age… .

“I like the place very well and would choose to live in it sooner than any part of England. But not in the town, for there is an island about twelve miles off, where there are but ten lots and there are are about seven of them taken. And I am sure of one, if I will. And the reason why I take it is, because I am for a retired life, and again the island is surrounded with salt water, which is much healthier than the town, and one may keep one’s cattle there safe and upon the mainland one can’t… . Fresh provision is scarce and dear. They live most upon salt beef and rice boiled instead of bread, though I can say I never made a meal in Savannah with bread and fresh meat, which never a passenger that came with me can say. For I live with the Governour of the town [actually Thomas Causton was first bailiff and storekeeper] and work for him too. They use me more like parents than strangers… . I wish I had a servant, which would be extremely useful to such as one as I. You will [think] it is odd, my talking of having a servant, but it is quite different here from what it is in England. Several as young as I have servants. Sixteen is looked upon as one-and-twenty in England. If a man dies, his child inherits his improvements at sixteen… . This county is a fine place for any sort of game. You need not fear shooting of a deer every day if you will, turkeys and wild ducks swimming, thousands of them in the river all the winter… . This is a very pleasant country. The town stands fifteen miles up a freshwater river and as high as a house above the river. There is a great bluff all along the riverside and upon the bluff stands a well-fortified fort, where I am obliged to mount guard once in seventeen nights… . I can’t think of anything more to tell you, only that we had a pleasant passage of nine weeks… .”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. I, pp. 280-282.