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Cassels, Samuel Jones


Poet and clergyman Samuel Jones Cassels was born in Liberty County, Georgia on February 24, 1806. Cassels felt an early calling to the ministry and studied privately under Moses Waddel while publicly attending the University of Georgia. He was ordained a Presbyterian minister in 1829 and assumed the duties of pastor at the Presbyterian church in Macon in 1837. Here he twice suffered tragedy, as both his infant son and wife died within a year. He also wrote poetry - the first known book of poetry published in Georgia was Cassels’ Providence and Other Poems. Soon after its publication, he moved to Virginia, then New Jersey, where he led a large religious revival movement. In 1846, with his health was deteriorating, Cassels moved to Savannah. Here he recuperated enough to become principal of Chatham Academy, but primarily he cultivated his poetry. His second volume - America Discovered - was published in 1850 followed the next year by Liberty Poems. Among these poems are works honoring Moses Waddel and James Oglethorpe. But Cassels’ health recovery was temporary, as he probably had tuberculosis. By December 1852 he was bedridden. Six months later, Cassels died in Savannah on June 15, 1853.