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In Their Own Words

February 19, 1741

Letter Described Bethesda

From Savannah, former storekeeper and bailiff Thomas Causton wrote the Trustees a long letter about conditions in Georgia. Among his observations was the following description of the George Whitefield’s Bethesda Orphanage near Savannah:

“…The Reverend Mr. Whitefield possesses a tract of land, wherein in the year 1739 he began what is at present called the Orphan House with several other houses (no doubt) agreeable to his purpose. The Orphan House has an handsome appearance and all the buildings are near finished. The land, which is (at present) cleared, will afford convenient gardens and yards containing about ten acres, exclusive of an avenue about 50 yards broad and half a mile in length which at present is only opened by the fall of the trees. The whole is well defended with with a good fence, and he has purchased a considerable stock of cattle. he has in a great measure defrayed the expense of making a road to Savannah for about 11 miles wherein is 12 bridges… .”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe’s Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. II, p. 558.