In Their Own Words
March 17, 1734
Early Description of Ebenezer Site
While the first transport of Salzburger emigrants to Georgia waited in Savannah, Baron von Reck (the leader of their group), James Oglethorpe, and three Salzburgers inspected the site twenty miles northwest of Savannah, selected for their settlement. Though the Salzburgers would later change their mind about the suitability of this site, von Reck wrote a glowing description of the site in his journal:
“We continued our Journey, and set out by Break of Day, and at nine arrived at the Place where the Saltzburgers were afterwards settled. I shall here give a short description of it. The Lands are inclosed between two Rivers, which fall into the Savannah. The Saltzburg Town is to be built near the largest, which is called Ebenezer…and is navigable, being twelve Foot deep. A little Rivulet, whose Water is as clear as Crystal, glides by the Town; another runs through it, and both fall into the Ebenezer. The Woods here are not so thick as in other Places. The sweet Zephyrs preserve a delicious Coolness, notwithstanding the scorching Beams of the Sun. There are very fine Meadows, in which a great Quantity of hay might be made with very little Pains: there are also Hillocks, very fit for Vines. The Cedar, walnut, Pine, Cypress, and Oak, make the greatest Part of the Woods. There is found in them a great Quantity of Myrtle Trees, out of which they extract, by boiling the Berries, a green wax, very proper to make Candles with. There is much Sassafras, and a great Quantity of those Herbs of which Indigo is made, and Abundance of China Roots. The Earth is so fertile, that it will bring forth anything that can be sown or planted in it; whether fruits, Herbs, or Trees. There are wild Vines, which run up to the Tops of the tallest Trees; and the Country is so good, that one may ride full gallop 20 or 30 Miles an end. As to Game, here are Eagles, Wild Turkies, Roe-Bucks, Wild Goats, Stags, Wild Cows, Horses, Hares, Partridges, and Buffaloes.”
Source: [no author or editor cited], Our First Visit in America: Early Reports from the Colony of Georgia, 1732-1740 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1974), p. 49.