In Their Own Words
March 21, 1740
Stephens Named Plantation
Although William Stephens had trouble finding good servants in his first few years in colonial Georgia, he finally was making progress - so much so that he decided to give his plantation a name:
“…Not having had it in my Power for a good while past, to see how my Affairs went on at my new Plantation by Vernon River; I took this Day to myself for that Purpose, and rode thither: The extreme Point of which. Southward from Savannah, is near about twelve Miles; where I designed the Place of Habitation to be. Here indeed I was much pleased, to see what Progress they had made, since I saw them last; having now built several good Huts, sufficient to withstand any Weather, and for various Uses; the principal one being made with whole Logs, very strong, and capable of some Defence, in Case of any sudden Attack made by vagrant Enemies, whether Indian or Spaniards; with several Loop-holes for the Discharge of small Arms; and my Servants there, every one provided by me with such; which I found clean, and in good Order; and the Appearance of a ready Disposition in them all to make a good Use of those Arms, if Occasion required: Another Hut made of Clapboards for the Servants to rest in: Another to keep Stores of all Kinds needful: Besides proper Receptacles, for my Poultry, Swine, &c. which I saw an Increase of in each Kind happily begun; and a very reasonable Cause of hoping, that Multiplication may take Place next after Increase: Near adjoining they had sunk a Well, the Sides of which they had supported with a strong Timber Frame; and at about seventeen or eighteen Foot Depth, they came at excellent Water, not in the least brackish, though within the Space of a hundred and fifty Yards of the Salt: There was an Opening made of about seven Acres, wherein Abundance of large Trees were fallen, and the Ground in a good Forwardness of being cleared; which, together with some more that he hoped to add to it, was intended to be planted with Corn, and Potatoes: So that it appeared from the Whole, they had not been idle since their being there; for it was after Christmas they began Plantation-Work at that Place, where it was intended to settle: And herein appeared the Use of a good Overseer, who will both direct, and also employ his own Hands in carrying on the Work. I was now called upon, to give the Place a Name; and there- upon naturally revolving in my Thoughts, divers Places in my native Country, to try if I could find any that had a Resemblance to this; I fancied that Bewlie, a Manor of his Grace the Duke of Montague in the New Forest, was not unlike it much, as to its Situation; and being on the Skirts of that Forest, had Plenty of large Timber growing every where near; moreover a fine Arm of the Sea running close by…”
Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 536-537.