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In Their Own Words

October 17, 1739

Oglethorpe Led Attack on Weeds

The Trustees’ secretary in Georgia, William Stephens, recorded this day a non-military assault led by General James Oglethorpe:

“The General Observing, that since the Land of the Common being cleared of Trees, Abundance of Shrub-Wood was daily growing up, which filled the Ground; and that the publick Squares, and most open parts of the Town, were filled with an offensive Weed, near as high as a Man’s Shoulders; both which were a great Annoyance, and besides hindering Grass from growing up, harboured and increased many troublesome Insects and Vermin; and moreover if set on Fire when dry, might endanger the Burning of the Town: For these reasons, he was pleased over Night to send out Orders, that upon the Beat of the Drum, this Morning, all Persons inhabiting the Town, whether Freeholders, or Inmates, and Boys of a competent Age, should appear at Sun-rising this Morning, and go to work in clearing this great Nusance: Which accordingly they readily did; and falling to Work heartily, before night they had…laid smooth some Hundreds of Acres: The General was pleased to be among them himself… .”

Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceeding in Georgia ([no city cited]: Readex Microprint Corporation, 1966), Vol. II, p. 161.