Tag Archives: African-American Culture of Coastal Georgia

Sapelo Island Ferry Katie Underwood

The Katie Underwood is the main ferry serving Sapelo Island. Its namesake, Katie Hall Underwood (1884-1977), was born on Sapelo and began working as a midwife in the 1920s. She assisted almost every birth on the island until retiring in 1968 and was among its most beloved citizens. She was the last in a long line of midwives who served Sapelo from slavery days onward. Mrs. Underwood lived in the north end at Raccoon Bluff but carried her black bag all over the island, to the scattered communities of Hog Hammock, Shell Hammock, and others.  A story is told of her delivering a baby on the north end one morning and walking seven miles to the south end to deliver another in the evening.  She is said to have never lost a child during delivery.

The ferry was dedicated on 28 October 2006. It was built by Geo Shipyard in New Iberia, Louisiana.

The interior has seating for 102 passengers.

The boat is 70’9 3/4″ in length and has a maximum speed of 26.6 knots. It’s powered by two Caterpillar C-18 engines rated 700 hp.

A covered upper deck provides open-air seating for 48. 10 additional seats are located on the bow.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Cabretta Beach, Sapelo Island

At the north end of Sapelo Island is Cabretta Beach, sometimes referred to as Cabretta Island for its isolation at high tide. If you can imagine a place more isolated than Nanny Goat Beach, Cabretta might come to mind.

The only land-based point of access is the Cabretta Campground, which requires reservations. It’s a pristine natural area with a small comfort station and a canopy of Live Oaks.

A short walk through the dunes provides access to one of the most undisturbed beaches in Coastal Georgia.

Sea Oats are dominant here, as they are on all of Georgia’s Sea Islands.

Like Nanny Goat Beach, Cabretta is a prime example of a barrier island environment that has never been developed.

It remains a favored fishing and crabbing spot for the Gullah-Geechee people who call the island home.

 

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Walthourville International F & AM OES Johnson Lodge No. 37

Donated and built by John Walt, this was the meeting place of the International Free & Accepted Masons and Order of the Eastern Star, known as Johnson Lodge No. 37. It was an African-American lodge. A list of Walthourville’s historic resources in the most recent Liberty County Joint Comprehensive Plan dates it to circa 1845, but I believe this to be an error. If it was originally a white lodge, it could date to the antebellum era, but the style of construction doesn’t support that date. Furthermore, its African-American association precludes that date as such organizations and gathering places for blacks were illegal at the time. My guess is that it was built in the late 1800s. Whatever its history, it’s an important landmark and should be preserved.

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Walthourville GA

First African Baptist Church, 1974, Harris Neck

First African Baptist Church of Harris Neck was organized by Reverend Andrew Neal in 1867.

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Harris Neck GA

First Zion Baptist Church, 1971, Riceboro

Located on the opposite corner of the intersection of the E. B. Cooper Highway and Barrington Ferry Road from First African Baptist Church, First Zion was established by members of the “Mother Church” in 1870-1871 with the Reverend U. L. Houston as its first pastor. The present structure was built in 1971 during the pastorate of Reverend B. N. Jones. The churchyard is a beautiful spot shaded by old-growth oaks.

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Riceboro GA

First African Baptist Church, Riceboro

The First African Baptist Church of Riceboro is considered the “Mother Church of all Black Churches in Liberty County”; the present structure was built in the 1960s to replace the original church. The community, just west of Riceboro, is locally known as Crossroads.

A marker placed by the Liberty County Historical Society notes: The First African Baptist Church, the oldest black church in Liberty County, had its origins in the North Newport Baptist Church, founded in 1809. In 1818 the North Newport Church, composed of both white and black members, purchased this site and erected a church building here [circa 1849] which had a gallery for the slave members. In 1854 the North Newport Church moved to Walthourville, but the black members in this area continued to use the old building. In 1861 the black members formed their own church organization and the first black pastor was the Reverend Charles Thin. On July 20, 1878 the North Newport Church sold the building to A. M. McIver for $225 for use by the First African Baptist Church.

One of the early white pastors of this church was the Reverend Josiah Spry Law to whom a cenotaph was erected here in 1854 by both blacks and whites.

Three other neighboring churches have been formed from the membership of this church: First Zion Baptist Church in 1870, First African Baptist Church of Jones in 1896, and Baconton Baptist Church in 1897.

 

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Riceboro GA

Ralph Quarterman House, Circa 1937, Walthourville

This was the home of businessman and Civil Rights leader Ralph Waldo Quarterman. It’s located adjacent to Mr. Quarterman’s grocery store.

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Filed under -LIBERTY COUNTY, Walthourville GA