Tag Archives: Ghost Towns of Coastal Georgia

Laura’s Grocery, Groveland

On 28 August 2014 Joe Driggers wrote to say that his grandmother, Laura Sauls Driggers Bland, used to run a small grocery store out of this building. He also notes that in its earliest days it served as the Groveland Post Office.

In January 2012 Janet F. Dubois of Winston-Salem NC wrote:  I remember Groveland when I was a child. My grandfather used to live there and run a little store which I believe at one time was in one side of the joined together building. The store used to be one room on the side of his house. The house no longer stands as many of the other houses are gone too. I still travel through Groveland occasionally and remember so vividly that is where I was when the news of the Meldrim train disaster happened in 1959. I was 11 at that time. There is an old cemetery there behind all the old buildings for the film made there that my Grandmother was buried in…in the mid 20’s. My own mother lost track of the burial plot due to lost grave markers and the moving of the original fences. Oh how I wish we could have found it before she herself passed away. It was her dream to locate her mother’s grave and have it moved. Sad what happens to our cemeteries and landmarks…

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Filed under -BRYAN COUNTY, Groveland GA

Burnt Fort Chapel & Cemetery, Camden County

At least two different explanations of the origin of Burnt Fort can be found in a general search of available sources. One account suggests that South Carolina built a fort circa 1715-25 along the banks of the Satilla River near this location [Georgia didn’t yet exist]. The most interesting evidence, though, centers on Edmond Gray, who came to Georgia from Virginia bent upon opening the “neutral lands” between the Altamaha and Satilla Rivers. He and a small group of followers settled upon a site near here in 1755 and named it New Hanover. As the land was in dispute between Great Britain and Spain, the English sought to destroy the colony to avoid a confrontation with Spain and further rousing the native Creek Indians. In late January 1759, Major Henry Hymes of South Carolina and James Edward Powell of Georgia were dispatched by Colonial Governor Henry Ellis of Georgia to destroy the town. Gray complied and was given 28 days. He ordered the settlers to vacate but some remained and operated a small trading post/fort for a time. It was burned soon thereafter; whether by the Creeks or other force remains unclear. The name Burnt Fort was firmly established at least by 1793, when Captain James Randolph built Burnt Fort Station for his squadron of dragoons charged with protecting Camden County from the Creeks. Whatever the real story, it’s a fascinating chapter of Georgia history and bears further inquiry. I will update as I learn more.

A multi-denominational congregation at Burnt Fort dates to at least 1872, though burials in the cemetery date to the early 19th century. The first church was in use until 1947, when declining membership led to its closure. The structure was abandoned and had collapsed by 1960. Area residents, including descendants of the founding families, came together in 1976 to rebuild the church, which was dedicated on 4 September 1977.

Of special note in the cemetery are are the six crypts of the Hedleston children, dating to the 1850s. Most notable are their winged death head reliefs, such as the one seen below.

A good variety of typical funerary iconography can be found here.

Considering there are a number of unmarked but documented burials here, it would be interesting to know if there was indeed a congregation in the early 1800s to serve the thriving community of loggers and timber workers in the community.

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Filed under -CAMDEN COUNTY, Burnt Fort GA

Mid River School, 1890, Burnt Fort

Located adjacent to Burnt Fort Church, this schoolhouse was moved by oxcart in 1918 from the nearby Mid River community. Closed in 1922 and in disrepair for many decades, it was saved through the efforts of Stokes Davis and the Burnt Fort Chapel, Cemetery & Historical Association around 2001.

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Filed under -CAMDEN COUNTY, Burnt Fort GA

Galilee Baptist Church, 1954, Brookman

Galilee Baptist Church Brookman GA Brunswick Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2015

This historic congregation was founded by Reverend Jupiter Gilliard on 23 October 1891. The first deacons of the church were London Gilliard, Charles Harris, Baker Stafford, Sr., and Hector Blue. The original church building was replaced with this one in 1954, during the pastorate of Reverend Robert J. Leggett. The cornerstone displays the cipher of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall,  Grand Lodge, Free & Accepted Masons, Jurisdiction of Georgia.

Reverend Gilliard’s great-great-great grandchildren operate Gilliard Farms, a Georgia Centennial Farm on the adjacent property. It’s been in the family since 1874 and is one of the most important African-American farms in Georgia, due to its history and longevity.

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brookman GA

Lula & Arthur Wright House, Circa 1900, Brookman

Brookman GA Lula & Arthur Wright House Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Lula & Arthur Wright built this once-grand Folk Victorian around the turn of the last century. When surveyed for Glynn County in 2009, the house still retained a front porch with hand-carved Queen Anne posts. When I found it the other day, the porch had collapsed and the yard was overgrown. It will be a real loss, as it represents a more accomplished architecture than is usually associated with rural black communities of its day.

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brookman GA

Tarboro Mercantile

Tarboro Mercantile General Store Feed Seed Country Store Camden County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Tarboro is an isolated community in Camden County’s interior, near White Oak.

 

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Filed under -CAMDEN COUNTY, Tarboro GA

Fort Frederica, 1736, St. Simons Island

Fort Frederica is just three years younger than Georgia itself. It represents a time when the colony was a buffer between British South Carolina and Spanish Florida, and was headquarters to Georgia’s founder, General James Oglethorpe during the War of Jenkins’ Ear. The small section of the tabby fort that remains contained the magazine, and is in relatively good condition. It’s maintained by the National Park Service as Fort Frederica National Monument. If you come in summer bring bug spray and lots of water, though the fountain at the interpretive office has the coldest and best water on St. Simons.

The view above shows Fort Frederica from the riverside, with a 29-pound English cannon of the period.

The view above shows the magazine and the two below show the interior.

This bronze plaque was placed in memory of James Oglethorpe by the Georgia Society of Colonial Dames in 1904. The supporting text reads: This remnant is all that time has spared of the citadel of the town of Frederica built by General Oglethorpe A. D. 1736 as an outpost against the Spaniards in Florida.

National Register of Historic Places

 

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Frederica GA, St. Simons Island GA