Founding of Georgia celebrated

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr. at P.O. Box 901, Decatur, GA 30031 or www.gagensociety.org.

The colony of Georgia was founded when Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe and the ship Anne arrived at what became Savannah on Feb. 12, 1733, with 114 passengers, including men, women and children.

In contrast to some colonies, Georgia was founded by families, with a plan laid out by the colony’s corporate trustees to facilitate settlement by giving each male a town lot, a garden lot, and a farm lot — although many of these colonists were from London and may not have had much prior knowledge of farming.

Georgia’s founding is well documented through various records kept by the trustees, their instructions to the colonists and to Oglethorpe, as well as newspaper accounts of their departure and arrival.

The colonists were not here long before other ships with more settlers arrived, enlarging the colony quickly. Georgia’s founding was unique in that the royal charter signed by the colony’s namesake, King George II, prohibited slavery, alcohol, lawyers and Catholics.

The Georgia Historical Society, the state’s oldest historical organization, celebrates the founding annually with its Georgia History Festival in Savannah, held this year starting Feb. 4, with the Georgia Day Parade on Feb. 12.

The featured historical figure will be Savannah native Flannery O’Connor, who died in 1964. Information about O’Connor, festival activities and educational information for school children can be found at www.georgiahistory.com.

The Georgia Historical Society has a wealth of books and manuscripts about Georgia for historians and genealogists. If you want to visit while in Savannah, check their hours at the website, or see their many online resources.

Lunch and Learn

“Breaking News: Georgia Colony Founded in America; News Coverage From 1733” is the topic of the Feb. 14 Lunch and Learn seminar at the Georgia Archives. The speaker will be this columnist, focusing on how the founding of the last of the 13 American colonies was covered in newspapers of the day as well as other sources. The event will be at noon and is free; bring your own lunch. For information on forthcoming lectures or about the Georgia Archives, see www.georgiaarchives.org or call 678-364-3710.

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