Saturday, November 13, 2010

St. Simon's Island, Georgia

This island is part of the Golden Isles, one of several subtropical islands along the Georgia Coast. We toured St.Simon's Island yesterday. One of the reasons I love the deep south is because of the presence of the live oaks. Those trees are a spectacular sight with their low wide-reaching drooping branches dripping with Spanish moss.
 In fact, their sorrowful expressions inspired creative hands to carve faces on their trunks. On St.Simon's Island there are five old oaks which have tree spirits carved on them. Those spirits immortalize the many soldiers who once lost their live at sea. While driving around on the island, John and I found two of them. The one below should look quite interesting when the Christmas lights are turned on.
On St.Simon's Island is located a national park, Fort Frederica. It was built by General Oglethorpe in 1736. On July 7, 1942 a decisive battle between England and Spain took place at a marsh located six miles south of the fort. It is hard to believe that such a bloody battle took place at the peaceful marsh which we visited yesterday.
The Spanish lost that battle and would never again try to claim the disputed land which lay between Georgia and Florida. That land had been fought over for 100 years, and was the reason for Fort Frederica's existence. A fire in 1758 partially destroyed the fort and the last British soldiers left in 1763. General Oglethorpe built the fort on a bluff overlooking the Frederica River. Below is a picture of one of the ruins of the fort, the King's Magazine.  You may notice two cannons on the left side of the magazine, which are facing the river. At the time I took the picture it was starting to get late in the day and shadows were lengthening.

Archeologists have uncovered the foundations of the original homes which were built in a town that laid outside of the fort. Using an old map of the town they have have been able to plot out and name the streets of the town as well as ascribe individual names to the various foundations of the homes. Below is what is left of the home of Mary Musgrove Mathews, General Oglethorpe's Indian interpreter.
On display at the site of those former homes are also artifacts which have been found.  It was interesting for me to imagine the lives of the people who once lived in this town. And, while I was touring the grounds, I found an orange on the ground.  I looked up to see a tree filled with the fruit which is no longer edible.  Apparently the town's people had planted orange and peach trees. Our tour of the fort was complete when, as at Fort Pulaski, deer entered the park to feed among the ruins.

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