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Some Edited ( my remarks set off by [ ] ) Excerpts from

The Story of Christ Church, Frederica,

by Junius Martin:


...March 28, 1744...During that month a serious fire occurred at Frederica and burned one of the streets but the Barracks was unharmed. The fire did catch the Bombhouse and the ammunition exploded for a period of three hours. The people were ordered to the south for their safety during the conflaguration and only one person was injured and he only slightly.

An intriguing prisoner, one Christian Priber, was confined at Frederica at the time. He had been arrested and brought under guard from the Cherokee country to be examined by Oglethorpe. He was discovered to be a German Jesuit and an agent of the French seeking to alienate the Indians from the English and planning to build a settlement in the Indian territory open to all fugitives, servants, negro slaves, felons. His design was "to bring about a confederation of all the southern Indians, to inspire them with industry, to instruct them in the arts necessary to the commodities of life, and, in short, to engage them to throw off the yoke of their European allies of all nations." He was an excellent linguist, speaking Latin, French, Spanish and English as well as the Indian languages. He attracted a great deal of attention among the people before dying as a prisoner at Frederica.


Suspected of being an agent of the French and seeking to alienate the Indians from the English traders, he had been arrested and brought under guard from the Cherokee country to be examined by Oglethorpe. An excellent linguist Priber spoke English, Dutch, French, Latin and Indian. Some thought that he was a German Jesuit; Oglethorpe described him as "a very odd kind of man".

In his possession Priber had two manuscripts of his own composition.

One was a dictionary of the Cherokee language ready for publication in Paris.

The other, entitled Paradise, contained priciples for a commonweath based upon natural rights.

In the Cherokee country his design was to establish a confederacy of all the southern Indians with a government based upon his Paradise and independent of all European nations. He attracted a great deal of attention among the people at Frederica before dying there as Georgia's first political prisoner. His remains and that of his manuscripts returned to dust.

[ Could the dictionary of Christian Priber have influenced the Cherokee syllabary of Sequoyah?

According to The Southeastern Indians, by Charles Hudson (Un. of Tennessee Press 1976):

"... Sequoyah's invention of a syllabary for writing Cherokee.

... Sequoyah, who spoke no English, worked on his syllabary for several years before finally perfecting it in 1819.

He used a few letters from the Roman alphabet, and perhaps a few from Greek and

possibly from the Fraktur alphabet of the Moravian missionaries,

but the linguistic values he asigned to them were his own. He initially used eight-six symbols, but later abandoned one of them to make a total of eighty-five symbols: one symbol represents the English s sound, six symbols represent vowel sounds, and the rest of them represent various combinations of consonants and vowels ...

... He poured all of his energy into inventing this system of writing. He let his farm go to waste, neglected his family, and began to be seen as a deviant in the eyes of his own people. So aberrant was his behavior in accordance with conventional Cherokee standards, he was eventually tried for the crime of witchcraft. But in 1819 he exonerated himself by proving before a group of Cherokee elders that any speaker of Cherokee could quickly learn to read and write the language using his syllabary. Within a few years thousands of Cherokees became literate. ...". ]


Much has been written about the failure of the Trustees original colonial policy. The incommensurability between purpose and effect, between ideal and reality cannot be laid on their shoulders alone. They are not to be excused, however, for shortsightedness nor the tyranny of their benevolence. On the other hand the people who came to Georgia were generally incompetent. They had nothing in common with the early Pilgrims who came as on an "errand into the wilderness" to establish a purified church and serve as a light set upon a hill. There were no social, political or religious bonds to knit them into a single people. Many left the colony as soon as there was an opportunity to do so and at least twenty freemen had departed before 1742 and five or six had died. Even the more industrious Germans left St. Simons Island by the end of 1747. The total number sent to Georgia during the proprietary peiod was less than 1200 British subjects and about 1000 foreign protestants. The Trustees had received 17,600 ~ from private subscriptions and over 136,600 Lin grants from Parliament for the promotion of their project. Of those sent over "on the Charity" over two-thirds left the colony. Upon the departure of Oglethorpe from Georgia in 1743 Major Horton was left in command of the Regiment at Frederica. Life at Frederica soon fell into almost total disorder. The numerical dominance of the military and the dependence of the inhabitants on the soldiers along with the absence of the personal authority of Oglethorpe resulted in the displacement of all civil by military authority. The Magistrate and Recorder at Frederica - Mr. Caldwell and Mr. Terry,-were turned out of office and the town seal usurped by Major Horton. John Terry reported that Horton appropriated to himself the authority of a prince like unto Louis XIV. The few inhabitants that remained did little planting. They let out their houses to the officers or rented them to some merchants for storehouses. The wife of one of the soldiers kept a lewd house in the town. In addition to thievery, housebreaking and drunkeness, there were a number of acts of rape, including Abner Bosomworth, brother of Thomas, former minister at Frederica, who was "discovered in the very posture of Perpetuating his abominable intention" on a Dutch girl. Indeed Mr. Terry,the Recorder and silversmith was charged by his Dutch maid of having forced himself upon her. The charge was however later retracted. Over all criminal justice was unevenly applied. John Terry observed that he had lived in a number of garrisons but none like Frederica.

Sodom and Gomarah, he stated, were more deserving of the protection of the Almighty than the town of Frederica.

Oglethorpe's Regiment was disbanded at Frederica on My 29, 1749. For two or three days before the men were mostly intoxicated, using monies received in arrears for their services. At the disbanding 151 men with their wives and children - numbering 248 in all - elected to remain in the colony having been promised 20 acres of land upon the completion of seven years honorable service. Each of the soldiers received His Majesty's bounty of 5 ~ upon discharge and declared that they would "take an opportunity of looking for Lands where they liked best". Few remained at Frederica most notably Raymond Demere. During the same year and perhaps at the same time the public stores were inventoried and Mr. William Abbott, constable, was appointed to care for the King's Magazine. Negro slaves were suspected of being harbored in the area.

With the departure of the soldiers the evils vanished and the town ceased to be. Sixty years, a War of Revolution and a newly formed independent nation were to intervene before Christ Church, Frederica was to be chartered.

Following the duel with Alexander Hamilton in 1804 Aaron Burr found refuge on St. Simons Island with his friend Pierce Butler.

Thomas King, a native of Massachusetts, married Ann Page the only daughter of William Page, who was the first Senior Warden of Christ Church. They were married in December 1824. Thomas and Ann inherited Retreat Plantation from her parents and it became one of the wealthiest plantations on the Island.

John Couper's expression of pride in the church establishment may have represented a kind of incipient boosterism. ... The Rev. Theodore Bartow had become Rector of Christ Church, Frederica in 1830...

Two biographies of prominent men who lived on St. Simons's Island in this period [around 1830] and who were associated with the Church are Edward Steel's T. BUTLER KING 0F GEORGIA (Athens 1964) and E. Merton Coulter's THOMAS SPALDING OF SAPELO (Lousiana 1940).


A serious rift in the congregation occurred toward the end of the year 1838. The long standing dispute between Dr. Thomas Hazzard and John A. Wylly concerning the boundary of their adjacent lands provoked a challenge to a duel. Prior to the duel, which never took place, articles of battle were drawn up between the principals who were to use firearms, wear a white paper over the heart, and that whoever kills the other is to have the privilege of cutting off his head, and sticking it upon a pole on the piece of land which was the origin of the dispute.

The duel was prevented by an accidental encounter of the principals on the porch of the Oglethorpe Hotel, Brunswick, on December 3, 1838. After an initial altercation in which Mr. Wylly struck Dr. Hazzard with his cane which was broken up by Judge CharIes S. Henry, Judge of the Superior Court and Col. Henry duBignon, the two men met again at the door of the Hotel and Mr. Wylly spat in Dr. Hazzard's face. Dr. Hazzard drew his pistol immediately and shot Mr. Wylly through the heart. He died instantly. Dr. Hazzard was arrested on the spot and was indicted for manslaughter. He was later tried, but was acquitted.

Dr. Hazzard was Justice of the Peace at the time of the shooting and had served a number of terms as a representative in the State legislature from Glynn County. In a short time the Hazzard family was isolated from their neighbors.

The Pink Chapel, the ruins of which were visible until a few years ago and which was the subject of many paintings by local artists was erected on the Hazzard property as a family chapel as they had been cut off from the other families. The land on which the Pink Chapel stood was given to Christ Church, Frederica in April 1978, 140 years after the fatal shooting.


General Sherman's Field Order Number Fifteen

dated Savannah, January 16, 1865, presented the ex-slaves all the islands along the coast including a strip thirty miles wide along upon the mainland: "The islands from Charlestown south, the abandoned rice-fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. John's River, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of Negroes now made free by act of war."

By the middle of 1866 most of the five or six hundred freedmen on the island were working for owners who had returned to occupy their plantations

On return to the South Frances Butler wrote that "The Negroes on St. Simons Island ... were ... evidently disappointed to find they were not the masters of the soil and that their new friends the Yankees had deceived them."

Miss Butler returned to Philadelphia in July and came back to Georgia in March of 1867. Late in July of that year she went back to Philadelphia where her father died the following month. When she was again in the South in 1868 she was notified that "St. Simons Island came under the head of abandoned property, having been occupied by former owners who, through contempt of the Government and the President's authority, had refused to make application for its restoration under the law. 'Therefore...such property shall be confiscated on the first day of January next, unless before that date the owners present themselves before the authorities, take the required oath of allegiance to the Government, and ask for restoration.' This was done by Miss Butler's brother-in-law who was with her at the time.



On January 6, 1886 the new church was consecrated. The Rev. Thomas Boone who preached the sermon at the consecrator service was a nephew of the first Bishop of Georgia, the Rt. Rev. Stephen Elliott. His mother, Phoebe, was present at the consecration service of the former edifice in 1841. She was married to the Rev. Boone who later became the first missionary Bishop of China.

The Rev. William J. Boone, a graduate of the Virginia Seminary and a medical doctor was appointed to service in China in 1837 - with his wife. He spent most of 1843 and 1844 in the States and was elected bishop by the General Convention in 1844 which met in Philadelphia. He was to be the real founder of the Anglican Communion in China. His son - and namesake William J. Boone was consecrated bishop for China in 1877.


[ Note - the image at the top of this page is from a photograph by Wolfgang Koehler in the 2002 Calendar Places of the Spirit (Tide-Mark Press). ]


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