Georgia Magazine -

McIntosh County Roadside Historical Markers

McIntosh County
This county, created Dec. 1793 from Liberty County, named for the McIntosh family, early settlers, whose name was associated with most events in Georgia history for many years. John McIntosh, with 170 Highlanders, came to Georgia January 1735 and founded Darien. George N. Ragan was made Collector of McIntosh County Dec. 23, 1793. County officers, commissioned March 25, 1794, were: William Middleton, Sheriff; John Baillie, Clerk of Superior and Inferior Courts; John Richey, Coroner; George N. Ragan, Surveyor. Joseph Clark was commissioned Tax Receiver, Dec. 21, 1794.
(At the courthouse in Darien.)

Fort Barrington
Approximately ten miles west of here on the banks of the Altamaha River stood Fort Barrington, a stronghold whose origin dates back to earliest Colonial times. It was built as a defense against the Spaniards and Indians and was called Fort Barrington in honor of a friend and kinsman of General James Edward Oglethorpe, Lieutenant Colonel Josiah Barrington. This gentleman, a scion of the English nobility, was a large landowner in Georgia, whose home was just east of Barrington Ferry on San Savilla Bluff. Fort Barrington, which was twelve miles northwest of the town of Darien, was renamed Fort Howe during the Revolution as it fell into the hands of the British.
The fort long ago ceased to exist, but the old military road which formerly ran between Savannah and Fort Barrington is still known as the Old Barrington Road. Barrington Ferry, important ferry since Colonial Days, was in use until the early years of the Twentieth Century.
(Ga 99 just inside of Long County - about three miles north of Townsend.)

Captain William McIntosh
In this plot under the "Great Oak at Mallow Plantation", Captain William McIntosh, father of the Indian chief, General William McIntosh, was buried in 1794. Captain McIntosh, an officer in the British army, when stationed in the Creek country, married two Indian women and their sons, William and Roderick, became chiefs among the Creeks.
Gen. William McIntosh was killed by his own people on May 1, 1825, for signing the Treaty of Indian Springs. Later his sons and his half-brother, Roderick (Rory) led the great Creek trek to Old Indian Territory .They and their descendants have been distinguished lawyers, ministers, statesmen, artists, soldiers - noted leaders in the building of the West.
(In park at Pine Harbor, 3 miles east of US 17, 13 miles north Darien.)

Colonel John McIntosh
About one mile from this spot at Fairhope, the adjoining plantation, Colonel John McIntosh, a hero of American Revolution, was buried in 1826.
It was Colonel McIntosh, in command of Fort Morris at Sunbury, who, when the British Lieut. Col. L. V. Fuser demanded the surrender of the fort on November 20, 1778 replied: "Come and take it".
A member of the family Scottish Highlanders who led in settlement of Darien and for whom the county of McIntosh was named, Col. McIntosh had a long and distinguished military career, serving throughout the Revolution and War of 1812.
(In the park at Pine Harbor miles East of US 17, 13 miles north of Darien.)

200 Years of Sawmilling
For nearly two centuries the story of sawmilling in the Southeast was enacted on this point on the Altamaha River. In the summer of 1721, men from South Carolina sawed the 3-inch planks to build Fort King George. In 1763, indentured servants of the Scottish Highlanders set up pit saws here and sawed lumber for the permanent houses of Darien and for public buildings in Savannah and Frederica. This was the first commercial manufacture of lumber in Coastal Georgia. Through the years, sawmilling continued on this site. In the latter part of the 18th century, a large water mill was constructed and used here, operated by impounding tidal water in a basin on flood tide and sawing with the ebb.
In 1818, the Darien Eastern Stearn Sawmill was built here. Designed by an engineer from London, the mill had five gang saws. In use, with brief interruptions, until about 1905, it was then dismantled because of lack of large timber. A circular sawmill, built alongside the same basin, took its place, to be used until the end of the sawmill era in Darien.
(East of Darien at the end of the Fort King George road.)

Famous Butler Authors
Pierce Butler and his daughter, Frances, who shared his interest in the South, returned to Butler Island in 1866, and worked to rehabilitate the plantations. Pierce Butler died in 1867, but Frances continued for several years to manage the Island acreage. She wrote a book, "Ten Years On a Georgia Plantation", an interesting and valuable account of life in this section during the Reconstruction. Owen Wister, famous author of "The Virginian", and other novels, was the son of Sarah Butler, sister of Frances. He often visited Butler Island plantation.
(US 17 (Ga 25) at the Butler River.)

Site of Early Spanish Mission
This high bluff was the site of one of the early Spanish Missions of the old District of Guale. Here, in the late 16th and the 17th centuries, Franciscan friars labored with the Indians, converting them to Christianity and instructing them in agriculture and other crafts of civilization.
Occupied by a large Indian village before the coming of the Spaniards, this tract was an ideal site for the mission and school activities of the Spanish priests. Archaeological excavations in the area in 1941 and 1953 disclosed evidence of both Indian and Spanish occupation - Indian pottery and bone tools with Spanish olive jars, majolica and iron work, outlines of buildings constructed before and after the coming of white men.
Built in the area called by the Spaniards, "Talaje", the mission on this site was part of a chain of missions and vistas by which Spain held title for nearly two centuries to what is now the Coast of Georgia.
(End of the Fort King George Road, 1 mile East of Darien)

The McIntosh Family of McIntosh County
The service of this family to America, since the first of the Clan, with their leader, Captain John McIntosh Mohr, came from the Highlands of Scotland to Georgia, in 1736, forms a brilliant record.
The roll of distinguished members of this family includes: Gen. Lachlan McIntosh, Col. William McIntosh, Col. John McIntosh, Maj. Lachlan McIntosh - officers in the Revolution; Col. James L. McIntosh killed in the Mexican War; Maria J McIntosh, authoress; Capt. John McIntosh, Capt. Wm. McIntosh of Mallow, Capt. Roderick (Rory) McIntosh - British Army officers serving in the War with Spain and in the Indian country; George M. Troup, Governor of Georgia; John McIntosh Kell, Second Officer of the Alabama; Thomas Spalding of Sapelo; Creek Indian Chiefs - Gen Wm. McIntosh, Roley Mcintosh, Judge Alexander McIntosh, Acee Blue Eagle ... and many others. (US 17 (Ga 25) at South Newport near the bridge.)

Baisden's Bluff Academy
Located a short distance East of here, near the River, Baisden's Bluff Academy was the main educational institution in McIntosh County in the early years of the 19th century. A Boarding School, operating the year round, its roll held the names of prominent families of this county and from adjoining areas. "Mr. Linder" was Principal. General Francis Hopkins, Wm. A. Dunham, James Dunwoody, James Smith and Jacob Wood were Commissioners.
In 1823 torrential rains washed the dormitory into the river, leaving a ravine which can still be seen. The school never recovered.
(Ga 99 at Crescent.)

John Houston McIntosh
John Houston McIntosh, son of George McIntosh, was born at Rice Hope, May 1, 1773.
When a young man, he settled in East Florida and became a leader of the U.S. citizens living there. He was appointed "Governor or Director of the Republic of Florida" in 1812. After a stormy career in Florida, he returned to Georgia, and in 1818 served in the Seminole War as General in the Militia.
In 1825, he began intensive cultivation of sugar cane on his plantation in Camden County, and there installed the first horizontal sugar mill ever worked by cattle power.
(US 17 (Ga 25) about one mile north of Eulonia.)

Fort Barrington
Fort Barrington, about twelve miles West of here on the Altamaha River, was built in 1751. Lieut. Robert Baillie, in charge of construction, commanded the post for several years.
Named Fort Howe during the Revolution, the fort played a vital part in that War, guarding the most dangerous land pass on the Southern Frontier of Georgia. In constant peril from British forces and their Indian allies, the fort was the scene of several battles and skirmishes. Confederate troops were stationed on the site during the War Between the States. (Intersection of US 17 (Ga 25) and Ga 251 in Darien.)

Ardoch, fronting on the old Stage Road from Savannah to Darien where it traversed this Swamp, was the plantation home of the McDonalds from Colonial Days through the early 19th century.
During the Revolutionary War, members of this branch of the McDonald clan were Loyalists, as were many families of Coastal Georgia. In a skirmish fought in his home in Ardoch, only a short distance from this spot, Robert McDonald was killed in the presence of his wife and children, and the Ardoch house burned.
(US 17 (Ga 25) about six miles north of Darien.)

Old River Road
The River Road has changed but little in location since its beginning as a Military Route in 1739. Scottish Highlanders first marched over it on their way to invade Spanish Florida, and troops have used it in three wars - the War with Spain, the Revolution, and the War Between the States. As a civilian highway, this served first as the road to Fort Barrington and the Ferry, later as an important link in the old Macon to Darien highway, over which planters in their carriages, stage coaches, and riders carrying the U.S. Mail, travelled during the early 19th century.
(Intersection of US 17 (Ga 25) and Ga 251 in Darien.)

Fort Darien
Fort Darien, laid out by General James Edward Oglethorpe in 1736, was built on this first high bluff of the Altamaha river to protect the new town of Darien. It was a large fortification, with 2 bastions and 2 half bastions, and was defended by several cannon.
From the time of its settlement by Scottish Highlanders in 1736, until after the Battle of Bloody Marsh in 1742, the town of Darien was in constant danger from the Spaniards of Florida. Often for weeks at a time the Highland soldiers were absent from home on military campaigns, with only a few men left to guard the women and children who, for safety, lived within the walls of the fort. On several occasions the post was fired upon by Spaniards or their Indian allies.
After the War with Spain was ended, the fort, no longer needed, fell into ruins, but was rebuilt and armed during the Revolution, when it again saw action, this time against British forces.
(Fort King George Road in east edge of Darien.)

Mallow Plantation
This plantation was a Crown grant to Captain John McIntosh, a British Army officer who served in Florida during the War with Spain. Later, when this officer went into the Indian country, his brother the eccentric Captain Roderick (Rory) McIntosh, with their sister, Miss Winnewood McIntosh, occupied the home which was built upon this bluff in the 1760's. The exploits of the redoubtable Rory have filled pages of pre-Revolutionary Georgia history.
After the Revolution, Mallow became the property of Captain William McIntosh, a son of Captain John. He, too, was a British Army officer, and was the father of the Indian Chief, General William McIntosh. Early in the 19th century, Mallow was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Reuben King, and they were living here when the plantation was raided by forces from a Federal gunboat anchored in nearby Sapelo River, in November, 1862.
(River front in Pine Harbor.)

Rice Hope
Famous Rice and Indigo Plantation of Colonial and Revolutionary times. Rice Hope was the home of George McIntosh, son of John McIntosh Mohr of Darien, and brother of General Lachlan McIntosh. George McIntosh was Official Surveyor for St. Andrew's Parish, Member of the Commons House of Assembly, Member of the First Provincial Congress of Georgia, Member of the Council of Safety During the Revolution, the home of George McIntosh at Rice Hope was burned and his slaves and stock run off by the British.
(US 17 (Ga 25) about one mile north of Eulonia.)

Old Meeting House
Two hundreds yards west of this spot stood the "Old Meeting House", built before 1750 to serve the Scottish Presbyterians of the District of Darien. A landmark in Colonial days, it was in use until after the Revolutionary War, both as a church and as a meeting place for the citizens of St. Andrew's Parish on important occasions. It was here that the "Darien Committee" met on January 12, 1775, to choose their delegates to the Provincial Congress at Savannah, and to adopt the six Resolutions which are today among our treasured Revolutionary documents.
(US 17, 7.5 miles north of Darien.)

General's Island
This island was the property of General Larhlan McIntosh by a grant of 1758, and was the principal home of his family up to and during the early years of the Revolution. The island was in rice cultivation for many years.
In 1808, a Canal, called General's Cut, was dug through the Island to connect the Darien River with the middle branch of the Altamaha, "for convenience of the adjoining planters".
This Cut, located a short distance east of here, was later used to ferry between Darien and the southern plantations of the Delta.
(US 17 (Ga 25) 0.3 miles south of Darien.)

Old Court House
At Sapelo Bridge

Sapelo Bridge, on the old Savannah to Darien Road 200 yards east of this spot, was the seat of McIntosh County from 1793 to 1818. Here the Court House and other public buildings stood; here, too, were the Armory and Muster Ground for the McIntosh County Cavalry Troop, and here the Stage Coaches stopped to refresh the passengers and change horses.
(US 17 (Ga 25) near the south end of Sapelo Bridge.)

The site of the village of Jonesville, so named for its first settler, Samuel Jones, is about 6 miles West of this road. There, early in the Revolution, McGirth with British forces attacked a small garrison at Moses Way's stockade and a fierce battle took place, ending in the defeat of McGirth. In 1843, a Congregational Church was chartered at Jonesville, with Nathaniel Varnedoe, Wm. Jones and Moses L. Jones, Trustees. The village became a refuge for women, children and invalids from the Coast when that area was blockaded by Federal gunboats during the War Between the States.
(US 17 (Ga 25) at Ga 131 W in South Newport.)

This is Darien, in the heart of the historic Altamaha delta region. Settled in 1736, by Scottish Highlanders under John McIntosh Mohr, it was named for the ill-fated settlement on the Isthmus of Panama. The first military parade in Georgia was held in Darien, February 22, 1736, when Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe reviewed the Highland Company in full regalia, with claymores, side arms and targes. The Highland Company supported Oglethorpe in all his campaigns, and won everlasting fame on the field of Bloody Marsh. During the Revolution, Darien men again came to the front - Gen. Lachlan McIntosh, Col. Wm. McIntosh and Col. John McIntosh were among the heroes of that War. In 1818 the City of Darien was chartered, and became the County Seat. The Bank of Darien, chartered in 1818, was the strongest Bank south of Philadelphia, with branches in 7 Georgia cities. Huge mills sawed into lumber millions of feet of timber rafted down the river. Darien was one of the great ports of the Eastern Seaboard. It was burned in 1863 by Northern troops stationed on St. Simon's Island. Rebuilt in the 1870's, Darien again became a great port, and the mills sawed lumber to be shipped all over the world. Depletion of the forests brought this era to an end in the early 1900's.
(US 17 (Ga 25) in Darien near the bridge.)

South Newport
Baptist Church

This Church was organized by the Rev. Charles 0. Screven at Harris Neck, 7 miles West of here, during the early 1800's. As the Harris Neck Baptist Church, it was admitted to the Sunbury Baptist Association November 12,1824.
In the early 1830's, the Church was moved to this site and became the South Newport Baptist Church. On December 9, 1841, the South Newport Baptist Church was chartered, the Trustees named: Charles W. Thorpe, Gideon B. Dean, Thomas K. Gould, William J. Cannon, Henry J. White. The present edifice is the second erected on this site.
(US 17 (Ga 25) at Ga 131-E in south Newport.)

Confederate Post In 1864
Near this spot, Company F of the Third South Carolina Cavalry, Lieut. W. L. Mole commanding, was stationed during the summer of 1864. The Company was on Patrol duty, guarding the Coast of McIntosh County.
On the night of August 18th, the post was attacked by Federal Troops coming up the South Newport River. Of Company F, less than 20 men escaped death or capture. Five civilian prisoners were taken also, and the Bridge over the South Newport River was burned.
(US 17 (Ga 25) in south Newport, near the bridge.)

Capture of 23 Old Men in 1864
Near here, in Ebenezer Church, 23 old men were captured by Federal troops on the night of August 3rd, 1864. These civilians, too old for military service, were the sole protection of McIntosh County, which was constantly being plundered by forces from blockade gunboats.
Advised of the meeting by spies, Federal troops surrounded the church in the darkness and opened fire. The old men were captured and marched overland to Blue and Hall Landing near Darien, where they were put on board ship and taken to Northern prisons.
(US 17 (Ga. 25) about 8.5 miles north of Darien.)

Old Belleville or Troup Cemetery
Within these walls are buried Captain Troup, British Naval officer, and his wife, Catherine McIntosh Troup. They were the parents of George M. Troup, Governor of Georgia 1823-1827; U.S. Senator 1829-1833. It was on this plantation that George M. Troup spent his early boyhood.
Ten other graves lie within this enclosure; the inscriptions on the marble slabs which marked them were effaced by time before 1850.
(At Belleville on Sapelo River, 1.5 miles east of Crescent.)

Birthplace of John McIntosh Kell
Laurel Grove, at the end of this avenue, was the birthplace of John McIntosh Kell, 1823-1900, distinguished Naval officer. He was a member of the expedition of Commodore Matthew C. Perry to Japan in 1853, and was Master of the flagship Mississippi on the homeward cruise. When Georgia seceded from the Union, John McIntosh Kell resigned his commission to join the Confederacy. He was Executive Officer of the Sumter; then of the Alabama throughout her brilliant career on the seas, and in her final battle with the Kearsarge off Cherbourg. Later in life, John McIntosh Kell served for several years as Adjutant General of the State of Georgia.
(Ga 99 near the northeast edge of Darien.)

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