We slept in a little this morning, and did some reading. After lunch we headed out to Pin Point Heritage Museum, which is devoted to the Gullah-Geechee culture of African-Americans along the coast. But when we got there we could not see any evidence of parking, so we turned around and came back to the RV. There was what appeared to be a walking path, not large enough to really be a road. Too bad, but with our big truck we can’t take chances.
In the evening we boarded the Georgia Queen Riverboat for a dinner journey on the river. Unfortunately the day got very cold, and we both found it prudent to wear our winter coats. Thankfully, we did not have to go out on deck in the cold, and didn’t. We did make the acquaintance of a couple from Argentina (Carolina and Alfredo), now living in the US, who are also traveling in an RV and are staying in a camp just down the road from where we are staying. We may get together with them later in our stay.
We saw what looked like a Wildlife Observation area with hiking paths just down the block from our RV park, but when we got there we discovered that the paths were all flooded. So we came back to the RV and made lunch, then headed out to the Moon River area where we toured Old Fort Jackson. This fort was named for a Revolutionary War hero named James Jackson. The fort is on the river at the narrowest point, from here it can fire on ships coming up river to the Savannah. During the Revolution it was mostly dirt mounds to provide some protection, but in 1808 the Federal Government reacted to increasing problems with the British, particularly impressment (kidnapping) of Americans as sailors for the British Navy, started a building program for forts at strategic points slong the coast. Fort Jackson was among them, and it received a brick structure facing the river, with wooden fortifications on the land side. Following the war of 1812, they rebuilt the land side using brick as well.
It happened to be Super Museum Sunday in Georgia, so admission was free. And they had men in period costume from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War to do demonstrations. A lot of it involved firing muskets and cannons, but the Civil War soldier also did a demonstration of signaling flags. The Fort remains in good condition because in fact it was never attacked, which may be testament to how well it was placed.
After visiting the fort we drove a short distance to the Bonaventure Cemetery, where for Super Museum Sunday the Bonaventure Historical Society was giving free tours. This was far more interesting than you might suspect. Our guide was a local historian, and used the cemetery as a prop to get at the stories of the interesting people of Savannah. The cemetery was built on the grounds of what had once been a plantation, and it became the place where all of the top people in Savannah wanted to be buried, so there were some very interesting grave markers. One of them is Johnny Mercer, who our guide called the most famous person from Savannah that no one under 35 has ever heard of. He was of course a brilliant lyricist of songs such as Skylark and Days of Wine and Roses, but one of his more famous songs was of course Moon Ríver, his home area in Savannah. Another grave, quite plain, was of a man named Richard Arnold, M.D. He ws the mayor of Savannah when Sherman was approaching Savannah. Sherman had about 60,000 troops, and there were about 10,000 Confederate troops to oppose him. Sherman decided to bypass Savannah temporarily and went about 20 miles south to Fort McAllister, which he proceeded to take quite easily. This opened up the Ogeechee River to Federal Gunboats, and Mayor Arnold saw this and realized the war had been lost to the Confederates, so he approached Shermanś forces with the white flag of surrender. That is the only reason Savannah survived to this day. Instead of burning down the city, he made it a present to President Lincoln.
Another interesting grave with a story was that of Mary Telfair. She inherited the family fortune when her brothers died, and decided to keep it by not getting married. She had one relative, a niece, who she cut out of her life when the niece first married, at age 12, an unemployed man, and then compounded the offence by divorcing him two years later. Mary was smarter and better educated than most of the men around her, and would often argue with them about the questions of the day. In her old age she decided to leave a legacy, and in her will endowed a number of institutions, such as museums, libraries, and a hospital for women. The hospital was notable because it wwas not only for women, it was run by women. In fact, no man was allowed inside. If a woman went here to give birth, and it was a girl, they could stay as long as they needed to, but if it was son, three days maximum. The niece was totally disinherited. She had in the meantime married into a wealthy family, and they had the resources to contest the will. They used the fact that men were not allowed in the running of the hospital to claim that Mary was mad, and prevailed in the initial trial. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before Mary’s will was finally upheld.
So while this was ostensibly just a tour of a cemetery, it was really a social history of Savannah, and quite fascinating. I’d recommend it highly.
Today we met up with Carolina and Alfredo for dinner at their RV, so in the morning we relaxed, and in the afternoon went to do some shopping. They were planning to cook some meat on the grill, so we bought some vegetables to cook on the grill to go with it. We started outside and built a fire, but it was really too cold so we moved inside to their kitchen area. We had a nice dinner and some nice socializing, but we were up a lot later than we are used to. Still it was nice making friends on the road.
We slept in a bit after our late night, and after lunch went for a walk. We first went to the creek behind the RV Park, which was quite swollen, then went across the street to walk on what looked like an abandoned road. It took us to a pond, and just past the pond a couple of buildings that had no trespassing signs that suggested maybe the pond was feeding drinking water to Savannah. We walked down the road a bit further, then came back and walked around the pond. That was the extent of our activity this day.
Savannah to Charleston 20230208
Another travel day. After breakfast we packed up the RV and drove for about 2 hours to Lake Aire RV Park just outside of Charleston, South Carolina. It seems like a nice park and a good base of operations. Unfortunately we have several days of rainy weather in the forecast, but tomorrow looks finer. It is warm enough here that I am back in shorts and a T-shirt. We did a little shopping and then compiled our list of things to do in Charleston.