General Oglethorpe helps Families link with past
May 11, 2012
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield hosted the 2012 Spring Cemetery and Historic Site visit, April 26, with nearly fifty members of the Fort Stewart Historical Communities Council and guests.
Fort Stewart Garrison Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin, greeted attendees at the beginning of the event and noted how important the event was in remembering the deep and rich past of the areas.
Historian Scott Hodges of History Through A Looking Glass, portraying Savannah's founding father, General James Oglethorpe, also joined the venture, which included visiting three of the installation's 60 historic cemeteries, and the Fort Stewart Museum.
Hodges explained how early colonist integrated into the area around Savannah and helped establish the first fort in the area, Fort Argyle in 1760, which was found with the eastern boundary of later day Fort Stewart. He explained how early settlers had many challenges aside from the Spanish to the South in Florida, which included not only communing with the local Native Americans but also surviving the hardships of a marshy environment.
As General Oglethorpe, Hodges explained the strategic significance of the area to attendees.
"One of our major concerns is the defense of our new colony," Hodges said. "Fort Argyle, west of Savannah, is a strategic link in our chain of security. It, along with other key outposts, is not only an early warning system, but insures our continued communication with the tribes of the Creek nation who are our allies and friends."
The strategic significance was not lost on many in attendances, who either lived in the area, or are descendants of those who did.
Those Families helped make a sacrifice as Congress acquired the land in 1940 to prepare the nation for World War II. The lands acquired were used to create Camp Stewart, which was then an Anti-Aircraft Training facility.
Stopping at Bragg, Gill and Green Bay Cemeteries, participants learned a little about their Families roots in the area, as well as how Fort Stewart's efforts to be good stewards of the area taking care of the historic sites, as well as ensuring the installation's mission in preparing units and Soldiers to deploy wherever and whenever their nation calls.
"My brother and I really enjoyed it, and learned a lot about Fort Stewart and Hinesville," said Richard Wheeler from Tampa Fla., adding that having General Oglethorpe along with the tour helped bring history to life.
Families remembered at Bragg, Gill and Green Bay Cemeteries included Bashlor, Blount, Bowens, Boykin, Bragg, Brown, Carter, Clark, Clifton, Conner, Cribbs, Davis, Dean, Downs, Futch, Gill, Goodson, Haymans, Jacobs, Lewis, Linton, McCallar, McCollar, McCollor, McLamb, Morgan, Myrick, Nevils, Obryan, Owens, Philips, Phillips, Preston, Roberts, Rushing, Sauls, Shuman, Sikes, Sims, Smith, Strickland, Stewart, Thompson, Waller, Waters, Webb, Wells, Williams, Williamson, Wise, and Zoucks.
Community members are encouraged to learn more about the area's history by visiting the Fort Stewart Web site at www.stewart.army.mil/dpw/PC_Cultural0Resources_Cemeteries.asp.