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Georgia in Colonial America, 1540-1740

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  • Elizabeth Tyndall (1715 - 1796)
    Daughter of Robert & Margaret Gilbert. She Migrated from England with the Oglethorp Colony in 1735. Husband was lost at sea. She continued on with her son John and went to Georgia with Quakers. Eliza...
  • William Mears (1710 - 1739)
    William Mears was born in England in 1710. He came to America with Mr. Olethorp in 1735. He was lost at sea and left his widow, Elizabeth Gilbert and their son, John. The widow married Benjamin Tyudall...
  • Ralph (Abraham) de Ledesma (1733 - d.)
    First Jewish Child Born in Savannah, Georgia.
  • Hernando de Soto y Arias de Tinoco (c.1496 - 1542)
    Hernando de Soto (c.1496/1497–1542) was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who, while leading the first European expedition deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, was the fi...
  • Jacob Matthews (b. - 1742)
    Jacob Matthews ... had been an indentured servant [of Mary Musgrove's late husband John Musgrove]. Jacob was a colorful figure known as a critic of English authority, a successful planter, and a heavy ...

The coast of what is now the State of Georgia, from Savannah River as far as St. Andrews Sound, was known to the Spaniards as "the province of Guale" (pronounced Wallie), based on the indigenous peoples met by Hernando de Soto, the Spanish explorer, who first traveled parts of Georgia in 1540.

British claims later conflicted with those of Spain. After obtaining a royal charter, Gen. James Oglethorpe established the first permanent settlement in Georgia in 1733. In 1742, Oglethorpe defeated Spanish invaders in the Battle of Bloody Marsh. And thus began the Colonial American era.

This Project's scope is to explore and document the peoples from that first European contact through 1743, when William Stephens becomes President of Georgia.

To join, send a message to the project collaborators - and then bring your ancestor's profiles.


  • 1721: Colonel John BARNWELL, of South Carolina, builds Fort King George at the mouth of the Altamaha River. This is the first British settlement in what will be Georgia.
  • 13 Feb 1730: First written mention of Georgia. Earl of Egmont's journal. Georgia purchased Egmont's Journal of the Transaction of the Trustees for $16,000 in 1946. It is known as Georgia's birth certificate.
  • 17 Nov 1732: James Oglethorpe and the 114 chosen colonists embark on the Ann from Gravesend, England. Two children die on the voyage. Four are born.
  • 12 Feb 1733: English colonists led by James Oglethorpe founded Savannah, Georgia. General James Edward Oglethorpe sailed up the Savannah River with 144 English men, women and children and in the name of King George II chartered the Georgia Crown Colony. He created the town of Savannah, based on a grid of streets around six large squares.
  • 6 Apr 1733: The death of Dr. William COX is the first recorded English death in Georgia.
  • 8 Jan 1734: The Purrysburg sailed from Dover, England carrying 73 new Georgia colonists. Of the group, most were German Lutherans who had fled persecution in the Catholic region of Salzburg, which was located between Bavaria and upper Austria. This was the first of three shiploads of Salzburgers that would settle in Georgia.
  • 10 Jan 1736: The Prince of Wales arrived at Savannah. Aboard were Hugh MACKAY and a group of Highlanders he had recruited in Scotland to erect a settlement on Barnwell Bluff on the north banks of the mouth of the Altamaha River. Here, near the site where Fort King George had been built 15 years earlier, the Highlanders laid out what would become known as Darien.
  • Oct 1739: England declares war on Spain.
  • 15 Apr 1741: Trustees divide Georgia into two counties: Savannah and Frederica. William STEPHENS is appointed president of Savannah at a salary of £80 per year.
  • 7 Jul 1742: A Spanish force invading Georgia ran headlong into the colony's British defenders. A handful of British and Spanish colonial troops faced each other on a Georgia coastal island and decided the fate of a colony. General James Edward Oglethorpe led a victory over the Spanish at Bloody Marsh on St. Simons Island off the coast of Georgia.
  • 25 Jul 1742: First Thanksgiving Day in Georgia.
  • 11 Jul 1743: William Stephens becomes President of Georgia