Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Pre-Revolutionary Savannah and my birthday new release GIVEAWAY!


James Oglethorpe
by Denise Weimer

Savannah is Georgia’s oldest and arguably best-loved town—and the setting for the newly released fourth book in my Scouts of the Georgia Frontier Series, A Conflicted Betrothal. Savannah was founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe and laid out in wards built around central squares. The Georgia trustees envisioned that in the thirteenth and last colony, English debtors working as yeoman farmers would support Savannah’s business class.

James Wright became the governor of Georgia in 1760, beginning the decade of my novel’s setting. While loyal to the king, Wright farmed his own lands acquired through grants, completed the palisades around Savannah, and strengthened the area forts. The upper and lower houses of the colonial assembly worked together to promote economic growth.

James Wright
In the 1760s, Savannah’s importance as a trade city grew. Coasting vessels stopped here on their route between the West Indies, Charleston, and New England, and of course, Georgia imported numerous goods from the mother country while exporting deer skins, rice, indigo, naval stores, and lumber products to England and the West Indies.

Let’s take a bird’s-eye view of Savannah’s six squares at that time.

Working east to west along the river, we begin with Fort Halifax on the site of the original Trustees’ Garden and then Fort Oglethorpe, completed in 1760 of planks with a caponiere at each corner. In 1761, there were thirty royal rangers (such as the hero in my novel) and sixteen British regulars stationed here. Indian trade presents were secured in the King’s Storehouse. Farther along the riverfront were the offices and warehouses of fledging factors, such as Harris & Habersham, and the public dock and wharf.

On the east nearest the river, Reynolds Square was laid out in 1734 as Lower New Square, and this was where Methodist circuit-riding preacher John Wesley had his home. There was a 1759 powder magazine, a 1760 council house, and the 1759 filature house built by liberty-loving tavern owner Peter Tondee. Here silkworms were nurtured to produce fine silk thread.

Johnson Square was the largest, home of Derby Ward, Savannah’s first neighborhood, the public mill and oven, the House for Strangers, and Christ Church, completed in 1750.

Christ Church
Current-day Ellis Square would have been known as Decker Square or Market Square during the 1760s, since it was renamed between 1757 and 1770. The public market buzzed here under the steeple of 1759 Independent Presbyterian Church.

Situated to the east behind Reynolds Square, Oglethorpe Square was laid out in 1742 as Upper New Square. It was home to first governor of Georgia, John Reynolds, and Gerard de Brahm, a naturalist, engineer, and navigator who with Henry Yonge established the nearby town of Ebenezer for German immigrants, constructed area forts, and mapped South Carolina, Georgia, and the coastal area.

To the west, Percival Square was renamed Wright Square in 1763 to honor Georgia’s third royal governor. Tomochichi, the native leader and friend of James Oglethorpe who assisted in founding the colony, was buried here. Site of the 1759 prison and guardhouse, Wright Square is also known as the hanging square, since executions were carried out here.

Finally, St. James Square yet a bit farther west was a fashionable place to live in pre-Revolutionary Georgia. Governor Wright maintained his residence at the northwest edge.

Join me next month as I share about the Stamp Act protests that erupted in Savannah in 1765. 

And check out my new release, A Conflicted Betrothal, Book Four of the Scouts of the Georgia Frontier, https://www.amazon.com/Conflicted-Betrothal-Scouts-Georgia-Frontier-ebook/dp/B0CRF911PD/.

When Savannah erupts into protests following the passage of the Stamp Act, Georgia Royal Ranger Ansel Anderson is summoned from his frontier post to provide intelligence to his father’s friend, a Loyalist judge. To obtain the land grant he needs, he’s also to court the man’s daughter, an ardent Patriot. Patience Scott has no intention of letting herself fall for a sworn King’s Man…until anonymous letters threatening those loyal to the governor corner her into agreeing to a betrothal. But will their attraction to each other survive their conflicting loyalties? 

Today is my birthday! How about I offer you a present? If you'd like to be entered to win an e-book copy, comment below on what you find intriguing about early Savannah or A Conflicted Betrothal, or check out the other books in the series on Amazon and share which one stands out to you the most.

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance from her home in North Georgia and also serves as a freelance editor and the Acquisitions & Editorial Liaison for Wild Heart Books. A wife and mother of two daughters, she always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.

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  1. Denise I sm adoring this series so far. Each one captures the historical essence of setting and time. Savannah sounds like a well-planned city, taking full advantage of the commerce around them. Enter me in the drawing please. Cindy Huff

  2. Sounds like a fun read. I love the fashions of the day and I enjoy learning about life in the south - especially in such an important port city.

  3. This book sounds interesting.

    1. You are the winner of the ebook drawing, but Denise needs for you to contact her, please, since she doesn't have another way to connect with you. thanks

  4. Thank you for posting today. Happy Birthday!!

  5. Hi readers, Denise can't reply here but she is reading your comments and will select a giveaway winner in the next couple of days.