Friday, October 16, 2015

Ebenezer Creek Paddle

I am trying to do this on my ipad and have missed some photos and formatting....  But I am traveling with only the ipad, no laptop, so I am a little limited...  


Yesterday, six of us set out to explore Ebenezer Creek, a pristine waterway west of Savannah, known for its bald cypress with huge trunks at their base.  It was a perfect day for paddling, clear skies, highs in the upper 70s.  We put in at Tommy Long Landing and paddled a little over 3 miles down to the Savannah River where we stopped for lunch just downstream of the confluence.  This was a site of an Salzberger community that settled this area in the 1730s.  The Salzbergers were Lutherans from Southern Germany and in the early 18th Century given a choice to convert back to Catholicism, to die or to flee.  They chose the latter and signed up with Oglethorpe who was trying desperately to populate his new colony of Georgia.  Seeing an opportunity at hand, Oglethorpe decided to place the Germans as a buffer between Savannah and the Creek Indians.  There is still an active church in the community, which they say is the oldest building in use in Georgia.  
The steeple is topped with a swan, which has a bullet hole which supposedly came from a Union soldier setting his sights on his gun during the Civil War.  The swam came from a reference to John Hus, an early Reformer from Prague, who supposedly said as he was being burned at the stake for heresy in the 15th Century that he would return as a swan.  Many Lutheran followers saw Luther as the swan who had come back to reform the church.

This is the site of the Old Savannah Road, where a tragedy (or an atrocity) occured in the Civil War.  One of the Union flanks was heading toward Savannah and being hindered by a large following of freed slaves.  The commanding General Jefferson Davis, who ironically shared the name with the Southern President, ordered his soldiers to quickly cross the bridge and then to take it up so that they could be freed by the large group of freed slaves.  Behind Davis' troops was a Confederate calvary who, when approaching, the slaves panicked and jumped into the water.  No one knows just how many drowned.  Accounts range from a dozen or so, to hundreds, to even a  thousand.  

The Savannah River is pretty muddy after all the rain

We had lunch along the banks of the Savannah River and then, thanks to one of our numbers being a Lutheran pastor, we were met by his colleague at the old church for a tour.  In the afternoon, we paddled back to our vehicles for a drive back through Savannah during traffic. 


I'm heading up to North Carolina for the weekend.  Tonight I will attend a football game for my high school and tomorrow I'll be at a class reunion--my first in 3 decades!  What do you have as plans for the weekend?

37 comments:

  1. It's nice to know the history of that area. That was definitely a tragedy regarding the slaves. Nice pictures!

    Enjoy your class reunion!

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    1. It was fun and thanks, Sherry, for sharing the youtube clip of your recital. You are so talented!

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  2. A spectacular place no doubt. Thanks for sharing and best wishes!

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  3. Lovely photos that you shared, and thanks for sharing such interesting and yet sad history, as so happens with most civil war stories. You are going to have so much fun with your weekend, and catching up with old classmates how wonderful and scary at the same time. My goodness that's a gap in years! My weekend will consist of catching up since my trip to Alabama but I know my thoughts will wander back to my family I spent time with just last week, and our exciting quick visit to Nashville that was cool in so many ways. Enjoy your time and get some photos to share!

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    1. I had a good time, not only seeing old friends but being with my parents and brother.

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  4. I'll bet everyone will be happy to see you at the reunion! Have a super weekend!

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    1. It was a good reunion but less than 10% of the class came back! but we did have a big class with well over 700 folks graduating

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  5. Beautiful. Looks like some of the places around here. Got a love a creek named Ebeneezer.

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    1. It is also interesting to have a German settlement here in Georgia (at least the state wasn't only started by convicts from England)

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  6. Your weekend plans are much more interesting than mine. I'll probably be cleaning our cook top.

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    1. wanna come do mine? It was a good weekend.

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  7. That second photo, top to bottom, is incredible. Love it. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  8. Your pictures are beautiful! The trees are so majestic...then I think about the Civil War story and it's so sad.

    Nice post!

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    1. That was not sarcastic! I like it when there's something beautiful (the pictures), some info (the story), and something to think deeper about (the loss of life). To me, that is the perfect post.

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    2. Thanks, and I didn't take it as sarcastic (of which I'm the king of)

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  9. Have a good trip back. I'd be a bit mixed about attending one TBT. And it looks like you had a brilliant trip through the swamp :-).

    After Westphalia, the agreement was things reverte back to Augsburg where the ruler decided the religion of his state. They weren't really being targeted, the same would've occurred in the Calvinist states with Lutherans and Catholics and in the Lutheran states to the other two. Those guys weren't too badly off, relatively speaking, during an era that saw ethnic cleansing as a tool of state. At least they had some-place to go within Germany(HRE). The Anabaptists, now these guys had reason. Your guys, as the mafia says it was only business, not personal.
    And the swan is a theme, a very ancient one, long before Hus. The Sagas dealing with Lir explain the return notion, but they are used as a metaphor of return.

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    1. I agree, the Anabaptist did get the short end of the stick...

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  10. Nice pictures! Your comments on the Old Savannah Road reminded me of a book I read not to long ago on Sherman's March and the story about the slaves. Someday I have always thought I would like to retrace Sherman's march to get a flavor of the old south and trace the lives of several ancestors who were on it.

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    1. Was the book "The March"? If so, I am reading it now.

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  11. I should mention that I would do it in a car and I would burn and pillage along the way!

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    1. And we'd probably treat you like Sherman should have been treated! I think you left out an 'n't after would! lol (or maybe you didn't!)

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  12. Those pictures are awesome. Burned at the stake, eh? That is awful. What a way to go. ::shudder::

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    1. Yeah, it was kind of a common way to silence dissenters.

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  13. High school reunion? You are far braver than I am, I have avoided those functions like the plague. Far too many skeletons in my high school closet I do not want my wife to know about.

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    1. Interestingly, or thankfully, none of my ex's showed up!

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  14. What a beautiful spot. That last image is just gorgeous.

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    1. There is something about black water and reflections!

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  15. Always fun to read about your adventures here and places to paddle about!

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    1. Thanks, Michael, glad you enjoyed the adventure.

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  16. My Alligators Overhead would love Ebenezer Creek. I love it! Are there alligators there? It looks as if it's a perfect place to "discover" one or two. Besides, I love the name Ebenezer. Sadly, it has fallen out of favor.

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    1. Yes, there are alligators but the water is so high now that we didn't see any. You can look back at my Okefenokee trips to see plenty of gators. The name is neat but interestingly, they spell it with one less "e" than spell-check!

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  17. Beautiful. Makes me want to grab a Kayak and go fishing.

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  18. I love cypress trees. I'd go paddling just so I could take a ton of pictures of them. :)

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  19. Wonderful photos and I love all of the local lore you shared along with them, too.

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  20. Hope that reunion was fun!

    You do live in a most enchanted place.

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