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Looking at our past 22 years ago
A Historic Effingham Society tour from 1989
Ech 4-15-11 H. L. Sonny Zittrouer
Contemplation of the past was a common theme during Historic Effinghams trek last week (April 1989). Here Henry L. Sonny Zittrouer studies a stone in the Goldwire Cemetery at Mt. Pleasant. - photo by Photo provided

The Herald dated April 26, 1989, shows activity of Historic Effingham Society 22 years ago with no author on article:

Historic Effingham Tours County’s past

The long line of cars snaked its way deeper into the woods Thursday and the group of about 100 people drove toward an encounter with Effingham’s past.

They were braving the threat of rain on the way to the site of Mt. Pleasant — a fort which, during the early colonial era, stood on a bluff overlooking the Savannah River.

Earlier that morning, the group had toured Old Ebenezer, the original home of the Salzburgers during the 1730s.  They had also visited the old settlement of Bethany off GA Hwy 119; they stopped by Sisters Ferry and later visited another Ferry at Tuckasee King.

It rained but that did not deter them, “We just kept right on going, and we had a group of people who were so congenial,” said Julia Exley Rahn, a member of Historic Effingham Society and the organizer of the field trip.

Historic Effingham was formed in 1986 to pick up where the Salzburger Society leaves off, and there is actually a great deal of overlap in the two groups. “We’ve seen so much get away (old buildings, etc.), and this way you don’t have to belong to the Salzburgers,” Rahn said.  Historic Effingham was formed so that people may remember “life like it used to be before Ft. Howard,” she said.

Almost all of the tour locations were on what today is private property.  “I think the people should be aware of what’s going on in the county,” Rahn said.

The group rode by the Old Mallory’s Store “where everybody bought groceries” during the early 1800s, Rahn said.

At almost every site they listened to presentations like the one M. C. Jaudon, the present owner and occupant of Old Ebenezer, made at his home.  Jaudon described the leadership of Pastor Martin Bolzius, the founder of the colony which built the first school in Georgia. He recounted how Bolzius was reputed to have said that while Savannah had two pubs and no ministers, that Ebenezer (for it was not Old Ebenezer, yet) had two ministers and no pubs.

Following a lunch at Laurel Hill Lutheran Church, the group got into their cars and drove deep into the woods to find the old site of Mt. Pleasant.

Though it is on private property today, the site at various times has been an English trading post, and there was a garrison there during the early days of the Georgia colony.  Between 1719 and 1750, there was a Yuchee Indian village located there. The group listened as Dan Elliott, an archeologist who has dug for artifacts at the site, described how its layout evolved over the years.

As early as 1739, General Oglethorpe had 12 soldiers and there were as many as 80 horses at the “pretty substantial trading post” located “on the little peninsula here. “It has a lot of research potential here,” Elliott said.

For some like Leona Jones, the Mt. Pleasant site held personal memories. Her father-in-law, she recalled, would roll timber down into the Savannah River nearby. “There used to be only one or two roads coming in here,” she recalled, “and the trees have grown so.”

Carolyn Morgan also remembered, in the old days before the General Assembly passed fence laws, she said, the cows would roam freely and they “used to range up all in here.”

Near Mt. Pleasant there were the old Morel and Goldwire cemeteries bearing the names of the people who had worked and lived in the area which today — other than the grave stones — is marked only by trees and memory.

H. L. “Sonny” Zittrouer, past president and key member (pictured above) in establishing what now is Effingham Museum, passed away in March in Athens, after a long illness. The Historic Effingham Society wishes to extend our sympathy to his family and recognize his many contributions to this society. His wish was to see sufficient funds contributed or raised to complete his ancestral dwelling, the Zittrouer Seckinger House, now under reconstruction on the Living History Site.

Olde Effingham Days will be held Friday evening and Saturday. Our president, Richard Loper, says please visit Historic Effingham Museum and Living History Site beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. Please call 754-2170 to volunteer to help with our concessions, bake sale or as guides in our buildings and on the grounds. Come see the way things were “back in the old days.” Take a seat in the shade, listen to the music from pickers on the porch and enjoy some of the food we will be selling including old timey hash and rice.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: