rice and specie and maybe gunpowder for Boston — Georgia State Quarter Coin

Today, the Georgia State Quarter Coin remembers when the men gathered supplies and money for the distressed people of Boston and the surrounding area.

On June 1, 1775, rice and specie headed north on a ship out of Savannah to help the people of Massachusetts.

From The History of Georgia by Charles Colcock Jones, published in 1883:

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The magazine at the eastern extremity of Savannah, built of brick and sunk some twelve feet underground, contained a considerable supply of ammunition. So substantial was this structure that Governor Wright deemed it useless to post a guard for its protection.

The excited Revolutionists all over the land cried aloud for powder. Impressed with the necessity of securing the contents of this magazine for future operations, quietly assembling and hastily arranging a plan of operations, Dr. Noble W. Jones, Joseph Habersham, Edward Telfair, William Gibbons, Joseph Clay, John Milledge, and some other gentlemen, most of them members of the council of safety and all zealous in the cause of American liberty, at a late hour on the night of the 11th of May, 1775, broke open the magazine and removed therefrom about six hundred pounds of gunpowder.

A portion was sent to Beaufort, South Carolina, for safekeeping, and the rest was concealed in the garrets and cellars of the houses of the captors.

Upon ascertaining the robbery, Governor Wright immediately issued a proclamation offering a reward of £150 sterling for the apprehension of the offenders.

It elicited no information on the subject, although the actors in the matter are said to have been well known in the community.

The popular heart was too deeply stirred, and the “Sons of Liberty” were too potent to tolerate any hindrance or annoyance at the hands of Royalist informers.

The tradition lives, and is generally credited, that some of the powder thus obtained was forwarded to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was actually expended by the patriots in the memorable battle of Bunker Hill.

We know that the liberty loving citizens of Savannah, on the 1st of June, 1775, deeply moved by the distresses which the Bostonians were experiencing from the enforcement of the “late acts of a cruel and vindictive Ministry,” and ardently desiring that the noble stand they had taken in the defense of those rights to which as men and British subjects they were entitled might be crowned with success, transmitted by the Juliana, Captain Stringham, and under the special conduct of John Eaton LeConte, Esq., sixty-three barrels of rice and one hundred and twenty-two pounds sterling in specie for the relief of such as had recently left the town of Boston.

It is not improbable that the powder in question may have been forwarded in some such way at an earlier day.

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The Historical Collections of Georgia by George White, published in 1855, contained the contents of the letter sent by Noble Jones accompanying the rice and specie:

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To the Committee of Donations, Boston, Massachusetts. Savannah, June 1, 1775.

Gentlemen: — Although the inhabitants of Georgia have unfortunately drawn on themselves the censure of her sister colonies, by not adopting those measures which the wisdom of the General Congress has pointed out for the preservation of the liberties of America, yet we flatter ourselves you will believe there are many among us who sincerely espouse the great cause contended for by you; and who ardently wish that the noble stand you have made in defense of those rights to which, as men and British subjects, we are entitled, may be crowned with success.

The distresses our brethren must unavoidably experience by enforcement of the late acts of a cruel and vindictive ministry, deeply affect us.

The unhappy divisions amongst us have hitherto prevented our contributing to their support; but we have now the pleasure to transmit you by the Juliana, Captain Stringham, bound to New York, a small contribution of sixty-three barrels of rice and one hundred and twenty-two pounds sterling, in specie, under the care of John Eaton Le Conte, Esq., which we desire you will please appropriate towards the relief of those who have lately left the town of Boston.

We hope soon to be enabled by our friends, who reside at a distance from Savannah, to send you a further token of our regard for you and those whose misfortunes must increase with the oppressive measures now pursued by the administration against America.

I have the honor to be, on behalf of the contributors, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,

N. Jones.

To the Gentlemen, Committee for receiving Donation) for the Distressed Inhabitants of Boston.

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The Georgia State Quarter Coin shows with an artist’s image of Noble Jones.

Georgia State Quarter Coin

 

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