“behaved well and made a pretty appearance” — Georgia State Quarter Coin

Today, the Georgia State Quarter Coin remembers when the first militia mustered in Savannah on June 13, 1751 as a result of the first provincial assembly earlier in the year.

From The History of Georgia, Volume I, Aboriginal and Colonial Epochs by Charles Colcock Jones, published in 1883:

=====

In pursuance of the resolution adopted by the trustees in June, 1750, writs of election had been issued for the selection of delegates to a provincial assembly to convene at Savannah on the 15th of the following January.

Sixteen delegates composed that assembly, and they were “proportioned to the population of the different parishes or districts.”

For the convocation, apportionment, and qualification of these assemblymen, the following regulations were established by the common council.

The assembly was to convene in the town of Savannah once a year at such time as should be designated as most convenient by the president of the colony and his assistants, and remain in session not longer than one month.

Every town, village, or district in the province, containing a population of ten families, was empowered to send one deputy.

Any settlement embracing thirty families could appoint two delegates.

To the town of Savannah four deputies were allowed; to Augusta and Ebenezer two each; and to Frederica two, provided there were thirty families resident there.

As the privilege of enacting laws was, by charter, vested solely in the trustees, this assembly could not legislate.

Its powers were limited to discussing and suggesting to the trustees such measures as they might deem conducive to the welfare of particular communities and important for the general good of the province.

The assembly convened at Savannah on the day appointed, and organized by the election of Francis Harris as speaker.

The following members appeared, and, having taken the “oaths of allegiance, supremacy, and abjurgation” were duly seated: —

From the Savannah District: Francis Harris, speaker, John Milledge, William Francis, and William Russell. From the Augusta District: George Cadogan and David Douglass. From the Ebenezer District: Christian Reidlesperger and Theobald Keiffer. From Abercorn and Goshen Districts: William Ewen. From Joseph’s Town District: Charles Watson. From Vernonburg District: Patrick Houstoun. From Acton District: Peter Morell. From Little Ogeeehee District: Joseph Summers. From Skidaway District: John Barnard. From Midway District: Audley Maxwell, and From Darien District: John Mackintosh.

Noble Jones and Pickering Robinson were, by the president of the colony and his assistants, appointed a committee to inquire into the general condition of the province and to present a special report thereof to the assembly.

After an exchange of courtesies with Vice-President Parker, the assembly proceeded to business and, having deliberated some two weeks, submitted the following “heads of grievances” which they thought the president and his assistants were able to redress.

1st. The want of a proper pilot-boat.

2d. The want of leave to erect a building under the Bluff for the convenience of boats’ crews, negroes, etc, — such building to be erected by subscription.

3d. The want of standard weights, scales, and measures.

4th. The want of a survey of the river.

5th. The want of an order to prevent the masters of vessels from discharging ballast into the river.

6th. The want of a commissioner to regulate pilots and pilotage.

7th. The want of an inspector and sworn packer to inspect the produce of the colony.

8th. The want of a clerk of the market.

9th. The want of proper regulations for the guard.

10th. The want of suitable officers to command the militia.

11th. The want of repairs to the court-house.

To these suggestions the following answers were returned:

1st. The Board not having funds with which to purchase a substantial pilot-boat, this matter would be referred to the trustees.

2d. The Board would provide a location for the boat-house.

3d. The Board had already applied to the trustees for standard weights and measures, and hoped soon to be furnished with them.

4th. The Savannah River shall be surveyed so soon as the services of a competent party can be secured.

5th. A prohibitory order would be at once promulgated.

6th. This want would soon be supplied by the appointment of a suitable person.

7th. The appointment would be made without delay.

8th. A clerk should be named.

9th. Suitable regulations would be established.

10th. Competent officers would be commissioned.

11th. Materials had already been provided for these repairs and workmen designated to make them.

The assembly remained in session until the 8th of February, 1751, and, before adjourning, submitted an address and additional representations touching the magistracy, Indian affairs, the introduction of negroes, silk culture, the continuance of the charter, and other matters, all of which were forwarded for the consideration of the trustees.

Responding to the promise made to the assembly in their reply to the tenth representation, President Parker and his assistants, on the 16th of April, 1751, proceeded to organize and officer the militia of the province.

This action was all the more important because General Oglethorpe’s regiment having been disbanded, and there being but few military organizations within the limits of the plantation, the citizens were forced to rely upon themselves for police duty at home, and for the protection of the frontiers against any incursions of the Indians.

All adult white male inhabitants who possessed three hundred acres of land and more were ordered to appear, well accoutered and with horses, to be organized as cavalry.

White male proprietors of less property were armed as infantry.

The militia force was thus organized into four companies, one of horse and three of foot, numbering in all some three hundred men.

The first general muster in the lower districts was held at Savannah on Tuesday the 13th of June, 1751, when about two hundred and twenty men, infantry and cavalry, armed and equipped, paraded under the command of Captain Noble Jones.

In the language of the record of the day, they “behaved well and made a pretty appearance.”

=====

The Georgia State Quarter Coin shows with an image of a plan of the rivers and inlets near Savannah, circa 1751.

Georgia State Quarter Coin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *