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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / South
  • Language:English
  • Pages:918
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543930153

Early Days On the Georgia Tidewater, A New Revised Edition

by Buddy Sullivan

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A comprehensive review of the history of McIntosh County on the Georgia coast from 1526 to the present, with special emphasis on the sea islands of Sapelo and St. Simons and the tidewater communities of Darien, Brunswick, Harris Neck, and lower Liberty County. The story includes rice plantations of the antebellum period, barrier island cotton and sugar cane cultivation, the post-Civil War timber and lumber industry, the 20th century commercial shrimping and oyster industry, and the preservation of the sea islands by the influence of northern capital which laid the groundwork for future conservation efforts.
Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater: A New Revised Edition represents a complete recasting of a book issued under the same title by the author in 1990, and reprinted five times since, each time with new material. Buddy Sullivan is a leading coastal Georgia historian and lecturer with 20 titles to his credit, including Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island (2017) and the ecologically-focused Environmental Influences on Life & Labor in McIntosh County, Georgia (2018). This new version of Early Days incorporates into a single narrative all of the material in the original version of the book, in addition to considerable new information based on the author's more recent historical research. Additionally, the new Early Days has been reformatted with improved chapter sequence and content to provide a smoother, more continuous, narrative flow. In essence, the revised edition is a completely new book that will be of improved utility to researchers, students, and the general reader. Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater is a comprehensive history of Sapelo Island, Darien and McIntosh County, Georgia. It covers the full scope of local history: early settlement by Guale Indians, Spanish missionaries and English colonists; the prosperous rice and cotton economy of the region during the antebellum plantation era—built on the labors of enslaved people; Civil War events, including the controversial burning of Darien; the timber industry, and associated international shipping activity that made Darien a leading center for the export of pine lumber; and the impact of millionaires, scientists and resident African Americans on the 20th century history of Sapelo Island. The revised edition of Early Days tells the story of the area's Geechee settlements of Sapelo, Harris Neck and Darien in the years from the end of the Civil War to the 20th century. The author's thematic approach to Early Days is that of establishing the important connection between the ecology of the area with its history. This recurring theme will be apparent throughout the book, particularly in the analysis of just how people utilized the environmental circumstances so unique to their region and adapted them to virtually every aspect of their lives and livelihood for 300 years. Early Days is thus a story of land use and how ecological conditions affected the economic development of the region. Of equal significance is the use people have made of the local tidal waterways and fresh-water river systems, another thematic approach that gives Early Days a distinctly maritime flavor.
About the author
Buddy Sullivan, a fourth-generation McIntosh Countian, has written about the history, culture and ecology of coastal Georgia for almost forty years. He is the author of sixteen books and monographs and is in frequent demand as a lecturer on a variety of historical topics. He is a recipient of the Governor's Medal in the Humanities from the Georgia Humanities Council in recognition of his literary and cultural contributions to the state. Sullivan's books include Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island; Georgia: A State History, and two comprehensive local histories, Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater, and From Beautiful Zion to Red Bird Creek. The latter volume received the Georgia Historical Society's Lilla M. Hawes Award for Georgia's outstanding work of local history. In addition, he has written several books on nineteenth century agriculture, focusing on rice cultivation and plantation management, and High Water on the Bar, covering the economic and maritime aspects of the post-Civil War coastal lumber industry. His published monograph, The First Conservationists? Northern Money and Lowcountry Georgia, 1866-1930, was read at an important 2016 symposium, "Coastal Nature, Coastal Culture: Environmental Histories of the Georgia Coast." Sullivan is a contributor to the online New Georgia Encyclopedia, and the University of Georgia Press volume, The New Georgia Guide. He managed the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve from 1993 to 2013 and is now an independent consultant.