You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Come and take it!” But, did you know that it’s attributed to a historic moment that a Coastal South town resisted more than 500 British troops?
P/C Explore Georgia
The people of Sunbury didn’t just build an extremely successful port, they also wanted to make it impenetrable against the Creek Indians and, later, the British. How? They fortified their properties with earthworks (imagine an M. Night Shyamalan-style Village).
Sunbury’s substantial defense included Fort Morris. In 1778, when the British demanded the fort and town’s surrender, Sunbury’s defiant Col. John McIntosh replied, “Come and take it!”
The British withdrew back to Florida. Forty-five days later, they gathered more forces and returned. On January 9, 1779, Fort Morris was bombarded and fell shortly after.
However, the citizens of Sunbury were undeterred. After the Revolution, they renamed their fort as “Fort Defiance” and used it against the British again during 1812.
Aside from the earthworks, the only remaining feature of the ghost town is the Sunbury Cemetery. Only 34 grave markers have survived, however, there are numerous depressions in the ground – indicating that many more people are buried there. The oldest stone dates back to 1788, but prior to this, it was also common to use wood markers (which eventually decomposed).
If you’re an outdoors-person or gardener, you may have heard butterflies being referred to as a proverbial “canary in the mine.” For instance, for unknown centuries, the yearly Monarch migration flies down our coast, heading south to survive the winter in warmer climates. However, Monarch & other butterfly populations in the Coastal South have dramatically declined over recent decades. This has been attributed to loss of habitat and increased pesticide use.
How can you help? Plant milkweed!
While a variety of butterflies enjoy milkweed, Monarch butteries are 100% dependent on a this group of plants to support their young. Adult Monarchs can eventually sip nectar from a variety of flowers, but their caterpillars can only eat the leaves of milkweeds.
AVOID (considered parasitic):
Ghost. Lost. Dead. These are the words associated with the town of Sunbury, Georgia. And, it is quite literally the ghost of a town. There’s nothing there. No surviving buildings. No ruins. Almost no visible evidence that the colonial town ever existed – though it was once one of the most popular coastal south towns in our nation’s history.
While visiting Sunbury in 1773, famed naturalist William Bartram described the town: “There are about one hundred houses in the town neatly built of wood frame having pleasant piazzas around them. The inhabitants are genteel and wealthy, either merchants or planters from the Country who resort here in the Summer and Autumn, to partake of the salubrious sea breeze, bathing and sporting on the Sea Islands.”
Posts are a combination of my own research, visits, and conversations, plus various information found around the web. I try to provide sources, but if you have specific questions, feel free to ask!