Old Tomb at Frederica, St. Simons Island

Tomb at Fort Frederica, St. Simons Island, Georgia

This is a Curt Teich reproduction (number 38800-N) of what was originally a Curt Teich linen postcard, original production number unknown. Unfortunately, the dates of reproduction cards are not as well documented as the first runs; all I can say for sure is that the card was produced prior to 1952, as the stampbox denotes one-cent postage. The Georgia State Archives has a card from the original run:

Old Tomb at Frederica (Linen Card from Georgia Archives)

Unfortunately, they don’t list the production number and don’t have a scan of the back of the card for me to see the number; with the number, a few minutes of research would reveal the original publication date.

My card (the newer one) has a varnished finish on the front, but I hesitate to call it a photochrome postcard; the paper appears to have almost as much rag content as a typical linen card. It also looks as if, to make the new card, someone took a pair of scissors and cut the white border from an original card; the edges of the picture on mine are uneven.

Fort Frederica (and the accompanying colonial town of Frederica) was built to defend the colony of Georgia from the Spanish raids that took place from 1736 to 1748. Spain still owned Florida at the time, and the lands between Florida and and British South Carolina were known as the “Debatable Lands.” Georgia’s founder, James Oglethorpe, built and commanded the fort. In 1742, Oglethorpe and his men repulsed a Spanish attempt to retake St. Simons Island in what’s known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh, so named because the marsh ran red with the blood of Spanish soldiers. However, the Fort Frederica Association says that many of the British soldiers turned and ran at the sight of the Spanish, and that only seven Spanish soldiers were killed in the “battle.”

Here are some other tidbits from the association:

  • Fort Frederica’s soldiers bathed in the early morning before the alligators became active in the river.
  • The first lighthouse built on St. Simons Island, in 1810, was constructed from material scavenged from Fort Frederica.
  • Frederica’s barracks also served as a jail for prisoners of war and at least one prisoner of conscience: Christian Priber, a missonary who urged southeastern natives to become independant of the British government.
  • No one knows who was buried in Frederica’s burying ground, or even how many people were placed there.
  • Slavery was originally prohibited in the colony of Georgia. In 1749, Georgia’s Trustees legalized slavery.
  • The Georgia Trustees paid the passage fares for more than half of the original colonists, including those who were affluent.
  • Though Fort Frederica was obsolete by the American Revolution, her remaining guns were shipped up the coast for use at Fort Morris, near Sunbury, Georgia.
  • James Oglethorpe spent more time at Frederica than he did in Savannah.
  • The last time it snowed on St. Simons Island, Georgia was in 1989.
  • Two of the founders of Methodism, Charles and John Wesley, preached at colonial Frederica. Today Epworth By The Sea, a Methodist center, is located on St. Simons Island.
  • Frederica’s first residents came from England, Scotland, Germany, Swizerland, as well as Creek Indians of the Yamacraw tribe.
  • During colonial times in Georgia, Frederica’s residents hunted and ate alligator when food was scarce.
  • Frederica’s soldiers manned posts along the coast of Georgia including forts at Darien and on Cumberland Island.
  • John Houston, one of Georgia’s delegates to the Continental Congress, was a native of Frederica.
  • Frederica’s soldiers attacked the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida in 1740. The Castillo is also a National Park Service site.

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