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Stories Of Georgia   By: (1848-1908)

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By Joel Chandler Harris

Copyright, 1896, by American Book Company


In preparing the pages that follow, the writer has had in view the desirability of familiarizing the youth of Georgia with the salient facts of the State's history in a way that shall make the further study of that history a delight instead of a task. The ground has been gone over before by various writers, but the narratives that are here retold, and the characterizations that are here attempted, have not been brought together heretofore. They lie wide apart in volumes that are little known and out of print.

The stories and the characterizations have been grouped together so as to form a series of connecting links in the rise and progress of Georgia; yet it must not be forgotten that these links are themselves connected with facts and events in the State's development that are quite as interesting, and of as far reaching importance, as those that have been narrated here. Some such suggestion as this, it is hoped, will cross the minds of young students, and lead them to investigate for themselves the interesting intervals that lie between.

It is unfortunately true that there is no history of Georgia in which the dry bones of facts have been clothed with the flesh and blood of popular narrative. Colonel Charles C. Jones saw what was needed, and entered upon the task of writing the history of the State with characteristic enthusiasm. He had not proceeded far, however, when the fact dawned upon his mind that such a work as he contemplated must be for the most part a labor of love. He felt the influence of cold neglect from every source that might have been expected to afford him aid and encouragement. He was almost compelled to confine himself to a bare recital of facts, for he had reason to know that, at the end of his task, public inappreciation was awaiting him.

And yet it seems to the present writer that every person interested in the growth and development of the republic should turn with eager attention to a narrative embodying the events that have marked the progress of Georgia. It was in this State that some of the most surprising and spectacular scenes of the Revolution took place. In one corner of Georgia those who were fighting for the independence of the republic made their last desperate stand; and if they had surrendered to the odds that faced them, the battle of King's Mountain would never have been fought, Greene's southern campaign would have been crippled, and the struggle for liberty in the south would have ended in smoke.

It is to illustrate the larger events that these stories have been written; and while some of them may seem far away from this point of view, they all have one common purpose and tend to one common end.



[Illustration: De Soto 014]

So far as written records tell us, Hernando de Soto and his companions in arms were the first white men to enter and explore the territory now known on the map as the State of Georgia. Tradition has small voice in the matter, but such as it has tells another story. There are hints that other white men ventured into this territory before De Soto and his men beheld it. General Oglethorpe, when he came to Georgia with his gentle colony, which had been tamed and sobered by misfortune and ill luck, was firmly of the opinion that Sir Walter Raleigh, the famous soldier, sailor, and scholar, had been there before him. So believing, the founder of the Georgian Colony carried with him Sir Walter's diary. He was confirmed in his opinion by a tradition, among the Indians of the Yamacraw tribe, that Raleigh had landed where Savannah now stands. There are also traditions in regard to the visits of other white men to Georgia. These traditions may be true, or they may be the results of dreams, but it is certain that De Soto and his picked company of Spaniards were the first to march through the territory that is now Georgia... Continue reading book >>

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