Tag Archives: Georgia Marshes & Estuaries

Hunting on St. Simons, 1925

In the early 20th century, St. Simons Island was a popular destination for hunters from all over the country. Much like Sapelo Island today, it was scarcely developed and was home to numerous Geechee-Gullah people. The island was still a wild place in the winter of 1925 when this series of real photo postcards documenting a hunting trip were made. The first image shows a local African-American guide navigating a skiff through one of the numerous tidal creeks that characterize the island landscape. I don’t recognize the location, but the boat docked at the far right of the image may have the name “Frederica”.

I’m surprised that hunters were interested in raccoons, but the sender of these cards, Mr. Walter Friedlander of Roselle, New Jersey, made special mention of their abundance when writing home to his wife.

This is one of the thousands of Raccoons on this island. May be millions…”

I was unable to reproduce the other cards in this series, but a buck and several hogs were among the other game taken on the trip.

Thomas Landing, McIntosh County

Thomas Landing, on the South Newport River, has been occupied since the early days of Colonial Georgia and its history is indelibly linked to the hundreds of African-Americans who resided here. They first landed here against their will but after Emancipation chose to remain, only to have their land taken from them by the United States government in the 1930s.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge

Back River & Hammock, Glynn County

This is the Back River marsh [at high tide] on the north side of the F. J. Torras Causeway heading to St. Simons Island from Brunswick. I tried to find a name for the hammock, but couldn’t locate one. At this location, the Back River flows into Terry Creek and some of the residential marshlands of Brunswick.

Hampton River, St. Simons Island

The Hampton River, sometimes referred to as Hampton Creek, is a 12 mile tidal river that forms the channel between St. Simons Island and Little St. Simons Island.

Dockhouses, Pine Harbor

Pine Harbor is first and foremost a fishing community. Nearly every property fronting the Sapelo River has a dock.

Whether simple or substantial, dockhouses dominate the views here.

Sapelo River, Pine Harbor

Shark Tooth Beach, Jekyll Island

Located on Jekyll Creek, Shark Tooth Beach is perhaps the least known beach on the island, likely because it’s not a beach in the traditional sense. It gets its name from the prehistoric shark’s teeth commonly found here.

There’s no sign pointing you to Shark Tooth Beach. The name doesn’t even officially exist on maps and charts, but judging by the number of people who had found their way here at the time I visited, it isn’t as unknown as it once was. Still, it requires a hike or bike ride of about a mile. No motor vehicles are allowed.

The beach is littered with oyster shells and the remains of other marine life. Wrack dominates the high end of the tide line.

If you’re looking for isolation on Jekyll Island, and don’t mind the short hike, this may become one of your favorite spots.

The entrance to Shark Tooth Beach is located slightly south of the entrance to Summer Waves water park . Look for a simple gate on the right side of the road. You can park near the gate. Follow the trail to its end and you will reach the site. Shoes are strongly suggested as cacti and other sticky plants dominate sections of the trail, not to mention the sharp shells and other detritus on the beach.

Sapelo Island Ferry Katie Underwood

The Katie Underwood is the main ferry serving Sapelo Island. Its namesake, Katie Hall Underwood (1884-1977), was born on Sapelo and began working as a midwife in the 1920s. She assisted almost every birth on the island until retiring in 1968 and was among its most beloved citizens. She was the last in a long line of midwives who served Sapelo from slavery days onward. Mrs. Underwood lived in the north end at Raccoon Bluff but carried her black bag all over the island, to the scattered communities of Hog Hammock, Shell Hammock, and others.  A story is told of her delivering a baby on the north end one morning and walking seven miles to the south end to deliver another in the evening.  She is said to have never lost a child during delivery.

The ferry was dedicated on 28 October 2006. It was built by Geo Shipyard in New Iberia, Louisiana.

The interior has seating for 102 passengers.

The boat is 70’9 3/4″ in length and has a maximum speed of 26.6 knots. It’s powered by two Caterpillar C-18 engines rated 700 hp.

A covered upper deck provides open-air seating for 48. 10 additional seats are located on the bow.

Cabretta Bridge & Blackbeard Creek, Sapelo Island

Like all roads on Sapelo, the road to Cabretta Beach is devoid of even a stop sign and it’s usually a rough ride.

One of the prettiest views on the island is Blackbeard Creek as seen from the wooden bridge, built by the Department of Natural Resources.

 

Blackbeard Creek separates Cabretta Beach from Blackbeard Island, which is visible in the distance from the bridge.

Historic Baptismal Trail, Riceboro

African-Americans were baptized in this swamp beginning in the 1840s. It’s just downstream from a well-known fishing and swimming spot known as Round Hole and was likely chosen for its proximity to that natural landmark.

Baptisms were first performed on enslaved persons by white members of the nearby North Newport Church. When the white congregation moved to Walthourville in 1854, the slaves renamed the church First African Baptist Church and continued ritual baptisms here until the 1940s. Some of their descendants are the Geechee people who still live nearby.

Today, the Historic Baptismal Trail has been memorialized as a public park with a  boardwalk, including signage identifying plants and trees that were historically important to the community.