The Settlement of Darien, McIntosh Co., Georgia

The Settlement of Darien, Georgia

by Ann R. Davis

Gen. James Oglethorpe, seeing the need to settle the Spanish-threatened coast below Savannah with soldiers whose fierceness in battle was legendary, sent out recruiters to Scotland to choose "the Freemen of Gentlemen's families...Industrious, laborious and Brave; speaking the Highland language."  In January, 1736, the first of these Scottish Highlanders recruited from Inverness made landfall at the place they were to call "Darien". 

From the time of the Highlanders to the present, McIntosh County has experienced good fortune and bad.  The Highlanders were nearly wiped out at Battle of Fort Moosa in 1740, but rallied with new recruits from Scotland two years later, and defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh.  The county flourished with plantations of rice and sugar cane and exportation of timber on the Altamaha.  Although interrupted with two hurricanes in 1804 and 1824 McIntosh recovered from each and Darien was reported to be a beautiful town when the Union troops looted and set fire to it in June, 1863.  Still, Darien was rebuilt and the lumber mills were soon running again.  Then, in 1898, the worst hurricane of record struck, devastating the county.  Since that time, the scenic fishing town of Darien and the county's many islands and waterways have become a refuge for those seeking quiet and serenity among its mossy oaks and marshes.  

Darien is the county seat of McIntosh County.  Other place names in the county, historically or presently include:

Ardoch Cedar Point Hog Hammock Rogersville
Ashantilly Chimney Villa Huxford Sapelo Island
Barrington Cox Jones Shell PointShellman
Bellville Credit Hill Julianton South Newport
Briar Patch or Bolton Crescent Mentionville The Thicket
Brickstone Eulonia Meridian Townsend
Brickyard Fair Hope Oak Hill Valona
Cannon Bluff Gopher Hill Pine Harbor Warsaw
Carnigan Harris Neck the Ridge Youngs Island


Surnames of  the first Scotch Highlanders who settled in McIntosh County were: 

Bailie Denune Mackay Monro
Bain Dunbar Mackenzie Morchison
Burgess Forbes MacKinnon Morrison
Calder Frazer MacLean Murray
Calwell Glass Macmurrivick Ross
Cameron Grant Macoul Shearer
Campbell Grey Macpherson Sinclair
Chisholm Joliffe MacQueen Spence
Clark Kennedy Main Stewart
Cleaness Lossley McDonald Sutherland
Cogach Macbean McIntosh Tolmie
Crookshanks Macgilivary McLeod Truby
Cuthbert MacInver Miller Watson


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