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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wright's Square in Savannah

General Oglethorpe brought with him to America a book of architectural plans developed by an artist friend of his who had been imprisoned for debt. The plan developed for Savann was laid out around four open squares, each surrounded by four residential ("tything") blocks and four civic ("trust") blocks. The second square established was first named Percival Square, named for Lord Percival, a major player among the original trustees of the charter. In 1763 it was renamed to honor James Wright, the third, last and perhaps most notable of Georgia's royal governors. The most notable thing about this square is the fact that it was the burial site of Tomochichi, chief of the local Creeks around Yamacraw Bluff.
When Tomochichi died in 1739 Oglethorpe had his body taken from Yamacraw to the center of Percival Square where he was buried with military honors. Oglethorpe loved the old chief. In accordance with his people's customs the grave was marked by a pyramid of stones gathered from the surrounding area. Over the years, the site of the burial seemed to have been lost.
There are some old newspapers at the Savannah Historical Society describing an excavation of the site about 1883 and at that time some artifacts were discovering, proving that this was where Tomochichi was buried.
In 1883, citizens wishing to honor William Washington Gordon replaced Tomochichi's monument with an elaborate and highly allegorical monument to Gordon.

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