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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Colonel Mark Carr

Sunbury Cemetery. Few tombstones remain legible. Colonel Carr may be buried here.
Colonel Mark Carr, Esquire, was probably the most enterprising of Georgia colonists.  He was a trusted commander under General James Oglethorpe against the Spanish's command. He was certainly regarded as the greatest improver in the Georgia Colony, owning extensive plantations in St. Patrick's Parish and several town lots at Frederica.  But the first plantation was called The Hermitage at a place suggested by General Oglethorpe on St. Simon's Island. It was one of very few in that location and was in constant danger of raids by the Spanish Indians. It as described in the Queen's Court at Westminster on February 11, 1744 by Lt. Colonel Alexander Heron, in giving his report to the Trustees of the agricultural progress being made in the Colony: "...that all sorts of garden stuff grow extremely well, and particularly asparagus, all the year round without dunging the lands...That he himself (Col. Heron) occupied one field on St. Simons four years. That on three or four acres, he had 53 bushels of indian corn cleared, besides a third more at least spoil or lost at the time of the invasion (Spanish). That vines thrive extremely well and that he himself grated European vines on the wild ones on the island. And that in one year, there have been shoots of twenty seven feet from the grafting as big as his finger. That cotton grows on the land by one great necessity...that he has while mulberry trees which grow very well, but they are not the natural product of the country. That he thinks silk, wine oyl, and cotton may be raised very well there...that the wood of St. Simon's is chiefly Live Oak...."  Indeed, during March of 1741, Colonel Carr's plantation was attacked and robbed by Spanish Indians from Augustine. They killed several of the corporal guards of soldiers posted at the plantation and servants, wounding others. The women and children locked themselves in the cellar at the time, while the indians plundered their way and carried off the booty in a large boat belonging to the plantation. When Colonel Carr found out about it, He was out in a ship with General Oglethorpe putting down other attacks. General Oglethorope sent out boats to overtake the Indians. 

   On January 28, 1740, Capt. Mark Carr wrote from the Hermitage to General James Campbell a long accounting of General Oglethorpe's expedition into Florida in pursuit of the Spanish and of taking Ft. Picolata and Ft. San Francisco. He remarked that last season was the "wettest known in America", and that 50 out of 1200 persons had died of fevers; and that it was best to plant indian corn, peas, pumpkins and potatoes, rather than import the British seeds and plants. 

He owned extensive lots of 500 acre increments on the site of old Sunbury, Georgia (now privately owned) in Liberty County. The old colonial deeds also reflect that this port was active in shipping and trading.  The biography of Mark Carr is available to members of Georgia Pioneers

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