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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sunbury, Lost Georgia Town

Sunbury is one of the lost towns in Georgia. It was founded by Colonel Mark Carr who came to Georgia with Oglethorpe, fought in the war with Spain at St. Augustine and the battle of Bloody Marsh on St. Simon's Island during which he received distinction as captain and colonel. After the war he received multiple land grants for his services and owned all of the land known as Sunbury. It was here that he established a port and helped to establish a flourishing trade with the New England States and Great Britain. Ultimately Sunbury became a resort town where New Englanders built summer homes and Georgians left their plantations to escape the local heat and malaria. It was the belief that malaria infested itself inland and that cool coastal breezes promoted good health. The resort flourished until about 1803 when a hurricane destroyed most of the area. Today, the land is privately owned and visitors cannot go there. Virtually nothing remains of it. Location: Hwy 280, Liberty County. Accounts of the business life in Sunbury is found in Candler's Colonial Records of Georgia. This is where we discover contracts between London merchants and ship's captains to deliver goods to the port of Sunbury, especially if the goods were delayed for some reason or the other. Most of the landowners in Sunbury hailed from Massachusetts and did not establish other homes in Georgia. It is said that Sunbury was once a great seaport, second to Savannah in commercial importance. The town itself was laid out in 1758,on a tract of 350 acres conveyed by Mark Carr to citizens James Maxwell, Kenneth Baillie, John Elliott, Grey Elliott and John Stevens, as Trustees for establishing a town of 496 lots. Among those who resided at Sunbury was Dr. Lyman Hall, signer of the Declaration of Independence. It was also the home of Richard Howley and Nathan Brownson, later Governors of Georgia; of John Elliott and Alfred Cuthbert, United States Senators. Also, Major John Jones and Major Lachlan McIntosh and Button Gwinnett, another signer of the Declaration of Independence, spent much time here.

Jeannette Holland Austin, author of over 100 genealogy books
Georgia Pioneers

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