Oglethorpe, James Edward
Oglethorpe, James Edward(ō`gəlthôrp), 1696–1785, English general and philanthropist, founder of the American colony of GeorgiaGeorgia
, state in the SE United States, the last of the Thirteen Colonies to be founded. It is bordered by Florida (S), Alabama (W), Tennessee and North Carolina (N), and South Carolina (across the Savannah River) and the Atlantic Ocean (E).
..... Click the link for more information. . He had some military experience before being elected (1722) to the House of Commons, where he held a seat for 32 years. As chairman of a parliamentary committee investigating penal conditions, Oglethorpe became interested in the plight of the debtor classes. The need for a buffer colony between South Carolina and the Spanish in Florida admirably fitted his proposal to establish an asylum for debtors. He and 19 associates were granted (June, 1732) a charter, to expire in 21 years, making them trustees of the colony of Georgia. Early in 1733, Oglethorpe, leading 116 carefully selected colonists, reached Charleston, S.C., and on Feb. 12, 1733, he founded Savannah. After establishing friendly relations with the Yamacraw, a branch of the CreekCreek,
Native North American confederacy. The peoples forming it were mostly of the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
..... Click the link for more information. confederacy, who ceded their land for settlement, he set about perfecting the colony's defense against the Spanish, building forts and instituting a system of military training. On a visit to England (1734–35) Oglethorpe obtained new regulations banning rum and slavery in the colony, which aroused opposition. He returned to Georgia with John WesleyWesley, John,
1703–91, English evangelical preacher, founder of Methodism, b. Epworth, Lincolnshire. Early Life
Wesley was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1725, elected a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1726, and ordained a priest in 1728.
..... Click the link for more information. and Charles WesleyWesley, Charles,
1707–88, English Methodist preacher and hymn writer. As a student at Oxford he devoted himself to systematic study and to the regular practice of religious duties; he and companions whom he persuaded to adopt the same orderly course were taunted as
..... Click the link for more information. . England declared war on Spain in 1739, and Oglethorpe led an unsuccessful expedition against St. Augustine in 1740. However, near Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island, Oglethorpe defeated the Spanish in the battle of Bloody Marsh (June 9, 1742), thereby assuring Georgia's survival. A second unsuccessful assault on St. Augustine (1743) and the displeasure of some of the colonists with his rigid management led to his recall to England. The charges brought against him were dismissed, but he never returned to Georgia. In his later years he was an intimate of the literary circle gathered around Samuel JohnsonJohnson, Samuel,
1709–84, English author, b. Lichfield. The leading literary scholar and critic of his time, Johnson helped to shape and define the Augustan Age. He was equally celebrated for his brilliant and witty conversation.
..... Click the link for more information. .
See Letters from General Oglethorpe, collected by the Georgia Historical Society (1873); biographies by L. F. Church (1932), A. A. Ettinger (1936, repr. 1968), and J. G. Vaeth (1968); P. Spalding, Oglethorpe in America (1984) and, with H. H. Jackson, Oglethorpe in Perspective (1989).