On the Isle of Hope, about 8 miles south of Savannah, we explored a Georgia State Park historic site that is well worth a visit.
Despite the gloomy weather, we enjoyed the history and scenery in this low country treasure.
Wormsloe was established in 1736 by British colonist Noble Jones, a carpenter, surveyor, and physician. Talk about a Jack of all trades! He played important roles in the budding colony, both as a private citizen and public figure, including Commander of Georgia’s Northern Company of Marines, tithingman, constable, surveyor, Indian Agent, Treasurer of the Colony, Royal Councilor, and Justice of the Province.
Around 1893, Noble’s great-grandson Wymberley Jones De Renne planted 400 Live Oaks that majestically line Wormsloe’s 1.5-mile entrance. This drive alone is worth the entry fee!
After marveling over the incredible trees, we visited the small museum, full of family and area history, plus artifacts from the site over 300 years.
Then we embarked on the mile-long walking tour, which covers tabby ruins, an ancient shell midden, colonial living sites, and Noble’s gravesite.
In 1737, Noble began construction on a fortified tabby house overlooking the major water route of the time in Savannah. Construction was disrupted multiple times by skirmishes with the Spanish, and the home was completed by 1745. The ruins are now the oldest standing structures in the Savannah area.
Construction of the home took 6 years and required mixing of more than 8,000 bushels each of lime, sand, oyster shells, and water to make the tabby. Amazing that parts of the structure remain today almost 300 years later!
Noble’s descendants rarely visited the property until around 1828, when grandson George Jones began construction of a two-story frame house about a half-mile north of the abandoned tabby house. Seven generations of descendants have made the house their home up to the present day, and that portion of the property is private.
Beyond the ruins, the remains of an ancient shell midden, or pile of oyster shells, can be found on the edge of the marsh. This midden was the source of the bulk of the oyster shells that made up the tabby house.
A stone monument and iron fence mark the site of Noble Jones original burial site.
Noble, his wife Sarah, and youngest son Inigo were buried here, but later their remains were moved twice; first to Colonial Cemetery in downtown Savannah, and later to the famed Bonaventure Cemetery.
From the burial site, we followed the trail to a small colonial life area, featuring a wattle and daub hut and corral, like those quarters used by Jones’ marines, indentured servants, and probably slaves. In addition to the one-room hut with sleeping loft and chimney, there are primitive covered shelters used for blacksmithing and other vital village functions.
There is much more to be discovered about this founding family of the Georgia colony, but I will leave that for you to discover should you visit.