Lower Altamaha Historical Society

Lower Altamaha Historical  Society

P.O. Box 1405
Darien, Georgia
31305

 

          About this painting
 

NEWS

 

 

The mission of LOWER ALTAMAHA HISTORICAL SOCIETY is to preserve and disseminate the history of McIntosh County.

Darien, Georgia July 23, 2021:  The Lower Historical Society (LAHS) was recently notified by the MK Pentecost Ecology Fund of the Savannah Presbytery, that the application for the Butler Island Ecological Sensitive Solar Light Installation and Signage, has been awarded a grant of $2250. Wes Tippins, President of LAHS, joins local members of the Coalition to Save Butler Island and Descendants Griffin Lotson, Darien City Councilman and Eunice Moore, Chair of the Gullah Geechee Committee in supporting the cultural heritage programming efforts on Butler Island.

 The instillation will commemorate the 436 enslaved persons that lived on Butler Island and nearby Hampton Plantation on St. Simons Island, who were sold during the largest slave sale in the United States, which was held in Savannah at the Ten Broek Race Course March 2-3, 1859. This has been known ever since as the Weeping Time.

Temporary lights were placed during the 2021 Weeping Time Commemorative on March 6-7 of that year. A local video posted on Facebook garnered 1200 views in under 5 days. Due to community appreciation in honoring the Weeping Time, the Darien City Council granted permission for the lights to remain.

The site is now owned by the State of Georgia, Department of Natural Resources, and leased to the City of Darien. The land is open to the public for picnicking, fishing, and birding. Only 3 signs tell any history of Butler Island. Two were placed to about the Butler family in the 1950s, and one about the enslaved in 2019. Signage will be updated to reflect the larger history and culture of the island.

 This project originated out of a need to tell a more complete human and ecological story of Butler Island. The story of Butler Island includes its ecosystem as well as its people, and the project will include both, with solar lighting and signage installation that will be sensitive to the cultural and physical nature of the site. Flooding to the low-level site is prevalent, and any signage or lights placed on the property will have to take the sea level rise into account. 

About the Lower Altamaha Historical Society:         

The mission of the Lower Altamaha Historic Society is to preserve and disseminate the history of McIntosh County. One of the primary missions of the Lower Altamaha Historical Society from its inception was, and continues to be, the support of the Fort King George State Historic Site near Darien, scene of the earliest English fortification in Georgia. LAHS, utilizing grant funds provided by the City of Darien, has expedited the preparation and installation of several state historic markers in the community, the most recent being the marker to the Enslaved at Butler Island in 2019. http://www.loweraltamahahistoricalsociety.org/                   

About the Coalition to Save Butler Island:

The Coalition to Save Butler Island was formed of local non-profit organizations, citizens, and Butler Island descendants in response to 2020’s HB 906, a Georgia House bill introduced to change the parameters of the Georgia Heritage Trust Program to convey or sell parcels of the 330,000+ acres to private entities. The Coalition is currently working to bring representatives of local and state government, citizens, and descendants together to create a practical plan to respect, interpret, and implement a more complete story of Butler Island. www.preservebutlerisland.org

About the MK Pentecost Fund:

Savannah Presbytery’s M.K. Pentecost Ecology Trust Fund has its origins in the generosity and vision of Atlanta attorney and Presbyterian Elder, M.K. Pentecost, Jr. He served the Presbyterian Church USA as Executive of the Presbytery of Georgia and on the staff of Greater Atlanta Presbytery during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. He loved the church and revered Georgia’s coastal beauty with its intrinsic restorative ability, which prompted him to establish a Charitable Remainder Unitrust with the Presbyterian Church USA Foundation to perpetuate responsible ecological stewardship in our coastal region.