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For the American judge and Governor of Colorado, see Samuel Hitt Elbert.
For the American linguist and Polynesianist, see Samuel Hoyt Elbert.
Samuel Elbert
SamuelElbert01.jpg
Samuel Elbert
Allegiance United States United States
Rank Major General - Georgia Militia[1]
Brigadier General - Continental Army[1]
Battles/wars Battle of Brier Creek
Frederica naval action
Siege of Yorktown
Awards Society of the Cincinnati

Samuel Elbert (1740 – November 1, 1788) was an American merchant, soldier, and politician from Savannah, Georgia.

In the Revolutionary War he was wounded and captured at the Battle of Brier Creek. He rose to the rank of major general in the Georgia militia and colonel in the Continental Army. He was brevetted a Continental brigadier general after the end of the war.

He later served a term as Governor of Georgia. He commanded American Colonial forces that were victorious against the British in a naval battle near St. Simons Island, Georgia on April 19, 1778.

Elbert was a Freemason. His name appears on the 1779 Masonic membership roles of Solomon's Lodge No. 1 at Savannah[citation needed] along with James Jackson, Governor John A. Treutlen, and Archibald Bulloch. Elbert also served as the last Provincial Grand Master of the first English Provincial Grand Lodge of Georgia in 1785.

Life[edit]

The annals of Georgia contain no greater or more gallant figure than that of Samuel Elbert. Born in 1740 in Savannah, Georgia,[2][3][4] Samuel Elbert was the son of a Baptist minister, William Elbert, and his wife, Sarah Greenfield. Elbert’s parents died in South Carolina when Elbert was only a boy. Orphaned at the age of fourteen, Samuel set out to make his way in life. He traveled back to Savannah where he went to work as an Indian trader. Being industrious and very honest as well as kind and gentle, Samuel soon made many friends among both the settlers and the Indians. Samuel’s only goal seemed to be to work hard and do what was right.

Elizabeth Rae

At an early age, Samuel was employed by a prosperous planter named John Rae, an important figure at that time in both the commercial field and in governmental affairs. Mr. Rae had built a beautiful home on his land near Savannah known as Rae’s Hall. It was through John Rae's influence that Elbert was commissioned to go into Indian country as a trader, and he had great success in his dealings with the Indians, mostly because of his kind regard for those members of the human race termed our "darker-skin brothers." John Rae had a talented daughter, Elizabeth Rae, and soon she and Elbert became engaged. In 1769, they were married at Rae’s Hall, a marriage that, according to historian Charles C. Jones, "confirmed Elbert’s social position and influence."[5]

Although never seeking glory, it seemed to seek Elbert out and it wasn’t long before he found himself a leader in Georgia’s movement for independence. He was intensely loyal and it was difficult for him to renounce his loyalty to the Crown, but events soon made it inevitable. He was ambitious, but not to the point of sacrificing his principles. Later in his career, when the General Assembly of Georgia requested that he take command of all the Continental troops of the State to replace General Lachlan McIntosh, Elbert declined. He wrote that, "as long as General McIntosh desires that position, I am unwilling to accept it."[6] Elbert placed his duty as a soldier above his personal ambition, saying that he was bound to obey the General. It is very much to his credit that he never entered into petty quarrels, reserving his battles for the British. Joseph Clay, one of Georgia’s outstanding political leaders, said of Samuel Elbert: " - he is active, vigilant and brave and much respected by the inhabitants."[7]

Prior to the outset of Colonial disputes Samuel Elbert became a captain of a grenadier company of Savannah’s First Regiment of Militia and signed a pledge of allegiance to the King of England as a pre-requisite to being commissioned. His innate sense of justice, however, soon broke strong barriers because of the repressive measures increasingly imposed by the British. He became active in the Provisional Congress of Georgia and its outgrowth, the Georgia Council of Safety which laid the basis for an independent American government. At the suggestion of a committee of the Council of Safety, the companies of the Georgia Militia decided to elect their own officers. As a result all officers loyal to the King were replaced with staunch supporters of the oppositionist cause and on February 4, 1776, Elbert was made a Lieutenant Colonel and later Colonel in the Georgia Militia. A handsome and gallant military officer, "Samuel Elbert contributed as much as any other man to the early movement for Georgia’s independence" according to researcher C. E. Purcell.[8]

In 1777 Georgia’s president, Button Gwinnett, decided to conduct an invasion of Florida to liberate that territory from the British. His plan was to send Colonel Samuel Elbert with 400 continental troops in three galleys and support craft by sea and another element of 109 mounted militia led by Colonel John Baker by land. The two elements were to rendezvous at Saw Pit Bluff, near the mouth of the Nassau River, a site that is presently within the city limits of Jacksonville, Florida.[9]

Unfortunately at about the time this expedition was initiated, an ongoing feud between President Button Gwinnett and the commander of Georgia’s Continental troops, General Lachlan McIntosh, brought about the demise of Mr. Gwinnett. A duel between these two individuals caused both to suffer wounds and Button Gwinnett died of Blood poisoning three days later on May 19, 1777. General McIntosh apparently resented not having been put in charge of the Florida expedition and it is entirely possible that with his more skillful planning, the campaign just might have succeeded.

Nevertheless, one reason Florida never became a part of Georgia might be found in the vagaries of the wind. May 13, 1777, was to be the date for Elbert and Baker to combine their forces and drive back the British. Many problems prevented Elbert’s sea expedition from reaching its destination on the date selected. While on the boats south they were stricken by disease which combined with supply problems and head winds, slowed their progress considerably. In addition, the waters in this area are relatively low in the spring making navigation somewhat difficult. On May 30, Elbert wrote in a letter to his brother in law, Col. Habersham, saying, "could we have got the Galleys into St. John’s river, I would, with the men I have with me, made the whole province of East Florida tumble."[10]

Colonel Baker’s mounted militia arrived at Saw Pitt Bluff as planned but quickly moved to a new location when it became apparent that the British already knew of their intentions. During this move, Colonel Baker’s men were surprised by a force of some 400 British troops and a brief battle ensued in the vicinity of Thomas Creek just South of where it empties into the Nassau River.[11]

Outnumbered and facing withering fire, most of Baker’s men deserted. Colonel Baker together with his few remaining forces was obliged to retreat, disengaging the enemy and returning to Georgia on May 17. It was about three days later that Colonel Elbert arrived and disembarked on the North end of Amelia Island. His forces were joined by a few stragglers from Baker’s detachment, but after reconnoitering, Elbert found the British well entrenched with troops and artillery.

While Elbert’s little band was busy trying to cut through the Amelia Narrows, the British commander, Patrick Tonyn, was making plans to attack them with vastly superior forces. To ensure total victory, the British war ships Rebecca and Hawke were ordered out to block any attempt of Elbert’s little flotilla to escape.

After thwarting Elbert’s invasion of Florida with uncooperative winds, the weather quickly changed. A violent storm came up, and the British war ships were forced out to sea. Before they could return, they encountered a rebel Brigantine of sixteen guns. The ensuing battle damaged the Rebecca so badly, that it could no longer carry on, leaving Elbert’s exit from Amelia Island unopposed.[12]

Failing to surprise the British and not having the support of Baker’s detachment, Elbert and his men returned to Georgia without much having been accomplished. Shortly thereafter, Elbert concluded in a letter to General McIntosh, "I think --- that little can be done, unless by a formidable invasion, which I judge to be rather too much for Georgia to undertake till her forces are put on a more respectable footing, and therefore recommend confining our operations entirely to the defensive till a more favorable opportunity. We have too many secret enemies amongst us who keep up a regular correspondence with our Florida neighbors, and until they are put to a stop it will be impossible for us to enter Florida without their having timely notice of our approach."

A later attempt to invade Florida with a much larger army hardly got off the ground. This attack was initiated by Governor John Houston and General Robert Howe in 1778. It was doomed to failure from the start by lack of a unified command. One of the few successes of this second invasion attempt came when Colonel Elbert put 300 of his troops aboard three Rebel galleys and caused the surrender of three British warships, his Majesty’s schooner Hinchinbrook, the recently repaired sloop-of-war Rebecca, and a third vessel referred to as a prize brig, all anchored near Frederica. These ships had been harassing the Georgia Rebels for almost two years. Prevailing conditions favored Elbert’s little flotilla and it wasn’t long before the British were forced to strike their colors and abandon ship.

Having suffered no casualties, Elbert was ecstatic. The remarkable success of this enterprise encouraged him to consider launching an attack against another heavily armed British vessel, the Galatea, anchored at the North end of Jekyll Island. Apparently he decided against it and the Galatea, unable to complete its mission, set sail for St. Augustine a few days later.[13] General Howe commended Elbert and his troops for their victory over the British ships and, partly because of this venture, decided to continue with the invasion of Florida.

The three Galleys used by Colonel Elbert comprised a good part of the Georgia Navy at that time. These vessels were named the Lee, the Washington and the Bulloch. A fourth Galley, named the Congress, completed all the Galleys authorized by the Continental Congress for the State. The Galleys were approximately 70 feet (21 m) in length and were powered by two lateen sails as well as oars and had a very large cannon mounted in the bow. Although not suited for ocean going, their maneuverability made them formidable in the shallow coastal waters of Georgia.

Meanwhile, Samuel Elbert continued with his Continental troops toward Florida. Just after they crossed the Satilla River, on June 24, an unusual event may have provided an ominous warning. On that day, the first Solar eclipse recorded in the British colonies occurred.[14][15] It was called "the dark day", the day of the great eclipse of the sun by the troops and may well have been responsible for some of the desertions that happened to occur about then.

Elbert, now joined by General Howe, continued on and occupied Fort Tonyn which had been deserted by the British. It was here that problems began to arise. Houston and Howe were unable to agree on who would lead the continentals in the invasion and the rebel naval commander, Commodore Oliver Bowen, refused to be subordinate to the Army elements. This confusion, plus lack of surprise and widespread illness among the troops caused the invaders to be halted in a battle at a place called Alligator Bridge. In a typically political fashion, General Howe announced that "our principal objective has been accomplished" and returned his troops to Georgia. Although the skirmishes between the Patriots and the Loyalists continued, the 1778 expedition was the last of Georgia’s attempts to throw the British out of Florida.

In December of 1778, the British sent a fleet with about 3500 troops led by Colonel Archibald Campbell to retake Savannah. General Howe, in command of the city, declined to accept an offer from Colonel Elbert to use Elbert’s regiment to defend a landing place known as Girardeau’s plantation(32°04′N 81°02′W / 32.07°N 81.04°W / 32.07; -81.04). As a result, the British were able to land without incident and soon were able to attack the American army from the rear by traversing a swamp under the guidance of a slave named Quamino Dolly.[16] The Americans were soon forced to retreat over the bridge crossing Musgrove creek. Although most of the army crossed safely, the British seized the bridge just before Elbert’s command arrived. As a result, Elbert and his men were forced to swim the icy creek to avoid capture. They later joined General Howe about eight miles (13 km) above Savannah.

Battle of Brier Creek[edit]

Savannah was pillaged by the British and General Howe later faced court martial for abandoning not only Savannah, but giving up all of Georgia.[17][18] The defense of Georgia continued with the troops that had not fled to the Carolinas. Among those was Samuel Elbert who, with his remaining troops briefly occupied Augusta, then deployed to the Brier Creek area where they continually harassed Col. Campbell’s army as it marched toward Augusta. The weather was cold and conditions harsh. On January 29, 1779, Elbert wrote in a letter to General Lincoln, commander of the Southern army: "The articles of provisions we shall have plenty, of artillery we have none, small arms very ordinary in general and scarce, many men have come to camp without any, which we have not to give them. Entrenching tools and camp utensils are not to be had here."[19] In late February, Elbert was joined by General Ashe and about 1800 additional troops. General Ashe deployed most of his troops on high ground near Brier Creek. It was here that Elbert nearly lost his life.

Although Elbert was a Brigadier General in the Georgia Militia, he was still a Colonel in the Continental Army at this time and was in command of one of three divisions under General Ashe. On March 3, 1779, the British conducted a surprise attack and quickly routed General Ashe’s main army. Even General Ash disappeared into the woods, ostensibly to rally his scattered troops. The remaining left wing under General Elbert was driven back against Brier Creek. With Brier creek behind him and surrounded on all other sides by the enemy, General Samuel Elbert and Lt. Col. John McIntosh together with 60 Continentals and 150 Georgia Militia, made a heroic effort to turn the fortune of battle without any help from the other two divisions. In the words of the Georgia Historical Commission, Elbert’s small regiment "-- made one of the valiant stands of military history." The overwhelming British Army was forced to bring up reserves and it was only after all hope of escape or victory had vanished that Elbert surrendered the remnants of his courageous command. More than half of the 150 men killed were General Elbert's men. Elbert himself was about to be bayoneted when he was recognized as a Mason by a British Officer who ordered his life spared.

There is ample reason to believe that if the other two divisions had fought with the tenacity of Elbert’s command things might have turned out differently. Especially since General Andrew Williamson was on his way with 1200 men and General Griffith Rutherford was coming with 800 men to reinforce the army at Brier.[20] As it was, General Lincoln’s plan to win control of the South and bring the war to an end resulted in disaster. Only the exceptional bravery of the Georgians in the last stand gave solace and inspiration in an almost hopeless situation. General Ashe was later accused of cowardice for leaving the field of battle while Elbert was still engaged, but since nothing could be proved, a court of inquiry found Ashe only guilty of gross neglect.

Having narrowly escaped death, Elbert was captured and retained as a prisoner on parole in the British camp for more than a year. During this time, he was accorded great respect and kindness. The British made every effort to divert his allegiance away from the struggling Independence champions. He was offered promotion, honors and other rewards, but he never was once motivated to desert the cause holding predominance in his heart.

Elbert was given considerable freedom while being held prisoner, which was unusual given the typical harsh treatment of prisoners at the time. It is a family tradition, however, that this freedom exposed him to a plot upon his life.[8][21] It was a plot, attributed to a gang of Tories who had every reason to dislike Elbert since he had been very active against them. Their plan was to have him killed by the Indians. While strolling in the woods one day, Elbert encountered two Indians with guns aimed directly at him. It so happened that Samuel Elbert had always extended great kindness to the Indians whenever he had had dealings with them in the past. There was a secret signal that he used, and when he made this signal to his attempting slayers, they recognized him as their friend. At this friendly signal the would be assassins came forward, offering their hands in a gesture of friendship. The seeds of kindness toward his fellow man proved fruitful in the preservation of his life.

Although Elbert was treated with dignity and consideration during his imprisonment, it is logical to assume that he was eager and felt impelled to return to his fellow Georgians, fighting for their country's independence. As a matter of sad truth, he was greatly missed, and the Patriot movement at Augusta petitioned the Continental Congress to offer Brigadier General Hamilton in exchange for Samuel Elbert, and to arrange for his promotion to the rank of Brigadier General in the Continental Army.[22] This request was granted after the capture of Charleston by the British, in the year 1780.

Elbert went immediately to General Washington's headquarters in the North, offering his services to the Commander-in-Chief. General Washington was elated to accept Elbert's services, and at the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, Elbert was given command of a brigade. While at Yorktown, Elbert made a lasting friendship with a young French General, the marquis de Lafayette. This friendship continued after all hostilities were ended and these two men maintained friendly correspondence and friendship for many years. So sincere was Elbert's admiration for Lafayette that he named one of his sons for this illustrious friend.

In 1782 the General Assembly of Georgia chose Samuel Elbert, General McIntosh, Edward Telfair and a number of other prominent Georgians to serve as Commissioners at a conference with the Creek and Cherokee Indians regarding their title to certain Georgia lands. A meeting took place at Augusta in May 1783. A Treaty was entered into, and in this Treaty the Indians relinquished all the lands as far as the Oconee River. Before the conference had ended the news reached Georgia that a Peace Treaty had been concluded between Great Britain and her former Colonies. This was most gratifying to Elbert.

Many honors were bestowed upon Samuel Elbert. He was elected Sheriff of Chatham County and was chosen Vestryman for Christ Church, the first Church in the new Nation to organize a Sunday School. In 1784 he was selected as one of five delegates from the Cincinnati Society, an organization comprising Officers who had fought in the Revolution. Also, in 1784 he was elected to the General Assembly of Georgia to be a delegate to the United States Congress. This latter honor he was forced to refuse, because he felt, after the long rigors of war, his physical condition was not at its best.

Governor of Georgia[edit]

The following year, however, was to bring to Samuel Elbert, the highest political honor his State and its citizens had power to bestow. When the General Assembly of Georgia convened at Savannah on January 4, 1785, Samuel Elbert was elected as Governor of the State of Georgia, to succeed John Houston, whose term of office had expired. Elbert had not sought this honor and he asked for time to give the matter his earnest consideration. It was an honor thrust upon him by a grateful group of his fellow citizens and he could not find it in his heart to refuse.

On Friday, January 7, 1785, Elbert appeared before the House, and formally accepted the honor, saying in part: "I shall ever be sensible of the honor you have conferred on me, in appointing me Chief Magistrate of the State of Georgia. It must, in the highest degree, be flattering to me, that my conduct as a soldier through our last glorious struggle, has met the approbation of my Country; and rest assured that it will be my study as a citizen to merit the confidence you have reposed in me. I firmly rely on the concurrence and support of your Honorable House in every measure that will secure the citizens in their just rights and privileges and which may be conducive to the welfare of the State."[23]

An unusual piece of legislature was passed by the General Assembly in January, 1785, for the regular establishment and support of religion in Georgia. Samuel Elbert's father had been a Baptist minister, and Elbert must have found the mixing of Church and State matters, repugnant to his mode of belief. Though Governors at that time had no power to vote, Elbert and succeeding Governors who found the legislation untenable to the new form of Government, ignored it, as stated in the Digest of the Laws of Georgia.

As governor, Samuel Elbert was intensely interested in educational and cultural matters. Along with another prominent advocate for education, Abraham Baldwin, Elbert persuaded the Georgia House to pass a bill supporting the "full and complete establishment of Public seminaries of learning" in the State. On Jan January 27, 1785, the House granted a charter to Franklin College, later to become the University of Georgia, and Baldwin became the University's first president. Georgia thus became the first state to charter a state-supported university, and helping to charter this University was one of the highlights of Elbert's term as Governor. An item in the Savannah Morning News stated that this event was "... perhaps of more enduring and far-reaching importance and good than any other of this great man's notable career."[24]

The matter of taxation came before Elbert early in April, 1785 when William Houston, Georgia's Delegate to the United States Congress, wrote a letter to Elbert informing him that New York and Georgia were the only States that had not conceded the right to levy these taxes – that feeling against Georgia in the National Capital which was New York City at that time was very high, even going so far as to threaten to vote Georgia out of the Union. Undoubtedly, Elbert favored full cooperation with the Congress of the United States, but unfortunately, Governors at that period of our Country's history did not wield the power that executives of later years were to possess. Georgia did not accept the tax.

Samuel Elbert had a deep sense of empathy. On one occasion Elbert wrote in a letter to George Walton in 1785: "It is a pity that the people on our Frontiers will behave so cruelly toward those poor savages; not contented with having the lands, but to rob, beat and abuse them likewise is enough to bring down Divine vengeance on their heads."[25] On an earlier occasion Elbert had been called upon to escort and protect a party of Indians, who had come to Savannah in an effort to redress a great wrong – the murder of a Creek Chief called the Mad Turkey who had been killed by one Thomas Fee. The incident turned into an issue, and in 1774 feeling ran high between the whites and the Indians. Elbert's consideration was motivated by the Justice involved, not for a verdict devolving upon whether a man possessed white or brown skin. Whether dealing with friend or foe, it was Justice that Elbert sought, and this remains a forever tribute to his greatness. Mr. Fee was convicted and jailed.

Samuel Elbert was a man of poetic turn of mind who loved music and all the contributions that Art had made to make life more meaningful. Yet, withal, he was a practical and active citizen, willing at all times to aid and assist his fellow citizens and mankind in general in building a world "nearer the heart's desire." He held out his hand in friendship to all members of the human race who were trying to promote educational and cultural phases and it was through his influence that a celebrated European musician, Edward Kruteman came to Georgia. Kruteman became the teacher of Samuel Elbert's daughters and a great friend in the Elbert home. At Kruteman's passing in 1787, Samuel Elbert and John Shick were appointed executors of the Kruteman estate. A touching phase of his regard was Kruteman's will, in which he left his great store of music, and musical study books to - - "my scholars, the daughters of Samuel Elbert," - - thus indicating his pride and pleasure at their proficiency in the Art he loved so well, Music.[26]

Elbert and Elizabeth Rae had six children - Catherine, Elizabeth, Sara, Samuel de Lafayette, Matthew and Hugh Lee. That Samuel Elbert was a kind and greatly beloved father to his children is evidenced in many records. One especially poignant reminder was a list in "The Georgia Gazette" of unclaimed letters that were being held in the Savannah Post Office. Among these letters was one from Elbert's son, Matthew Elbert addressed to his father General Elbert, an attempt of a little boy to communicate with the kind father whom he loved and missed .

On Thursday, November 6, 1788, the following obituary appeared in the Georgia Gazette published in Savannah[27]:

Died last Saturday, after a lingering sickness, age 48 years, SAMUEL ELBERT, Esq. Major General of the Militia of this state, Vice president of the Society of the Cincinnati, and Sheriff of the County of Chatham. His death was announced by the discharge of minute guns and the colours of Fort Wayne, and vessels in the harbour being displayed at half mast high. An early and warm attachment to the cause of his country stimulated him to exert those natural talents he possessed for a military life, throughout the late glorious and successful contest, with ability and general approbation, for which he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General in the Army of the United States. In the year 1785, his country chose him, by their general suffrage, Governor and Commander in chief of the State, which office he executed with fidelity and discharged its various duties with becoming attention and dignity. The appointments of Major General of the Militia and Sheriff of this county, were further marks of the confidence of his country, whose interests he had always at heart, and whose appointments he received and executed, with a grateful remembrance that his conduct through life had met the approbation of fellow citizens. In private life, he was among the first to promote useful and benevolent societies. As a Christian, he bore his painful illness with patience and firmness, and looked forward to his great change with an awful and fixed hope of future happiness. As a most affectionate husband and parent his widow and six children have great cause to lament his end, and the society in general to regret the loss of a valuable member. His remains were attended to on Sunday to Christ Church by the ancient society of the Masons, (of which he was the Passed (sic) Grand Master in this state) with the members of the Cincinnati as mourners, accompanied by a great number of his other fellow citizens, whom the Rev. Mr. Lindsay addressed in a short but well adapted discourse on the solemn occasion. Minute guns were fired during the funeral, and every other honor was paid his memory, by a respectable military procession, composed of the Artillery and other Militia Companies. The body was afterwards deposited at the family burial place on the Mount at Rae’s Hall.

There was no doubt in the minds and hearts of all citizens of the beautiful Empire State of the South, that they had lost their "first citizen" - - a great and good man and a true friend. In the brief span of forty-eight years, Samuel Elbert had accomplished so much for the good of his country and the betterment of the human condition, that the enumeration of his many deeds of heroism seems an incredible task. He possessed both empathy and valor, a rare combination of qualities among men so highly gifted. Georgia has remembered Elbert in many ways. Elbert County and the town of Elberton were named for him. There is also an Elbert Ward and an Elbert memorial in Savannah and in 1971 a private school was chartered in Elberton, Georgia, named the Samuel Elbert Academy. Many markers have been set up by the the Daughters and Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of Masons and the Georgia Historical Commission honoring Samuel Elbert.[28][29][30]

Much of the credit for awakening interest in Georgia's great Revolutionary heroes is due to the efforts of William Harden, former librarian of the Georgia Historical Society at Savannah, who served in this capacity for many years. His interest inspired the Sons of The American Revolution to appoint a committee to locate Samuel Elbert's grave. The grave-site was eventually found on an Indian mound, overlooking the Savannah River, a site that made Elbert’s beautiful, poetic request a reality for him during the years when he could "hear the Savannah River sounding in my dreams" as expressed in one of his Journals.[31]

In a letter to the Atlanta Journal & Constitution editor May 9, 1971, John L. Sutlive, former editor of the Savannah Evening Press said the discovery of Elbert's grave was somewhat accidental. Working on the Rae plantation many years ago, workmen uncovered some bones thought to be those of an Indian, but the fact that there were some military buttons with the skeleton came to the attention of General Robert J. Travis who rescued them realizing that they were the remains of Governor Elbert. He kept them in a crate under his desk until reburial arrangements could be made. On March 24, 1924, Samuel Elbert and his wife Elizabeth Rae Elbert were re-interred in the Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah. Once again honors were paid to this great leader in a military funeral. Units from the Army, Navy and National Guard united in honoring the memory of one of Georgia’s greatest heroes.

The Indian mound where Elbert was originally buried was named the Irene mound by German Protestant missionaries from Moravia who established a mission atop the hill in 1736 according to historian Gail Whelan. The mound was a Native American structure that preceded both the French and Spanish explorers of the late 1500s, as well as the Creek tribes that migrated into coastal Georgia in the late 1400s. It was located about 5 miles (8.0 km) upriver from West Boundary street in Savannah on the eastern side of Pipemakers Canal where the canal meets the Savannah River. It was excavated in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration.[32] Rae's Hall(32°07′22″N 81°08′18″W / 32.1227°N 81.1382°W / 32.1227; -81.1382) and the Irene mound have since been built over by the Georgia Ports Authority[33]

Samuel Elbert’s father in law, John Rae, had come to Georgia from Ireland as a young man and settled in Augusta. About 1760 he bought some land near Savannah, and several years later he received a grant of 450 acres (1.8 km2) more in Christ Church Parish. Here he built Rae's Hall, an elaborate mansion which apparently used the Irene mound top as a backdrop and was to be the family home for several years and later the home and burial site of Governor Samuel Elbert.

Legacy[edit]

Elbert County, Georgia is named in his honor.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
John Houstoun
Governor of Georgia
1785–1786
Succeeded by
Edward Telfair