Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the first road systems in Georgia and Bulloch County.
Chapter 16 of "Travels Through North America, During the Years 1825 and 1826," written by Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Bernhard, reveals what he thought of both the state of Georgia and its people.
First, he wrote, "The stage to Savannah was very bad. ... The steam-boat went very irregularly. ... Savannah had lost its importance as a place of trade ... (and) contained nothing worthy of observation."
Thus, he decided to "betake myself the nearest way to Augusta, one hundred and twenty-nine miles distant ... (passing through) Milledgeville ... (and once at) Augusta ... (we) took up our quarters in the Globe Hotel."
Here, he "noticed a couple of vessels of a peculiar structure, employed in (river) trade. They are flat underneath, and look like large ferry-boats. ... Each vessel can carry a load of three hundred tons.
"Bales of cotton, each of which weighs about three hundred pounds, were piled upon one another to the height of eleven feet. Steam-boats are provided to tow these vessels up and down the stream.
"We left Augusta ... in the miserable mail stage, which we had engaged for ourselves ... (to) Milledgeville. ... (It) was one of the most tedious that I had hitherto met with in the United States; hilly, nothing but sand ... and eternal pine woods."
The Duke called Georgians "great barbarians." He ranted about the Irish, declaring that "this race ... who have spread themselves like a pestilence over the United States, are ... despised even by the Georgians."
After crossing the Oconee River, his party reached Milledgeville. From there, the duke hired "a four-horse extra stage, for the price of two hundred and twenty-five dollars," which itself was in such rough shape that it was put "under repair in the state prison."
The road they took was so bad that the carriage "broke twice," and they finally abandoned it. They crossed the Ocmulgee on a ferry boat, and then, reaching the Flint River, crossed "in an Indian ferry-boat."
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.