By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bulloch History by Roger Allen
De Soto in Bulloch County? Perhaps.
Placeholder Image
    In September of 1526, Spanish forces commanded by Liciendo Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon landed on the Georgia coast near Sapelo Sound. De Ayllón's group sailed from Hispaniola to the South Carolina and Georgia coastline one two ships. His group of settlers even brought along some African slaves. They established the colony San Miguel de Guadalupe. Their slaves soon escaped to live among the Indians, leaving de Ayllón and the other colonists to die in a fever epidemic.
    Panfilo de Narvaez was the next adventurer to attempt to tame Florida and Georgia. He had been granted all of the land of Florida by the Emperor Charles V in 1526. Not surprisingly, he arrived to check out his new property with nearly 300 men soldiers. After encountering a hurricane enroute, his party landed on the west coast of Florida near Tampa Bay in April, 1528. He quickly angered the Indians who attacked and killed most of his group. Narvaez did not survive.
    This expedition was followed by the most well-known Spanish foray into North America: the Captain General of Fernandina (Cuba) and Adelanto de Florida Don Hernando De Soto. His force of 600 Europeans on nine ships arrived on the western Florida coast from Cuba on May 25, 1539.
    The Army assembled at the Indian village of Anhayca (modern day Tallahassee) and headed north. They crossed the River of Toa –also known as Ichawaynochaway - (or the Flint river) several time, eventually reaching the Indian village of Capachequi (modern day Bainbridge). After crossing the Ocmulgee River near what is Hawkinsville, they reached the Oconee at what is now Carr’s Bluff, some six miles above Dublin. The river was at flood stage, and De Soto’s men begged their leader to turn back, but he refused.
    Eventually they got across, and then headed off for the Ogeechee River, where they again had to cross the river while at flood stage. Passing close to Swainsboro, they continued on to Louisville, and then reached Brier’s Creek, where they crossed at Farmers Bridge.
    De Soto and his remaining men promptly headed north to the mountains of Georgia, where they figured the rumored piles of gold, silver, and jewels must await them. A number of Indians were taken as hostage guides to show them the way, and did so until they either committed suicide or managed to escape. Thus ended the one and only Spanish passage through parts of the Wiregrass and the Pine Barrens, and maybe, just maybe, onto Bulloch County soil.
    Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter