COLONEL MARK CARR, ESQUIRE, commander against the Spanish under General James Oglethorpe's command, was also known as the greatest person to improve conditions in the Georgia Colony. He first owned extensive plantations in St. Patrick's Parish and several town lots at Frederica. However, it was General Oglethorpe who told him where to make his plantation on the mainland at a place called The Hermitage. On January 28, 1740, Capt. Mark Carr wrote a letter from The Hermitage to General James Campbell detailing the expedition of General Oglethorpe into Florida in pursuit of the Spanish and of taking Ft. Picolata and Ft. San Francisco. He remarked that last season was the "wettest known in America", and that 50 out of 1200 persons had died of fevers; and that it was best to plant Indian corn, peas, pumpkins and potatoes, rather than import the British seeds and plants.
His plantation on the mainland was one of the very few in that location because of the constant danger of raids by the Spanish Indians. It as described in the Queen's Court at Westminster on February 11, 1744 by Lt. Colonel Alexander Heron, in giving his report to the Trustees of the agricultural progress being made in the Colony: "...that all sorts of garden stuff grow extremely well, and particularly asparagus, all the year round without dunging the lands...That he himself (Col. Heron) occupied one field on St. Simon's Island four years. That on three or four acres, he had 53 bushels of Indian corn cleared, and besides that, a third more of it was spoiled or lost at the time of the invasion (Spanish). That vines thrive extremely well and that he himself grated European vines on the wild ones on the island. And that in one year, there have been shoots of twenty seven feet from the grafting as big as his finger. That cotton grows on the land by one great necessity...that he has while mulberry trees which grow very well, but they are not the natural product of the country. That he thinks silk, wine oyl, and cotton may be raised very well there...that the wood of St. Simon's is chiefly Live Oak...."
One of the inherent problems for the Colonists, however, was that of the Indians and Spanish. The Spanish encourage the Indians to pilferage, burn and murder the homes and barns of white settlers.
In March of 1741, the plantation of Colonel Carr was attacked and robbed by Spanish Indians from Augustine. They killed several of the corporal guards of soldiers posted at the plantation and servants, wounding others. The women and children locked themselves in the cellar at the time, while the Indians plundered their way and carried off the booty in a large boat belonging to the plantation. When Colonel Carr found out about it, He was out in a ship with General Oglethorpe putting down other attacks. General Oglethorpe sent out boats to overtake the Indians. In October, Colonel Carr went out on a voyage on Davis Sloop, which became lost on the coast and was driven ashore, but all men aboard were saved. So, it was not until June that he returned, and William Stephens, Secretary of the Colony, expressed his relief in his Journal dated June 1, 1741.
Colonel Carr described his settlement problems in a letter to the Trustees dated May 12, 1752:
"In the beginning of the year 1739, General Oglethorpe put me in possession of 500 acres of land on the main to the south of Frederica called the "Hermitage", and the year following a tract of the like quantity to my second som, Thomas, as called "Carrsfield", on both of which I made very considerable improvements at a large expense, but in the year 1740 while I was in Virginia on his Majesty's service, my whole improvements, with my stock, was destroyed by Spanish Indians and several of my people cutt off, and by a moderate computation, my loss was several hundred and 50 pds. Soon after my return from Virginia, the General not thinking me safe there, granted me an island to the south of my former settlement which he called "Blyth", wherein I likewise built two brick, with several outhouses, as well as made very large improvements in cultivation, but by the withdrawing of the regiment these improvements not only became invaluable, but I was exposed and it became dangerous for me and my servants to remain upon it, and consequently, my money and time was in a great measure sunk.
You obliged me to moved into a less exposed neighborhood and I was advised to fix on Midway River where you pleased to grant my son, Thomas, 500 acres of land and also another tract of like quantity to me which was granted to, but resigned by Charles Ratcliff. On these lands, I have made larger improvements than any person in the neighborhood, but to my great disappointments two-thirds (as the Surveyor can inform you) proves unfitt for any manner of cultivation and must soon want land to plant, unless I can gett an addition. Therefore, I request that you will grant my son, William, who is now near twenty one years of age, 500 acres of l and on the north side of Newport River, about four miles southwest on the same neck where I am settled, and likewise that you would allow me to exchange the tract of land laid out for Lt. Archibald Don on Midway River which I have made appear to you I purchased from him, for the like quantity on Newport River adjoining the same.
Gentlemen, as I presume that no person that ever was in Georgia has given better prooff of his zeale and industry to improve the Colony that I have done, I need not assure you that I shall continue in it, and your obliging me with my request, I hope will enable me to retrieve the uncommon losses I have sustained, which has been much more than I can mention or chooses to trouble you with, as it's a truth well-known to you, I am. Your very obedient humble servant, Mark Carr. P. S. I lay no claim to the lands formerly granted to me or my son at Hermitage, Carrsfield, or Blyth, which I resign (to remove where I have requested), notwithstanding my improvements thereon."
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