3 February to 28 February 1793

Sail’d from Newbury-port [1] Feby 3d 1793 After a Passage which afforded me but little pleasure we made Soundings in fourteen Days the Winds proving adverse for Georgia we made Carolina on the 16 inst took a Pilot but could not get over the bar, their came up Squals with rain we had a tedious ^Night^ the morning was more favourable before high water a Wind sprang up and we departed without going in next Morning found ourselves near Savannah [2] a good Wind fine Weather soon made Land I [s]at upon the Deck had a pleasing view of the Land to appearance emerging from the Sea, took a Pilot but he got us aground upon the Bar where we remained part of the Night, the Weather was so Calm that we received no injury next Morning we Anchored of[f] Tybee Light House [3] Mr Smith on shore picked some curiosities on the beach, at high Water we proceeded up River a fine Day equal to June with us came to Anchor at five fathom hole, with a fleet of Ships round us 2 miles from Town a most beautiful Day spent part of the Morning upon Deck could have a small view of the Town, but was much entertained with the Shipping that lay loading and the passing of Vessells in which it was very common to see Females. – [4]

Saturday 23 February. Mr Smith went up to Town a fine Day. sent me down Oranges & Oysters began to unload he return’d at Night with a very polite and urgent invitation from Mr & Mrs Vanderlochts [5] and Mrs Ingersoll [6] to pass my time at their House. –

Sunday & Monday passd without any thing new at Night made an attempt to get up to Town but was obliged to come to Anchor. –

Tuesday Morning [26 February] arrived at the Wharf Mr Vanderlochts came on Board was very urgent for me to dine with them I declined. PM Mr & Mrs V—t’s & Mrs Ingersoll & Daughter with two Gentlemen came on Board spent an Hour or two partook of a small repass engaged to ride round the Town with Mrs V— next Morning. –

Wed [27 February] – fine Clear Morning had a thunder shower in the Night Mr Smith went a few miles out of Town to get lodgings I postponed my ride, were visited by Mr V— several Capts of Vessells from various parts, and a Son of General Greens. – [7]

Thursd [28 February] a sudden change of Weather very cold have not been on shore cannot get lodgings Dr Putnam & Lady [8] calld to see me, & Mr V—.


[1] Newburyport, Massachusetts, is located on the south bank of the Merrimack River at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. The area was originally settled in the 1630s as Newbury, but in 1764 became Newburyport. It was a center for shipbuilding and maritime trade, which produced most of the Smiths’ wealth.

[2] Savannah, the first English settlement in Georgia, was founded in 1733. It was situated on a high bluff overlooking the Savannah River about eighteen miles from its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. During the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Savannah’s importance as a seaport was second only to Charleston, though its population was only about 2500 in 1793. At the time of Dorothy Smith’s visit, Savannah consisted almost entirely of wooden houses scattered among eight squares (by 1856 the city had expanded to 24 squares), surrounded in the outlying areas by forests and plantations. A British official in 1779 noted that “the Houses lie Scattered and are poorly built mostly of wood – in Short, the whole has a most wretched miserable appearance.” A catastrophic fire destroyed much of Savannah in 1796, replaced by the squares and large townhomes still inhabited within its historic district. See Mary L. Morrison, ed., Historic Savannah: Survey of Significant Buildings in the Historic and Victorian Districts of Savannah, Georgia (Savannah, 1979), 6.

[3] The lantern at the lighthouse was not working when Mrs. Smith arrived in February 1793 due to a fire that occurred on November 8, 1792. See Georgia Gazette, January 31, 1793.

[4] A notice of the Smiths’ arrival in Savannah from Newburyport on the brig Caroline, captained by Ammi Smith, appeared under the “Marine List’ in the Georgia Gazette, February 28, 1793. The Georgia Gazette advertised the ship’s departure on March 28, 1793, describing it as “entirely new” with “excellent accommodations” (it actually sailed on April 23).

[5] William Vanderlocht, merchant, owned a wharf along the Savannah River about fifty feet below Bay Street, which ran along the top of the bluff overlooking the river. His first wife had died in 1791. By the time of Dorothy Smith’s visit, he had remarried. He died a few months after her departure, in September 1793. A notice in the Georgia Gazette for Thursday, August 1, 1793, informed the public that the “valuable wharf and part of the stores therein, lately occupied by Mr. William Vanderlocht,” were now for rent with “immediate possession given.” See Georgia Gazette, November 3, 1791; September 19, 1793; April 17, 1794.

[6] Mrs. John Ingersoll died not long after Dorothy Smith’s visit, in October 1793. Her husband, a merchant on Bay Street, died at West Point, New York, on January 1, 1799. See Georgia Gazette, October 17, 1793; Columbian Museum, February 8, 1799.

[7] George Washington Greene was nineteen at the time of Dorothy Smith’s visit. He was the son of the celebrated Revolutionary War general, Nathanael Greene (1742–86), who replaced General Horatio Gates as commander of the Southern Army in December 1780. As a result of his victories in the South, in January 1783 Georgia awarded Greene a 2100-acre plantation (Mulberry Grove) 14 miles north of Savannah along the Savannah River, to which he retired and where he died in 1786. In 1792 his widow, Catherine, invited Eli Whitney (1765–1825), a recent graduate of Yale, to live at Mulberry Grove and tutor her younger children. In April 1793 (during the Smiths’ stay in Savannah), Whitney, with the financial assistance of Mrs. Greene, developed the cotton gin, one of the most significant inventions in the economic history of the American South.

[8] Several advertisements under the name Henry Putnam, Esq. appeared in the Savannah paper during 1793. He was challenged to a duel in June 1791 and elected an alderman of the Oglethorpe Ward of Savannah in 1798. Putnam’s wife, Susannah, died in October 1798. See Thomas Gamble, Savannah Duels and Duellists 1733–1877 (Spartanburg, SC, 1974), 96–97; Georgia Gazette, May 16, 1793; July 6, 1798; August 2, 1798; November 1, 1798.