Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Road Trip 3: Darien and a Daring Actress

Onwards and upwards...

.....to Darien, Georgia, an interesting small town on the coast. The little church is called St Cyprian's. I would have thought that would be an odd name to find in the Bible Belt South.

Turns out the little Episcopal church was built for former slaves and named for St Cyprian of Carthage, an early African martyr. The structure is built of tabby, a type of concrete made with oyster shells, which we were to see more of. I had never thought beyond tabby cats - you learn something new every day!
  And here were more of the old live oaks  festooned with Spanish moss, some of my favourite features of the South.

The town's tourist information centre was housed in an old jail.

Yes, complete with cells. I wonder if the bars were that pretty blue colour before it was repurposed.

The little museum was full of the unexpected. There was a surprising connection to Fanny Kemble, the 19th century British actress.

She was married to an American for a while, in the 1830s, a chap called Butler (any relation to Rhett?) whose family owned some plantations near Darien, with all that that entailed. When Fanny finally got to visit them, she was shocked by the conditions in which the slaves were kept. Like a lot of modern actresses she became an activist, had some full and frank conversations with hubby, who was also having a few bits on the side and got shot of him, possibly a wise move.
  Another museum artefact was this vintage soda fountain.

Interestingly, a century or so before Fanny's bad experience, the citizens of Darien had petitioned the British colonial governor against slavery. Their reasons weren't all honourable - for one thing they thought hanging onto the slaves and guarding them would be too expensive - but they're proud of it all the same.

And here was a Nativa-Gloo (their words). It was for sale, 200 dollars or best offer. Unfortunately sister-in-law's car was too full already.

Nearby was Fort King George, where the Brits first tried to establish a garrison in 1721, Unfortunately the guide in the gift shop told us all the soldiers died of disease before ever seeing action. Perhaps the local flying citizenry had something to do with it.

Though the gift shop was doing well out of the British connection. (Is that Basil Brush? Remember him?)

Unfortunately we didn't have time to do a tour of the fort but hope to be back. That's the trouble with road trips - you're always having to get on the road again.

To be continued.

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