James Oglethorpe (1696-1785). Who was James Edward Oglethorpe and why was he famous? James Oglethorpe was famous as a leader of the Georgia Colony. James Oglethorpe was a British general, member of Parliament, philanthropist, humanitarian, was the founder of the colony of Georgia in America in 1733. He was a social reformer in England founding Georgia, after a grant from King George II, to resettle Britain's poor, especially those in debtors' prison. He established a small group on the Savanna River hoping to create a debtors colony that was free of vice. The establishment of the Georgia colony was based on three motives: philanthropic, commercial, and military.
Note: The below paragraph is an extract from the more complete history of the Bent Tree and Glassy Knoll areas authored by Don and Diane Wells.
The Oglethorpe Monument
Sam Tate became President of the Georgia Marble Company in the early 1900’s. Under his leadership the company became one of the most important industries in GA as well as in the United States. He was a man of vision with a passion for accomplishing new endeavors outside of his marble industry. Beginning in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, he bought land stretching from Burnt Mountain to Oglethorpe Mountain. By 1928 he owned about 10,000 acres. In 1928, he started building the Tate Mountain Estates which he envisioned to be “the best mountain resort community east of the Mississippi River.” He planned to put this mountain area on the map” He petitioned the GA Legislature and the US Congress to change the name of the main mountain from Grassy Knob to Oglethorpe Mountain, named for the founder of GA. He wanted to erect a marble monument in honor of General Oglethorpe on top of the mountain. The GA Marble Company would build the monument and donate it and a five acre site to the state. He also wanted the monument area set aside as a state park but the area was not big enough to qualify. The monument, 38 feet high, was carved by Mr. Jimmy Watt of the Nelson Georgia Marble Plant. In order to transport the monument to the top of Mt. Oglethorpe, Tate had to complete the Burnt Mt. Road to Tate Estates and then build a road along the top of the mountain ridge to the monument location. The date for the monument dedication was initially set for July 1930 but the road was not complete by then and neither was the Connehaynee Lodge where Tate planned to house all of the dignitaries who were going to be at the ceremony. J. B. Hill, in a personal account of his experience with Sam Tate in selecting the site for the monument, reported in the November 7, 1991 Pickens Progress that all was ready by August 1930 and that L.C. Bearden and his crew got the monument to the top of Mt. Oglethorpe using the roads build by Sam Tate. Unfortunately, this major feat was not recorded with pictures. The Monument was placed in August and September of 1930 and dedicated on October 23, 1930. The ceremony was recorded in the Pickens Progress. The monument was set in a sixteen-foot circle outlined in native stones stacked two feet high. The view, seen from the top of one of the highest mountains in north Georgia, was remarkable. Many people from Pickens County and elsewhere came to see the structure. Unfortunately, after Tate died in 1938, much of his land was either sold to others or lost to foreclosure. Vandals and lighting began to destroy the Monument. Rescued in 1999, the Monument was removed from the mountain. After a two-year period of repair, it was re-erected in downtown Jasper in 2001.