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'Bottom' historical marker is factually incorrect, does not meet guidelines
Letter to the editor
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Editor, In response to Sarah Volker’s letter of Dec. 3, I offer the following:

According to Georgia Historical Society guidelines, “Because the Georgia Historical Society strives for impeccable historical accuracy in its marker program, the subject must be thoroughly researched using primary and secondary sources (the use of oral histories and county histories without other corroborating evidence is discouraged). The narrative must be documented on a fact-by-fact basis with the use of footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations that offer each statement that is presented as fact ...”

Ms.Volker and all concerned with the research and placement of the “Bottom” historical marker in Richmond Hill Village would surely receive an “F” for failure to provide facts.

The so called “facts” as presented on the marker referring to our village as the “Bottom” village is nothing more than stories handed down. Again, I will quote Mr. Sullivan’s historical accounting of Bryan County in his book “From Beautiful Zion to Red Bird Creek”, “... and the employee housing units in the two residential sections developed by Henry Ford, Blueberry Village and the Bottoms.” This is not fact. There is no footnote, no endnote or parenthetical citation to offer this statement as fact. If he had relied on facts listed in the Bryan County deed books rather than hearsay, he would have known and correctly recorded Richmond Hill Village rather than Bottoms.

According to Ms. Volker and the real estate folks she spoke with, the “Bottom,” which she says means wet, swampy, low-lying property, would sell as well as the same real estate located on higher ground. Most of the village land is of the Craven Series, which consist of moderately well-drained soils, Ocilla complex, which is not wet and swampy. The remaining land consists of the Pelham Series, which lies nearer the Sterling Creek Canal, and is poorly drained — was then and is still so to this day.

Ms. Volker goes on to state “It is not the job of the Historical Society to change or rewrite history. Our job is to present the facts, warts, and all, to the public.” Now our village is a warty, bottom village unsubstantiated by facts.

The information within the body of the marker may be fact. However, it is not a fact our village is named the Bottom village. I would have suggested “Richmond Hill Village” commonly referred to, by the locals, as the bottom. That is a fact.

Again, I am asking the city, visitor’s bureau and historical society to either correct the marker to list Richmond Hill Village or remove and replace the marker with Richmond Hill Village entrance markers. A circulated petition has no bearing in this case since the marker is factually incorrect and, in my opinion, does not meet Georgia Historical Society guidelines as spelled out above. This marker is now listed on the website of Historical Markers Across Georgia.

— Dianne Rutland, Richmond Hill

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