Editor, The city of Richmond Hill announced Monday it received approximately $13,000 from the Coastal Resources Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to pay for historical markers.
I am promoting recognition of two of our city’s most influential and historically significant former citizens, Ellen and William Craft.
Ellen Craft (1826-1891) and William Craft (1824-1900) were slaves from Macon in the United States who escaped to the North in December 1848 by traveling openly by train and steamboat, arriving in Philadelphia on Christmas Day.
She posed as a white male planter and he as her personal servant. Their daring escape was widely publicized.
In 1868, after the American Civil War and passage of constitutional amendments granting emancipation, citizenship and rights to freedmen, the Crafts returned from England. in 1870 they bought 1,800 acres of land in Georgia near Savannah in Bryan County. There they founded the Woodville Cooperative Farm School in 1873 for the education and employment of freedmen.
I encourage all Savannah area residents to be familiar with the Craft’s story. They wrote a book titled “Running a thousand miles for freedom,” a journal telling the story of their lives. Wikipedia, from which I extracted the quick biography above, also has their story. The Woodville Coop, their institute for training freedmen was located two miles south of the crossroads in Richmond Hill (Ford Ave and Coastal Highway). I believe that’s about where the Food lion shopping center sits.
The lives of these courageous residents are more than worthy of a historical marker.
Stephen R. Beveridge