James Edward Oglethorpe papers
New Search | Return to Search Results | View/Save/Print PDF

James Edward Oglethorpe papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: DeRenne, George W.
Title: James Edward Oglethorpe papers
Dates: 1730-1785
Extent: 0.2 cubic feet (1 volume, 1 folder)
Identification: MS 0595

Biographical/Historical Note

James Edward Oglethorpe (1696-1785) was a soldier, philanthropist, member of Parliament, founder of the colony of Georgia, and a General in the British Army. Oglethorpe was born in London and received his degree from Cambridge University. He married Elizabeth Wright in 1744. He served as a member of Parliament from 1722-1754. Oglethorpe led a group of colonists to Georgia and settled Savannah on February 1, 1733. Oglethorpe is directly responsible for the distinctive urban development of Savannah as well as the initial treaties with the local Native Americans, the Lower Creeks. He colonized Frederica and Augusta in 1736. In 1742, he led the defense of St. Simons Island against the Spanish. He returned to England in 1743, but was recognized as Georgia's first governor until 1752.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains handwritten copies and photocopies of original manuscripts from various institutions in London, England. Included are the will of Oglethorpe, correspondence regarding the settlement of Savannah, and records of business transactions.

Mr. George W. Jones DeRenne was instrumental in having the letter book hand copied from originals in the Public Record Office. It was published as Collections of the Georgia Historical Society (Savannah, 1873) III, 1-156. Mr. DeRenne also procured a manuscript copy of Oglethorpe's will. The remainders are photocopies of originals.

Index Terms

Boltzius, Johann Martin, 1703-1765.
Charleston (S.C.)--History.
Colonists--America History--18th century.
Creek Indians.
Georgia--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775.
Ledgers (account books)
Letters (correspondence)
Oglethorpe, James Edward, 1696-1785.
Savannah (Ga.)--History.
Verelst, Harman

Location of Originals

Many of the original manuscripts are located in various London, England, institutions. The original letter book belongs to the Public Records Office. Addenda consist of photocopies of some of Oglethorpe's letters and papers from the Egmont Papers, University of Georgia Libraries.

Administrative Information

Custodial History


Preferred Citation

[item identification], James Edward Oglethorpe papers, collection number, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of George Fenwick Jones, n.d. (Item 5); Gift of G.W.J. DeRenne, 1879; Gift of University of Georgia Libraries, 1972.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Publication Note

The letter book was published as Collections of the Georgia Historical Society (Savannah, 1873) III, 1-156.


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List



1 General Oglethorpe's Letters, 1735-1744


1Miscellaneous papers, 1733-1785

Correspondence from James Oglethorpe to Sir Hans Sloane?, Savannah in Georgia, 1733 September 19
Discusses collecting and sending specimens. Negative photocopy of original manuscript in British Museum, Sloane Mss. 4053.

Poem "To the Honourable James Oglethorpe, Esq." Handwritten copy from The Gentleman's Magazine, 1734 September

AB to the Duke of Newcastle, 1740?
Discusses alleged plot of Oglethorpe to massacre all British subjects in the West Indies and South Carolina to aid the French and Spanish Indians and mulattoes. Negative photocopy of the original in the British Museum, Add. Mss. 32992.

Letters of Oglethorpe to the Rev. Mr. Boltzius and Harman Verelst, Frederica, Ga., 1741 July 17
Two pages attached in German. Regarding minister and teacher for the Salzburgers with incidental notes regarding Indians. Positive photocopy.

"A Report having been raised by W. C. Esq. that General Oglethorpe had no Rangers in Georgia but two or three that he kept to defray the Expence of Servants, The Author of the following Account having been a Ranger in Georgia and Constantly paid as such Submits it to Any Candid Person whether such Report is not without Foundation and absolutely false", 1739-1742
Published under title, "A Ranger's Report of Travels with General Oglethorpe in Georgia and Florida, 1739-1742," in N.D. Mereness, Travels in the American Colonies... (New York: Macmillan, 1916), 215-236. Negative photocopy of original in the British Museum, Stowe Mss. 792.

Will of James Edward Oglethorpe, 1770-1785
Positive photocopy from the original in Doctors Commons, London. Filed with this is a handwritten copy procured for the Georgia Historical Society in 1879.


1Addenda: Photocopies of some of Oglethorpe's letters and papers from the Egmont Papers, University of Georgia Libraries

Promise to pay from James Edward Oglethorpe to Thomas Young or bearer, 10 pounds, 1730 April 23

Indenture of Oglethorpe, for weapons to arm a Regiment of Foot in Georgia, 1731 December 21

Letter from Oglethorpe to the Trustees of Georgia, Deal, England, 1732 November 18
Discusses provisions for the voyage to America, the health of the colonists, and those passengers who understand the silk business.

Letter from Oglethorpe to the Trustees, on board the ship Ann, 1733 January 13
Reports that they have sighted land after a seven-week voyage and are near Charles Town (Charleston), intention to hire a pilot to take them to Port Royal and then to Georgia, and the health of the colonists.

Letter from Will Houston to Oglethorpe, Carthagena, 1733 January 25
Discusses difficulty in securing vines and balsam trees.

Letter from Oglethorpe to Trustees, Camp near Savannah, 1733 February 10
Discusses the lodging of colonists in soldier's barracks, the support of the Governor of Charleston, the selection of the site for the development of Savannah, and a description of the local Indians.

Letter from Oglethorpe to Trustees, Charles Town, 1733 May 14
Report of the state of the Indians, the health of the colonists, the purchase of supplies, and the restriction of rum and African Americans in the colony.

Note of exchange, Oglethorpe to David Provoost, Alatamaha in Georgia, 1736 February 20
Oglethorpe promises to pay Provost 10 pounds for provisions.

Last will and testament of James Edward Oglethorpe, 1770 October 15

Portion of the Account Book of James Oglethorpe, undated
Records expenditures in establishing the colony of Georgia.