Case Study: Queensborough Township, Jefferson County

Recent archaeological investigations conducted by Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants for the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration provided an important first glimpse of Colonial and early Federal period life in Burke and Jefferson Counties, Georgia. This excavation was required for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, to mitigate the adverse effects of the proposed road widening associated with the Fall Line Freeway, which will link Augusta and Columbus. The archaeological site, named Hannahs Quarter for its probable association with the Scots-Irish William Hannah family, dates to the late eighteenth through early nineteenth centuries. Archaeological excavation revealed a small compound, consisting of four buildings. Cultural features, such as pits, post molds, cellars and extremely sparse material culture deposits, evidenced the occupation of this site.

Principal archaeologist Daniel Elliott pieced together from archaeological and historical evidence a picture of life on the plantation of William Hannah. The settlement began as part of the Queensborough Township, which was populated by Scots-Irish Presbyterians from Northern Ireland from about 1768-1772. Archival documents reveal that William Hannah immigrated to Georgia in 1772, accompanied by his wife and two children. He established a small plantation between the forks of Hannah Branch and Duhart Creek, located in the Ogeechee River watershed. As with many other early towns and villages in colonial Georgia, Queensborough itself did not survive the American Revolution, although many of its residents remained in Georgia.

Few Colonial and Federal period sites have been excavated in Georgia, and of these, most are located in towns such as Augusta, Darien, Fort Frederica, New Ebenezer, and Savannah. Even less archaeological investigation has been conducted on rural sites in Georgias interior Coastal Plain, and much of this has concentrated on plantations rather than farmsteads. As a result of the archaeological and historical study of the Hannahs Quarter site, we have a glimpse of life on the Georgia frontier in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A more complete story of life in the Queensborough Township and early Jefferson County will have to wait for the discovery of better-preserved sites and future archaeological investigations.

-  March 2003