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Ossabaw Island, Georgia

#106 of 111 in Wildlife in Georgia
Ossabaw Island is one of the Sea Islands located on the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia approximately twenty miles by water south from the historic downtown of the city of Savannah. One of the largest of Georgia's barrier islands, Ossabaw contains of wooded uplands with freshwater ponds and of marshlands interlaced with tidal creeks. Located between Wassaw Island and the Ogeechee River on the north and St. Catherines Island on the south, the island is not linked to the mainland by bridge or causeway. At, it is the third-largest barrier island off the coast of Georgia.
Evidence of human presence extends for at least 4,000 years based on pottery shards unearthed from the island's numerous oyster shell middens. It was inhabited by the Guale Indians at the time of the Spanish exploration of the Georgia coast in the early 16th century. Throughout the Spanish mission period the Guale alternately supplied and fought with the Spanish. When English occupation of the area replaced the Spanish in the 1730s, the Guale had moved inland possibly in response to disease and coastal marauding under the Spanish. The earliest English treaties reserved the island as hunting and fishing grounds for the Creek Indians.
In 1758 a group of Creek leaders was persuaded to convey the island to King George II of England. In 1760 the island passed into private ownership and was farmed and timbered with slave labor and was eventually divided into four plantations. After the American Civil War the island was farmed on a small scale by several owners and tenant farmers until the early 20th century. In 1907 Savannah native, Henry D. Weed, purchased over 9000 acres of the island, and by 1916 Weed was the island's sole owner. After 1916 it was used as a hunting retreat while owned by a group of wealthy businessman until it was purchased in 1924 by Dr. Henry Norton Torrey of Detroit, Michigan and his wife Nell Ford Torrey daughter of Emery L Ford and Ella Neat of Indiana.
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Ossabaw Island Reviews
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  • We visited Ossabaw with a group and it was the best decision we made all weekend! The boat ride was well managed and we were received at the dock by the director, Elizabeth duBose, who is friendly and...  more »
  • As of one on the several barrier islands off the cost of Georgia, Ossabaw is a great place to visit. However, due to the limited access, you must plan your trip well in advance. Often trips to the isl...  more »
  • A very remote wilderness island, wonderfully quiet. They make very special bacon here.
  • Very sandy beaches. early in the morning, you are able to see turtle tracks. Only shells on the sand under the water unlike its counterpart St Cathrens Island which has lots of tree stumps.

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