Dungeness

“The magnificent mansion was burned in the early part of the civil war, but the ruins still stand firm as a rock, the massive old coquina-stone walls having actually been hardened by the fire.”

Florida for Tourists, Invalids and Settlers, George M. Barbour

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

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Cumberland Island’s Lush Grapevines

pexels-photo-197907

On the lushness of Cumberland Island:

“On this island, before the late war, was seen a scuppernong grape-vine, nearly three hundred years old, supposed to have been planted by the Spanish missionaries. It was then pronounced a prolific bearer, producing two thousand pounds of fruit per annum, and covering nearly three acres of ground.”

Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes. Silvia Sunshine

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

 

Nathanael Greene’s Garden

Nathanael Greene on his St. Simon’s Island garden: “The mocking-birds that sing around me morning and evening, the mild and balmy atmosphere, with the exercise which I find in my garden culture.”

Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes. Silvia Sunshine

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

 

On St. Simon’s

pexels-photo-760281.jpeg

“Natural paths and arbors were found here by the English, as if formed by the hand of art, with the ripe grapes hanging in festoons of a royal purple hue.”

Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes. Silvia Sunshine

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

 

Where Savannah’s Dead Sleep

Bonaventure_Cemetery,_Savannah,_Georgia-LCCN2008678153
1901. Via Library of Congress.

What a beautiful sleeping place!

“Bonaventure cemetery is about three miles from town, and is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, even in a land where beauties of nature are everywhere. A wide shell road leads for about half a mile through what seems a vast forest, with the live oak draped in gray moss meeting overhead, while all is still, but for the rustle of the grass, as a little chameleon peeps at you with his bright eyes and then hastens away. After walking quite a distance you come out into the graveyard proper. There under tall trees and waving moss, rare flowers and in sound of the never-ceasing roar and murmur of the ocean, sleep Savannah’s dead.”

Savannah by the Sea.

 

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

The Squares of Savannah

appleton_s_illustrated_hand_book_of_amer-public-square-savannah-ga-1884.png
Appleton’s Illustrated Handbook of American Winter Resorts

In 1773, James Oglethorpe began his grand plan for Savannah – laying out squares for the community to enjoy and utilize. By 1851, there were 24 squares.

“The number of squares has now been increased to twenty-four—the walks all being paved with granite, and swept daily. Forsyth Park is on a more extended plan than these small squares, containing a large fountain, fine flowers, magnolia grandiflora trees, a small zoölogical collection—all objects of interest, displaying the taste and refinement of a well-cultured people.”

Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes. Silvia Sunshine.

 

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

Nature takes over

Originally consisting of 70 acres of Bonaventure Plantation, the cemetery served as a gathering place for family picnics as well as solace for those left behind. Nature was not pleased with man’s tinkering, however, and constantly attempted to regain her lost land. John Muir tells us:

“It is interesting to observe how assiduously Nature seeks to remedy these labored art blunders. She corrodes the iron and marble, and gradually levels the hill which is always heaped up, as if a sufficiently heavy quantity of clods Could not be laid on the dead. Arching grasses come one by one; seeds come flying on downy wings, silent as fate, to give life’s dearest beauty for the ashes of art; and strong evergreen arms laden with ferns and tillandsia drapery are spread over all — Life at work everywhere, obliterating all memory of the confusion of man.”

— A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf. John Muir, 1916.

To read more about Bonaventure cemetery, click here.

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

 

Analyzing Primary Sources

Using Primary Sources

letter from whistler to paul
Via Library of Congress

Historians look for evidence of their time period in primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include items such as diaries, letters, court documents, the objects people used, and the places they lived. What the historian creates after examining the primary sources is considered the secondary source. This can be in the form of what was found, an analysis of the time period or by tying pieces together to create a story about the past.

History books are generally considered secondary sources, because they are compilations of data. However, a town history can be considered a primary source when you are looking at the author – evidence of the author’s life experiences and world view can be found.

Historians look at primary sources to find evidence from the past. Secondary sources use primary source evidence to figure out the past and create a narrative of the time. Historians dream of finding fresh evidence in primary sources so they can create a new interpretation of a historical time.

Examples of Primary Sources

  • Artifacts
  • Audio recordings/movies/radio programs
  • Diaries, journals or memoirs
  • Interviews – oral, phone or email
  • Letters
  • Newspaper or journal articles written at the time
  • Court documents – birth/death certificate, marriage license, trial transcripts
  • Patents
  • Records from meetings and conferences
  • Documents from organizations and governmental agencies
  • Photographs, postcards, notecards and other ephemera
  • Speeches
  • Art, literature, music and architecture
  • Websites

magnifying glass
Ask These Questions to Learn More About Primary Sources

Historians seek out primary sources to find evidence to answer questions about the past – what happened and why. Answering a few basic questions about the source can help draw accurate conclusions about it.

Answer as many of these questions as you can when looking at a primary source.

  1. What is it? A letter, diary, court document, newspaper article? Was it written on elegant stationery or on scrap paper, in pen or pencil?
  2. When was it written? The date can be a determining factor if the item is a primary source or a secondary source, especially for newspaper articles.
  3. Who wrote or made it? Who was the author? What background information do you know about the author: race, sex, class, occupation, age, geographic region, political or religious beliefs? Does any of this affect the validity of the source, and how?
  4. Can you tell why they wrote it? Was it for personal use or publication? What was the author trying to get across? What was the message or argument of the document?
  5. Who was the intended audience/user? Was the message meant for the public, or for one person (i.e., letter) What impact does that have on the source?
  6. Where was it written?
  7. How was it written or made? What methods were used in the creation of the item?
  8. What evidence does this source contribute to my research? What do the author’s words, or lack thereof, tell you? Remember to consider the silences of a piece.
  9. What questions does this source raise? What do we know not about this source or the author?
  10. What does the source tell us? Is it prescriptive, telling what people thought would happen, or is it descriptive, telling what people thought did happen? Does it describe the ideology of the time, or the behavior? Does the source tell about the actions or beliefs of ordinary people, or the elite? From whose perspective?
  11. What other information do we have about this document or object? What information do we not have?
  12. What other sources are like this one? How might those sources help answer questions about this source? What have others said about this source or ones that are similar?
  13. What else do we need to know in order to understand the evidence in this source?
  14. How does this source help answer your research questions? What are the benefits of using this source?
  15. What are the limitations of this source? What questions can it not help answer?
  16. How does this source alter or fit into current or existing interpretations of the past? How does your analysis of the source fit into this scheme? Do you think this evidence supports or challenges current arguments?
  17. How does evidence from this source alter or fit into existing interpretations of the past?

Gathering as much information as possible about your source will help you determine if it is valid and valuable. Sometimes sources appear to be useful and you later determine that it isn’t, particularly if you find that the author had a completely different viewpoint than you do.

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

Bonaventure Cemetery

bonaventure cemetery 1901
Via Shorpy

Bonaventure Cemetery was established in 1846 as Evergreen Cemetery. It’s Southern beauty and history now fill 100 acres near Savannah. A description from 1880:

“They have christened it Bonaventure, derived from the Spanish, signifying, Coming good. Here rest, in the unyielding embrace of death, those whose warfare in life has ended, where the huge live-oaks, with overlapping limbs, entwine with their companions, forming natural triumphal archways, while the somber-hanging gray moss clings lovingly to its outstretched arms, waving in the winds like some weird fancy that lingers only on the brink of uncertainty. These beautiful grounds were once the home of the Tatnall family, but have now been purchased and devoted to the dwelling of the dead, whither the living can come and contemplate the change which awaits them all.”

Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes. Silvia Sunshine

My name is Marsanne Petty, and I’m a researcher through and through. I chase obscure topics into the end of oblivion and compile what I find for all to read. Sometimes my family thinks I’m crazy, but my dogs are good with it. If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, check out my stuff here and here. If you want some great oddities in your own mail box, sign up at The Southern Sage.

 

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