Hwy. 301, St. Rt. 24
The Goodall home is located about six miles north of Sylvania on U. S. Highway 301. The house was built in 1815 for Seaborn Goodall, a prominent Jacksonborough citizen, who was clerk of Superior Court.
Jacksonborough was at that time the county seat of Screven County. The survival of the house is significant because it is the only structure left standing in Old Jacksonborough. According to history, this is due to a curse placed upon the town by Lorenzo Dow, an itinerant Methodist minister, who was run out of town by the “Rowdies.” After being befriended by Seaborn Goodall, who gave Dow shelter for the night, the minister stopped on the bridge the next morning and asked God to place a curse upon the town with the exception of the Goodall home.
Within 20 years the town had ceased to exist. There were unexplained fires, mysterious winds that ripped roofs from houses, flash floods that emanated from the usually quiet creek. The curse was fulfilled by a variety of means, and the county seat was moved to Sylvania in 1847 after the town was virtually deserted. After 1870 the Goodall house belonged to the family of Dr. Julian P. Dell of Savannah, a retired Methodist Minister and has come to be known as the Dell-Goodall home.
The sturdy frame edifice was made of hand-hewed logs, with matched shoulders and hand-whittled peg construction. The Georgia pine used by the builder toughened long ago to rock-hardness. The house may be viewed down a long avenue of moss-draped trees. It was a handsome house at one time with gracious proportions and pleasing landscaping. General Sherman camped at the Goodall house overnight in his famous march to the sea.
The house was restored by the Brier Creek Chapter of the DAR. Call for free tours.
BATTLE OF BRIER CREEK – MAR. 3, 1779
6199 Brannen’s Bridge Rd.
In early February, 1779, the Southern Armies of the United States and Great Britain were facing across the Savannah River on a battle line reaching from Savannah to the Broad River above Augusta. The British controlled Georgia and the Americans South Carolina. A victory for the American forces meant an early end to the war. Each side, realizing the importance of the impending struggle, was carefully maneuvering troops for an opening blow.
Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, Commander of the American forces of six or seven thousand men, decided to flank the British above Augusta in an attempt to drive the Red Coats, under Gen. Augustine Prevost, into the malarial swamps of the Georgia coast. The first objective was accomplished when Col. Elijah Clarke and Col. Andrew Pickens overtook and defeated the forces of the Tory Gen. Boyd at Kettle Creek. Meantime, Gen. Lincoln, from his headquarters at Purysburg, ordered Gen. John Ashe to join Gen. Andrew Williamson opposite Augusta.
Col. Archibald Campbell, commanding British forces in Augusta, saw his position become precarious, evacuated the city, and marched down the river on the Georgia side to join Gen. Prevost, whose headquarters were at Hudson’s Ferry.
Gen. Lincoln then ordered Gen. Ashe, with 1,800 men, to cross the Savannah River, follow Col. Campbell as far as Freeman-Miller Bridge on Brier Creek, and secure his position there. Gen. Ashe arrived there on February 27 and found that Col. Campbell had burned the bridge. Col. Campbell crossed Brier Creek just before the arrival of Gen. Ashe, losing a cannon that became buried in the mud of “Cannon Lake.”
On February 28, Gen. Ashe left for a Council of War with Generals Lincoln, Moultrie, and Rutherford at Black Swamp, S.C. Gen. Bryant, left in charge of the American forces, moved the camp up the creek, for security, to near this spot (A). He established a picket line up the creek and a company of infantry at the burned bridge. He ordered Col. Leonard Marbury to take a position at Paris’ Mill, 14 miles up the creek. On March 1, Gen. Bryant was joined by Maj. Ross with 300 horsemen who were too fatigued for immediate duty.
After reconnoitering Gen. Ashe’s position, Gen. Prevost determined to strike him from the rear in a surprise move before he cold consolidate his position. Col. Mark Prevost commanded the British in one of the most skillful military maneuvers of the Revolution. Maj. McPherson was placed with the First Battalion of the 71st Regiment at Buck Creek, three miles south of the burned bridge, as a decoy (B).
Col. Prevost led the main force of the British army, about 1,500 men, up the west side of Brier Creek. Traveling all night, he arrived on the west bank of the creek at Paris’ Mill mid-morning of March 2. He found the bridge destroyed. Dispatching his Infantry and Light Horse across the creek, he soon encountered Col. Marbury’s Dragoons (C), cutting them off from Ashe’s forces. He captured some, while others succeeded in getting safely across Burton’s Ferry. Col. Prevost built a bridge and crossed the creek on the morning of the 3rd.
Gen. Ashe returned midday of the 2nd. It was agreed, at the Council of War, that Ashe was to make secure his position and wait until joined by Generals Williamson, Rutherford and Lincoln. Then a general offensive would be launched to drive the British seaward. On the morning of March 3rd, Ashe, unaware of the British movements, sent Maj. Ross, with his Light Horse of 300 men, to reconnoiter the position of Prevost at Hudson’s Ferry. He soon encountered McPherson’s men at Buck Creek (D). His failure to advise Gen. Ashe came near being the decisive blunder of the Revolution.
About 2:30 P.M. on March 3, Gen. Ashe received a message from Col. Smith, who was guarding the wagons and baggage left at Burton’s Ferry, warning him of the approach of the British. Within a few minutes the British appeared, coming down the main road six abreast. They deployed, right and left, forming a battle line from the position of this marker to the Savannah River swamp. Hastily, Generals Ashe, Samuel Elbert and Bryant reversed their front, prepared to meet the enemy by taking positions in battle line across the British front. Confusion and hysteria reigned among the American soldiers as their officers vainly tried to keep them in line while ammunition was being distributed. Gen. Elbert’s and Col. McIntosh’s command formed on the American left next to the creek, Gen. Bryant’s command formed the center and Col. Young’s the right.
The British opened on the American center with cannon. Gen. Bryant, still trying to get ammunition to his men, was unprepared. With dead and wounded falling on every side, the center broke and retreated in riot. The British poured through the hole in the American center and within a few minutes, the right under Col. Young broke and ran into the swamps of the Savannah. Gen. Elbert and Col. McIntosh, with 60 Continentals and 150 Georgia Militia, made one of the valiant stands of military history. So fiercely did these Georgians fight that the British had to bring up reserves. Asking no quarter, they fought until nearly every man was dead or wounded. Gen. Elbert saved himself by giving a Masonic sign from the ground as he was about to be bayonetted. Gen. Elbert, Col. McIntosh and the rest of his command surrendered.
Thus ended, in disaster, the well laid plans to win control of the South and bring the war to an end. Only the matchless bravery of the Georgians in the last stand gave solace and inspiration in an almost hopeless situation.
6199 Brannen’s Bridge Rd.
Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area is a 15,000-acres state-owned hunting and fishing preserve, open to the public, bordering the Savannah River east of Sylvania on Brannen’s Bridge Road. The management area provides the public with year-round opportunities for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, bird watching, and horseback trails.
Wildlife includes deer, turkey, small game, raccoon, opossum, fox, bobcat, dove and feral hogs. Fishing is also permitted. Alligator hunting is allowed on open archery deer hunting dates concurrent with the alligator season. You must have hunting and/or fishing licence to hunt and/or fish.
Robbins Grist Mill
5564 Savannah Highway
Robbins Grist Mill is the only water-powered grist mill currently operating in Georgia.It is open to the public from 9 a.m. until noon on the first and third Saturdays of the month, between November and April. Call for appointment.
Old Clerk’s Office
101 S Main St.
The Old Clerk’s Office was the sole brick structure to survive when downtown Sylvania burned on January 9, 1897. The vaulted brick building, built to house county records, is now home to the Screven County Chamber of Commerce and the Screven County Development Authority.
Soda Shop Gallery
113 N Main St.
The Soda Shop — a popular teen gathering spot in the ’40s and ’50s in downtown Sylvania — is still here, but the renovated historic building is now the Soda Shop Art Gallery. Sylvania’s first art gallery is located conveniently on the square in downtown Sylvania and local artists can show and sell their art. The gallery features paintings, sketches, photographs, greeting cards, cookbooks, local author books, woodwork(scrolled, bowls, vases, doll houses, wine bottle corks, ink pens etc.) stained glass and so much more!
6118 Savannah Hwy
Screven Motor Speedway is a three-eighths-mile, semi-banked red clay oval located at the Screven County Motorsports Complex which includes a quarter mile drag strip. The track hosts action packed door-to-door dirt track racing every other Saturday during racing season.
Downtown Sylvania, GA
Two historic Civil War cannons known as 12-pound Napoleons reside in the Old Courthouse Park. The field artillery, which take their name from France’s Emperor Napoleon III, were donated to the city for a memorial display in 1913. The guns have a bore of 4.6 inches in diameter. The barrels are 60 inches long and made of bronze.