JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
On Feb. 6, 1736, John and Charles Wesley first set foot on Georgia soil after four months aboard the “Simmons” on their voyage across the Atlantic. They came ashore on Peppers Island in the mouth of the Savannah River. Today the island is called Cockspur Island. James Oglethorpe left the colonists in the care of the Wesleys as he sailed the 15 or so miles up the river to visit the town of Savannah. The Wesley brothers took a hike to explore their new home land. They were gone for four hours examining the plants and animals in the new world. When they returned to the “Simmons” they found many of the colonists drunk. Someone (probably from South Carolina) had sold them rum. Now, the Trustees of the Colony of Georgia had set several rules for the colony. One of the very first rules was: “No hard liquor, especially rum!” Alcoholism was a severe problem in England during the Wesley’s era. It was said that every sixth house in London was an ale house. Public drunkenness was rampant, with many social problems. So, the Trustees had said, “We are just not going to put up with in the Georgia!” Being left in charge, the Wesleys intended to set an example. They got an ax and broke open the rum kegs and chastised the people severely. The colonists were not happy with their pastors. They spent the month of February waiting in the area of the “Simmons.” John was going to be pastor of Christ Church in Savannah, but the previous pastor had not left and John could not move into the parsonage. Charles was to go to St. Simons Island with Oglethorpe and most of the other colonists to build a fort there for protection from the Spanish who were in Florida, but they had to make arrangements for smaller ships and a guide to take them down what is now the Intra-Coastal Waterway.