On February 12, 2014, the state of Georgia will reach the ripe old age of 231! On that day in 1733, James Oglethorpe founded the province of Georgia to serve two purposes for King George II of England. One was to give debtors who were thrown into prison a chance at a new beginning and, more importantly, to become a barrier to the Spanish troops in Florida.
So that I could celebrate the grand occasion in style, Susie who is one of my very best friends loaned me her set of Georgia Historical Plates to use for my tablescape. These wonderful plates are made in pink and blue and were created to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Georgia and the 25th anniversary of the Transylvania Club of Sandersville, Georgia. Susie grew up in the Sandersville area, so these plates are near and dear to her heart.
Miss Louise Irwin conceived and executed the design for the plates. After falling in love with these plates many years ago (I own only one blue one), I discovered that Miss Irwin was a relative of one of my close childhood friends. The world is small and getting smaller every day! The Transylvania Club approached the Wedgwood Company to create the plates. When Wedgwood agreed to the project, the club sent a $1500.00 deposit to get the process started.
There are twelve plates in the collection, but for this table, I used only eight. I chose the ones that meant the most to me personally. Of course, I had to use the James Oglethorpe one, since he is one who started it all. In the second photo, I used the plate which depicts Wesleyan College. Wesleyan was the first college in the country to grant degrees exclusively to women and is located in the town in which I live, although this original building burned down many years ago.
Another meaningful plate was the one above that presents John Wesley preaching to the native Americans. I was raised in the Methodist Church, which John and his brother started.
This plate is probably my favorite. Nancy Hart is capturing Tories, during the Revolutionary War. My only Georgia Plate shows this same scene in blue. On another occasion, Nancy captured a single Tory and hanged him. I am a member of the Nancy Hart Chapter, N.S.D.A.R and our chapter still owns a wooden gavel made from the tree on which Nancy hanged the Tory!
I lived in Milledgeville, Georgia for many years and this plate is a representation of the Old Capitol building there. Milledgeville was the last capital of Georgia, before Atlanta. Like Wesleyan's original building, a fire destroyed this structure many years ago, but a replica was built in its place and now is part of Georgia Military College and Prep School. This place is dear to me, because my daughter works at the college and two of my grandchildren attend the Prep school.
The Georgia Plates have many references to education. This plate design is of the University of Georgia in its early days. The state of Georgia was the first state in the country to charter a state-supported university. This school is important to me, even though I cheer for another school in football (Roll Tide!), because one of my ancestors, Augustine Blackburn, sold part of his land in Clarke County, Georgia, so that the school could be built.
The last educational institution shown on the plates is Richmond Academy in Augusta, Georgia. While I do not have any real connection with this school, I am very proud that it is the oldest existing high school in the United States having been established in 1793.
The last plate that I used on the table pictures a building that makes my heart skip a beat each time that it comes into view, when I approach Atlanta. It is our state capitol building with a gorgeous golden dome. The gold covering the dome was mined in Dahlonega, Georgia, where the first major gold rush in the United States occurred in 1819.
If you are interested in acquiring any of the pink or blue plates or you want learn more about them, you can find the website HERE.
Not only are these plates a walk through Georgia history, they are beautiful!! Thank you Susie for helping me celebrate Georgia Day in such a stunning way!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GEORGIA!
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