The Oglethorpe Monument is a 38 foot marble obelisk located on Main Street in the City of Jasper. It was constructed by Col. Sam Tate in 1930 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Oglethorpe landing in Georgia.
First, let me give you some history about the Tate family and Pickens County. Sam Tate, a settler from Gainesville, won parcels of land in Pickens County during the Land Lottery of 1832. Pickens County had been named for South Carolina military leader and politician Andrew Pickens who fought the Cherokee in 1760 and 1782. During the Revolutionary War Tate was awarded a sword for the victory at Cowpens. Packing twelve children and his wife in a wagon, Tate moved to the county and built a home.
As early as 1836 marble was being quarried in Jasper. Over the next 25 years this area changed little. In 1861, to protest the secession of the state, residents of Pickens County flew the Union flag for nearly a month .During the War Between the States Pickens remained strongly pro-Union.
After the war the county returned to its agrarian roots. Moonshine would be economically important well into the 20th century. About this time, Stephen Tate, son of Sam Tate, began to mine significant amounts of marble.
Col. Sam Tate, named for his grandfather, inherited his father's marble quarry upon his death. He began to combine local quarries into a company he called Georgia Marble. By 1917 the consolidation was complete and in 1923 he began work on his palatial estate known as the "Pink Palace". He personally selected the marble used to build the home from a streak of rare pink marble from the local quarry over a 4-year period. Today it is owned by a corporation as there are no Tate relatives in the area.
In 1930 this monument to James Oglethorpe was built on Grassy Knob. Renamed Mount Oglethorpe in his honor by the State Legislature, the peak served as the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Col. Tate originally presented the monument and five acres of land to the state hoping that it would be made into a State Park so that travelers on the Appalachian Trail would be able to enjoy it. Unfortunately that never happened.
Originally the monument had a large marble ball on the top, but it disappeared and was rumored to have been rolled down the mountain by either vandals or following a lightning strike which frequently hit the monument due to the iron rods which provide supports. Further damage occurred from rifle shots which seriously damaged the face of Oglethorpe, carved by the famous Georgia Marble sculptor J. K. Watt.
The monument originally had on the North face a hand holding the Scales of Justice. The hand is a cast of the right hand of Abraham Lincoln that was made shortly after the assassination. The casting had been owned by Alexander Anderson, vice president of the Georgia Marble Company. A geodetic marker showing the official elevation has also been stolen.
In 1978, during Mrs. Anise Richardson's term of office as State Regent of Daughters of American Colonists, the State of Georgia was looking for a historical organization to give the monument to. The State has decided that it would give away monuments that couldn't be maintained. Mrs. Richardson agreed to accept the monument, but the land was sold to Mr. Dan Sewell.
Mr. Sewell had the idea to cut all the timber off Mount Oglethorpe, but when the Pickens County Conservancy Committee found out his intention, they fought him. They were not going to look at a "bald" mountain in their county. So an ordinance was passed that forbade the cutting down of trees above a certain height - that height being what you could see above the town.
The Daughters of American Colonists continued to own the property until Mrs. Carolyn Quackenbush's tenure. At that time, the monument was leaning and had been extensively vandalized. The road getting up to the monument had many potholes. The State DAC was told that the road up to the monument would have to be repaired or the monument given away. She contacted City of Jasper and Pickens County. Mayor John Weaver was Mayor of Jasper then as he is today. He had to consider whether the monument could be brought down and repaired. Fortunately he had a sculptor on the city payroll, Eino, along with city workers Jim Smith and Allen Johnson. Together they decided it could be done, so he accepted the offer of the monument.
Jim Smith, Allen Johnson, and other city crew put on harnesses, climbed the monument and cut it into sections to be brought to Eino's studio. It was found that the core of the monu-ment was just plain concrete, so the City purchased marble from the Georgia Marble Company and proceeded to refurbish the monument. Oglethorpe's face had been facing forward, but there was so much damage done to the face, that Eino decided that the only way he could restore it would be to turn his face to the side. Each section was restored and then in September, 1999, it was brought from Eino's studio to Main Street where it sits today. Mrs. Louise Otting, current State Regent, is rededicating the monument today to show that it was owned by the Georgia State Daughters of the American Colonists before it was owned by the City of Jasper.
Video of Program
Introduction ~ Sally Sue Bradley, Past GA State Regent
Welcome ~ Mayor John Weaver, City of Jasper
History of GA Marble & where it is used ~ Mary Warner, Brand Manager, Vetrazzo
Introduction of Special Guests, Sally Sue Bradley, Past GA State Regent
Dedication of Monument ~ Louise Otting, GA State Regent
Benediction ~ Ann Williams, GA State Chaplain
Hymn: Amazing Grace Rev. John Foster, Associate Pastor, Mt. Olive Baptist Church< Woodstock, GA
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Jasper, Georgia in Pickens County in the North Georgia Mountains Blaine, Hinton, Jasper, Ludville, Marble Hill, Nelson, Talking Rock & Tate GA
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