Tour Locations | A Stroll through the Heart of Savannah’s Historical District
On your left is a large rock, behind the large live oak tree.
Stop here for a few minutes, while I explain both monuments here in Wright Square. First, I'll tell you about the rock monument for Tomochichi.
Tomochichi was the chief of the Yamacraw Indians, who had already settled here prior to Oglethorpe's arrival and they were already doing trade with the English. Tomochichi wanted more trade. General Oglethorpe had plans for Savannah to be a very utopian society, with everyone working together helping each other. The two men very quickly become friends, working together and establishing the colony of Savannah. Tomochichi could also be described as the co-founder of Savannah.
Tomochichi was already in his early 80's, and he had told Oglethorpe that when he dies, he did not want to be buried with the Indians, but rather with his English friends. So, when Tomochichi died around 1739, General Oglethorpe had him buried in the center of Wright Square. This was about 150 years before the William Gordon Monument was erected.
Now let's go forward in time to the early 1800's. Savannah is booming and cotton is king. We have cotton plantations out in the country and rice plantations along the coastline. They were setting the price of cotton for the world every morning at 8:00am, here in Savannah.
William Washington Gordon resigned his position as mayor of Savannah, to the establish the Central of Georgia Railroad and Banking Company. In 1883, around 40 years after Gordon's death, the railroad decided they needed a monument to honor William Gordon and everything he did for the railroad. So, they commissioned this monument in the center of Wright Square. Keep in mind that it is now around 150 years after Tomochichi has been buried in the center of the square. It wasn't until it was too late to stop the erection of the monument for William Gordon, that they discovered Tomochichi's body. They continued with the placing of William Gordon's monument, where Tomochichi lay.
Now...Nellie Gordon, William's daughter-in-law was so upset that they dishonored Tomochichi in such a way as to put her daddy-in-law on top of him, she commissioned Stone Mountain, Georgia, northeast of Atlanta for a monument to honor Tomochichi. This monument being of the earth is much more appropriate for Tomochichi, an Indian. Yes, he is still buried under the monument in the center of the square, but we honor him here. William Gordon is buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery on the west side of town.
We're now going to leave Wright Square.
Ahead of you is Bull Street, leading away from the square. Continue walking south on the left hand side of Bull Street, crossing over York St. Walk past Wells Fargo Bank and crossing over York Lane. I'll meet you further along Bull Street.