The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Thomas Spaulding of Sapelo. By E. Merton Coulter.
University, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1940.
Pp. xiii, 334. Bibliography, illustrations, map. $3.00.
Deprived of his claims to the barony of Ashantilly in Scotland
by the Jacobin sympathies and financial reverses of his grand-
father, Thomas Spaulding's youthful prospects in America were
for a time imperiled by the Toryism of his father. But the
willingness of victors to forgive, the genius of his sire, the
rich opportunities afforded in a new country, a fortunate mar-
riage, and extraordinary personal qualities enabled him early
to become virtually the "laird" of Sapelo Island's ten thou-
sand acres and the genial master of its numerous slaves.
Trained for the law, he early manifested an interest in public
affairs. He had served without distinction as a militia captain,
as a member of Georgia's constituent assembly of 1798, and in
the state senate before he was twenty-five. Despite a trip to
Europe, travel in the North, and an inconspicuous term in
Congress, he became prominent only as a "broad-minded lo-
calist." If he never really distinguished himself in public office,
he was nevertheless a sort of Benjamin Franklin in Georgia
politics for half a century. Whether as juryman, school trustee,
"President of the Day" for some celebration, arbitrator of
boundary disputes, or member of a political convention, the
leadership of "the venerable," "the learned," or "the wise,"
Thomas Spaulding was generally recognized. Although he sup-
ported Georgia in the Indian controversy and nullification in
1832, he became a Jacksonian Democrat and worked zealously
for the Union in 1850.
However, it is as a promoter of his region's economic better-
ment that Spaulding deserves remembrance. From his fortress-
like but hospitable insular home, much information emanated
on the history, culture, and marketing of crops grown, and
others which he thought might be grown, along Georgia's coast.
Although he had little confidence in fertilizers, and minimized
the utility of plows and mules, he recommended rotation of
crops, sub-soil plowing, drainage, improved fencing, and means
of eradicating pests. He also was a prominent banker, a rail-
road and canal promoter, defender of a free press, and zealous
booster of the village of Darien.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/. Accessed April 23, 2014.