Select Page

The fascinating sketchbook of Phillip Georg Von Reck

The fascinating sketchbook of Phillip Georg Von Reck


After leading three voyages of Salzburg Refugees from England to Georgia,  Georg Von Reck never actually developed his own 500 acre estate.  Eventually, he returned to Hanover, Germany, but soon moved to Denmark, where he practiced medicine for the rest of his life. It is a good thing.  The Kungl Dansk Biblioteket (Royal Danish Library) has the beautiful sketchbook that he maintained in Georgia and it is now online . . . with an English version.   I found the website by doing a Google Search in Swedish!  To see high resolution photos of each page of the book, click the links in the upper left hand side of the library website.

This is a must see for all Southeastern Native Americans and POOF subscribers.  These sketches and water colors are about the only accurate, detailed visual images we have of what the landscape of the Lower Savannah River Basin and the Uchee/Creek People looked like in the early 1700s. The famous painting of the Creek delegation at Westminster Palace, of course, is more sophisticated art, but it was painted in an unnatural setting.   You will notice that the Uchee were cultivating pineapples and cacoa in the 1730s.   They were varieties of these plants that had been adapted to Savannah’s climate centuries earlier.  You will also see sketches of ancient Native American mounds, one of which was being converted to being a fort.

A Salzburger lady returns to her ancient homeland.

The Salzburger-Lapland connection:  The Salzburgers were Protestants, living in the mountains west of Salzburg, Austria, who were expelled from Austria.  Virtually no American historians know this, but most of the Salzburger Refugees were NOT ethnic Germans, but descended from Sami, who migrated from Scandinavia eons ago and settled in the high mountains between Austria and Switzerland.  They first took refuge in Protestant states within Germany, but because of their dark hair, tan skin and rural heritage, did not feel socially accepted.  Von Reck was one of the German noblemen, who hit upon the idea of re-establishing their communities on the frontier of British North America. Their first community was named New Ebenezer.  It was formally planned like Savannah and located upstream on the river.

If you recall from our POOF series on the Sami,  my traveling companion in Lapland, was a descendant of these Salzburger Protestants.  Her family lived in such a remote location that the soldiers couldn’t find them.  She had black hair, brown eyes and a deep natural tan.  Joana was a biologist and Reserve Lieutenant in the Austrian Army.    EVERYBODY, we encountered, including the local Sami, assumed that we were a nice young Sami couple . . . perhaps on our honeymoon.  Swedish tourists would stop to ask us for directions.  LOL 




The following two tabs change content below.
Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.



    These are amazing. I am intrigued by the textiles and colors. When I imagine SE Indians of that time period I don’t imagine color like that.

    • That’s right! The museums and commercial artists got it all wrong. However, keep in mind that we are looking at Creek and Uchee Indians, who were a lot more advanced than most other tribes north of Mexico.


    So what happened to the Salzburgers that got to Georgia? Are any of their descendants known?

    • The Salzburger communities thrived mightily until being occupied by British troops during the latter part of the American Revolution. There homes were destroyed by cannon practice and their church was trashed. Many Salzburgers left the area during that period and never returned. However, many descendants of the Salzburgers still live in Effingham and Chatham counties, GA and a number of them are active in the Georgia Salzburger Society, an independently operating genealogical and archaeological organization founded in 1925


    George Von Reck was a relative of mine. The last name Reck was also spelled Reks, Rix, Rex and originated in the Viking name Ruger which came from Hrutger and began with a Danish Norse king named Hrothgar.

    • Can you draw as well as him? If so, I now have a time machine so you can go back to several eras to document what the towns looked like! LOL


        Not even a little bit. Ha But with these new Samsung Galaxies and a time machine could definitely dazzle folks back then pretty much anywhere on earth. Just need to take a bag of batteries as backup.

        I’d definitely wanna go back and find out if that ancient Royal Scythian wizard Wodan/Odin was as badass as the Vikings claimed he was. The English words God and Good come from his name variant “Gódan.” I’d wanna see if the crazy bastard actually had two black wolves and two ravens.


    That was breathtaking. Thank you!


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe to POOF via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this website and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 846 other subscribers

The Information World is changing!

People of One Fire needs your help to evolve with it.

We are now celebrating the 11th year of the People of One Fire. In that time, we have seen a radical change in the way people receive information. The magazine industry has almost died. Printed newspapers are on life support. Ezines, such as POOF, replaced printed books as the primary means to present new knowledge. Now the media is shifting to videos, animated films of ancient towns, Youtube and three dimensional holograph images.

During the past six years, a privately owned business has generously subsidized my research as I virtually traveled along the coast lines and rivers of the Southeast. That will end in December 2017. I desperately need to find a means to keep our research self-supporting with advertising from a broader range of viewers. Creation of animated architectural history films for POOF and a People of One Fire Youtube Channel appears to be the way. To do this I will need to acquire state-of-art software and video hardware, which I can not afford with my very limited income. Several of you know personally that I live a very modest lifestyle. If you can help with this endeavor, it will be greatly appreciated.

Support Us!

Richard Thornton . . . the truth is out there somewhere!

Pin It on Pinterest