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Von Reck’s amazing pen & pencil sketches of Georgia in the 1730s

Von Reck’s amazing pen & pencil sketches of Georgia in the 1730s

A bombshell . . . Native Americans near the Georgia Coast grew calabaza (tropical) squash, water melons, passion fruit, pineapples and cacao, from which chocolate is made.   This has been completely left out of the textbooks, but would explain why chocolate was detected in beakers unearthed at Cahokia.

From a letter dispatched from Fort Caroline in 1564, we already knew that chichona, from which quinine is made, was grown along the Altamaha River in Georgia by the Alecmani People . Alek was became the Georgia Creek word for a medical doctor in the 1700s.

Von Reck’s water colors, pen & pencil sketches and ink washes of plants cultivated by nearby Native American tribes also include images of tropical Calabaza squash,  passion fruit, water melons and coconut palms.   He also drew animals which are now extinct in the region.

There is “pure gold” in Baron von Reck’s sketch book, which he used while living in the new colony of Georgia.  You can see samples of his water colors in a previous POOF article.   Many surprises are contained in those sketches.

Overnight,  Glenn Drummond, a long time member of POOF, sent us a link to Von Reck’s sketch book, which is now owned by Det Dansk Kongelige Bibliotek (the Danish Royal Library.)   If you would like to see his full set of water colors, which include many indigenous plants and animals, go to:

http://base.kb.dk/manus_pub/cv/manus/ManusIntro.xsql?nnoc=manus_pub&p_ManusId=22&p_Lang=alt

After seeing his sketches of the Savannah Uchee buildings, it is clear that they were a distinct branch of the Uchee.   Tennessee Valley Uchee only built round houses and round villages.  The Savannah Uchee villages had a Caribbean feel to their architecture, but you will notice in one sketch that they also built mounds.

Also, there is the only known drawing of a fort built on the Savannah River in the early 1700s.  It was a medieval like tower, not a “Fort Apache” type structure, as most people have assumed.

I used software that enhances ancient maps and architectural drawings to make these images more legible.  Enjoy this second exhibit of Baron Georg Frederik von Reck’s work!

Click the image to enlarge it to full size.

VonReck14VonReck25VonReck26VonReck28VonReck23VonReck30

A Native American mound site has been converted into a fort.

A Native American mound site has been converted into a fort.

VonReck14b

This appears to be a Native American “factory” for drying brine into salt. Tybee Island near Savannah got its name from the Itza Maya word for salt, taube.

The Plan of Ebenezer in the Province of Georgia.

The Plan of Ebenezer in the Province of Georgia.

A sketch of Ebenezer from across Ebenezer Creek.

A sketch of Ebenezer from across Ebenezer Creek.

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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.

5 Comments

  1. jamesl1234@gmail.com'

    Hey richard,
    In Von Rekt watercolors..Is that a vanilla bean in 14? A very large beard ian mustache in 16? 18 Looks like sassafras..Not that thats significant.
    James

    Reply
    • It may be a vanilla bean, but I don’t know German that well. There is also a tree that we in the Southeast call a monkey bean tree, but it is a member of the locust family. Vanilla is indigenous to the East Indies.

      Sassafras was an extremely valuable export from the Southern colonies. I don’t see a beard and mustache, but Creek warriors traditionally wore mustaches. Their leaders often wore goatee beards. Va

      Reply
      • thenicklessfamily@gmail.com'

        Richard,
        The early Chinese account Laurie has been translating mentions vanilla being grown in the southeast US. She assumed the location was Florida but Georgia is close.

        Reply
        • I am not sure that the plant pictured in the drawing is vanilla and I have never heard of any use of vanilla in Mesoamerica. You see, many indigenous beans have pods that look just like sketch. Also, there is a tree that grows in Georgia, which is a legume and has edible pods that look like the drawing. There is no question about it, however. Pineapple, cacao, coconut palms and quinine are indigenous to the Americas.

          Reply
        • jamesl1234@gmail.com'

          Vanilla Plants are an Orchid..Only native know are in Mexico I believe. I think you right. The original name of the Monkey bean is Catawba/Catalpa Tree, named after the Indians who used it (Thanks Google !)

          Reply

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