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The Olde Savannah Inn Blog

Wright Square

kathleen Dupuis - Friday, May 31, 2013
This is our series of blogs on the squares of Savannah.  This is part 2.  If you'd like to start from the beginning, click here.  The second square created was Percival Square after Lord Percival, the man credited with the naming of Georgia.  If you're familiar with Savannah, you know that there is no square named Percival in Savannah and you're thinking I should have my blogging permit revoked.  First, there's no such thing as a blogging permit and secondly, the square was renamed thirty years later after royal governor James Wright.  Before the renaming in 1739, the square became the burial area of Chief Tomochichi.  Tomochichi was instrumental in assisting James Oglethorpe in establishing Savannah.  His negotiation and mediation skills would prove invaluable to English-Native American relations.  He and Oglethorpe became lifelong friends and when he died, Oglethorpe honored him in the square.  

     Approximately 150 years later, Tomochichi's importance in the eyes of Savannahians had waned and his pyramid of stones was removed.  The square would now by a tribute to William Washington Gordon (grandfather of Juliet Gordon-Low, founder of the girl scouts), interestingly the only native of Savannah to receive such an honor.  Gordon was a well-respected politician and businessman serving as Savannah's mayor and later its representative to the state Senate.  In business, he served as the president of a railroad.  Ironically, a year after his death, his company would desecrate a sacred Native American site.  

   The apathy toward Native Americans did not go unnoticed, most notably by Gordon's own widow and daughter-in-law.  The two women were outraged at the treatment of Tomochichi's memory and vowed to make amends.  They asked for granite from the Stone Mountain Monument Company, who offered it to them at no charge.  The ladies refused to accept it for free. The company sent her a bill for an absurdly low amount--some say fifty cents--due on "Judgment Day". Gordon's widow paid the amount promptly, saying she would be occupied with her own affairs on that day. The monument was erected in 1899 and still stands there today.