There is a rich anthropological history in the Ogeechee River basin. Archeological artifacts indicate human habitation at least 10,000 – 12,000 years ago.
The Ogeechee and Canoochee rivers’ importance as a thoroughfare for trade and commerce, as well as a source of potable water and plentiful fish, continued for centuries. More than simply a recreational area, it was the main, or only source, of fresh food for some residents, as late as the mid-20th century.
In an effort to preserve the history of the area, Ogeechee Riverkeeper launched an oral history project in 2016. Audio files, transcripts, and images are available through the Special Collections at Georgia Southern University.
Listen to the stories of the river.
I just had a natural thing for swamps. I mean, I knew swamps from the time I was a kid, I guess growing up in the rural south. If we was ever in the swamp lost I would climb a tree. I look for pine tops. If you see pine tops, it’s dry land. So I go back down, we head for the pine trees. Sometimes there’d be a hammock or something, so you’d climb another tree and look for pine tops again. If you see cypress, you know it’s swamp. If you see pine trees, oaks, hickory, anything you know, it’s dry land. But don’t get ‘em mixed up with gum trees, ‘cause gum trees grows in the swamp, tupelo, gums, and all grow in the swamp.
~ Larry Lucas, April 2016
I went one time to a cane grinding at my aunt’s farm. And that to me was very entertaining. It was a social occasion. The mule walks around and it grinds the cane and the juice pours out and everyone has cane juice to drink. Sugar cane is not any longer a cash crop around here.
My dad was a fisherman. Every Wednesday afternoon. In fact, all townsfolk would close shop early on Wednesday afternoon and go fishing. … the Ogeechee River, as a young person, I always felt close to it. It was clean, we ate the fish, we swam, we got water in our mouths. ~Shirley Daughtry, March 2016