Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/602

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crossed it in pursuit of Indians during the first Seminole War, in the second decade of the nineteenth century. One of the islands in the swamp now bears the name of this general.

In the winter of 1856-7, Col. E. L. Hunter, an engineer, employed by the state of Georgia, ran a line of levels around the swamp to ascertain the practicability of draining it, and found its edges to range from about 110 to 126 feet above sea-level. This survey is said to have cost the state $3,260. His report to the governor, accompanied by a map, was filed away and almost forgotten, until unearthed in 1875 by Col. E. Y. Clarke, at that time editor of the Atlanta Constitution.

During the latter part of the Civil War, a number of deserters from the Confederate army found a safe retreat in the Okefinokee, and they are said to have lived for some time on an island (or perhaps a peninsula?) in the southeastern part of the swamp, which is known to this day as Soldier Camp Island.

Paul Fountain, an English traveler, claims to have been the first naturalist to visit this region. In his book, "Great Deserts and Forests of North America," published in 1901, he devotes 23 pages to it, and says among other things: "The Okefinoke has not, I think, been often penetrated; it certainly had not at the time I visited it in 1871 and 1876." Judging from the way he uses the name, he must have been pretty close to the place, but the chances are that he never saw the real Okefinokee Swamp at all. About half of his chapter on it consists of general remarks on snakes and other reptiles, and the remainder purports to be a description of the swamp; but this description differs considerably from those of all other explorers, and would apply much better to the swamp of the Suwannee River, which flows out of Okefinokee toward the southwest. Even with this interpretation, however, his remarks about the insalubrity of the region seem to be considerably overdrawn.

The first expedition for the systematic exploration of the Okefinokee wilderness was organized in the fall of 1875, by the Atlanta Constitution in cooperation with the state geological survey. The members of this expedition were the State Geologist, Dr. George Little, his assistants, E. H. Loughridge and C. A. Locke, Col. E. Y. Clarke and Mr. E. E. Hyde, of Atlanta, Col. C. E. Pendleton, of the Valdosta Times (now editor of the Macon Telegraph), two or three gentlemen living near the swamp, and a cook, guide and laborers. The "Constitution Expedition" remained in and around the swamp for six weeks, in November and December, 1875. A brief account of their work appeared in the report of the state geologist for that year, and a more extended description in Janes's "Handbook of Georgia," published by the state agricultural department in 1876. A few timber specimens secured by this expedition, together with several from other parts of Georgia, formed part of the state's exhibit at the Paris exposition in