Johnson Square is named for Governor Robert Johnson of South Carolina
who befriended the colonists when Georgia was first settled. It
was laid out by Oglethorpe and by Colonel William Bull in 1733, and was
the first of Savannah's squares. In early colonial days the public
stores, the house for strangers, the church, and the public bake
oven stood on the trust lots around it.
Events of historical interest are associated with Johnson Square.
Here in 1735, Chekilli, head Chief of the Creek Nation, recited
the origin myth of the Creeks. In 1737, the Rev. John Wesley,
after futile efforts to bring to trial certain indictments against
him growing out of his ministry at Savannah, posted a public notice
in this Square that he intended to return to England. The Declaration
of Independence was read here to an enthusiastic audience,
August 10, 1776.
In 1819 a ball was given for President James Monroe in a pavilion
erected in the Square. Eminent men who have spoken here include
the Marquis de LaFayette, (1825); Henry Clay (1847), and Daniel
Webster (1848). Beneath the Nathanael Greene monument rest the
remains of the famous Revolutionary general and his son.