Chesser Homestead Open House
The settlers who migrated South to the Okefenokee frontier in the 1800s came to be called "Swampers." Swampers come from the same ethnic stock as many other South Georgians, but theirway of life was shaped by the Okefenokee environment. Some traditions of these pioneering families lasted longer here than in other parts of South Georgia. Swamper lifestyle is celebrated each fall at the Chesser Homestead Open House in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge outside Folkston. Special thanks to the family of Bernice Chesser Roddenberry and the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Francis Harper's historic recordings are broadcast courtesy of the Archive of Folk Culture, Library of Congress. The Sounds of South Georgia is made possible with support from Valdosta State University, and from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Gertie and Ruby Chesser sing while washing clothes with a “battling stick” in the syrup shed, Chesser’s Island, summer, 1944.
Photo by Francis Harper, courtesy of Delma Presley.