Bill Kirby blogs Augusta history

Police in canoes chase nude bathers

  

I can’t find the whole tale, but I’ll tell you what I know.

For centuries people living along the banks of the Savannah River have no doubt sought its cool waters for relief from summer heat.

Sometimes those people removed their clothing to do so.

Sometimes others, offended by such naked displays, called the law.

Yes, that seems to be the case. In reading an old book on Augusta history  I came across the vaguest of references to a police crackdown on the practice of “skinny dipping” in the Savannah River.

It said the pastime became such a nuisance in the 1800s that the Augusta police department purchased “a fleet” of seven canoes and dugouts to pursue and arrest the culprits.

What an odd circumstance. Can you imagine it being discussed, debated and voted on by our modern city commission?

I almost thought it was made up, but then there is the number – seven –of canoes. That lends an air of veracity to the report.  It also makes you wonder why they needed so many canoes?  One, maybe two should have done the trick.

I thought I could find some old news story to verify the story in the computerized archives of this – the South’s Oldest Newspaper – but kept striking out.

So maybe you can help.

Where did the story of the police canoe fleet and its crackdown on nude river bathers come from?

Feel free to confess the sins of your great, great-grandparents.

The statute of limitations will surely keep their records as clean as a summer dip in the river.

 

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Connor Threlkeld
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Connor Threlkeld 06/12/09 - 08:38 am
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I think I speak for many of

I think I speak for many of us when I say I don't want to think about my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents skinny dipping.

16
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Channing 100Proof 06/12/09 - 11:27 am
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THis sounds like fun. I know

THis sounds like fun. I know what I am doing this weekend. Who's up for some naked sun bathing?

The cops can't afford new canoes so we should be safe. :)

Email: channing100proof@gmail.com

minime
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minime 06/12/09 - 12:07 pm
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Sounds like the wonderful

Sounds like the wonderful 60's I grew up in.  Also, it DOES sound like something todays commission would do.... & HOW they would debate it.  Might even involve a re-con of the situation... that would explain why so many boats... nobody would let anyone else paddle (lead) for them.... I'm surprised there weren't MORE boats!!!!!

Think they finally got rid of the "squatters" on the river... reckon why not on the commission?

I hope ya find the "rest of the story".  Let us know!!

142
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Dan White 06/12/09 - 02:06 pm
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I remember skinny dipping in

I remember skinny dipping in the creek on my grandfather's farm.  We'd pile on the old mule, Belle, and take off to the creek on hot summer days.  Nothing like it! 

16
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Channing 100Proof 06/12/09 - 02:15 pm
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Ok, I have to ask, were you

Ok, I have to ask, were you all naked BEFORE you got on the mule? 

Email: channing100proof@gmail.com

Kim Luciani
7
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Kim Luciani 06/12/09 - 04:45 pm
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Wow! I worry about you

Wow! I worry about you Channing...

jem4267
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jem4267 06/12/09 - 08:07 pm
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Could our children be skinny

Could our children be skinny dipping in the future  Andy Cheeks Canal downtown ?

0
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06/15/09 - 06:29 am
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Crackdown is the perfect

Crackdown is the perfect word choice!

LEO
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LEO 06/16/09 - 05:58 am
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Yes, I see things haven't


Yes, I see things haven't changed much since the 1800's. Police were chasing the purveyors of crack then, as well.

SMITH
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SMITH 06/18/09 - 10:37 am
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Does 1800's mean 6:00 PM

Does 1800's mean 6:00 PM ?

Why not earlier when it's hot out ? 

 

2 B JUST ME
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2 B JUST ME 06/18/09 - 11:10 am
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That is old news!, what

That is old news!, what changed? I did it, my boys did it and now my grandson is doing it. Don't knock it to you try it. Except we all did/do it in  Clark Hill/ Keg Creek.  it's the same water going down stream. Savannah river dammed up...lol

 Thank goodness for about pool water this year. The rocks were getting harder on my old bones. 

jgturner3
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jgturner3 06/19/09 - 10:14 am
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Maybe so many canoes were

Maybe so many canoes were needed so the whole police department could go watch

Spuds1694
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Spuds1694 07/12/09 - 10:55 am
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Andy will probably lead the

Andy will probably lead the way!

Spuds1694
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Spuds1694 07/12/09 - 10:58 am
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Andy will probably lead the

Andy will probably lead the way!

zombo09
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zombo09 08/30/09 - 06:38 am
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Sounds like something on a

Sounds like something on a comedy show

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