Abandoned CAPTAIN JOHN L. DAY HOUSE between 1880-1885

John Loquier Day, the future Captain, was born on April 22, 1838, in New York. Henry G. Day and Mary A. Day moved to the United States from Bristol, England in 1831. The couple had nine kids altogether, but two of them passed away as infants. When John was 15 years old, he joined his father in the workforce, where he worked as a millwright, in the machine shop, and as a pattern maker.

When he was 22, he got a job as a government journeyman, which got him out of having to serve in the military. John went out on his own as a machinist when he was 24 years old.

John lost both of his parents at young ages. His mother, only 43 years old, passed away from yellow fever in 1854. His dad eventually ran a fleet of steamboats for a Georgia shipping firm. His father’s ship burned on the Savannah River on the way from Augusta to Savannah in 1858.

An 1859 story in The Delaware Gazette reported that the fire had destroyed 780 bales of cotton, 40 barrels of flour, and other products. Everyone on board had to evacuate ship by jumping over the side. Henry was one of the twelve to fifteen people who drowned because they couldn’t swim.

Mary R. Strobar was born in Savannah in 1860 to Francis and Martha A. (Beasley) Strobar. Captain John L. Day wed her the same year. John and his wife raised a brood of four kids. One son, John P., passed away at a young age, while another, Harry G., passed away in 1884 at the age of 17 following a protracted illness. John L. Day switched to steamboating as a profession in 1867.

John had a riverboat business on the Oconee and Ocmulgee rivers that served railroad lines for the following 12 years. The boats he constructed himself were all given the names of his offspring.

The Day family had yet another devastating loss in 1869. Ten years after John last saw his brother Henry, Henry boarded a train in Richmond bound for Augusta. He became unwell on the train, and just 10 minutes after reaching his brother in Augusta, he went unconscious and died from brain fever four days later. He was 27 years old. After John’s death, the river took the life of his brother Thomas G. Day, a steamboat captain, when his ship capsized in the river in 1890.

The local Methodist Episcopal Church included Captain John L. Day among its most prominent members. This beautiful Italianate brick mansion was constructed by Captain Day sometime between 1880 and 1885. Supposedly (but not proved) it was the first brick home ever constructed in Telfair County.

Captain Day, a skilled machinist, likely conceptualized and created the steamboat-inspired cast iron railings, fence, and porch columns. On March 9, 1906, at the age of 67, Captain John L. Day passed away. Savannah’s Laurel Grove Cemetery North is the final resting place for Capt. Day and the rest of the Day family.

Must Read