1979 Message in a Bottle Unmasks Georgia’s Intriguing James H. Fort
43 years ago in the foggy past, on September 22nd, 1979, James H. Fort embarked in his sailboat from Columbus, Georgia and tossed an enchanting message in a bottle into the Chattahoochee River. Incredibly, Sting and the Police had just released “Message in a Bottle” on September 7th, just two weeks earlier. I doubt it was playing over the radio as Fort tossed his bottle overboard since it didn’t become popular in the USA until a bit later, but still, that’s a nice little coincidence, don’t you think?
Anyway, after 39 years, James H. Fort’s message was found by the Bland family of Georgetown, Georgia in 2018. Sadly, Georgia’s WRBL, who first reported the story, and the Blands themselves were unable to find James H. Fort, or even any information on him. This has bothered me every day since then. I don’t like admitting defeat, just because a message in a bottle is old…
A little while after the Bland family’s incredible find, I reported on a 50 year old message in a bottle, also from a Georgia author, that my dad found. Amazingly, we connected with the author of that 1970 message in a bottle. This all got me thinking recently that I should dive back into this story to see if I could help. Who was James H. Fort anyway? And why did he send this message in a bottle? Could social media come to the rescue and help us find the sender of this message in a bottle?