When the Salzburgers arrived in Savannah in 1734, Oglethorpe sent them up the Savannah River to establish a settlement. After the first location was assailed by disease they relocated closer to the Savannah River. Here, they engaged in silkworm production and, in 1769, built the Jerusalem Church, which still stands. An important defensive position during the Revolutionary War, the town sustained heavy damage. After the war, the population dwindled and most of the settlement shifted toward nearby Springfield. Descendants of these Protestant religious refugees have preserved the church and assembled a few of the remaining buildings, moving them to this site from other locations. The town is 25 miles northwest of Savannah.