The doctrina of Tolomato seems to have been the traditional headquarters of the Guale chiefdom. Fray Pedro de Corpa was assigned to this chiefdom and it was here that he ministered and died.
The mission of Tolomato has never been located. Speculation places it along the Sapelo River (Pine Harbor Archaeological Site); near Darien, Georgia; at the Harris Neck Archaeological Site; or near Sutherland's Bluff (Townsend, Georgia).
After the church, friar's residence, and remaining buildings were burned in 1597, the site was not permanently resettled and the town never regained its prominent political status within the Guale tribes.
The monument to the Five Friars of Georgia, created by internationally renowned artist Timothy Schmalz, is located at Nativity of Our Lady Church (1000 North Way) in Darien.
Friars Miguel de Añon and Antonio de Badajoz were stationed at the Guale mission shortly before the 1597 Uprising and were martyred there on September 16 or 17. The mission was rebuilt in the early 1600s, but English slave raids beginning in 1670 initiated its decline. Though defended against a final attack in 1680, the island was eventually abandoned by the Spanish and Christian Guale.
Friar Blas Rodríguez was assigned to the mission at Tupiqui after the 1595 agreement with the Guale chiefdom, having arrived in Spanish Florida five years earlier. Tupiqui was believed to be a twin administrative center with the town of Espogache, with jurisdiction that included Sapelo Island and the adjacent mainland. The entire village was discovered burned after the 1597 Uprising. The mission has not been located by archaeologists, but speculation places it on the mainland opposite the island town of Sapala and north of present-day Eulonia.
The mission was relocated to Sapelo Island around 1674 and renamed Santa Clara de Tupiqui. It was the last of the mainland Guale missions to relocate onto the barrier islands.
Sapelo is home to Hog Hammock, a community of ~70 full-time residents, many of whom are descended from the antebellum slaves of Sapelo's plantations. Part of the official Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, Hog Hammock was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
The doctrina at Asao was established in 1595, with Friar Francisco de Veráscola assigned as the mission's first friar. The entire village of Asao was found intact after the friar's murder; in retaliation, the Spanish burned it to the ground. After a short period of abandonment, the mission is thought to have been rebuilt close to its original location and dedicated as Santo Domingo de Asao in 1601. Like Tolomato and Tupiqui, the mission of Asao has not been found. Speculation places it at the mouth of the Altamaha River, at the southern tip of St. Simons Island, or at Fort King George in Darien.
The doctrina of Talapo was the mission station of Friar Francisco de Avila. We know that Friar Avila's first missionary post in 1595 was Tulufina and it is unclear when he came to Talapo. While it has not been found by archaeologists, it is thought to have been located at Harris Neck.
The village of Tulufina is thought to have been located at Seven-Mile Bend (Richmond Hill) or Redbird Creek.
The Martha-Mary Chapel (10550 Ford Avenue) in Richmond Hill was built by automobile magnate Henry Ford and his wife Clara in 1937 and named in honor of their mothers. (A wooden plaque with this name still proudly hangs to the right of the altar.) The chapel was used daily by students of the adjacent Ways Station school. On Sundays the chapel was used for community worship services, led by the people.
After Henry and Clara passed away, the Ford Foundation sold the majority of their land holdings to the International Paper Company and the chapel ceased to be used.
On September 16, 1951, Bishop Francis E. Hyland arranged for Mass to be offered each Sunday at the Courthouse in Ways Station; 20 people attended the first Mass. At the time, the community was known as the Mission of St. Joseph. A few years later, Bishop Hyland arranged for the Martha-Mary Chapel to become the property of the Diocese of Savannah. The newly renovated mission chapel of St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was dedicated on June 13, 1955 with only five registered families and a few Catholic soldiers from Hinesville.
On November 1, 1987, Bishop Raymond W. Lessard raised the mission to the status of a parish.