Dover Hall Plantation
While traveling the less beaten path, don't you sometimes wonder, "What was this land like before my time?". Throughout Glynn County are numerous stretches of road that are nothing but pine tree farms today, yet hidden behind the trees, possibly even a mile or more away from the paved road, are hidden portals to our past.
One such area stretches for over 2000 acres along US Hwy. 99 in Glynn County. This particular part of Hwy. 99 that I am talking about runs north and south between Hwy. 82 and Hwy. 32. Along this road were several large plantations, including a small town called Bethel. Hidden amongst these pine tree forests are old cemeteries, homes, and ruins of a once prosperous farming era.
But Dover Hall has more than just a plantation lure, it has the lure of the sporting world under it's belt too. Let's start with its namesake, Thomas Dover, whose name can be found in many early 1800 court documents in Glynn County. Upon his death in 1845, Thomas' household furnishings alone totaled over $26,000, his slave inventory was valued at $20,850. All of his property, according to his will, was left to his nephew William Dover Jenkins.
Thomas Dover was buried on his property, along with two other men. Curious that no other graves have been found on this particular piece of the property. No mention of Thomas Dover having children has been uncovered by me, but a deed that can be found in Book G page 117 lists him and a wife Catherine. What happened to her in later years? Is she buried in this small cemetery too? A record of Mrs. Dover dying was found by my cemetery buddy, Chrissy Chapman, that states: Dover, Mrs., d. 6-26-1829 at Dover Hall, Glynn Co., wife of Thomas Dover, Esq. Ath 7-7-1829; SP 7-11-1829/DG 7-1-1829" [Marriages and Deaths 1820- 1830 -Abstracted from extant Georgia Newspapers" by Mary B. Warren/Sarah F. White, 1972].
If we can read between the lines, we may find that Thomas quite possibly had a daughter named Catherine Dover who married Charles E. Flynn. After all, he gave her 10 slaves and 2200 acres of land in consideration of her "good wishes and friendship."
Around 1859, W.D. Jenkins died and the property was then conveyed to Leighton Wilson Hazlehurst, who in turn sold it to George W. Wright. During George's tenure, we get our first bit of history making news involving Dover Hall, that of the Union soldiers shelling the area upon receiving word that some Confederate soldiers may be camped in the area. With no regard to women or children, they let loose their cannons, in what may have really only been for sport due to the lack of skirmishes they were expecting to find in Glynn County.
After George's death, his son George Jr. acquired the land and after his death, the land was sold to the Dover Hall Club in 1916. It is after this date, that things became lively once again on the Dover Hall lands.
Many locals may not know this, but Dover Hall was slated to be one of the largest baseball training camps in the U.S., spearheaded by Col. T.L. Huston, whose home still stands on Butler Island. Many sporting luminaries came to Brunswick to fish, hunt, and generally have a good time. Such baseball heroes as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth made this their winter stomping grounds. Click here to read news articles.
Mysteries still abound for me concerning Dover Hall Plantation. A big mystery is Cemetery Island at the tip of a peninsula jutting into the Turtle River. One newspaper article called this island "Shadow Island" where the slaves from Dover Hall were buried. From all of the deeds chronicling the many plantations in this area, you would think there would be more cemeteries and ruins. However, no one has spoken up yet about any such finds.
Today, Dover Hall is slated
for development. Hopefully through this research, and the help of a
few friends, we may soon find new discoveries on this once spectacular and
very historic piece of Glynn County history.
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