Glynn County's Historic Markers
The following is a transcription of some of the historic markers
located in Brunswick, St. Simons, and Jekyll Island.
The following site has a list of more signs that have not been transcribed here.
Georgia Historical Markers by County
|Hopeton on the Altamaha, Home of James Hamilton Couper
Hopeton Plantation, of which Altama is a part, lies about 1.4 miles west of here. A model rice and sugar plantation of the early 19th century, described in books by several travelers from Europe, Hopeton is best remembered as the home of James Hamilton Couper. “A pioneer in the agricultural and industrial development of Georgia and the South,” James Hamilton Couper was an archaeologist, a geologist, a conchologist, architect, and historian--a man whose abilities and accomplishments would be recognized in any time.
Marker: About 2 miles south of Altamaha River, at intersection of US 17 and GA 99.
Boys Estate (Elizafield Plantation)
Boys Estate, Georgia’s town just for boys, is located one-half mile west of here, on a part of historic Elizafield Plantation. Elizafield, first the home of Dr. Robert Grant, later of his son, Hugh Fraser Grant, was one of the rich River Plantations of the early 19th century. It was cultivated intensively in rice and sugar cane, and the ruins of a large sugar mill built of tabby are still in evidence.
In 1935 Cater Woolford gave this tract to Georgia for a State Park, and in 1945 it was made available by the Legislature for the establishment of Boys Estate.
Marker: About 2 miles south of Altamaha River, at intersection of US 17 and GA 99.
Old Post Road
This road, formerly an Indian trail which paralleled the coast, was used by the Spanish and British. In 1778 it was traveled by Revolutionary soldiers who marched against Fort Tonyn. The first mail service south of Savannah was established over this road in 1763. Later it became a regular stage coach route.
At Coleridge, a short distance north of the present Waycross highway, Job Tyson maintained a tavern for travelers along the Post Road. It was the only hostel between the Altamaha and Satilla Rivers and was a regular stage coach stop.
Marker: GA 32 at the Brantley County line.
During his visits to Brunswick in the 1870s Sidney Lanier, Georgia’s greatest poet, frequently sat beneath this live oak tree and looked out over “a world of marsh that borders a world of sea.” Here he received the inspiration which resulted in some of his finest poems.
Of these the best known is “The Marshes of Glynn.”
Marker: US 17 in the northeast edge of Brunswick (Duplicate marker on north lane of US 17).
Georgia’s greatest poet was a guest in this home on many occasions during the 1870s. It was then the residence of Henry C. Day, brother of Mrs. Sidney Lanier.
On these visits in his sister’s home the nature loving poet became fascinated with the nearby “Marshes of Glynn” which he immortalized in the poem under that title.
Marker: Albany Street at George Street, Brunswick.
Brunswick’s first settler came to Georgia in 1738 with Oglethorpe’s regiment. He was granted 500 acres at this place, on which he established his plantation.
Several tabby buildings erected by him stood nearby and a military outpost was maintained here.
In 1741 Indians from Florida raided his plantation, causing 750 pounds damage. The Indians killed or wounded some of the soldiers while others were taken prisoners.
Marker: Union Street at First Avenue, Brunswick.
Glynn County, one of the eight original Counties of Georgia, was organized under the 1777 Constitution of the State of Georgia. It was named in honor of John Glynn, a member of the British House of Commons who defended the cause of the American Colonies in the difficulties which led to the Revolutionary War.
Glynn County contains the lands formerly included in the Colonial Parishes of St. David, St. Patrick, and St. James, which had been organized in 1758.
Among the early officials were the Hon. George Walton, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Judge of the Superior Court, James Spalding, Alexander Bissett, Richard Leake, and Raymond Demere, Justices of the Inferior Court; John Goode, Clerk of the Inferior and Superior Courts; John Palmer, Sheriff; John Burnett, Register of Probates; Richard Bradley, Tax Collector; Martin Palmer, Tax Receiver; Joshua Miller, Surveyor; Jacob Helvestine, Coroner; George Handley (who in 1788 was elected Governor of the State of Georgia) and Christopher Hillary, Legislators; George Purvis, Richard Pritchard, Moses Burnett, John Piles, and John Burnett, Commissioners of Glynn Academy.
Marker: On the Courthouse lawn in Brunswick.
St. Simons Island
Throughout the ages Gascoigne Bluff has been the gateway to St. Simons Island. An Indian village was located here. Captain James Gascoigne of HM Sloop-of-war HAWK, which convoyed the Frederica settlers on their voyage across the Atlantic in 1736, established headquarters for Georgia’s naval forces and had his plantation here. In the Invasion of 1742 the Spaniards landed at this Bluff.
Live oak timbers for the building of USS CONSTITUTION, better known as “OLD IRONSIDES”, and the other vessels of our first US Navy were cut on St. Simons and loaded here in 1794 for shipment North where the vessels were built.
During the plantation era these lands became the sea island cotton plantation of James Hamilton. A wharf here was the shipping center for the St. Simons plantations.
1874-1902 this Bluff was lined with great mills, where cypress and long leaf yellow pine timbers were sawed into lumber and shipped to all parts of the world.
In 1949 the Methodist Church acquired the upper part of the Bluff and established EPWORTH-BY-THE-SEA as a Conference Center.
Marker: St. Simons Island near bridge to mainland, duplicated on St. Simons Island near Methodist Center.
Old Spanish Garden
Spain maintained missions along this coast for more than a century. Beginning in 1568 Jesuit and, later, Franciscan missionaries labored to Christianize the Indians and cultivated in the mission gardens figs, peaches, oranges, and other plants introduced from Europe. Due to Indian uprisings, pirate raids, and British depredations these missions were removed farther south in 1686.
A map of St. Simons Island made in 1739 by Captain John Thomas, engineer in Oglethorpe’s Regiment, locates an “OLD SPANISH GARDEN” near this site. In this area materials from the Spanish mission period have been found.
Marker: Demere Road at Ocean Boulevard on St. Simons Island.
The first fortification built by the British on the South End of St. Simons Island was erected near this site in April 1736, by soldiers of the South Carolina Independent Company under command of Lieutenant Philip Delegal. Before coming to St. Simons these soldiers had been stationed at Fort Frederick, near Port Royal, South Carolina.
The fortification erected here, known as “Delegal’s Fort at Sea Point”, commanded the entrance to the harbor, being located “so that all ships…must pass within shot of the point.”
In 1738, when a regiment of British soldiers was brought to St. Simons Island, Lieutenant Delegal and his soldiers were taken into Oglethorpe’s Regiment. Fort St. Simons was then built taking the site of Delegal’s Fort. Most of the area covered by this fortification has been washed away.
Marker: Ocean Boulevard, one tenth of a mile beyond “Old Spanish Garden” marker on St. Simons Island.
From the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh to the intersection with Ocean Boulevard, this road is part of the Military Road, sometimes called the King’s High Road, which was built by Frederica settlers in 1738 to connect Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons. It was used by British and Spanish forces during the Spanish invasion of 1742 and is the only part of the old Military Road still in use.
Marker: West side of Demere Road facing entrance to East Beach Causeway on St. Simons Island.
This tabby slave cabin of Retreat Plantation, now the Sea Island Golf Course, was one of eight cabins that stood in this area, known as New Field. The slaves who lived here tilled the Sea Island cotton fields nearby.
Each of these cabins was 48x18 feet, with a partition and a chimney in the center. They stood about 300 feet apart and were shaded by beautiful live oak trees.
Retreat Plantation, originally the property of the Spalding family, was sold to Major William Page whose daughter, Anna Matilda, married Hon. Thomas Butler King, M.C.
Marker: Frederica Road near intersection with Demere Road, at the airport on St. Simons Island.
This Military Road, built in 1738, connected Fort Frederica and Fort St. Simons.
Near this point the road passed the tabby cottage where General Oglethorpe established the only home he had in America. This cottage, shaded by great live oak trees, was surrounded by a garden and an orchard of oranges, figs, and grapes.
During the Spanish invasion of Georgia in 1742 a battle was fought here. On the morning of July 7th approximately two hundred Spanish soldiers reached this place, where they were met by Oglethorpe with four platoons of his regiment and the Highland Independent Company from Darien. In this engagement the Spaniards were routed, “upwards of 100” being killed and sixteen taken prisoner. Oglethorpe took two prisoners with his own hands.
The Spaniards, pursued by the British, retreated to their camp at the South End of St. Simons. In the afternoon of the same day, at a place five miles south and on this same road, another battle, known as the Battle of Bloody Marsh, was fought. This, too, was a British victory, ending the threat of Spanish domination of Georgia.
Marker: Frederica Road, St. Simons Island near Christ Church.
Christ Church Cemetery
Here are buried former Rectors of Christ Church and their families, the families of early settlers and of plantation days, officers of the British Army, and soldiers of every war in which our country fought. The oldest tombstone is dated 1803, but it is believed that there were a number of burials here before that time.
Marker: Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, near Christ Church.
The Wesley Oak
Not far from this spot stood the “great tree” under which Charles Wesley had prayers and preached, March 14, 1736, the first Sunday after his arrival. There were about twenty people present, among whom was Mr. Oglethorpe.
A year later, George Whitfield, appointed by the Bishop of London to serve as Deacon at Savannah and Frederica, wrote in his Journal (August 8, 1737): “In the evening we had public Prayers, and expounding of the second Lesson under a large tree, and many more present than could be expected.”
A wooden cross made from a tree long designated as the Wesley Oak hangs on the wall of Christ Church near the pulpit.
Marker: At Christ Episcopal Church on St. Simons Island.
Christ Episcopal Church
This congregation was established as a mission of the Church of England in February 1736. The Rev. Charles Wesley, ordained priest of that Church, conducted the first services in the chapel within the walls of Fort Frederica. The Rev. John Wesley, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, Savannah, also served this mission. Under the name of St. James, this was one of the eight original parishes established in 1758. After the Revolution, this and other churches which had been served continuously by clergymen of the Church of England formed the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Christ Church was incorporated by the State Legislature in 1808 and given a glebe of 108 acres; and in 1823 was one of the three parishes organizing the diocese of Georgia. The first church built on this property in 1820 was almost destroyed during the War Between the States. The present building was erected on the same site in 1884.
Marker: On Frederica Road on St. Simons Island.
Fort Frederica National Monument
The fort was built by General James Edward Oglethorpe in 1736, and was the most expensive British fortification built in America. It was the military headquarters for the defense of Georgia and the other British colonies against the Spaniards in Florida. In 1742 the Spanish invasion was checked by soldiers from Fort Frederica at the Battle of Bloody Marsh. Archaeological excavations under the National Park Service have uncovered much of the old town of Frederica, and the exciting story of Frederica is unfolded by exhibits at the museum in the Visitor Center.
Captain Raymond Demere, a native of France, served many years in the British Army at Gibraltar before coming to Georgia in 1738 as an officer in Oglethorpe’s Regiment. His home, Harrington Hall, was located at this site.
Later generations of the Demere family lived at the south end of St. Simons Island where their plantation was called Mulberry Grove.
Marker: Lawrence Road, five tenths of a mile northeast of Frederica Road on St. Simons Island.
Here in 1736, Oglethorpe settled a group of German Lutherans, known as Salzburgers, and their settlement was called the German Village. These Salzburgers made their living by planting, fishing, and selling their products to the Frederica settlers. When Oglethorpe’s regiment was disbanded in 1749 the Salzburgers left St. Simons Island.
During the Plantation Era, the Wylly family lived here, their plantation being called “The Village”.
Marker: Lawrence Road 1.1 miles northeast of Frederica Road on St. Simons Island.
This was the plantation of Archibald Sinclair, tything man of the town of Frederica. In 1765 it was granted to Donald Forbes as bounty land for his services in Oglethorpe’s Regiment. Forbes sold to General Lachlan McIntosh of Revolutionary fame, whose son, Major William McIntosh, lived and died in the old plantation house. Here, in the family burial plot, lie the bodies of Major McIntosh and his two children. The Agricultural and Sporting Club of St. Simons Island, an organization of plantation owners founded in 1832, used the old tabby house as their club house.
Marker: Lawrence Road 1.7 miles northeast of Frederica Road on St. Simons Island.
When arriving on Jekyll Island, turn left onto Riverview drive to see the following markers:
The Boat House Site
This is the site of the Jekyll Island Club Boat House where the 100 foot steamer “The Jekyll Island” was stored during the off season. (The Club season was usually from after New Years until before Easter.)
There was no Jekyll Creek bridge (dedicated 1954), no Sidney Lanier bridge (opened 1956) in the Jekyll Island Club Era. Many Club members entrained to Brunswick on their plush private railroad cars. There they were met at the wharf by the steamer “The Jekyll Island”; “The Hattie”; “The Sybil” (a 45 foot Naphtha Launch named for Sybil Brewster); “The Kitty” (named for Kitty Lawrence, niece of Charles Lanier, a President of the Club). These launches were used as pleasure craft at the convenience of the Club members for fishing, excursions, and to bring supplies and mail from Brunswick.
Other members arrived by yacht at the dock or, if the craft was too large for the shallow water there, anchored in the channel and were brought to shore by smaller craft.
James A. Clark was Captain of Boats and summer manager of the Jekyll Island Club for over forty years.
M.E. Thompson and the Purchase of Jekyll Island
Melvin E. Thompson, Acting Governor, 1947-1949, was born in Millen, Jenkins County, Georgia in 1903. After a career as educator and public servant, Thompson was elected Lieutenant Governor for the term beginning January 1947. Following the death of Governor-Elect Eugene Talmadge, shortly before his inauguration, Thompson became Acting Governor until the next scheduled general election.
During his term as Acting Governor, one of his contributions to the state was the acquiring of Jekyll Island for $675,000. The state acquired Jekyll Island by a court condemnation decree, a bargain which has been compared to the original purchase of Manhattan Island. Jekyll Island has proven to be one of Georgia’s greatest assets as a year round resort area.
On this site was the cottage of Joseph Pulitzer, editor of the St. Louis “Post Dispatch” and New York “World”. His bequests established the School (now Graduate School) of Journalism at Columbia University and the Pulitzer Prize program.
After Pulitzer’s death, his 26 room island residence, built in 1903, was purchased by John Joseph Albright, art patron and coal magnate of Buffalo, New York. Among the distinguished guests of the Albrights on Jekyll Island was the English poet Alfred Noyes.
Servants lived in a 12 room separate cottage. This building was bought by Frank L. Goodyear and moved to its present location. He gave it to the Jekyll Island Club as an infirmary and renamed it Goodyear Memorial Infirmary in memory of his mother, Mrs. Josephine L. Goodyear. From January to April, the infirmary was staffed each season by doctors from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Claflin-Porter Cottage “Mistletoe”
The first resident of Mistletoe Cottage (15 rooms; 5 baths) was John Claflin, trustee of many financial and charitable corporations and Brooklyn merchant. He was negotiating with John Eugene duBignon to purchase Jekyll Island for himself when it was purchased by the Jekyll Island Club. He became an original member.
Henry Kirke Porter, Pittsburgh manufacturer of light locomotives, was elected a member of the Jekyll Island Club in 1891. He was a Member of Congress, 31st Pennsylvania District, 1903-1905.
“Indian Mound” Rockefeller Cottage--Now Jekyll Island Museum
This cottage was built by the younger brother of John D. Rockefeller (1841-1822), one of the millionaire members of the Jekyll Island Club. Built about 1900, it was called “Indian Mound” because of its adjacency to the old Indian Mound, believed to be a burial mound of the Guale Indians, of Muskhogean stock, who were the earliest inhabitants of Jekyll Island.
First Transcontinental Call
Theodore N. Vail, New York, President of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, participated in a memorable telephone ceremony, January 15, 1915--January 23, 1915, while recuperating from lameness at Jekyll Island. In order that President Vail might participate in the long circuit call from Jekyll to Washington, New York, and San Francisco, a thousand miles of cable were run to the Island.
Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was the chief figure in the New York call with Thomas A. Watson, assistant to Dr. Bell, at the San Francisco terminal. President Woodrow Wilson, in speaking to Mr. Vail at Jekyll, said “Hello, Mr. Vail!” “Who is this?” (Mr. Vail) “This is the President, I have just been speaking across the continent.” “Oh, yes.” (Mr. Vail) “Before I give up the telephone, I want to extend my congratulations to you on the consummation of this remarkable work,” replied the President of the United States. It has been said that Bell created the telephone and Vail created the telephone business.
Mr. Vail visited Jekyll Island in two yachts at various seasons, “The Speedwell” and “The Northwind.”
Sans Souci Club Cottage
Known as the J.P. Morgan Cottage because the Morgans, elder and younger, lived here, Sans Souci (Without Care), containing six apartments, was built in 1899 by a corporation of members of the Jekyll Island Club. Among the members who stayed here were: James J. Hill, St. Paul, Minnesota, president of the Great Northern System; Frederick G. Bourne, capitalist, Pierre Lorillard, Tuxedo Park, New York, tobacco magnate; J.A. Scrymser, New York, cable and telegraph promoter and a partner of J.P. Morgan in various enterprises; Robert G. Pyne, New York banker.
During the War Between the States the DuBignon family, fearing Union raids, left Jekyll Island, moving inland. After the war, John Eugebne DuBignon returned to find his fields devastated and buildings destroyed. The plantation economy never recovered from the ravages and changes made by the war. In the early 1880s, DuBignon built his residence where Sans Souci now stands. In 1886 he sold the island to the Jekyll Island Club for $125,000 and became one of the original members. His home was known as the Club Cottage.
Mess Kettle from the “Wanderer”
This mess kettle from the slave yacht, WANDERER, was used for feeding the slaves landed on Jekyll Island in 1858--the last slaves brought from Africa to the United States.
The WANDERER, pleasure yacht, slave ship, gunboat, and coastal freighter, was launched in 1857, built by Joseph Rowland and Thomas Hawkins at East Setauket, Long Island, for J.D. Johnson, a wealthy Louisiana planter and member of the exclusive New York Yacht Club. Sold almost immediately to Johnson’s protégé, W.C. Corrie of Charleston, the WANDERER was used in the illicit slave trade by Corrie and his associates, Charles A.L. Lamar of Savannah and Nelson C. Trowbridge of New Orleans.
At the outbreak of war in 1861, the WANDERER was caught in southern waters by the blockade and seized by Federal forces, whereupon she was pressed into Union service in the Pensacola area. After the war she was sold at auction and put into the West Indian fruit trade. The WANDERER was finally driven ashore and wrecked in 1871 on Cape Maisi, Cuba.
Jekyll Island Club Wharf
Here anchored the most luxurious pleasure craft in the world during the existence of the Jekyll Island Club, 1886-1942.
No other yacht was comparable to John Pierpont Morgan’s several “Corsairs”. “Corsair II”, too large to dock, anchored in the channel. Morgan was escorted ashore by a flotilla of small craft, after a cannon had sounded off his arrival in these waters. “Corsair II” was 304 ft. overall, beam 33 ½ ft., draft 17 ft., speed 10 knots, tonnage 1,600. About this “Corsair” Morgan, when asked how much it cost, made his classic remark: “If you have to consider the cost you have no business with a yacht.”
Other palatial yachts owned by Jekyll Island Club Members were: Pierre Lorillard’s “Caimen”, James Stillman’s “Wanda”, Astors’ “Nourmahal”, Vanderbilt’s “Alvah” and “Valiant”, H. Manville’s “Hi Esmaro, Jr.”, Pulitzer’s “Liberty”, George F. Baker’s “Viking”, E.T. Stotesbury’s “Castle”, Cranes’ “Illyria”, Theodore N. Vail’s “Speedwell” and “Northwind”, Commodore Frederick Bourne’s “Marjorie”, Goulds’ “Hildgards”, “Saono”, and “Ketchum”. Edward Gould built a private dock in front of his cottage “Chichota.” Andrew Carnegie, whose family owned Cumberland Island, visited Jekyll on yachts “Skibo” and “Missoe”.
Crane Cottage Solterra
Crane Cottage (20 rooms; 17 baths) was built in 1916 by Richard Crane of Crane Company at a cost of $500,000.
Solterra, the island home of Frederick Baker, New York banker, was on the site until it burned in 1910. On March 20, 1899, President and Mrs. William McKinley and the President’s mentor, Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio, were guests at Solterra. Veiled in secrecy, their visit to Jekyll Island was made to plan McKinley’s political future.
At Solterra Andrew Carnegie was honored at an elaborate banquet. Among the guests were Joseph Pulitzer, J.P. Morgan, the elder, William Rockefeller, George F. Baker.
Jennings Cottage “Villa Ospo”
This cottage was erected in 1928 by Walter Jennings, capitalist of New York. It has a total of twenty rooms, including ten bed rooms, five baths, and coach house. A feature of the spacious cottage is the 24x40 foot paneled living room and the arched hallway leading to it. It also has a large patio with a lily pool and fountain.
Mr. Jennings was President of the Jekyll Island Club from 1927 to 1933. He was born in San Francisco on September 14, 1858, and died at his winter cottage at Jekyll January 9, 1933. His sisters, Mrs. Gordon Auchinclose, Mrs. Walter Belknap James, and Miss Annie Jennings, were also members of the Club.
Mr. Jennings was one of the first Directors of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey and Secretary from 1908--1911; Trustee of the New York Trust Company; President, National Gas Company; Director, Bank of Manhattan. He was married in 1891 to Jane Pollock Brown. They had three children, Oliver Burr, Jeanette, and Constance.
He was a member of the University Club, Metropolitan Club of New York, and owned a stock farm in Long Island.
Turn right onto Old Plantation Road (Old Village) for the following markers:
This auditorium was the Gould Casino during the Jekyll Island Club Era (188601942). It was built by Edwin Gould, son of Jay Gould, who lived at Chichota Cottage.
This playhouse contained, on the first floor, an indoor tennis court, lockers and restrooms, a bowling alley, rifle range, a bedroom. On the second floor were spacious, well furnished club rooms. Attached to the casino was a conservatory and a separate garden house.
Shrady--James Cottage--”Cherokee Cottage”
This cottage has a total of 20 rooms plus 8 baths. There are 12 bedrooms, 2 kitchens (one for the servants), and a service elevator. It was erected around 1915 for Mrs. Hester E. Cantine Shrady, widow of Dr. George Frederick Shrady of New York (born 1837--died 1907). An eminent physician, Dr. Shrady was editor of the Medical Record, and Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A., during the War Between the States. He attended ex-President U.S. Grant, as consulting surgeon, in his last illness. Mrs. Shrady was the mother-in-law of Edwin Gould, who owned the cottage “Solterra” on Jekyll, was the son of the famous financier Jay Gould, who left an estate of over $60,000,000.
The cottage was last occupied by Dr. Walter Belknap James of New York (born in Baltimore 1858--died 1927). He was president of the Jekyll Island Club 1919-1927. He married Helen Goodsell Jennings, sister of Walter Jennings, also a president of Jekyll Island Club. Dr. James was a graduate of Yale, Johns Hopkins, and did graduate work in Germany and Austria. He was consulting physician, Bellevue Hospital, New York, and president of the national committee for Mental Hygiene.
The swimming pool in front of the former Club House was dedicated “in loving memory” to Dr. James, by the Jekyll Island Club.
Morgan Tennis Court
Tennis, golf, bowling, croquet, polo, and skeet were the active sports during the existence of the Jekyll Island Club. “Bowling on the green” and croquet were played on the Club House lawn. The skeet and polo field were located beyond the Jennings Cottage. The Club’s facilities for tennis were exceptional. In addition to the three outdoor courts of native clay, there were two indoor courts, the John Pierpont Morgan and the Edwin Gould Tennis Courts. The Club maintained a tennis pro who was, for many years, Frank Bonneau.
This was the scene of many important tournaments. As a prime sport, tennis was established in 1911 when Richard Crane placed his cup for a mixed doubles handicap. This tournament was played during March. The Annual Invitation Men’s Doubles Round Robin was established in 1936, with a cup offered each year by Alanson B. Houghton, former Ambassador to London and Berlin. Winners of the trophy include Bernon S. Prentice, Alexander Thayer, G. Peabody Gardner, H.R. Guild, George A. Lyon, Armory L. Houghton, Cranston Holman, Julian S. Myrick, Watson Washburn, Robert P. Brown, Jr.
Back on Riverview and Horton Road for the following markers:
Brown Cottage Chimney--McEvers Bayard Brown, New York Banker
This chimney is all that remains of the cottage of Bayard Brown, original member of Jekyll Island Club. In his gay, young days, he built this cottage at Jekyll, overlooking the marshes. He erected a bridge to reach the isolated house, built stables for his horses, and furnished the cottage elegantly for his bride-to-be. But the wedding never came off. The house deteriorated and was torn down.
This eccentric millionaire was known as “The Hermit of Essex Coast” in England. At the age of 37, he became an exile from America, sailing on his yacht “Valfreyia”. “Unrequited love” is said to be the cause of his renouncing his native land to become a legendary port-bound yachtsman for 36 years. On the Essex Coast, his yacht engines were always in readiness for a sea voyage. His crew of 18 waited in vain for the order to put to sea.
One thing was certain, Mr. Brown had plenty of money--a million dollars a year, according to one account. Sometimes he would toss gold sovereigns from his yacht for anyone to pick up. Anyone who mentioned “America” in his presence was dismissed.
He died in 1926 requesting that his body be returned to America on the “Valfreyia.”
In 1861, Confederate battery positions on Jekyll Island were equipped with on 42-pounder gun and four 32-pounder navy guns en barbette, each having about 60 rounds of shot and shell. Casemates, hot shot furnace and magazines are recorded, also. Of greater strength than batteries on St. Simons Island, the earthworks of palmetto logs, heavy timber, sandbags, and railroad irons were mounted for the protection of Brunswick.
February 10, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee requested permission from Gov. Joseph E. Brown to dismantle the stronghold as “the inhabitants of the island and Brunswick have removed themselves and property” to inland points. Maj. Edward C. Anderson removed the guns, sending them to Savannah.
March 9, 1862, Lt. Miller of the “USS Mohican” landed a rifle company and marines, hoisting the Union flag over the island.
January 1863, to strengthen fortifications at Port Royal, South Carolina, a Federal force was sent by flatboat to seize the railroad irons. Some of the men who had helped build the defenses guided the detachment to them and “the men enjoyed demolishing them far more than they had relished their construction.”
Georgia’s First Brewery
Large pieces of tabby seen here on the bank of the creek, now known as duBignon Creek, mark the site and are the remains of the first brewery established in Georgia. Crops of barley, rye, and hops, planted and raised in Horton’s fields on Jekyll, were used in making beer for the soldiers at nearby Frederica on St. Simons Island.
Major William Horton, of Oglethorpe’s Regiment, was the first English resident of Jekyll Island. The remains of Horton’s tabby house stand northeast of this brewery.
Poulain Du Bignon and Du Bignon Burying Ground
This burying ground contains the bodies of several members of the duBignon family descendants of Le Sieur Christophe Poulain de la Houssays duBignon, native of Saint-malo in Brittany. One of four Frenchmen, former residents of Sapelo Island, who purchased Jekyll Island in 1791, Poulain duBignon became the sole owner a few years later.
In his youth duBignon was an officer in the French Army in India and served for years fighting against the domination of Great Britain. Later he commanded a vessel of war sailing under the French flag. He died in 1814 and was buried here near duBignon Creek with a live oak tree as his only monument.
Sea island cotton was the principal crop planted on the duBignon plantations on Jekyll Island and a large acreage was devoted to its cultivation.
The duBignon family owned Jekyll Island until 1886, when they sold it to a group of millionaires who immediately formed the famous Jekyll Island Club.
Major William Horton
Born in England.
Came to Georgia in 1736.
Died at Savannah 1748.
These are the remains of Horton’s tabby house. Major Horton, of Oglethorpe’s Regiment, the first English resident of Jekyll Island, erected on the north end of Jekyll a two-story dwelling and large barn. He cleared fields here for cultivation of crops which supplied the settlers at Frederica on St. Simons Island, a neighboring island, who would have suffered except for this assistance. Major Horton cut a road across the north end of Jekyll running east and west, from this tabby house to the beach. This road is still known as the Horton Road.
Major Horton was a trusted officer chosen by James Oglethorpe for important missions. Upon Oglethorpe’s final return to England in 1743, Major Horton succeeded him as commander of the military forces of the Colony of Georgia.
Poulain duBignon, owner of Jekyll Island after the Revolutionary War, repaired the Horton tabby house and made it his home. As the duBignon family grew, wooden wings were added to the house.
Tabby was the building material for walls, floors, and roofs, widely used throughout coastal Georgia during the Military and Plantation Eras. It was composed of equal parts of sand, lime, oyster shell, and water mixed into a mortar and poured into forms.
The lime used in tabby was made by burning oyster shell taken from Indian shell mounds, the trash piles of the Indians.
The word tabby is African in origin, with an Arabic background, and means “a wall made of earth or masonry.” This method of building was brought to America by the Spaniards.
When the Coquina (shell rock) quarries near St. Augustine were opened, hewn stone superseded tabby for wall construction there. Coastal Georgia has no coquina, so tabby continued to be used here even as late as the 1890s.
The Spanish on Jekyll Island
Within in sight and sound of St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island was ideal for entertaining Spanish visitors to the settlement at Frederica. Major William Horton, resident of the island, received the guests while Oglethorpe on St. Simons, with cannon booming and his few soldiers appearing and reappearing on the south beach, professed a strength he did not have.
In 1736, Spanish Commissioners Don Pedro Lamberto and Don Manuel d’Arcy, sent by Governor Sanchez of St. Augustine to discuss rival claims to the Georgia coast, were feted on Jekyll. On board the sloop “Hawk” in Jekyll Sound, kilted Highlanders from Darien with clanging broadswords, Tomo-Chi-Chi and Hyllispilli with about 30 of their “chiefest” Indians in war paint and regalia loudly denounced the Spanish and helped Oglethorpe impress the visitors with the strength and good will of the Colonists. Agreeing to leave all questions to the courts of Spain and England, the emissaries returned to St. Augustine pleased with their mission. Angered by the decision, Spain recalled and executed Governor Sanchez.
After the Battle of Bloody Marsh, the Spaniards burned the buildings on Jekyll Island.
Captain Wylly Road
There were two Captain Wyllys in the history of Jekyll. It is believed the road was named for Charles Spalding Wylly (1836--1923). Captain in the Confederate Army, 1st Georgia Regulars, a descendant of Clement Martin, who was granted, on April 5, 1768, Jekyll Island by the Crown. His grandfather, Captain William Campbell Wylly, remaining loyal to the British in the Revolution, took part in the campaign when the British General Prevost crossed the St. Mary's and marched on Savannah. After the Revolution he moved to Nassau and was made Governor of New Providence. In 1807 he returned to Georgia, lived first on Jekyll, then St. Simons. Captain Alexander Campbell Wylly was born in Belfast in 1759, moving to Savannah from there.
This road is one of the few that now bear names given by the Jekyll Island Club Members. What is now Beachview Drive consisted of three shell roads: Morgan (for John Pierpont Morgan); Bourne (for Frederick G. Bourne, Director of Singer Sewing Machine Company and President of Jekyll Island Club 1914-1919); Lanier (for Charles Lanier, original member of Club, and President of Jekyll Island Club 1897-1913). He was kinsman of Sidney Lanier, poet-author of “Marshes of Glynn.”
Marker: Captain Wylly Road at Comfort Inn on Beachview Drive.
9 miles long, 1 ¼ mile wide, 11 miles of beach.
Jekyll Island, Indian hunting and fishing ground, pirate stronghold, held by Spain for more than a century from 1566, was named by Oglethorpe to honor his friend, Sir Joseph Jekyll, of the Colony of Georgia. The great trees on this island are among “Georgia’s seven natural wonders”, the broad white beach is unexcelled.
Major William Horton, officer of Oglethorpe’s Regiment, had his plantation here. Later, Jekyll Island was owned by Clement Martin and by Richard Leake. After the Revolutionary War, the island was owned by Poulain duBignon and his descendants for a century. In 1886, after a world-wide search for a beautiful, healthy, quiet, and private vacation site, a group of America’s wealthiest men purchased Jekyll Island. For 56 years (1886-1942), members of the exclusive Jekyll Island Club relaxed on the island.
The State of Georgia bought Jekyll Island from the Club in 1947 for a State Park.
Marker: In parkway on road entering island.
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