Jekyll Island in Glynn County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
Horton House Historic Site
From Forest to Plantation
— Jekyll Island Museum —
The history of the island is tied very closely to the land. From the very beginning of William Horton’s occupation on the island the land was cultivated – first by indentured servants, then later under Christophe du Bignon’s ownership, with slave labor.
William Horton played an important role in the militia at neighboring Fort Frederica. He also was vital in supporting the civilian population of the settlement around the fort. He regularly provided corn and beef when supplies failed. In addition to the cattle and corn, other produce found on Horton’s farm included barley, hay, cotton and even indigo. There is also a reference by a visitor to Horton’s homestead of an orange grove near the house.
It was under the ownership of du Bignons that Jekyll Island became a true plantation. By 1800, when Christophe du Bignon was permanently living on Jekyll, he had 59 slaves. The primary crop was sea island cotton, a commodity that was in very high demand. Other crops that du Bignon grew included “Irish” potatoes, sweet potatoes and peas – all likely to feed his family and large slave population.
On numerous occasions Christophe du Bignon confided to friends about the challenges of scratching out a living on this barrier island. This cannot compare to the trials of the population of people he held enslaved here on the island.
Time was not your own as a slave on a cotton plantation. The cash crop entailed very difficult and labor intensive tasks to successfully get to market. Year round, from sun up to sun down, there was work to be done in a cotton field. Whether it was the backbreaking planting of seeds in early March, or the endless weeding of row after row of cotton in the sultry July heat. A slave who worked as a field hand knew a day of hard labor.
Work in the fields was not finished after the weeding, for come September, and for the next three months a field hand would pick the puffy white cotton from spiky pods. This work would seem to never end, and before long, fingers would be stiff and bleeding from this endeavor.
Erected by The Friends of Historic Jekyll Island, Inc.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Agriculture • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 31° 6.05′ N, 81° 24.927′ W. Marker is in Jekyll Island, Georgia, in Glynn County. Marker can be reached from Riverview Drive, 0.2 miles south of Clafin Road, on the left when traveling north. Located along the North Loop Trail. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Jekyll Island GA 31527, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Horton House Historic Site (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Horton House Historic Site (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named Horton House Historic Site (about 400 feet away); Le Sieur Christophe Anne Poulain du Bignon (about 400 feet away); Tabby (about 400 feet away); Major William Horton (about 400 feet away); Poulain du Bignon and du Bignon Burying Ground (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Horton House Historic Site (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jekyll Island.
Also see . . . Horton House. (Submitted on September 29, 2020.)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 27, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 102 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 27, 2020, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.