Google+

History Runs Deep on St. Simon’s Island!

 History Runs Deep on St. Simon’s Island!

There is one thing that the most magical locations in the world all have in common, and that is the aura – the feeling that literally clings to the surface of historical sites whether they be battlefield or sunken ship – reminding us of what once was. What I mean by this, plain and simple, is the history – the lives of the people who lived before that none of us will ever have the pleasure of knowing. Some of these lives quite literally changed our world. Without them, the days of 2012 would be far different. These are the ones who, without knowing it, left their indelible impression on our present-day lives.

 

One of the most amazing locations for historical facts, sites and people is an island off the coast of Georgia called, St. Simon’s. This is a true ‘kingdom’ that housed some of the most magnificent minds and power-hungry individuals who ever walked the face of the planet.

 

Hidden in this once ‘unknown’ place were true visionaries – from writers to builders to architects that would offer new innovations to the world. There were also those who were part of the evil ministrations that COULD have won; people who COULD have become larger than life and turned this land into something that neither you or I would ever have wanted to live in.

 

St. Simon’s has its roots firmly planted in everything from the American Revolution to the Civil war. This particular article is about a plantation, the roots of which are now buried deep beneath a stunning golf course that people use every single day.

 

We enter into this realm because of the slew of articles that have been written about the King and Prince Resort, which is a place of sheer luxury where visitors come to enjoy the undisturbed nature and the warm sun that beats down on the mighty Atlantic. Here, people dwell in rooms fit for royalty. They dine on the finest cuisine, golf on the most beautiful course in the nation, bike, hike, and photograph the absolute best scenery that Mother Nature can provide

 

But over a hundred years ago, this whole island was quite a different scene. There was still a man who lived in the lap of luxury, but there was also one woman who made sure to stand up for the people and alter the course of the Civil War.

Before the five sparkling pools were created for the visitors to enjoy at the King and Prince, before there was a stunning golf course by the name of The Hampton Club, there was a place known as Hampton Plantation that sat on the northernmost tip of St. Simon’s. Resting on three hundred acres hemmed by marshlands, and sitting under a canopy of live oaks, this plantation was where the ‘land of the free’ would take a step forward.

 

Imagine the grandeur! Take a walk back in time with me over a century ago, back to the antebellum era – a time that is such an intricate part of the St. Simon’s experience. It was here, on this plantation (which was one of four elegant plantations at the time), where Major Pierce Butler thrived. This is a man who had everything from fruit orchards to endless fields of indigo and cotton and, unfortunately, slaves.

 

Hampton Plantation ‘saw’ a great many things during its time; it was at Hampton that the Major grew hundreds of acres of sea island cotton, and brought hundreds of slaves from South Carolina to work his vast fields. These men and women who worked so hard and suffered daily under his hand would eventually number almost a thousand, and the plantation would soon be recognized as one of the largest in the South.

 

The Major had a wealth of pride, and his ego-driven sensibilities made him by far the wealthiest planter to settle on St. Simons. After several years of building and expanding, the plantation went from a house with fields to a true ‘complex’ that included a main house, an overseer’s house, a smokehouse, poultry house, washhouse, cotton barn, corn house, horse mill, two store houses, a hospital, a stable, six duplex slave cabins and more – a grand monument to Butler‘s voracious appetite for money and power.

 

Mother Nature – perhaps the only thing at the time that was more powerful than Butler – destroyed the large house in 1824 with a massive hurricane, which meant the Butler family had to move to the overseer’s house for their infrequent visits.

 

To understand the ultimate ‘gift’ a young British woman gave to this country, all readers need to know how the Butler clan operated. Major Butler ran his plantation with military precision. This was a stern disciplinarian who maintained strict control, and he passed along this persona to his grandson, another power-hungry man also named, Pierce.

 

The Hampton Club, the golf course that truly shines with some of the most amazing scenery in the world, was actually once a vacation spot for some of Butler’s extremely high-profile friends. The most famous was Vice President Aaron Burr who, after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, sought refuge in the South. Burr even summed up his feelings about St. Simon’s in some beautiful letters he wrote to his daughter about the graciousness and beauty that he found there. It would, however, be thirty years later when the one visitor that saved us all would arrive…

 

Fanny Kemble was a beautiful English actress who married the Major’s grandson. She was the person who visited Hampton in 1839, and although Fanny was also quite taken with the beauty of St. Simon’s, and offered a stunning and eloquent tribute to the area, she also was extremely upset about the ‘way of life’ that Butler led.

 

She was literally shocked by slavery and how people were being treated by her new ‘family.’ It came as no surprise when Fanny divorced Butler and returned to England to resume her career on the stage. But having Fanny’s diary published in 1863 gave motivation to the abolitionist movement on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

Her words were powerful and from her own ‘private’ civil war with the Butler clan, she would single-handedly convince the British empire NOT to support the South during the Civil War.
Again, the imagination of the historian jumps into overdrive with this story. You see, Fanny Kemble was a strong and spirited woman who had absolutely NO formal training as an actress. Oddly enough, she could hold audiences in the palm of her hand – her sheer force and magnetism made everyone around her spellbound. As a writer, she was highly intelligent and wrote about subjects she was truly passionate about. And her journey to the most important subject of her life began in 1832. This was when Fanny set out on a two-year theater tour in America, where audiences were enraptured. Because of her newfound American celebrity, Fanny was even meeting with political and cultural dignitaries quite high up on the ladder.

Pierce Butler was an admirer who simply would not let Fanny go. He was on the cusp of inheriting his grandfather’s fortune (becoming one of the largest slaveholders in the nation) when Fanny Kemble came along.

Pierce Butler’s infatuation turned into a marriage proposal, and Fanny entered into a life of extreme wealth. The differences between these two were far too much to bear, especially their opinions on slavery. Pierce saw only the benefits, whereas Fanny wanted to emancipate his slaves. Early in their marriage Fanny even attempted to publish an antislavery treatise that she had written, but Pierce stopped her.

It was in 1836 that Pierce and his brother John inherited the Georgia plantations. Fanny wanted to see the Hampton Plantation firsthand, but nothing in her life had prepared her for what she found there.

Spending only four months on St. Simon’s Island, Fanny recorded her experiences in letters which she later compiled and published called, Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation. It is the most detailed look at plantation slavery ever recorded by a white northern abolitionist.

The marriage, of course, ended in a battle of wills, to say the least but Fanny did support herself with her highly acclaimed Shakespearian readings, It was Pierce who was soon destroyed, as he gambled the vast Butler fortune away on the stock market. He sold everything and eventually his trustees decided to sell the property he held in Georgia – a property that only had human beings left. What happened next was hideous. In 1859, these people were ‘assessed’ and sold, becoming the largest single sale of human beings in United States history. It was an event that is now known as, the weeping time.

Pierce’s financial situation was saved by this ‘sale,’ yet the country hovered on the brink of war. In 1861 the war erupted and Fanny Kemble turned her words, her contacts, and her incredible summation about life and what she’d seen people go through at the hand’s of Butler, into a quest to convince the entire British Empire to change heir minds. They supposedly were about to stand behind the South, which would’ve changed the course of history. Think about it. With the British Navy, machinery, money, and everything else at their disposal – the South would have won and everything you see around you would be no more.

 

Visionaries…saviors that went unrecognized in their time…this is history. This is the thrill and excitement of the ‘unknown’ which can only be found in the magnificent ‘realm’ of St. Simon’s Island.

 

http://www.kingandprince.com/

http://twitter.com/#!/kingandprince

http://www.facebook.com/TheKingandPrince

http://blog.kingandprince.com/

http://www.youtube.com/user/KingandPrince1

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingandprinceresort/

http://www.kingandprince.com/

 

 

The King and Prince Beach & Golf Resort

201 Arnold Road
St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522
(912) 638-3631: Phone

(800) 342-0212: Reservations
(912) 638-7699: Fax

Entertainment

Taraji-P.-Henson-Headshot-Hi-Res.jpg

You Gotta See Taraji!

Taraji P. Henson The “From the Rough”Interview with Kam Williams You Gotta See Taraji! Taraji P. Henson earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress opposite Brad Pitt in David Fincher’s THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON. She is a 2011 Emmy-nominee for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries for Lifetime’s TAKEN FROM ME. Taraji also starred as Detective Joss Carter in the highly-rated CBS crime drama PERSON OF … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

51c60eapJpL.jpg

The Triple Package

The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld The Penguin Press Hardcover, $27.95 332 pages ISBN: 978-1-59420-546-0   Book Review by Kam Williams   “Despite America’s ideas about equality, some groups in this country do better than others. Mormons have recently risen to astonishing business success. Cubans in Miami climbed … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

unnamed.jpg

Walk on White, Thursday March 20th 2014

  For our March Walk on White, we will be feauring works by Elizabeth Devries, Coco Eriksen, Helen Harrison, Vera Vasek, and more of your favorite Harrison Gallery artists. Like us on … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

The Donation of Virginia’s Natural Bridge Named

  The Donation of Virginia’s Natural Bridge Named The Land Report’s 2013 Deal of the Year   The Donation of One of the Seven Wonders of the New World Takes Top Honors asThe Land Report 2013 Deal of the Year. In 1774, two years before he penned the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson purchased Virginia’s Natural Bridge from King George III. Jefferson’s goal? To ensure public access to the natural wonder he described as … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Fruit-Vegeplate.aspx_.jpeg

Happy Hour With Vegetables

Happy Hour With Vegetables ~ Richard Hudson  When switching to a diet largely composed of fruits and vegetables that is also elevated in protein and fiber, you need to begin by thinking about a substantially increased emphasis on fruits and vegetables. Breakfast is one place to get some fruit. You can have it with oatmeal or another grain cereal or in a dish as a side with a poached egg on toast, but more preferably over lightly steamed … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Husky_boenisch_2005.jpg

MUSH!

MUSH! ~ Amy Lignor My mammoth, beloved dog always reminds me that ‘dog’ spelled backwards is ‘god’. (No matter how snooty your cat may act, they must also deal with the fact that ‘tac’ is not nearly as powerful). Even after all this time dog power is utilized by hunters, campers, backpackers, hikers and plain, old people who want and need the security, protection and love of the family friend. Dogs hit on all cylinders in life and sports, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

220px-Carterboxing1-2.jpg

A Boxer Proves the Art of Forgiveness Should be Rediscovered

A Boxer Proves the Art of Forgiveness Should be Rediscovered in the U.S. ~ Amy Lignor Rubin “Hurricane” Carter: that was his name. Being a middleweight boxer was his game. But the headlines this morning are not speaking as much about his boxing career as they are the murder convictions that kept him in prison for almost twenty years.   To get it out of the way…it was in 1966, that police arrested Carter and his friend for a … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Eye_iris600.jpg

Social Media Benefits…Eye Doctors

Social Media Benefits…Eye Doctors  ~ James Moore If reading this article now, you have just seen another social media benefit: Humor is a great way for your content to bring in your target audience and help build your brand.   However, even though slightly sarcastic, the 21st Century generation is most definitely looking at everything from eyeglasses and contacts to massage therapy and chiropractors down the road. In other words, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

LION-CHALK-ART-2.jpg

The Lion

  Ever consider sticking your head inside a ferocious lion’s mouth?   Under normal circumstances, probably not one of your top priorities, but remember seeing the circus lions for the first time?  Eyes wide with astonishment as the tamer opened the mouth of the King and gallantly stuck his head in, then safely back out happily bowing at the crowd… “TA-DA”! Amazing exotic animal performances, hilarious clown-age, flying trapeze artists, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

images.jpeg

The Greenest Day of the Year

The Greenest Day of the Year ~ Samantha Lewis The greenest celebration of our world: Earth Day, is here! Easter is now over, and there are many people who spoke about how green they made their holiday. Many dyed their Easter eggs naturally by boiling them in water, vinegar, and natural dyes. There were ‘menus’ regarding how to turn those eggs red by utilizing beets, as well as how to create a lovely purple shade by using that all-natural grape … [Read More its Good for You...]