Remains of Sunbury Plantation

The grand two-story plantation home of Mr. & Mrs. Allen Stevens once stood at this site on the Medway River. All that remain are a few outbuildings. I’m not sure when the house was built.  I got the impression from the present owner, Allen Fillingame, that the site was never a working plantation in the historic sense and wasn’t even built until the late 1950s.

Meredith Belford writes: This was owned by my grandfather John Porter Stevens’ brother Allen to whom he had given money to purchase the property as a straw buyer. Allen refused to sign the property over and decided to keep it. According to my mother and her best friend who were there, the brothers had a brawl over the deal at the property on December 7, 1941. Obviously, other events that day overshadowed the brothers’ altercation.

My understanding of the property’s history is that it contained the site of the main square in colonial Sunbury at the head of the Sunbury Road. As the town declined in the 19th and early 20th centuries, many of the town lots were consolidated resulting in a larger tract including the home site you are discussing and the area known as The Pointe.

It was separated from the Screven family’s Seabrook Plantation by a few other parcels. Seabrook Plantation included the area around the boat ramp all the way south along Dickinson Creek to Springfield and Palmyra Plantations (owned by the Stevens, Baker, and Maxwell interrelated families since the 1750s). Seabrook was subdivided into 7 parcels in the 1800s by Screven descendants. The northernmost parcel—running from Marshview Drive to around the boat ramp—was sold and subdivided prior to 1930. My grandfather purchased the other 6 contiguous parcels in 1930. These are now under permanent conservation easement.

The entrance was quite elaborate, among the most ornamental on the coast. The two enclosed terraces were once filled with oleander, surely a fantastic site when they were in full bloom. The view of the river hearkens to a time of much grander properties, more akin to those on the Mississippi River than the Georgia coast. The house burned at some point, many years ago, and these outbuildings are all that remain.

Garage
Ostrich Barn/Kennel
Storage Barn
Guest House
Cold War Fallout Shelter

I understand (as of 2021) that the site has been completely cleared of the remaining structures.

14 thoughts on “Remains of Sunbury Plantation

  1. Bridget

    My husband’s Aunt Gertrude was married to Uncle Allen and he spent time there when he was young. He said it was beautiful place.

    Reply
  2. Deb Nahikian

    I have always been intrigued by this property. Do you have more information about what was on the property before the current remains of the house that burned? What is the story behind the abandoned boat and the sunken barge? The property is beautiful and I wondered why the owners never tried to rebuild.

    Reply
  3. Renee

    My boss grew up in Liberty County. I asked about this property, and he told me that he and a friend used to play there as children. He said the kennels were actually ostrich pens, and also said this was the first house in Liberty County with an elevator. Thanks for sharing a link to the photo of the original property!

    Reply
      1. Brittany

        Beautiful photos! I went down into the bomb shelter. Here’s a link to a video for those interested in the contents of the shelter. It has water, electric, a table and shelving. Very solid still!

        httpss://youtu.be/AX2fJgFJgQg

  4. Neil

    I feel so fortunate to have found your site. Am so enjoying all of your posts. Is this site available for discreet viewing? Magnificent view of the river. “Stevens” – could this have any connection to Laura Stevens Devendorf who owns an extensive (nearby?) plantation/ track of land? Thanks, Neil Robinson Date: Sun, 10 Jan 2016 16:31:25 +0000 To: hlandsneil@msn.com

    Reply
    1. Meredith Belford

      This was owned by my grandfather John Porter Stevens’ brother Allen to whom he had given money to purchase the property as a straw buyer. Allen refused to sign the property over and decided to keep it. According to my mother and her best friend who were there, the brothers had a brawl over the deal at the property on December 7, 1941. Obviously, other events that day overshadowed the brothers’ altercation.

      My understanding of the property’s history is that it contained the site of the main square in colonial Sunbury at the head of the Sunbury Road. As the town declined in the 19th and early 20th centuries, many of the town lots were consolidated resulting in a larger tract including the home site you are discussing and the area known as The Pointe.

      It was separated from the Screven family’s Seabrook Plantation by a few other parcels. Seabrook Plantation included the area around the boat ramp all the way south along Dickinson Creek to Springfield and Palmyra Plantations (owned by the Stevens, Baker, and Maxwell interrelated families since the 1750s). Seabrook was subdivided into 7 parcels in the 1800s by Screven descendants. The northernmost parcel—running from Marshview Drive to around the boat ramp—was sold and subdivided prior to 1930. My grandfather purchased the other 6 contiguous parcels in 1930. These are now under permanent conservation easement.

      Reply

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