Tag Archives: Slavery in Georgia

Mount Nebo Church, Wilkinson County

According to the historical record, Mount Nebo was the first church in Wilkinson County. It was organized in June 1808 by Rev. Charles Culpepper and Rev. John Ross. Constituting members were Samuel Cannon, Sarah Cannon, Benjamin Underwood, Jinney Underwood, Thomas Jackson, John Hardie, Damarius Hardie, William Bland,  Elizabeth Bland, William Lord, Molly Lord, Henry Davis, Nancy Davis, Adah Davis, Margaret Edey, Hopey Etheredge, Ann Shepherd, Jeminah Smith, Cally Etheredge. Elders: Joseph Baker, Stephen Safford and Henry Hooten. The first pastor was Claiborn Baitman. William Bland was the first clerk, Samuel Cannon and Benjamin Underwood, first deacons. The congregation was dissolved in May 1855. Obviously, they reorganized at some point and in the 20th century built this church on the grounds of the historic church.

This detailed list of early members is enlightening, especially in regards to excommunication of members. If you make it through all these names, be sure to see the equally fascinating roster of African-American members.

Known members of Mount Nebo were: Sally Adams, by experience 1811, excommunicated 1814 for pregnancy; Shadrack Adams, by experience 1811, excommunicated 1830; Nancy Allen, by letter 1849, dismissed 1849; John Bales, by recantation 1841; Lydia Bales, by experience 1836, by letter 1841, dismissed 1850; Nancy Bales, by experience 1835, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; James Ballard, by experience 1822, restored 1831, deceased March 1847; Maggy Ballard, deceased in May 1853; Mary Ballard, by letter 1838, deceased May 1850; Catherine Beck, deceased 12th July 1824; Nancy Etheridge Bentley, member in 1852; James Benton, by experience 1822, excommunicated 1837; Maryan Billings, by experience 1838, dismissed 1839, restored 1841; Elizabeth Bland, dismissed 1824; William Bland,  excommunicated 1815 for dispute with Clark and Thomas Jackson, reinstated 1815, excommunication 1824 for “taking up hoggs that wasn’t his”, recanted and restored 1824; Hetty Bloodworth, by experience 1835, dismissed 1840; Miles M. Bloodworth, by experience 1843, deacon Susannah Bloodworth, by experience 1850, dismissed 1855; William Bloodworth, Sr., former church in Phillips, South Carolina, by faith and experience 1838, dismissed 1849; Sally Bozman, by experience 1812, dismissed 1821; Magey Brady, by experience 1809; Margery Brady, by letter 1813; Mary Brady, dismissed 1821; Adam Branan, by experience 1832, deceased 3rd Sep 1834; Esther Branan, by experience 1826, dismissed by letter 1849; Harris Branan, by experience 1832, deacon, dismissed 1849; Sarah Branan, by experience 1819, dismissed 1849; James Branan, by experience 1819, deacon, dismissed 1849; Jane Brown, by letter 1829, wife of John Brown, dismissed 1829; John Brown, by letter 1810, excommunicated for intoxication 1823; John Brown, by letter 1829, dismissed 1829; Tabitha Brown, by letter 1810, dismissed 1825; Mary Butler, by confession of faith 1850, dismissed 1855; Netty Branan, by experience 1836; Vilettie Butler, dismissed 1818; Samuel Cannon, a licensed preacher, dismissed 1820; Sarah Cannon, dismissed 1820; Nancy Cato, by experience 1836; Rebecca Cato, by letter 1820, deceased Dec. 1846; Judah Clay, by letter 1826, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; Lewis Clay, by experience 1828, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; John Clemmons, excommunicated 1815 for trouble between him and his wife, charging each other with falsehoods; Polly Clemmons, excommunicated 1815 for trouble between her and her husband, charging each other with falsehoods, restored 1816, dismissed 1818; Joseph Clyett, by experience 1811, excommunicated 1813 for the sin of lying; Nancy Clyett, by letter 1811, excommunicated 1813 for the sin of lying publicly, restored 1814, deceased 22 Aug 1818; Maryjan Cook, by letter 1810; Rebeckah Copeland, dismissed 1813; Anna Criswell, by experience 1837; Whitmel Criswell, by experience 1838; Pelitha Culpepper, dismissed 1812;

Adah Davis, deceased 20th Feb 1827; Underhill E. Davis, by letter 1828, dismissed 1834; Wiley Davis, by letter 1828, dismissed 1829; Martha Deason, by experience 1841, dismissed 1845; Elizabeth Dickson, by letter 1817, dismissed 1824; Sally Dickson, excommunicated 1815 for dancing, restored 1815, dismissed 1817; Mary Dismuke, by letter 1836, excommunicated 1846 for attending church at Liberty; Sarah Doke, by experience 1834, dismissed 1844, excommunicated 1846 for “leaving us and being under the witchcraft of Liberty”; Asa Downing, by letter 1830, dismissed 1833, excommunicated 1836 for ill language, restored; Hannah Downing, by letter 1817, deceased 26th May 1820; Nancy Dupree (1849) Joab Durham, by experience 1814, dismissed 1817; John Eady Sr., excommunicated in 1816 for threatening to “chiver brother John Hardies brains out and sticking at him with an unlawful weapon.”; Margaret Edey, deceased 1835; Lydia English, by experience 1812, deceased in 1812; Sally English, by experience 1812, excommunicated 1814 for going with and being “to” familiar with the soldiers; Elizabeth Etheridge, by experience 1811, excommunicated 1811 for taking spun cotton from William Finney’s house; Cally Ethridge, deceased 2nd Feb 1826, aged 67 years; Fanny Ethridge, by experience 1849, dismissed 1850; Hopey Ethridge, dismissed 1852, has been a member since the first meeting in June 1808; Jos Ethridge, by experience 1845, dismissed 1850; Merrit Ethridge, by experience 1814, clerk and deacon, excommunicated 1837 for fathering a child with Eliza Shinholster, restored 1847; Milly Ethridge, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; Nancy Etheridge, by experience 1847, excommunicated 1853; Nicey Etheridge, by experience 1838, dismissed 1855; Wiley Etheridge, by experience 1843, deacon; Rebecca Fairchild, by experience 1811, dismissed 1816; Nancy Fleetwood, by experience 1846, dismissed 1850; Ann Garrett, by letter 1821, deceased 20 July 1822; Anna Garrett, dismissed 1820; Elizabeth Garrett, by letter 1811; John Garrett, by experience 1811; Peggy Gay, by letter 1818, dismissed 1818; John Gilmore, by letter 1809, dismissed 1818; Ruth Golden, by letter 1828, dismissed 1829; William Golden, by experience 1827, dismissed 1829; Charity Gray, wife of Thomas Gray, dismissed 1813; Rebecca Gray,  by letter 1813, dismissed 1817; Thomas Gray, Jr., dismissed 1817; Thomas Gray, Sr., by letter 1813 Maryan Gross, dismissed 1818; Elizabeth Hancock, by experience 1819, dismissed 1822; Mary Hancock, deceased 28th May 1817; Nancy Hancock, dismissed 1816; Damaris Hardie, dismissed 1818; John Hardie, deacon, dismissed 1818; McClendon Harry, by experience 1810; James Hatcher, by experience 1835, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; John Hatcher, Sr., by letter 1810, deceased 20th April 1835; John Hatcher, excommunicated in Aug 1815 for striking Robert Jackson, restored Oct. 1815; Mary Hatcher, by letter 1810; Mary Hatcher Jr., by experience 1834, deceased 25th Nov. 1835; Peggy Hatcher, by experience 1824, dismissed 1824; Rebekah Hill, deceased in Oct 1814; Archibald Hooks, by letter 1841, dismissed 1849; Tabitha Hooks, wife of Archibald, by letter 1841, dismissed 1850; Martha Hoover, by letter 1836, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; Nancy Howard, by experience 1812; Patey Howell, by experience 1813; Pheby Howell, by letter 1815;

Amos King, by experience 1825, dismissed 1826; Benajah King, dismissed 1822; Nancy King, deceased 25th Aug 1820; Stacy King, by letter 1823, dismissed 1822; Elisha Knight, by letter 1831, dismissed 1832; Rachell Knight, by letter 1831, wife of Elisha, dismissed 1832; Abner Jackson, by experience 1810, dismissed 1816; Clark Jackson, excommunicated 1815 for dispute with William Bland, restored 1816, dismissed 1816; Elizabeth Jackson, by experience 1811, dismissed 1816 and 1822; Sarah Jackson, by experience 1810; Susannah Jackson, by letter 1821, deceased 30th July 1824; Susannah Jackson, Jr., dismissed 1816; Thomas Jackson, excommunicated 1815 for “drinking too much spirits” and dispute with Wm Bland, restored 1815, dismissed 1817; Mariah Jones, by experience 1849; Nancy Johns, by experience 1839, dismissed 1846; Adam Jones (1828); Gabriel Jones, member in 1841; Lewey Jones; Lucy Jones, excommunicated 1837; Mariah Jones, by experience 1849, dismissed 1855; Gilly Lancaster, by experience 1816, dismissed 1824; Elias Leggett, by letter 1812, licensed preacher, dismissed 1815; Sarah Lewis, transient member 1811, deceased in 1813; Benjamin Logan, by letter 1813; Mary Lord, dismissed 1849; Molly Lord, dismissed 1828; Thomas Lord, by experience 1812, dismissed 1818; William Lord, Jr., dismissed 1818; William Lord, Sr.,  by experience 1810, excommunicated 1814, restored 1815, deceased 30th Aug 1825; Rebeckah Lowe, dismissed 1811;

Deliah Marchant, by experience 1849, dismissed 1849; Milly Mackey, by letter 1810; William Mackey, Sr., by letter 1810, excommunicated 1814 for falsehoods; Rebeckah Mackey, by letter 1810,  deceased 8th Sept. 1827; Dorcas Matthews, by letter 1809; James Matthews, dismissed 1812; Presley Matthews, dismissed 1812; Rebeckah Matthews, by letter 1809; William Matthews, by experience 1810; Ely Mayo, by letter 1828, dismissed 1831; Elizabeth Mayo, by letter, 1817, dismissed 1822; Joseph Mayo, by experience 1823, dismissed 1826; Sarah Mayo, Mariah Mayo, by letter 1828, dismissed 1831; Sarah Mayo, excommunicated 1814, restored 1822; Susannah Mayo, by letter 1822, deceased 1826; Winnie McCook, by experience 1835; Mary McConnell by experience 1818, dismissed 1822, deceased 1826; Charles Mercer, by experience 1811; Delila Merchant, by experience 1849, dismissed 1849; Elizabeth Meshawn, by letter 1828, dismissed 1830; Bethiah Milligan, by letter 1814,  dismissed 1819; Mary Milligan, dismissed 1813; Robert Milligan, dismissed 1813; Sarah Minter, by experience 1839, deceased June 1841; Polly Nelson, by experience 1828, deceased 11th Sept. 1830; Wright Nelson, by experience 1838, excommunicated 1838 for going to Liberty Church; Alexander Nesbit, by experience 1837; Barsheba Nunn, by letter 1817, dismissed 1821; Edy Ogburn, dismissed 1822; Mary Pace, by letter 1843, dismissed 1843; Polly Pace, by experience 1819, dismissed 1824; Drucilla Pace, by letter 1809, excommunicated 1818 for slandering Sarah Passmore – she said Sarah bewitched her, restored 1819, deceased 29th Sep 1821; William Pace, by letter 1809, dismissed 1822; Hannah Parker, by experience 1829, deceased Jan 5, 1845; Martha Parker, by experience 1841, excommunicated 1848 for attending Liberty Church; Alexander Passmore, clerk,  by experience 1824, dismissed 1827, restored 1830; Fereby Passmore, by experience 1846, dismissed 1855; Patey Passmore, by experience 1824, deceased 20th May 1826; Polly Passmore, dismissed 1824; Sarah Passmore, by experience 1810, dismissed 1812 and 1819; John Paulk, by experience 1812, dismissed 1820; Martin G. Phillips, by experience 1834, dismissed 1839; Saryan Maryan Phillips, wife of Martin by experience 1836, dismissed 1839, returned by letter 1841, dismissed 1849; John R. Rains, dismissed 1849; Sintha Pugh, by letter from Buckhead Church, 1809, dismissed 1821;

John Ross, by letter  1809; Marnett Ross, by experience 1811; Polly Ross, by letter, 1809; wife of John James Rustin, by letter 1814; Elizabeth Rustin, by experience 1818, dismissed 1818; John Rustin, dismissed 1815; Lewisa Rustin, dismissed 1818; Rachel Rustin, by letter 1814, deceased 5th Jan 1815; John Ryan, by letter 1818, dismissed 1818; Joshua Ryle, by experience 1818, dismissed 1824; Elizabeth Sanders, by experience 1817, dismissed 1823; Peggy Maryan Sanders, by experience 1835, dismissed 1838; Henry Sanders, by letter 1819, dismissed 1823; Malachi Sanders, by letter 1818, cited and restored in 1827 for taking too much spirits and betting and wanting to horse race, dismissed 1830; Ann Shepherd, dismissed 1816; Mary Shepherd, by experience 1812, dismissed 1820; Sarah Shepherd, by experience 1815, excommunicated 1818 for leaving her husband; Wiley Shepherd, licensed preacher, dismissed 1817; James Sherer; Elizabeth Smith, by experience 1833; Jasper Smith, by experience 1839, excommunicated 1840; Jemimah Smith, by letter 1810; Elizabeth Smith, by experience 1818, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church, restored 1845, dismissed 1845; John Smith; Lewis Smith, by experience 1832, excommunicated 1837 for being dissatisfied with the church; Milly Smith, by experience 1833, dismissed 1837; Jeminah Snow, by experience 1817, deceased 6th Dec. 1826; Ann Starley, by experience 1818, dismissed 1842; John Starley, dismissed 1849; Moses Swearingham, by letter 1810; John Taliaferro, by letter 1816, deceased 7th April 1821; Lydia Taliaferro, by letter 1817, dismissed 1821; Tabitha Taylor, by experience 1812; Elizabeth Temples, by experience 1835, dismissed 1850; Benjamin Underwood, deacon, resigned, dismissed 1820; Elizabeth Underwood, by letter 1811, dismissed 1855; Jinney Underwood, dismissed 1818; Sally Underwood,  dismissed 1820; Sarah Underwood, dismissed 1814; Thomas Underwood, by letter 1811, deceased 7th June 1850; William Underwood, by experience 1811, deacon, dismissed 1820; Thomas Van, by letter 1847, deacon; Elizabeth Ward, by experience 1812, dismissed 1826; Sarah Ward, by letter, 1810, dismissed 1818; James Ware, by letter 1821; Margaret Watson, by experience 1817, dismissed 1822; Frances Webb, by experience 1811; Sarah Weaver, by experience 1835, deceased 21st May 1838; Demarius Wheeler, by experience 1846 dismissed 1852; Mary Wilkinson, by experience 1814, dismissed 1816; Hezekiah Williams, by experience 1810, excommunicated 1811 for the sin of drunkenness; Patey Williams; Polly Williams, by letter 1812, dismissed 1818; Rachel Williams, by letter, 1811, deceased 15th Dec. 1837; Sally  Williams, by letter 1819, dismissed 1820; Samuel Williams, by experience 1818, dismissed 1818; William Williams, by letter 1833, excommunicated 1833 for “cursing and swearing”; Polly  Winderweedle, by experience 1811; Susannah Wood, by experience 1811.

A rare accounting of Black members of the church also survives: Abraham, licensed preacher, dismissed 1812; Sarry, dismissed 1814; Dick, by experience, slave of John Clemmons, excommunicated 1814 for lying; Dick, by experience 1851, dismissed 1855; Joe, Sen., slave of Bond, dismissed 1836; Edy, by experience 1813,dismissed 1814 for lying, slave of John Clemmons; Annica, excommunicated 1816; Phepy, by experience 1814, dismissed 1818, slave of Robert Jackson Hoy, by letter 1816, excommunicated 1817; Betty, by information of Dr. Jones, dismissed by remission; Sue, by letter 1817, excommunicated 1846; Peter, by experience 1817, dismissed 1819; Joe Jr., by experience 1820, slave of Lewis Bond, dismissed 1836; Lucy, by experience 1823, excommunicated 1834; Ceth, by experience 1823, deceased 12 March 1834; Jim, by experience 1826, dismissed 1830; Teeny, by experience 1826, excommunicated 1846; slave of Lewis Bond, not accounted for; Prugh, by experience 1826, slave of Lewis Bond, dismissed 1840; Sarah, by experience 1827, slave of Lewis Bond Ann, by experience 1828; Sary, by experience 1828, dismissed 1855; Hank, by experience 1829; Jim, by experience, 1834, a slave of Lewis Bond; Lucy, excommunicated 1846, slave of Lewis Bond,  not accounted for; Keziah, by experience 1834, a slave of Lewis Bond, dismissed 1836; Albert, by experience 1834, slave of James Branan, dismissed 1837; Betty, by experience 1836, slave of John Edy Lettis, by experience 1837, excommunicated 1845 for having a “white child”; Letty, by experience 1839, dismissed 1840; Ammy, by experience 1840, dismissed 1847; Nancy, by experience 1840, slave of John Eady, dismissed 1850; Mary, by experience 1840, slave of John Eady; Carrie, by experience 1840, slave of John Eady; July, by experience 1840; Sam B, by experience 1840, dismissed 1840 Sam Edy, by experience 1840, deceased 1849; Hester, by experience 1841, slave of John Eady; Kestin, by experience 1838, dismissed 1846; Carrie, by experience 1841, slave of James Ballard Simon, by experience, 1841; Hanneth, by experience 1844, slave of Passmore, dismissed 1855; Hannah, by experience 1841, slave of James Ballard, dismissed 1855; Amy, by experience 1849?, dismissed 1855; Peggs, by experience 1846, dismissed 1855; Jack, by experience 1848, dismissed 1855.


Kilkenny Creek, Bryan County

This small tidal creek [sometimes cited as the Kilkenny River] gets its name from Kilkenny Plantation, which was built along its banks in the 1840s. It’s located to the west of Ossabaw Island.

Cay Creek, Liberty County

Cay Creek is a tidal waterway in eastern Liberty County, originating near Midway and meeting the coast near Harris Neck. Originally known as Salter’s Creek, it was renamed Cay Creek for Raymond Cay, Sr. (1805-1883), who owned a plantation near the present-day Cay Creek Wetlands Interpretive Center. The relatively short waterway features an amazing variety of ecosystems, including upland forest, open wetland, tidal swamp, brackish marsh, and finally tidal creek.

Bacon-Fraser House, 1839, Hinesville

Hinesville was established in 1837 to replace Riceboro as the seat of Liberty County. Just two years later, on what was then a 23-acre tract, this Federally-influenced Plantation Plain townhouse was built by Mary Jane Hazzard Bacon, the widow of Major John Bacon of Riceboro.

The property was occupied by Union troops under the command of General William T. Sherman in 1864 and several outbuildings were burned. The house was saved by Mrs. Bacon, who displayed her husband’s Masonic apron for protection. Many more generations of the family owned the home until 2017, when it became the headquarters of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and the Liberty County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The beautifully landscaped yard is dominated by historic Live Oaks, some of the largest to be found in inland Liberty County.

National Register of Historic Places

Old St. Maryland Baptist Church, Leary

Saint Maryland Missionary Baptist Church is one of the oldest and most historic African-American congregation in Calhoun County, dating to the time of slavery. This structure, likely built in the early 20th century, was replaced by a more modern facility next door in the late 1970s. Member Shirley Barnes suggests that the congregation would like to restore the old church building and is open to suggestions.

I am not sure how it got its interesting name, but perhaps it was a nod to the importance of Maryland in the Underground Railroad. That’s just a guess.

According to their website: This church was organized by black citizens in 1857.  The White citizens of Leary and Morgan came together and granted the Black citizens permission to hold meetings in the old building across the yard from our present building.  The Blacks held services on the second Sunday in each month and the Whites held service on the first Sunday. They also assisted in the appointing of our first pastor in 1857.  His name was Min. Verge Pittman.  The second pastor was Min. H. E. McKinley.  We do not know how long they served.

George Linder House, Dublin

George Linder, while enslaved on the Cooper Plantation in 1859, established Strawberry Chapel, the oldest African-American congregation in Laurens County. A preacher and farmer, he was one of the Original 33 black legislators elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1868 and subsequently expelled from the body. Though they were reinstated in 1870, the rise of the Klan and white supremacy helped ensure the end of black politicians in Georgia until the 1960s. Nearly a quarter of the Original 33 were lynched, beaten, maimed, or jailed.

Reverend Linder owned this house in town in his later years. He is largely forgotten today but an effort to publicize the Original 33 will hopefully bring him and his fellow legislators to their rightful place in Georgia history.

Thanks to Cynthia Jennings, who is volunteering with the the Original 33 project, for bringing him to my attention and sharing this location.

Girl Scout First Headquarters, Savannah

The Andrew Low Carriage House*, at 330 Drayton Street, was the site of the first meeting of the troop of eighteen Girl Guides who would soon come to be known as the Girl Scouts. Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon was born into an influential Savannah family on 31 October 1860. Her grandfather was the first president of the Central Railroad and Banking Company of Georgia, and her father, William Washington Gordon II, was a Confederate captain, brigadier-general in the Spanish-American War, and a Georgia legislator. She attended boarding schools in New Jersey and Virginia, and a French finishing school in New York City.

After completing her education, Juliette married William Mackay Low in 1886. Low was the son of Andrew Low, a wealthy cotton factor of Scottish origin who owned homes in Savannah and the United Kingdom. The young couple spent most of their time in England and Scotland. The union turned sour when Juliette discovered that William had moved his mistress into their home. In 1902 she filed for divorce, but William’s health was deteriorating and before the action could be finalized, he died in Wales, in 1905.

In 1911, Juliette Gordon Low met Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and got involved with a troop of Girl Guides in Scotland. She brought the movement to Savannah and the first troop of eighteen Girl Guides met in the carriage house of the Low family mansion on 12 March 1912. The name was changed to the Girl Scouts in 1913. Low’s association with the Girl Scouts continued in various capacities until her death in 1927. The organization has served over 50 million girls in its long history and while it may be best known for its annual cookie sales, has enriched the lives of those who have been associated with it.

The carriage house has served various purposes within the Girl Scouts organization over the years and is presently a museum. It was the first structure in Savannah to receive National Historic Landmark status.

*-Designed by architect John Norris to complement the adjacent Andrew Low House, circa 1848-1849, this structure originally served as the carriage house and living quarters for domestic slaves. Thomas “Tom” Milledge (1818-1886) was the most entrusted of the domestic slaves and after emancipation, remained in the employee of the Low family as a butler. He lived in the carriage house with his wife Mosianna (1844-1909) and their children.

Juliette Gordon Low Historic District, Savannah National Historic Landmark District

Boswell Tenant House, Putnam County

This double-pen tenant house is located adjacent to the historic Tompkins Inn. [This photograph dates to 2015, so I’m unsure as to the status of the house at this time]. It was included in the National Register of Historic Places nomination of the property in 1978 and described as a servant or drivers’ dwelling, dated to the early 1800s. The context of the term servant would imply slave if the structure was built before 1865, but that is not made clear, and therefore, I think it probably dates to the decade after the Civil War. The survival rate for wood frame slave dwellings is very low. A small family cemetery on the property is believed to include slave burials, though, so they did have a presence here.

I’m identifying it by the owner of the property at that time, which was most likely Emiline Boswell. Emiline was the second wife of Josias Boswell, who acquired the property upon the death of his first wife, Sarah Tompkins Boswell. Josias lost the property to A. R. Zachary due to debt, in 1862, but it was purchased by Emiline Boswell in 1874. She owned it until her death in 1910.

National Register of Historic Places

Creighton Island, Georgia

The tiny sliver of land visible on the horizon in this image is Creighton Island, a wonderfully obscure place on the McIntosh County coast.

The abridged sketch which follows, archived from an older website, was written by Jeannine Cook and details the island’s fascinating history.

Creighton Island is a privately-owned, inner barrier island in McIntosh County… It was formed by aeons of rising and falling ocean levels combined with ever-changing deposits of sand ridges.  The roughly 1,100 acres of high ground on Creighton date mainly from the Pleistocene era (40,000 B.C.), but are still being shaped afresh by wind, waves, tides and storms.  Today, the island is roughly 2 1/2 miles long and a mile wide.

Creighton bears testimony to human activities during at least the last 3,500-4000 years.  Archaeologist Clarence B. Moore uncovered important funerary materials – urns, stone and copper chisels, hatchets…- on Creighton’s north end in 1896-97.  It is said that the Guale Indians considered the north end of the Island as a very sacred burial ground.  Later, it is possible that the first European colony on the eastern seaboard of North America, San Miguel de Gualdape, took brief root on Creighton in 1526 when Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon tried to establish 600 Spanish and African settlers on this coast.  By 1756, Daniel Demetre had acquired “John Smith’s Island”, as Creighton was then designated. In the 1770s, William DeBrahm, Surveyor General to King George III, noted the existence of unexplainable entrenchments and ruins on the Island.  The mysteries DeBrahm created about Creighton have lingered to this day.

The Island acquired its present name from its 1778 owner, Alexander Creighton, a Savannah businessman.  Timbering and farming (especially cotton, sugar cane and corn) were important activities, despite occasional devastating hurricanes…Thomas Spalding worked with his son-in-law, William Cooke, owner of Creighton after 1838, and during that period, tabby dwellings were built at the north end.  Their vestiges remain today.  Freed slaves, based at the north end, remained on the Island after the Civil War.  The north end was also a focus of important timber-loading facilities for large ships at the “Sapelo port” in 1880-98, complete with US post office and telegraph lines connecting Creighton to Darien. The 1898 hurricane destroyed these port facilities; they were rebuilt but by 1910, the timber boom era in McIntosh County had finally ended.  In 1947, Creighton Island was acquired by the present owners…

…The Island’s long, diverse history combines with great natural beauty to represent a unique microcosm of Georgia’s coast.  Today’s owners deeply respect the environmental importance of their island sanctuary…

Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm, Jackson County

This property was originally settled by Joseph Shields and sons James and Patrick in 1802.

Date Plate from Restoration of Main House [1914]

With two slaves, they cleared and cultivated the land.

Log Cabin

When Joseph died in 1818, he willed the land to his son, James and by 1860, 20 enslaved people worked the land.

Commissary [1900]

James died in 1863 and in 1865 his widow, Charity, signed a contract with three of her former slaves, providing them housing and food in exchange for their work on the farm.

Blacksmith’s Shop & Carpenter’s Shop [1900]

When James and Charity’s son, Joseph Robert Shields, returned home from the Civil War in 1866, he built the main house and soon applied the sharecropping system to the entire farm, managing many of his former slaves alongside poor white farmers.

Tractor Barn

By 1890, the farm had grown to 1000 acres.


In 1897, Joseph Robert’s daughter Susan Ella returned to the farm with her husband Ira Washington Ethridge.

Cotton Gin [1910]

Joseph Robert Shields died in 1910 and Susan Ella and Ira inherited the house and surrounding property.

Gin Office [1930]

To hedge his bets against increasingly unstable cotton prices, Ira Ethridge built a self-sustaining sharecropper’s “village” near the main house.

Gin Office Interior

In 1914, “Mr. Ira” transformed the main house from its historical Plantation Plain appearance to it present Neoclassical appearance by adding columns and raising the porch.


The structures seen today were built between 1900-1930. Most of the sharecropper housing is gone today, but a few scattered examples survive.

Seed House

When Ira died in 1945, his son Lanis understood that the farm would soon be changed by mechanization.

Teacher’s House

He diversified and in the early 1950s began breeding cattle and slowly expanding pastureland on his acreage.

Well House [Reconstruction]

At his death in 1970, the sharecropper’s village was long abandoned.

Water Tower [1913]

His widow, Joyce Ethridge, began documenting the history of the farm.

Corn Crib

In 1994 she and daughters Susan E. Chaisson and Ann E. Lacey gave 150 acres of the farm to the Shields-Ethridge Farm Foundation to preserve the site as an agricultural museum.

Shields-Ethridge Family Cemetery

Joyce’s research also led to the listing of the property on the National Register of Historic Places.

Milking Barn

The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm is the most intact collection of historic farm structures in their original location in Georgia.

Mule Barn [1913]

It is truly awe-inspiring and worth a visit.


As someone who has spent years seeking out structures like these, I can’t tell you how important this place is.

Wheat Barn [1910]

You must see it for yourself.

Tenant House

National Register of Historic Places + Georgia Centennial Farm

Note- This replaces a post originally published on 11 July 2021, necessitated by formatting issues.