I lived on Jekyll Island for a couple of years. It is quiet and serene, almost like going back in time to a much simpler life. If you drive north on Riverview Drive, you come to Horton House. The ruins of a home that once stood as a symbol of wealth now stand, preserved in time. Built by Major William Horton, who was second in command under General James Oglethorpe during colonial time, Major Horton cleared the land at the north end of Jekyll and built this structure.
He also cut the first road across Jekyll Island, creating a sandy lane that can still be traveled today.
When the Spaniards invaded southern Georgia, Horton House was one of their targets. In 1742, when the invasion occurred, many structures were burned on both Jekyll and St. Simons Island. Horton House was constructed of tabby which is a mixture of oyster shells, that are burned down to create lime. The lime is mixed with broken shells, sand and water to create a sturdy material for building. The house and barn were burned in the attack, along with other structures, leaving nothing but Tabby Ruins.
The DuBignon family rebuilt Horton House. Sea Island cotton and other crops were grown on the Horton Plantation for decades. In 1886 the property was bought by The Jekyll Island Club and became a part of the playground for the ultra rich and powerful.
The DuBignon graveyard is across Riverview from Horton House. The graves sit peacefully within tabby walls on the edge of the marsh, the epithets still readable, etched in the heavy stone markers.
This past Saturday the 7th annual Horton House Living History Event took place, where participants got a look back in time, a time when Jekyll Island played a huge role in the British survival in Georgia. This annual event gives a glimpse of what life was like for settler’s in colonial Georgia.
Jekyll Island continues to provide a relaxing place to get away, vacation, ride on the extensive bike paths and experience its very important history. For more information on Jekyll Island visit: www.jekyllisland.com.
And at the end of your day, make your way to the wide veranda of the historic Jekyll Island Club Hotel for a soothing mint julep while you watch the sun go down on beautiful coastal Georgia!