Thursday, January 12, 2012—Little Talbot State Park, Jacksonville, FL
Woke up to blue skies and 57 degrees when we left at 9:30.
Drove south along A1A back toward the way we had come from Jacksonville. We stopped at a boat ramp/park area that we had spotted on the way up. It was a bonanza of birds. The pictures of birds included with this entry are just some of the ones we saw. There were lots and lots of fishermen out along the coast fishing from old overpasses and old bridges left over waterways when the new roads were built. It was a pretty drive.
We headed further south to a large National Park: The Timucuan Ecological Historical Preserve (http://www.nps.gov/timu/index.htm
), which is 46,000 acres and displays evidence of over 6000 years of culture. The area was first inhabited by the Timucua Indians, who met the French Huguenots at the mouth of the River of May in 1562. Subsequently, the area was the property of France, Spain, and the UK (changing hands several times), and saw action during the Civil War. There are several different areas to the park, but we primarily visited the Kingsley Plantation and the Ribault
Country Club, which includes the Fort George Island Visitor Center and museum.
The history of the Kingsley Plantation was really fascinating especially as it dealt with the changes in national laws and customs of the various government officials. Being very close to the Georgia border, sometimes having slaves was allowed, and sometimes, as in the case under the British flag, it wasn’t. Kingsley moved with his family from Bristol, England when he was a child to Charleston, SC. Because his parents were loyalists, the family moved to Canada after the Revolutionary War. It seems that as an adult he participated in the slave trade and moved to Florida in 1803 to take advantage of land grants.
Kingsley was a real interesting guy who had several wives both black and white. That was ok under Spanish rule, but when Florida became US, interracial marriage was prohibited. He was afraid his biracial children (whom he acknowledged) would not be able to inherit and that they would be bound back into slavery, so he moved the family to Haiti which was free. He stayed in Florida.
His main wife, Anna Madgigine Jai, was from Senegal, West Africa, and was purchased
by Kingsley as a slave. While Kingsley pursued other gentlemanly activities, like politics and increasing his holdings, she actively participated in plantation management, acquiring her own land and slaves when freed by Kingsley in 1811. She continued managing the slave holdings and plantation efforts in Haiti.
With an enslaved work force of about 60, the FortGeorge plantation produced Sea Island cotton, citrus, sugar cane, and corn. Each slave on the plantation had a quota of production for the day, and when that was finished, they were allowed to use the time for themselves. They lived in an attractive crescent-shaped set of houses made out of tabby (oyster shells in the mortar).
After touring Kingsley Plantation, we drove about a mile to Ribault Country Club, which is the FortGeorgeIslandVisitorCenter and museum and a meeting place. The small museum was very informative and included several displays of artifacts mixed in with information about the geology, ecology, culture, and history (both ancient and modern) about the area. We continue to be amazed about how the wealthy lived and played during the early part of the 20th
We then had a late lunch at a seafood grill back on the
main road. We were somewhat disappointed in the selection of food, but we sat by the windows and watched the pleasure boats, shrimp boats, and the ferries crossing the St. John River. After that, we went back to our campsite at Little Talbot SP.
Friday, January 13, 2012—Little Talbot State Park, Jacksonville, FL to Crooked Creek SP, Georgia
As we headed back into GA near St. Mary's, we got fishing stuff and provisions for the next few days at a Wal-mart in Yulee, FL. We thought maybe we might try some fishing as we have GA fishing lic but not FL. We were told we could spend the night here at that Wal-mart. A quick wifi check at a McD’s and we were back on the road.
Had lunch in Rosie at the GeorgiaWelcomeCenter and drove to Crooked Creek SP just north of St. Mary’s. Because we essentially had to hang out while we waited for the parts to come into the RV repair place in Jacksonville, we decided to lower our costs and move to this GA state park that would be cheaper because of our senior rates. The accommodations were nicer, too, including
12 channels on cable tv. Found a spot looking toward the river and settled in for the night.
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