Sunday, November 2, 2014

Can you view a Plantation Home in Florida?

The South's Rice Plantations are evident in the Carolina Low Country and the Cotton Plantations were abundant in Georgia and Mississippi.  There were Sugar Plantations from Maryland to Georgia typically 500 to 1000 acres in size.  So what kind of Plantation can we still visit in Florida?  It's the Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville's Fort George Island which grew Cotton and Indigo with a colorful story filled past and a  viewable present.  

According to most accounts Zephaniah Kingsley was a nineteenth century slave trader of Scottish descent who married a very young (13 year old) African Princess. She herself became the trainer of most of their help over the years. The controversy was over the will which left most of his funds to his Black wife.  She left for the Island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic).  According to some accounts she fought for her inheritance and his prejudiced family relatives and after a long battle won, she returned to Jacksonville to live out her days as the wealthiest Black Woman in America at the time.  Some believe she still haunts the premises and seances have been held there, I'm told.   

Archaeological Digs with the help of the University of Florida team has uncovered the Slaves who died on the grounds so at least now people can acknowledge the site and remember who and where they were.

"The approach to the plantation is as interesting as the site itself :  the last portion on unpaid road under canyons of gnarled oak branches graced by gently weaving Spanish moss. The road passes the highest point of coastal land south of New Jersey, past the Fort George Golf Club, past the point where French Huguenot pioneers offered the first Protestant prayer in the new world in May, 1562"  
from Robert Tolf's Discover Florida

Can you imagine that the entire size of your living quarters was the equivalent of only a Queen Bed today.
These quarters were made of a tabby like coquina rock form and are some of the last remaining samples of this type of quarters anywhere placing them on the National Historic Registar

The view of the back of the Plantation was originally the front and most supplies arrived by boat.