Fort George Island, Duval County
Timucuan Indians inhabited Fort George Island as early as 1,000 years ago, but it is the remains of the Antebellum Kingsley Plantation for which the island is best known. Structures preserved by the National Park Service include the plantation house, kitchen, a barn, and the spectacular ruins of 23 original slave cabins. The plantation house was built by John McQueen during his ownership of the island between 1791 and 1804; other buildings were constructed by Zephaniah Kingsley between 1814 and 1839. During this period, the plantation produced sea-island cotton with slave labor. In 1806, Kingsley married a slave, Anna Madgigine Jai, who was born in Senegal, West Africa. She was freed by Kingsley in 1811 and, when they moved to Fort George Island, she helped Kingsley in the plantation’s management. Archaeologists have been investigating the slave community at Kingsley since pioneering work was conducted there in 1968. These studies have uncovered artifacts that provide a glimpse into the daily life of the African slaves and evidence of strong connections between the slaves and their African heritage, culture, and religion.
Did you know...
- Kingsley Plantation is located on Fort George Island. The plantation house, kitchen, barn, and the ruins of 23 original slave cabins are open for touring and exploration.
- In 2006, archaeologists from the University of Florida found evidence of a chicken sacrifice buried beneath the walls of one of the slave cabins. This find is interpreted as an African-based ritual done to protect the home.
- Nearby are the Fort Caroline National Memorial, the Ribault Monument, and the historic Spanish Pond board walk and nature trail.