Hog Hammock, Sapelo Island

Hog Hammock is the last intact Geechee/Gullah community in Georgia. Most of the remaining residents are descendants of African slaves brought to Sapelo Island to work on the plantation of Thomas Spalding. Historically known as Hogg Hummock, it was named for a resident, Sampson Hogg. At one time, there were several communities on the island: Raccoon Bluff, Hanging Bull, Behavior, Chocolate, and Shell Hummock, but when Richard Reynolds acquired the bulk of the island in the 1930s, he consolidated all the residents into Hog Hammock.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of resident and unofficial ambassador Cornelia Walker Bailey, the community has become nationally known. Her bestselling book, God, Dr. Buzzard and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee Talks About Life on Sapelo Island, Georgia (Anchor Press, 2001-available through the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS) or on Amazon) is a fascinating blend of autobiography and cultural history that is a must-read if you plan on visiting the island.

Today, largely through the efforts of Mrs. Bailey and SICARS, the vanishing cultural traditions and folkways are being preserved, but there is the constant threat of encroachment by outsiders. Hog Hammock is one of those places where, rightfully so, visitors are welcome but invaders are not. It is sad to think that as the population of the island dwindles due to death and old age, many properties in Hog Hammock will be sold to outside interests with no concern for this unique history. I applaud Hog Hammock’s citizens for attempting to maintain their social and cultural  heritage in a world often interested in nothing more than commercial and material gain and I hope that Hog Hammock survives far into the future.

If you ever visit you will be amazed at this magical place. It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you come back to the mainland on the Katie Underwood…let me just say that there’s something about Sapelo time that just doesn’t synch up with  the rest of the world!

Hog Hammock Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Sapelo Island can only be reached by ferry or plane. And I’m not sure about the second option. The ferry leaves the Meridian dock at least twice every day except major holidays and advance reservations are suggested, if not required. Access to the island is quite limited, but it’s worth the trouble! But if you go, please be mindful that while the residents are welcoming of tourists who appreciate their culture, they’re not a sideshow or a museum exhibit. This is their home and way of life, so please be respectful of that fact.



Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Hog Hammock GA, Sapelo Island GA

3 responses to “Hog Hammock, Sapelo Island

  1. Dyanne Hood

    Why are we allowing such a historic place, Hog Hammock, to “vanish” when it is on the National Historic Register?

  2. L. Davis

    Dyanne:I don’t see a petition here but let this serve as my signature if possible. I rarely go on facebook anymore because I just don’t have time. However I’m happy to support this effort.

  3. R. Bailey

    When you are living on social security, don’t have a good job, or can’t pay your property taxes, the proceeds of selling a piece of land can help a lot. Some descendants who have never lived in Hog Hammock don’t have a strong connection to the land and prefer to sell. Outsiders are the people who buy it. Good jobs on the island would help people retain their land.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s