Ruins of William Carnochan’s Rum Distillery, Circa 1800, Tolomato Island

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Roof Beam Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

One of Coastal Georgia’s most important yet little-known landmarks is located just outside Darien off Georgia Highway 99, on Tolomato Island near the historic community of Carneghan. Though surrounded by a quiet community of modern homes and vacation homes, the ruins are well-preserved and considered an important resource by the people of Tolomato Island. The area was originally known simply as “The Thicket”.

Text of Historic Marker on nearby Georgia Highway 99:

“The Thicket”: Sugar Mill – Rum Distillery Ruins

On the banks of Carnochan Creek, a short distance East of here, are the ruins of a famous Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery operated early in the 19th century. These buildings, constructed of tabby by William Carnochan on his huge sugar plantation at “The Thicket,” followed closely plans laid out by Thomas Spalding of Sapelo. The sugar works and rum distillery were operated successfully on a commercial scale until 1824, when a hurricane tore off the roof and upper story of the mill and cane barn, and destroyed other buildings.

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Landmark Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Protected Area Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Walls Early Building Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

As evident in this photograph, the majority of the ruins are fairly well-preserved.

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Old Style Thick Tabby Walls Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Note the thickness of the shells in this tabby construction, as opposed to the more “broken-up” look of later and modern tabby.

Repairs were apparently made in the 1920s, as graffiti on this stucco work would attest.

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Repairs Interior Picture Image Photograph Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Interior Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Corner Wall Picture Image Photgraph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Windows Wall Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Destroyed Hurricane 1824 Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Architecture Built by Slaves Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Willam Carnochan Sugar Mill and Rum Distillery Tolomato Island Carnigan GA Tabby Walls Forgotten Landmark Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

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10 Comments

Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Tolomato Island GA

10 responses to “Ruins of William Carnochan’s Rum Distillery, Circa 1800, Tolomato Island

  1. Pingback: Ruins of William Carnochan’s Sugar Mill & Rum Distillery, Circa 1800 | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  2. grover chester

    thank you again for the photos, grover chester

    On Mon, May 20, 2013 at 1:06 PM, Vanishing Coastal Georgia Photographs by

    • Jane Harris

      I had a distant Grandfather on my Maternal Grandmother’s side from McIntosh County (also the family name). I a book published about the family it says,” Alexander D. McIntosh served during the War Between The States in Company H5th Georgia Calvary as their 4th Sgt. His enlistment lasted the entire war and he later received pension for his service. Family lore has it he had a standing order for a keg of rum upon receipt of his pension money every month. ” I had wondered where he got it. Maybe here? Also from the book, Children of Straughlachlan Plantation about the same grandfather, “After his Father’s in 1886 Alexander took over care of Sapelo Bridge for a while. He was also known to be a carpenter and to work the polling place at South Newport during elections.” Our family cemetery is at South Newport on Hwy. 17 not far from the original location of the family home, Straughlachlan.

  3. Pingback: Ruins of William Carnochan’s Sugar Mill, Circa 1800 | Vanishing Coastal Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  4. Pingback: Ruins of William Carnochan’s Sugar Mill, Circa 1800 | Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown

  5. Mary Walter

    Thank you for the photos of “The Thicket” where my grandmother, Elinor Mansfield, daughter of Joseph Mansfield was raised from 1880 to about 1900. I’ve heard stories about her living there, but have never seen it.

    Mary Walter

  6. Instead of referring to Mr. Carnochan as builder of sugar & rum distillery, why no mention of the many hundreds of slaves that actually built and produced products that enriched a few white families? Is this a deliberate, racist attempt to forget the true history of how wealth was accumulated?

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