Tag Archives: Georgia Tabby

Houston McIntosh Sugar Mill, Circa 1825, St. Marys

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure Camden County GA Interior View Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Built circa 1825, this sugar mill and arrowroot starch factory was the industrial component to John Houston* McIntosh’s New Canaan Plantation. McIntosh was born in 1773 in what is now McIntosh County. After living for a time in Florida and involvement in a plot to annex East Florida, McIntosh came back to Georgia. He acquired two plantations in Camden County. Marianna was one and New Canaan, site of the sugar works seen here, was the other. Thomas Spalding of Sapelo Island is thought to have been his mentor in this enterprise. It’s located across from the entrance to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in a publicly accessible park on Charlie Smith Sr. Parkway (Georgia Highway 40 Spur).

*The Georgia Historical Society marker placed on the site over 50 years ago uses the spelling Houstoun for McIntosh’s middle name. I’m not sure why the discrepancy exists, but Taylor Davis has done more recent research, notably exposing the long-held “Spanish mission myth”, so I will defer to his his spelling.

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure Camden County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Taylor P. Davis writes in his thesis, Tabby: The Enduring Building Material of Coastal Georgia (Athens, 2011):”The Houston McIntosh Sugar Mill, built during the 1820s, contains probably the most intact and expansive plantation era tabby ruins in this…area. This two-storied, sprawling complex, complete with columns, is the remainder of John Houston McIntosh’s sugar processing mill in connection to his New Canaan Plantation sugar cane production. The mill consisted of three main sections: a milling room, a boiler room, and a curing room. This sugar mill also led local and visiting authors and intern local historians to reinterpret this area’s history. It was here that W. J. Hoxie, contributor to the Savannah Morning News, wrote of his imaginative thoughts of the harrowing tales of Spanish friars defending themselves against a “great siege” or fiercely battling off “pirate bands” all while trying to save the souls of the “savage natives”. It was hard for him to believe that such a well-built structure could have been used for agricultural purposes. In his article, Hoxie is quoted as saying “I have yet discovered any published work that throws any light on the origin and history of this building.” But the damage was done. Savannah Morning News readers were taken by this fictional idea. This helped to start and spread the “Spanish Mission myth” regarding tabby construction. This myth was perpetuated by James T. Vocelle’s book, History of Camden County, where he states as fact that these tabby ruins were that of the Spanish missions. For decades it was thought that all of the plantation era tabby ruins were that of the lost Spanish missions. Later this error in the chronology of tabby would be corrected, and the literature on the subject from then on would reflect the annotation.”

Images of the Sugar Mill & Arrowroot Starch Factory

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Architecture Beam Support Ruins Camden County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure Camden County GA Columns Posts Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure St. Marys Camden County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure Camden County GA Interior View Ruins Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure Arches Camden County GA Doorways Portals Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Tabby Sugar Works and Arrowroot Starch Factory of John Houstoun McIntosh Early Tabby Structure St. Marys Camden County GA Posts Supports Columns Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

For researchers interested in the Houston genealogy, G. Cole notes: The name is properly spelled “Houstoun.” John Houstoun McIntosh was born to George McIntosh (son of John Mohr Mackintosh) and Ann Priscilla Houstoun (dau. of Sir Patrick Houstoun and Priscilla Dunbar.)

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Filed under -CAMDEN COUNTY, St. Marys GA

St. Athanasius Episcopal Church, Circa 1874, Brunswick

St Athanasius Episcopal Church Brunswick GA Historic African American Congregation Old Style Tabby Architectural Landmark Photogaph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2014

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

This tabby revival structure is one of the most historic on the Georgia coast. In his thesis Tabby: The Enduring Building Material of Coastal Georgia (Athens, 2011), preservationist Taylor Davis notes it is “one of the best examples of a historic tabby structure that is still being used as originally intended by the designers“. Whereas most people expect the rough look of present-day tabby, it was the fashion to smooth out the shells by the application of lime.

No  specific date of construction is known, though the parish is 128 years old. Taylor Davis believes, however, that construction began on the site in 1874.

To learn more about tabby, please see local preservationist Taylor Davis’ excellent thesis at the PDF linked here:

https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/davis_taylor_p_201112_mhp.pdf

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Filed under -GLYNN COUNTY, Brunswick GA

Ruins of William Carnochan’s Sugar Mill, Circa 1800, Tolomato Island

Tolomato Island GA William Carnochan Sugar Mill Ruins Tabby Walls Palmettos Early Industry Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Located along the banks of Crum Creek, William Carnochan’s sugar mill was an important component of his nearby rum distillery. Like the distillery, the ruins of the sugar mill have survived for over 200 years and are evidence of some of Georgia’s first industrial efforts. Residents of Tolomato Island have worked hard to expose and stabilize these ruins.

Tolomato Island GA William Carnochan Sugar Mill Ruins Tabby Walls Early Industry Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Though vegetation has grown inside the ruins, the durability of tabby as a building material is evident in this and the following images. These structures were built when President John Adams was in office.

Tolomato Island GA William Carnochan Sugar Mill Ruins Early 1800s Tabby Walls Palmettos Early Industry Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Tolomato Island GA William Carnochan Sugar Mill Ruins Tabby Walls Palmettos Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

For images of Tolomato Island residents and volunteers at work cleaning up the ruins, visit here.

Tolomato Island GA William Carnochan Sugar Mill Ruins Tabby Walls Endangered Landmark Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Tolomato Island GA William Carnochan Sugar Mill Ruins Tabby Walls Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

 

 

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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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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Tolomato Island GA

Ruins of Chocolate Plantation, Sapelo Island

Chocolate Plantation Sapelo Island GA McIntosh County Thomas Spalding Archaeological Site Tabby Ruins Barn Mud River Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Chocolate is a collection of tabby ruins on Sapelo Island. Most of the structures are in a state of very bad disrepair except the restored barn and a privately-owned circa 1930s Sears Roebuck house overlooking the Mud River. The barn was restored in the 1920s and is falling to ruin, as well. The best description I’ve been able to find about the area is from archaeologists Ray Crook’s essay “The Living Space of Enslaved Geechee on Sapelo Island”, published in the March 2008 newsletter of the African Diaspora Archaeology Network: During the late 1790s, the Chocolate tract was farmed by Lewis Harrington with the labor of 68 slaves. In 1802 that property became jointly owned by Edward Swarbreck and Thomas Spalding, who leased out at least a portion of the tract until 1808. Swarbreck, a Danish sea merchant with Caribbean connections who traded in cotton and other commodities, including slaves, then directed his attention to Chocolate. His plantation layout followed a familiar and very formal design…. The Big House, built of tabby, overlooked the Mud River and expansive salt marshes. His residence was flanked by outbuildings and other support structures. Two parallel rows of slave quarters, spaced some 10m apart and separated by a broad open area 50m across, were constructed behind the Big House. Vast agricultural fields extended to the north and south. Evidence of at least nine slave quarters, typically tabby duplexes with central chimneys and finished tabby floors, each side measuring about 4.3m by 6.1m, survives today as ruins and archaeological features at Chocolate. These represent an enslaved population of some 70 to 100 people distributed among at least 18 households…

Mud River McIntosh County GA View Toward Mainland from Chocolate Plantation Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Mud River from Site of Chocolate Plantation

The barn was restored in the 1920s by automobile magnate Howard Coffin, who was the last owner of the area before Richard Reynolds.

Sapelo Island GA Tabby Barn Built by Thomas Spalding 1837 Restored by Howard Coffin 1926 Chocolate Plantation McIntosh County Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

West Front of Barn at Chocolate, Facing the Mud River

Sapelo Island GA Tabby Barn Built by Thomas Spalding 1837 Restored by Howard Coffin 1926 Chocolate Plantation McIntosh County Mud River Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

East Front of Barn at Chocolate

Sapelo Island GA Tabby Barn Built by Thomas Spalding 1837 Restored by Howard Coffin 1926 Chocolate Plantation McIntosh County Interior Horse Stalls Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Above and Below:  Interior of Barn at Chocolate

Sapelo Island GA Tabby Barn Built by Thomas Spalding 1837 Restored by Howard Coffin 1926 Chocolate Plantation McIntosh County Interior Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Sapelo Island GA Chocolate Plantation Ruins Tabby Thomas Spalding Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Unknown Outbuilding at Chocolate

Sapelo Island GA Tabby Ruins Chocolate Plantation Archaeology Plantation Chimney Outbuilding Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Slave House and Plantation House Chimney Ruins at Chocolate

Sapelo Island GA Tabby Chimney Plantation House Chocolate Thomas Spalding Antebellum Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Ruins of Plantation House Chimney at Chocolate

Tabby Ruins Chocolate Plantation Sapelo Island GA McIntosh County Thomas Spalding Antebellum Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Unknown Outbuilding at Chocolate (This is among the best preserved structures remaining on the site).

Chocolate Plantation Sapelo Island GA McIntosh County Thomas Spalding Archaeological Site Tabby Ruins Slave Cabin Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Slave House at Chocolate

Sears Roebuck House Sapelo Island GA Mud River Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

Sears Roebuck House at Chocolate (This is a private residence and not open to the public).

Sapelo Island GA 1930s Sears Roebuck House Mud River Interior View Picture Image Photograph © Brian Brown Vanishing Coastal Georgia USA 2013

 

 

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

“Long Tabby” & Post Office, Sapelo Island

A barely recognizable renovation of “Long Tabby”, one of Thomas Spalding’s plantations, this structure houses the Sapelo Island Post Office today. Virginia O. Horton, who lived on the island in her youth, notes that the post office was once located nearby in a commissary and that Marie Olsen was the postmistress.

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA

Behavior Cemetery, Circa 1805, Sapelo Island

The tabby sign notes that Behavior Cemetery was established around 1805.

“The graveyard is as irregularly plotted as were the hammocks once scattered over the island…And the uneasy grass is less level than the road under oaks and pines that takes you to the graveyard…Behavior is an odd name for a cemetery, but it makes sense on Sapelo Island …And a visitor to the island doesn’t find it strange, either…Behavior, its grounds uneven and grass-choked, its stones akimbo…suggests life rather than death.”

From Sapelo’s People: A Long Walk Into Freedom, by William S. McFeely, W. W. Norton, 1994.

Folk Art Headstones of Behavior Cemetery

These are but a few examples of the great variety of headstones to be seen in this cemetery.

Boston Gardner (I first thought the name Boston was in reference to the city so known for abolitionists, but a commenter pointed out that that wouldn’t have been the case since the movement was not widely known among slaves. It was known to most, in fact, as a Sapelo resident recently noted; house slaves overheard much talk in their master’s houses and abolition was the hottest topic of the day. For a historian or genealogist to suggest that slaves were unaware of abolition is incorrect. At any rate, the origin of the name might not be related to abolition. I’ll concede that. I appreciate being brought to task on issues like this, but perhaps an email instead of a comment would be a better way to handle it. I edit four websites and have multiple commercial and personal projects going on at any given time and sometimes make mistakes. As anyone who has pointed out an error on my sites will attest, I am always grateful for such information and usually update the post, as I want the site to be the best it can be.

Glasco Grovner (1856-1928)

Mrs. Nancy

 

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Filed under -MCINTOSH COUNTY, Sapelo Island GA