Florida Plantations Past
Old Slave Market, St Augustine, Florida
Photo credit: Postcard collection of Roy Winkelman
‡Oh Heaven! and is there no relief
This side the silent grave
To soothe the pain, to quell the grief,
And anguish of a slave?
George Moses Horton
(a slave from birth to civil war)
From "On Liberty and Slavery"
It is not my intent to list all of Florida's Plantation
of the past, which where numerous, but to give a little
glimpse and info about them.
Writing is not one of my talents, but I hope I did well enough that you have
no problem following the narrative.
We cannot talk about the Florida plantations or any plantations without the mention of slavery
and the Seminoles. The land used was originally Indian land and the means by
which the plantations where built and thrived was by the back breaking labor of the slaves,
often violently inhumane treatment my many plantation owners, mental and physical abuse,
and much more of those slaves, which they considered nothing more than property.
Many slaves were very skilled or became skilled craftsmen. Masons, agriculturalist,
cultivators (picked the cotton and other chops that they planted), carpenters
metallurgist, sailors, rower's, riverboat pilots, wharf workers, steamship
and shipping laborers, cooks, nurtures and worked on the railroad laying tracks.
They literally BUILT the cities, bridges, seawalls, forts, mills,
homes of the plantation owners as well as the houses they lived in. They
cut down the trees, hauled them cut them into logs, made the bricks, prepared and cook the food
they grew and animals they tended. They took care of their children as well as the
children of the plantation owners. Worked from sun up to sun down and was whipped, beaten
and tortured. Separated from other family members, mothers from children, husbands from wives,
brothers form sisters, sold never to see or be with family members again.
They even made the shackles they wore.
This page however is for the purpose of sharing some basic information about, at the expense of the slaves,
the Plantations and owners of Florida's past.
The great houses most lived in, the acreage they owned and the sheer number of them.
Since discovery by the Spanish and its becoming a colony, Florida had been caught
in the struggles of the European nations to control and profit from their North American colonies.
During the First Spanish Period, Florida was a vast territory that extended to the
Mississippi River. At that time settlements in Florida were dominated by military garrisons, missions,
and strategic ports.
When the British Period began in 1763 and England received Florida as its territory
through the terms of the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the French and Indian War. The British
divided Florida into East Florida - the 14th colony - with St. Augustine as its capitol, and West
Florida - its 15th colony with Pensacola as a capitol. With the encouragement of British land grants,
the plantation economy of East Florida began to flourish. For 20 years Britain controlled Florida only
to lose it as a result of the American Revolution.
--Indigo and Rice were highly-valued crop in British colonial Florida.
The first important cash crops were indigo, rice, timber, and naval
stores. The British experimented with a variety of products including
sugar, cotton, and even silk. They also produced a large variety of
foods for their tables: corn, carrots, watermelon, herbs, red beets,
English peas, butter beans, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, parsnips,
lettuce and spinach.--
Spain,then again acquired Florida because of its support
of the American revolutionaries.
The Second Spanish Period lasted from 1783 to 1821. Then planters from the West Indies and
others parts of the United States, such as Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas, moved into the territory.
At first British planters left Florida, then they returned when the Spanish
lifted their requirement of conversion to Catholicism which had driven many away. As an enticement, the Spanish
also offered large land grants to resurrect the plantation economy.
After the second Spanish Period came the Territorial period, and the plantation system entered
the Industrial Revolution with the application of steam power to sugar and rum processing.
During the Territorial Period, long staple cotton, commanded high
prices from fine fabric makers. The prized crop along the southeastern
coastline of the United States was important in Northeast Florida
from 1790 to 1825, until high sugar prices led sugar to replace
cotton as a cash crop. Sugar was the dominant cash crop of the U.S.
during that Period.
Africans and their descendent's were considered able and hardy workers
in the ongoing struggle to subdue the subtropical wilderness and
establish the plantation system. The then British Governor, James Grant,
believed that African slaves were best suited for work in East Florida.
Slaves also were crucial to the construction of these massive East
Florida sugar mills. Their knowledge of rice, cotton and sugar
agriculture was extremely valuable to the planters. Crops such
as indigo, sea island cotton, and rice were profitable but
labor intensive crops.
Skilled country-born slaves from South Carolina and Georgia along with
hundreds of African slaves, and slaves from a few other countries, that
understood the language was imported into Florida as well as indentures.
Many plantation owner brought with them slaves they already owned.
Later as the demand for more slaves increased, Africans that had no knowledge
of the language were imported.
Florida's Native Stone, was used in the construction of nearly
every East Florida plantation and sugar mill.
Some plantations had manicured lawns and hedge mazes inhabited by peacocks,
and their manor houses were stocked with fine wines that accompanied
elaborate meals. Others were working sugar farms, and molasses factories
using the latest agricultural techniques
---- ON DECEMBER 25,1835, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SECOND SEMINOLE WARS,
MOST OF THE PLANTATIONS IN THAT AREA WERE SET AFIRE. WITHIN WEEKS MOST WERE
BURNED DOWN. IF ANY ESCAPED THE BURNING THEY WERE ABANDONED AND
NEVER USE FOR THE SAME PURPOSE AGAIN. ----
The seminoles and their allies attacked the anti-Seminole factions and the
anti-Seminole faction attacked other plantations owned by Seminole supporters.
In the end all was lost.
Unfortunately this was not the end of slavery and plantation life in Florida. After
the long Second Seminole war Florida started it's Ante-Bellum Period 1845-1861.
And that's another story.
And then the Civil War. The official end of enslavement of human beings.
During the Second Spanish Period almost all free
Blacks that applied for land received it.
SOME FREE BLACKS OWNERS*
||1,000 acres ?
SOME FREE WOMEN OF COLOR OWNERS*
Some plantation had many owners, some sold parts of their land to others,
some gave parts to other family members, some properties were pass on after death,
some were abandoned and bought by others and various other reasons.
Some retained the original name of the plantation and some where
renamed, renamed for plantations owned in other states or just called
by the name of the previous or present owner. There also may have
been more than one plantation with the same name. Some plantation
were owned jointly with others and sometimes many members of a
family each had their own plantations or more than one.
Some families had moved with friends or a variety of family members
and many relied heavily upon the help of family. It was not
uncommon for an area to have a concentration of the same
family by blood and marriage.
SOME PLANTATION OWNERS
1770 - 1835
|***Mount Plenty ||Robert Bisset
|***Rollestown ||Denys Rolle
|Satonia ||Abraham Marshall
|Harmony Hall ||Artemas Ferguson
|Moore Plantation ||Hanna Moore
|***Moncrief ||James Moncrief
|***Mount Hope ||John Vaughan
|Dunn Coffee Plantation ||Lord Dunn
|Mount Tucker ||John Tucker
|Constancia ||Daniel O'Hara
[ Alpha List]
[ Plantations 3]
[ More Plantations]
[ Post Civil War]
[ Plantation Placement Map]
~~~~ Some Early East Florida Plantations ~~~~
This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art.
The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason:
This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
Current location National Portrait Gallery, London
Lord of Egmont
(John James Perceval)
Mount Royal Plantation
Amelia Island Plantation
(♥Egmont had over 50,000 acre of land --
♣Egmont's first development activities were at Mount Royal, a
20,000-acre tract up the St. Johns River near Lake George.
♦In 1763 Perceval claimed 10,000 of the almost 12,000 acres that make
up amelia island but he never set foot on the
Island. Egmont moved his laborers from Mount Royal
to Amelia Island. The plantation cultivated Indigo.
♦ Egmont ran the plantations from England and
was considered an effective absentee landlord. Stephen Egan, an employee from
Perceval's Irish estates used his talents to build a successful indigo plantation
there. Egan was one of Egmont Florida agents.
♣Egmont had several parcels of land and some partners and a plan for how the
land would be worked /developed and populated. His development plan
called for a series of rural agricultural villages or townships to be located on one-square-
mile plots of land at each of the plantations under his care.
It was a very detailed plan. it even included a town for enslaved African being built next
to the villiage for part of the work force.
John Perceval, the second Earl of Egmont died at Pall Mall. London on December 4, 1770. He was 59.
♦ ♦When troops landed on the Island and burned every house on the Island.
Egmont's agent, Stephen Egan , led his own family and 100 enslaved men
and women through the woods to the protection of British troops and
later the undeveloped Wood/Egmont land near the Cowford and named
that land Cecilton. (During that time there were many owned tracts of land that were undeveloped.)
♥Cecilton Plantation became a major producer of navel stores for many years. The 1784
cession of East Florida to Spain prompted Egan to once more move the laborers.
This time to the West Indies, where they established their 4th plantation, a coffee estate.
William G. DeBrahm
♥Upriver from Cecilton Plantation. the surveyor general of the southern
District of the North American colonies, William G. DeBrahm, claimed
1,000 acres. he named that tract of land Christianaborough Plantation.
♥ When Spain reacquired East Florida the tract became San Jose Plantation.
♥Today it is the home to Epping Forest, the Bolles School, San Jose Country
Club and the Jewish Community Alliance, in Jacksonville.
Beauclerc Bluff Plantation
Location: Goodby's Creek and The ST. Johns River
§Henry Strachey, a London merchant, acquired Beauclerc Bluff in 1771, along with 3,000
acres in several tracts on the east and west shores of the St. Johns.
(previously owned by Robert Davis).
♥Beauclerc Bluff Plantation was located on the south shore
of Goodby's Creek. After Goodbe's accidental death by drowning, Strachey acquired and incorporated that land into
his Beauclerc Bluff Plantation.
♥Beauclerc Bluff was under continous cultivation from the early 1760's to 1784.
There were dwellings for two overseers on the property with lofts,
piazzas and brick chimneys, the largest measuring thirty-five by
seventeen feet. Fourteen houses provided shelter for the enslaved
black laborers. In addition, there were four barns capable of holding
3,000 bushels of corn, a blacksmith shop, mill house, pigeon house,
fowl house, and kitchen house. The estate was under cultivation for
nearly twenty years.
§The dwelling house and other buildings were clustered on the southern point of Beauclerc
Bluff near Davis's Bay (today Plummers Cove).
§In addition to Beauclerc Bluff Plantation, Strachey acquired 10,250
acres on Biscayne Sound, between the Rock Bridge and New Found
River, which he intended to develop as a sugar plantation. He owned
two additional tracts of land in the vicinity of Beauclerc Bluff, one of
500 acres and another of 300.
employees and slaves abandoned it after East Florida was returned to Spain.
♥Adjoining William G. DeBrahm Christianaborough Plantation upriver, and extending along the St. Johns to the north shore of the waterway,
which is known today as Goodby's Creek, was Joseph Goodbe's 250 acre farm. Goodbe received title to the tract in 1765 and began clearing the land
and start cultivating provision and indigo immediately.
♥The land that encircles today's Goodby's Lake was part of the tract.
♥After Goodbe's accidental death by drowning, Henry Strachey acquired and incorporated the land into his Beauclerc Bluff Plantation.
♥John Baker and Thomas Ashby
♥Baker and Ashby were absentee proprietors. They had a resident agent
named Abraham Marshall.
♥The property was named after Thomas Ashby's wife, Suttonia Baker Ashby, the sister of Thomas Baker.
♣♣Two dwelling houses were built at Suttonia Settlement, one of
two separate residential quarters on the plantation. The main dwelling
accommodated Marshall and his family. It was a two-story structure with
three rooms on the first floor and two large chambers on the second,
equipped with piazzas on both sides, shutters, doors, and other
♣♣The second dwelling house, also two-stories, lodged overnight
guests. It had an exterior kitchen, stable, and laundry. Additional
buildings at the Suttonia Settlement included an overseer's house,
slave quarters, kitchen, stable, and other plantation outbuildings.
♣♣(The Point Settlement was situated nearby, probably at
today's Plummer's Point. Improvements there included a commodious
dwelling house to accommodate an overseer, corn house, cooper's shed,
slave quarters, farm outbuildings, and indigo vats and works.)
♥It is located today at Plummer"s Cove and Plummer's Point. The eastern footings of the
Buckman Bridge (interstate 295 -Jacksonville) are on the site of Suttonia Plantation. Today as in 1765, Beauclerc
Bluff adjoins to the north (upriver).
♥Marshall, a son-in-law of Dr. Andrew Turnbull of New Smryna Plantation ,
maintained a residence at Suttonia. It was know that indigo, corn, potatoes and Oranges were grown there.
I have not been able to find any info on what happen to John Baker and the Ashby's or why
Marshall ended up at Suttonia.
Nor have I found any info as to what happen to Suttonia Plantation after Marshall.
I am not sure what the Point Settlement's relationship to Ashby and Baker or Suttonia.
Swamp Settlement(Three Chimneys)
Oswald was a wealthy Scottish merchant,statesman,West Indies planter, slave
dealer, and friend of Gov. Grant.
♦ ♦He had made a fortune supplying the British troops with bread. during the
seven year war.He also profited from the slave trade, which he had embarked upon in 1748.
He shipped from his slave station his human cargo via his fleet.
also an adviser to the British ministry who helped to draft the terms of peace offered
to the American colonies.
² He received a British land grant
of 20,000 acres on July 20,1764.
established several plantations along the Halifax. He brought with him
hundreds of slave. Some were sold to other owners and some he kept to work
the labor intensive crops he grew.
His most important plantation settlement was Oswald Plantation, which boasted
a complex of houses, barns and stables. Four miles to the South was
the Ferry Settlement with a hundred acres cleared for corn and rice.
The Adia settlement with an indigo house and slave quarters on the
Halifax River. Between the Halifax and Tomoka Rivers Oswald established
a sugar plantation, the Swamp Settlement or the Henry Yonge plantation, now
known as Three Chimneys.
Oswald operated his plantations through overseers who supervised the slaves
and never visited the plantations himself.
In 1766, Mount Oswald was a rice and indigo plantation encompassing what
is now Tomoka State Park.
†James and George Anderson
Benefactors of a Spanish land grants,
came to Ormond and settled an area that had been a British plantation,
Mount Oswald (Mount Oswald once belonged to Richard Oswald (above) which, Oswald, received as a Brittish land grant). (see plantations 2
for more info about
♦ ♦900 acres
on the Tomoka River
James became Chief Justice in 1764. He was the brother of John Moultrie who was
Lieutenant Governor of East Florida under James Grant and
acting Governor from
♦ ♦John Moultrie grew indigo and died in 1765. His plantation was conferred to his
children, James and Annabelle. They raised indigo, sugar cane, rice and corn.
The next owner was Gabriel W. Perpall. In 1818 Frances Dunn purchased half of the
property. On this property she established Kerrville Plantation.
Image is in Public Domain
Rosetta was the name of one of his plantations.
Rosetta was only one part of the many grants
given to John Moultrie by the British.
² The plantation of 2,000 acres was the center of a number of
English grants made to Moultrie. He settled Rozetta in 1770 and operated
all the grants as one plantation.
²In his memorial it was stated that he had several carriages, boats and canoes, many
cattle, sheep, horses, hogs and 140 working oxens.
²His dwellings was a two story house of 10 rooms and kitchen with pantry.
The first story was of stone, the upper story being frame, with gallery around all sides.
There Negro housing, "pidgeon" house, a rice barn 50 by 30 feet, a rice pounding machine, and
his red cedar flat were 50 barrels of turpentine. Mention was made of three or four miles of ditches and dikes.
a manager on the property. The main house, outbuildings,
barns and slave housing were all completed by 1777.
Moultrie, the Lieutenant Governor of East Florida under Governor Grant and
acting Governor from
held a medical degree from Edinburgh University in Scotland
and was president of the Royal Society of East Florida.
many experienced slaves to Florida to clear his new lands.
They grew indigo and rice as well as corn, beans and potatoes.
Moultrie also placed his hopes on the raising of silkworms on
mulberry trees for silk production in the colony. He raised grapes
to make wine and experimented with the breeding of cochineal beetles,
a leading source of red food dye in his day.
Rosetta, after the British ceded Florida back to Spain and part of the property was
granted to John Bunch (see below).
²In 1808 Robert McHardy received a Spanish grant of 1,000 acres of this
plantation and made many valuable improvements, included a sugar mill.
In 1804, Part of Rosetta was granted to Patrick Dean and John Bunch (Dean's Uncle) and they
of the former Dr. Andrew Turnbull property. After Dean was killed by an Indian
in 1818, his aunt Cecily Bunch inherited Dean's portion.
John Bunch continued to work the plantation after her death. He
was a major Florida plantation owner. (Bunch must have owned several properties)
(Rosetta was granted to Bunch in 1804 after Moultrie abandoned it when the British ceded
Florida back to Spain). After 20 years, approx. 1825, Bunch sold Rosetta to
Thomas Dummett (see below).
In 1830, Bunch gave the property that was left to his grandson,
John Bonnemaison Bunch McHardy. Mc Hardy had no interest in the land,
and sold it in 1830 to Charles Lawton of Charleston. Lawton named
the property Dunn-Lawton.
Ruins of Sugar Mill
Image courtesy: Waymark
Formerly The Addison Plantation(Carrickfergus)
An officer in the British Marines, purchased
two East Florida plantations containing 3,000 acres in 1825.
One source states that Thomas brought with him from
Barbados an experienced superintendent of sugar and rum production. Another
states that after several failed crops Thomas sent for an expert. After
a few years of development Thomas began to prosper.
The houses and buildings had once been a part of John Bunch's (see above) plantation.
known as Rosetta.
The Addison Plantation site was an indigo and later a sugar
plantation, between the 1825 and the 1830's.
Only the sugar mill and distillery were built by Dummett.
Under the specialist's expert direction, Dummett soon had abundant
cane fields and a busy sugar mill and rum distillery, which included
the first steam-operated mill in the area.
Carrickfergus, like many others, was destroyed in 1836 by Seminole Indians during the
second Seminole war.
Thomas also owned a house in
After Thomas's death his unmarried daughter, Anna, converted the
home into a lodging establishment, it is now the St. Francis Inn.
Dummett Plantation ruins are located at Bulow Creek State Park.
Thomas also had a son,
Douglas Dummett of Mount Pleasant. also see
Dummett Groves, an Ante Bellum plantation.
Robert and Mary Bunch McHardy
²Known as Mc Hardy Plantation
Mc Hardy, a Scotsman, married Mary Dean Bunch, daughter of plantation owner John
Bunch (previous owner of Rosetta--see above) in 1798.
McHardy developed their plantation for the cultivation of cotton and sugar cane.
His wife also held another 1,100 acres of land in McDougal and Bisset Swamps,
south of New Smyrna Beach.
Of McHardy's children by Mary Dean Bunch, only John Bunch Bonnemaison McHardy
survived (He had a distinguished naval career, becoming an admiral in the
British Royal Navy in 1870). Mary Dean died in 1807. McHardy then married Caroline Williams,
the natural daughter of Samuel Williams of Orange Grove Plantation.
McHardy and his second wife both died in 1822.
Ante Bellum Plantations
Post Civil War Plantations
[ Part 1]
Gadsden-Jackson-Jefferson-Leon- Madison County Plantation Placement Maps
[ Plantation Placement Map]
Some Facts and Photos
[Art Deco- South Beach]
[James Weldon Johnson]
[Mary Mc Leod Bethune]
[Zora Neale Hurston]
[Dr. John Gorrie]
[Eartha M. M. White]
Reference, Research and Source Information
Volusia County Heritage
* Colonial Plantations and Economy in Florida/edited by Jane G. Landers
Published by Gainesville: University Press of Florida, c2000
Author: Jane G. Landers
**Some of the information concerning Dr. Andrew Turnbull was from:
The Menorcan Cultural Society
***This information is from:
Historic Plantations Of Northeast Florida
A Pictorial Encyclopedia
Donald D. Spencer
pages 12,14,62 and 101
Photos and photo captions are provided courtesy of:
Some of the information on Richard Oswald came from:
†City of Ormond Beach
News and Notes
A Bit of History
‡From George Moses Horton
"On Liberty and Slavery"
in Cavalcade, Negro American Writing From 1760 to present,eds.
Arthur P. Davis and Saunders Redding
The Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
University of South Florida
¹Photo courtesy of:
Florida Memory Project-Photographic Collection
²This info is From:
Sweet Cane: the architecture of the sugar works of East Florida
By Lucy B. Wayne
This info is from:
and the Ghost Plantations of British East Florida
Daniel L. Schafer
pages 44 - 46, 66, 67
♣This info is from:
UNF - Florida History Online
♣♣This info is from:
UNF - Florida History Online
♦some infomation on Isaiah Hart is from:
the book History of Jacksonville Florida and Vicinity 1513 to 1924
by T. Frederick Davis (1925).
located on FLORIDA HERITAGE COLLECTION ,website
♦ ♦This information is from:
Historic Plantations Of Northeast Florida
A Pictorial Encyclopedia
Donald D. Spencer
pages 50, 79, 80 135 and 137
§This info is from:
UNF--Florida History Online
copyright notices for using information from the above sources and have given
complete titles, web site addresses, credit, etc. to the best of my abilities.
I take no credit for any of the information and have no personal knowledge of
the events and I am not representing such.
If the information I have provided concerning where and how the information
was obtained is not properly done or credited, it is in no way intentional.