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Jekyll Island's Early Years

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456 pages6 hours

Summary

From the foremost authority on the famed Georgia barrier island, here is the first in-depth look at Jekyll Island’s early history. Much of what defines our view of the place dates from the Jekyll Island Club era. Founded in 1886, the Club was the private resort of America’s moneyed elite, including the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Pulitzers. In her new book that ranges from pre-Columbian times through the Civil War and its aftermath, June Hall McCash shows how the environment, human conflict, and a desire for refuge shaped the island long before the Club’s founding.Jekyll’s earliest identifiable inhabitants were the Timucua, a flourishing group of Native Americans who became extinct within two hundred years after their first contact with Europeans. Caught up in the New World contests among France, Spain, and England, the island eventually became part of a thriving English colony. In subsequent stories of Jekyll and its residents, the drama of our nation plays out in microcosm. The American Revolution, the War of 1812, the slavery era, and the Civil War brought change to the island, as did hurricanes and cotton farming. Personality conflicts and unsanctioned love affairs also had an impact, and McCash’s narrative is filled with the names of Jekyll’s powerful and often colorful families, including Horton, Martin, Leake, and du Bignon.Bringing insight and detail to a largely untold chapter of Jekyll’s past, June Hall McCash breathes life into a small part of Georgia that looms large in the state’s history.

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