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John Couper (1759-1850) was known as the patriarch of St. Simons Island planters in the early 1800s. He was also one of the few who kept his family's fortune in the area--or at least the part of his fortune that this larger-than-life Scotsman didn't share with others.
He donated land to build the St. Simons Island lighthouse. And one couple, invited to visit the Couper plantation on their honeymoon, stayed until the birth of their second child!
After emigrating to the area just before the Revolution, Couper became a prosperous merchant before establishing Cannon's Point plantation at the north end of St. Simons in 1794. With his remarkable wife Rebecca, he gained fame for his hospitality, progressive management, and agricultural expertise.
Couper represented Glynn County at Georgia's Constitutional Convention.
In 1804 President Thomas Jefferson asked the American consul in Marseilles to send 200 olive tress to Couper. Some of these Cannon Point olive trees survived into the 20th century.
His two chefs were renowned across the South for the quality of their French cuisine.
Visitors such as Aaron Burr noted Couper's legendary humor and generosity, but nature and invading armies, hurricanes and insects proved too much for Couper. He lspent his later years with his famous son, James Hamilton Couper until his death at age 91.
Couper, a founder of Christ Church, now lies buried there with his wife and many of their family.