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James Hamilton

Hamilton Plantation, on the southwestern corner of St. Simons Island, was "by far the finest on the island" according to British actress Fanny Kemble. Since James Ogelthorpe's ships used it for docking and refitting, the Gascoigne's Bluff section of Hamilton's estate has also been called "Georgia's first naval base."

The plantation was named for a Scottish planter and businessman who became one of the Island's richest residents in the early 1800s. A few of Hamilton's original tabby slave dwellings still stand, one used by Epworth By-The-Sea for meetings and two others on property owned by a local garden club.

Unlike other planters (including his friend John Couper) Hamilton died a rich man. He sold his properties and moved to Philadelphia before natural disasters and war took their toll.

His lands continued to generate profits into this century. Beginning in the 1870s four lumber mills operated there, including a "village" for mill employees and executives. Then in 1927 the land was bought by Detroit banker Eugene W. Lewis who grew and sold vegetables to hungry consumers up North.

Since Gascoigne Bluff is the termination point for the Causeway that connects St. Simons to the mainland, James Hamilton might be considered the first St. Simons Island resident you ever met.

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