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Captain Raymond Demere

by Carey C. Giudici

Captain Raymond Demere‹"French born and British trained"--came to St. Simons Island in 1736 and played a key role in its pre-plantation history. His military career in the colonies including the command of Fort Loudoun, fighting with his friend James Ogelthorpe in the Battle of Bloody Marsh on St. Simons Island, and commanding the garrison at Frederica after Ogelthorpe's departure. Captain Demere also filled several public offices before his death in 1766.

His brother, Captain Paul Demere, also commanded Fort Loudoun but was killed in 1760 by Cherokees after being forced to surrender the fort. Paul's son, named Raymond after his uncle, served as aide-de-camp to General George Washington.

A little over a mile east of Frederica Captain Demere built Harrington Hall on 200 acres he'd received in colonial grants. It was named for a Lord Harrington, with whom Demere had served for ten years in Spain.

The Demere homes, Harrington Hall and Raymond Jr.'s Mulberry Hall‹on the south of the Island in an area known as The Grove--were large, ornate homes built in a French rather than the simpler colonial style. Harrington Hall, which was described as "conspicuous for its beauty and comfort," was surrounded by a dramatic Christmas-berry hedge.

All traces of these houses are gone, but into this century the area around the Demere burial ground was said to be haunted by Mary, the ghost of a ward of Captain Demere who had drowned herself nearby.

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