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Plantation Era on Jekyll Island

Christophe du Bignon and his family arrived here in 1792. The family came to the United States in order to escape the French Revolution, which devastated provincial families like the du Bignons. The plantation that du Bignon owned on Jekyll was very prosperous and grew cotton as its main crop. Christophe du Bignon also introduced slavery to the island. Christophe died in 1825 and ownership passed on to his son Henri Charles Dubignon. Under the new ownership of Henri Charles the plantation continued to prosper up through the 1850 census.

On November 28, 1858, fifty years after the importation of slaves to the United States was made illegal, the ship The Wanderer landed on Jekyll Island with 465 slaves. This was the last shipment of slaves to Georgia soil from Africa.

However, by 1860 there was a great decline in the productivity on Jekyll. By 1862 when Union Army troops arrived, the Dubignon plantation was completely deserted. After the American Civil War ended, the Dubignon family returned to the island. Henri Charles divided the island up between his four children.

In the late 1870s John Eugene Dubignon became owner of property on the island. He had bought the southern third of the island from his uncle's estate, intending to establish a home there.

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