So yet again...I headed out on one of my adventures with my husband. This time, the girls stayed behind as the weekend was dedicated to celebrating our 20th Anniversary. For us, that means hiking, State Parks, historic homes, a few beaches and a Plantation built in 1798. We headed out early because as always...I only had an address with no further information on hand. Little did I know, but the drive to Kingsley Plantation takes you right through the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve a 46,000-acre preserve that was established in 1988. It was an awesome experience to come off of the main road and find that we had to do a little off roading. The road headed to Kingsley Plantation is gorgeous it's lined with Cypress trees, and Oak trees covered in Spanish moss. The road winds through the forest taking you though some of the Preserves most pristine and diverse natural areas around.
Once you have gotten to the plantation you are taken back to a time in America's history that was not so glorious. You are reminded of the lives of slaves who lived, worked, worshiped, and died at the plantation. This plantation was owned by Zephaniah Kingsley, his wife Anna who was purchased as a slave by Kingsley and their 4 children. The house was built by slaves and was completed in 1798. The very fist thing you see when you enter the grounds are the ruins of these tiny, white structures all lined up in a row, 25 to be exact. It is here, that the slaves lived. These "homes" were made of tabby, a mixture of shells, sand, oysters and water. Each slave was assigned a task based on their abilities and it was their duty to complete the assigned task daily. Slaves who showed the ability to sew, cook, build or serve were consider valuable and therefor were given the "best" jobs on the Plantation. At one point in time, this plantation was home to more than 60 slaves.
Restored Slave Tabby Cabins
Once you pass the tabby cabins you are on the grounds of the Kingsley Plantation. This plantation was well established and offered Mr. Kingsley the opportunity to gain his fortune by selling his cash crop, Sea Island cotton, a variety of cotton with very long fibers perfect for spinning into a strong thread. The plantation also grew indigo and cops as well. At the time Kingsley Plantation was only accessible by boat and there for the home sits facing the Fort George River. The planation had to be self-sustaining and all crops grown on the plantation grounds were property of the plantation owner. Once a slave was done with their daily task they were free to work their own crops. Today, the grounds of Kingsley Planation are managed by the National Park Service and offers visitors the opportunity to see the oldest plantation home in Florida, the barn, the kitchen and the waterfront. Be sure to stop into the visitors center and pick up a headset for a wonderful self-guided audio tour. Admission to this park is "FREE", but free doesn't mean you can't donate to the National Park Service. To find out more about donating to our wonderful National Park Service, click the link below.