The historic Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island near Jacksonville is an excellent example of old Florida. Built by slaves in 1798, the home is the oldest plantation house in Florida.
Zephaniah Kingsley took over the house in 1814 farmed the land until 1830 with his African wife Anna Madgigine, whom he had bought as a slave in Cuba. In 1812 Florida became a part of The United States and new laws regarding slaves and the rights of black people were implemented. Despite fighting for the rights of his people life became too difficult and they moved to Haiti in 1830.
The remains of the plantation include the main house which faces The Fort George River, a kitchen house, a barn, and the ruins of 25 of the original slave cabins.. The design of the house allows for breezes to flow throughout the structure.
The birding guides say this is a good birding location, particularly in migration season. Telephoto Florida saw few of our feathered friends on the late August visit. Over the river Osprey circled. Heron fished along the banks. Along the oak tree covered drive in we heard some common songbirds but they were hidden deep in the foliage.
Nevertheless, Kingsley Plantation is worth a stop to see what life was like for Floridians in the early 1800’s. The area around King George boasts plenty of other places to bird, including Big and Little Talbot Island State Park, Huguenot Memorial Park, Fort Clinch and Egans Creek Greenway.