Horton House Historic Site
The house was built in
around 1740 by Major William
Horton, second in command
to General James Oglethorpe.
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Horton House Historic Site, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Horton House Historic Site, Georgia
Horton House Historic Site
The ruins of the old 18th century plantation house
can be seen on Jekyll Island today, a reminder of
Georgia's Colonial past.
A Colonial Plantation
The Horton House was the
center of a plantation that
operated on Jekyll Island for
more than 140 years.
18th Century Tabby Walls
The main walls of the house
were made from tabby, a
building material created by
mixing water, lime, sand and
oyster shells. It was then
poured into forms to create
the solid walls.
DuBignon Cemetery
The ancient cemetery across
the road from the Horton
House contains the graves of
members of the DuBignon (or
du Bignon) family.
Horton House Historic Site - Jekyll Island, Georgia
Relic of Georgia's Colonial Past
The ruins of the Horton House on Jekyll
Island stand as a silent reminder of
Georgia's rich colonial history.

When General James Oglethorpe arrived in
Georgia during the 1730s and planted
English settlements including Savannah and
Fort Frederica, he implemented a plan that
called for rapid expansion, fortification and
settlement of the Georgia coast. As part of
this effort, Major William Horton settled on
Jekyll Island and built the stout structure that
can still be today.

The second in command of Oglethorpe's
regiment, Major Horton cleared fields, built a
barn and engaged in other activities on the
northern end of Jekyll Island. He is credited
with cutting the first road across the island, a
sandy lane that can still be traveled today.

The house was built of tabby, a unique
material commonly used along the Georgia
coast during the 18th and 19th centuries. To
create tabby, Horton burned oyster shells to
obtain lime. He then mixed the lime with
equal parts of sand, water and water. The
thick mixture was poured into forms to create
the walls that stand today.

The Spanish were infuriated by the English
activity in Georgia as they claimed the coastal
islands as their own territory. Spanish
missions had once stood throughout the
region. The outraged governor of St.
Augustine took advantage of the War of
Jenkins Ear to move north with a large
military force intent on driving Oglethorpe and
his followers away.

The Spanish struck at
St. Simons Island, but
were defeated at the
Battle of Gully Hole
Creek and the Battle of Bloody Marsh. Even
so, they inflicted as much damage as
possible to English settlements in the area
before withdrawing back to sea. The Horton
House on Jekyll Island was among their
targets during the 1742 raid.

The house was burned, along with Horton's
barn and other structures. By the time the
campaign ended, nothing but smoking tabby
ruins stood on the north end of Jekyll Island.

The two-story house was rebuilt after the
Spanish raid. The family of Poulain du
Bignon moved in after the American
Revolution and continued to operate the old
Horton plantation on Jekyll Island. Du Bignon
was a French officer and lived on the island
until his death decades later.
Sea Island Cotton and other crops were
grown on the plantation until the land was
acquired by the Jekyll Island Club in 1886.
The property then transitioned from an
agricultural area to a playground for the rich
and powerful.

The Horton House once again fell into ruin
and today only the time-scarred walls stand
as a reminder of the thriving activity that once
buzzed on the north end of Jekyll Island from
around 1740 to 1886. The ruins have been
designated as the Horton House Historic
Site and are maintained by the
Jekyll Island
Historic District.

The site is open to the public daily and
includes the ruins, historical plaques and
markers and the historic DuBignon Cemetery
across the road. The paved path near the
cemetery offers beautiful views of the
Marshes of Glynn, made famous during the
19th century by the poet Sidney Lanier.

Horton House Historic Site is located on
North Riverview Drive north of the main
historic district. There is no cost to visit other
than the admission to access the island.
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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