Spending a last day in Florida
Jacksonville has nothing much to offer to us. We drive around the wealthy neighborhood of San Marco and through downtown before heading North.
At Kingsley plantation the owner’s house is the oldest one still standing in Florida. Dating from 1798, it faces the Fort George river. At the back was the Sea Island cotton plantation and the slave quarters. There’s ruins of 25 cabins made from tabby, a cement mix of sand and oyster shells. 60 to 80 people were living here at a time. The owner Zephaniah Kingsley had an African wife, Anna. He purchased her as a slave in Havana and freed her in 1811. When Florida was Spanish, blacks had legal rights. Slaves could sue their owners and purchase their freedom, free subjects had the same rights as any other Spanish. This enabled Anna to own her own plantation and slaves. When Florida became part of the USA she and her sons fleed to Haiti.
A short stop by a 1920s golf club then we drive back south to go see where the french landed in Florida. Back in the 16th century, France was in a war of religions, Louis XIV forbid the reformed Church. The Protestants, named at the time “Huguenots”, were persecuted for their beliefs. In 1562, Jean Ribault and a fleet of Huguenots, sought haven in the New World. They landed in Florida and claimed it for France. To secure their land of French Florida they built “le Fort de la Caroline” in 1564. But the Spanish captured it in 1565 and killed all the Huguenots during this assault and the Matanzas massacre (see previous post). After this tragic events the French gave up on colonizing the Southeastern coast of North America.
In Big Talbot State Park the shoreline is shrinking as the dune is eroding and the trees are falling on the beach. It’s a different and beautiful sight, but also a giant playground!
Our last stop is at Peter’s point beach front for a diner with a view and a free shower.