Hamilton Plantation Slave Cabins
Overlooking a bluff along Fancy Bluff Creek, these two slave cabins are the only structures remaining from the Hamilton Plantation. The cabins were built by the slaves who occupied them in 1832. The enslaved laborers built the cabins by mixing lime, sand, water and oyster shells and pouring the mixture into wooden frames. The cabins have been managed by the Cassina Garden Club. The Club was established in 1932 and secured ownership of the cabins in 1950. The cabins were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
Backstory and Context
Owned by James Hamilton, a Scotland native, Hamilton Plantation was located in Fort Frederica. The Hamilton Plantation sits on the Gascoigne Bluff, named after James Gascoigne, the commander of the British sloop vessel called the "Hawk". The British defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Bloody Marsh, thereby cementing their hold on the newly created colony, which was established in 1733. The British stored supplies and ship repair facilities on the Bluff, essentially making it the state's first naval base.
Hamilton Plantation produced long-staple Sea Island cotton as well as oak and pine timbers. Due to Hamilton's large acreage of Sea Island cotton, there would've been a need for many slaves to do this labor-intensive work. Because of this, Hamilton was likely a large slaveholder.
Out of several slave cabin built plantations, two remain today, one being the Hamilton Plantation. Being constructed of tabby [a concrete-like a mixture of oyster shells, lime, sand, and water], the mixture was poured into frames to harden. Divided in the center by a fireplace, creating two rooms, the cabins could house two families. The cabins had glass windows and wooden outside doors mean they were likely living quarters for slaves that were high in the hierarchy of the plantation and worked in the plantation's main house.
In 1932, the Cassina Garden Club started meeting at the cabin and was later granted deed of the properties in 1950. Since the time, the Club as restored and preserved the cabins and put on display the artifacts and graphical history. The cabins were listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of Interior in 1988.
History of the Cassina Site. Cassina Garden Club. Accessed May 29, 2017. http://www.cassinagardenclub.org/cabins_history.htm.
Hamilton Plantation Slave Cabins, 1830s, St. Simons Island, Vanishing Coastal Georgia. August 8th 2012. Accessed December 17th 2019. https://vanishingcoastalgeorgia.com/2012/08/08/hamilton-plantation-slave-cabins-st-simons-island/.
Cassina Garden Club Slave Cabins, Golden Isles . Accessed December 17th 2019. https://www.goldenisles.com/listing/cassina-garden-club-slave-cabins/144/.
Hamilton Plantation, National Park Service. Accessed December 17th 2019. https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/geo-flor/12.htm.
History of the Cassina Site, Cassina Garden Club. Accessed December 17th 2019. http://www.cassinagardenclub.org/cabinhistory.html.