One of the best parts about homeschooling in FL is that there are so many historical places to go on a field trip. This time we visited Kingsley Plantation and Ft. George Island in the northeast Jacksonville area.
Part of the Timucuan Trail State Park, Kingsley Plantation consists of several original buildings including a fascinating row of slave houses made from tabby. Entrance to the park is free, and children can complete a short activity booklet and obtain a junior ranger badge.
Zephaniah Kingsley owned several plantations in north FL. His wife was born in Senegal, Africa and was a former slave whom Kingsley had purchased as a teenager. Anna Kingsley bore four children and helped run the plantation with her husband.
On Kingsley Plantation the main crop was Sea Isle Cotton. This type of cotton was superior in quality than other cottons, but because of the differences in the length and softness of the fibers, it was much more labor intensive to produce.
One of the Park Rangers, Cecily, was a wealth of information regarding the history, flora and fauna of the island and plantation. She explained how tabby was used as a building material; there are several excellent examples of tabby buildings still standing today on the island.
The short video below shows a volunteer, Betty, explaining a bit about slave life on the plantation and the island’s main cash crop, Sea Isle Cotton.