Jekyll Island History - A Rich Past Leads to a Promising Future

What is it about history that fascinates us? Jekyll Island history is resplendent in the kind of stories I grew up on - tales of pirates and ships-of-the-line, of Indians and pioneers, nation builders and bandits. Books like The Last of the Mohicans, the Horatio Hornblower series, and anything by Louis L'amour, filled my head with wonder, and a need to learn more about the past.

So step into my time machine - the Great Green Time Machine - and live the story of one particular barrier island off the coast of Georgia.

Once upon a time...


Jekyll Island history tells us the island's first settlers were Native Americans. Learn about the indigenous peoples who lived, loved, fought, and died on Jekyll Island hundreds of years ago.

The Great Green Time Machine is set for Native Jekyll Islanders so step inside and let's go...

Pirates of Jekyll Island

Wow, that was some trip to the far past. Now we'll move up a few years and look for pirates.

Pirates were vivid personalities sailing through early Jekyll Island history. Who were the buccaneers who plied the coastal waters of Jekyll, St. Simons, and Cumberland Island? Did they leave any treasure behind? Let's head over to the pirate era and see what we can uncover.

Back into the Great Green Time Machine before the pirates catch us! Whew, that was close! So - where are we heading now?

Major Horton Builds a House

Enjoying your thrilling dip into Jekyll Island history? Good! Let's make a quick stop at the historic Horton House. What used to be the home of Major William Horton is now only a shell of its former self, but it's still a vibrant piece of Jekyll Island's past, steeped in history. Take a tour of the Horton House and learn all about one of the island's most colorful eras.

Okay, everyone strapped in? The Great Green Time Machine slogs onward!!

Frankly, My Dear...

Plantations were a stable on the Georgia coast, and agriculture became a booming business. What did they grow? Let's visit a few plantations and see how they affected Jekyll Island's history.

The Great Green Time Machine is just getting warmed up. Where to now...?

Bad Guys

All family history has its black sheep. Smugglers and slave runners operated off the Jekyll Island coast. Let's visit a few of these desperadoes and learn about how they operated, and what the consequences were.

Alright! The Great Green Time Machine is smoking now! Time to hit "fast-forward" and move up a few years to...

The DuBignon Era

Jekyll Island was once owned by one family - the DuBignons. Who were these pioneers, and where were they from? How did they wind up owning an entire island?

The Great Green Time Machine is getting a workout! Winging through the years, where will we wind up?

The War Between the States

Jekyll Island history in the Civil War - or as we Southerners like to call it, the War of Northern Aggression. What was the island's role in the war? Did any of Jekyll Island's sons and brothers fight against one another? Let's find out.

Moving right along -

The Spanish American War

The Spanish American War touched Jekyll Island. Several gun emplacements were established on the southern and northern ends of the island to cover the approach to Brunswick.

Check out the remnants of these gun positions the next time you visit the island, and imagine what it would feel like if you were an enemy ship's captain guiding your boat down St. Andrews sound under the eye of those guns!

Let's go full-bore on towards...

Jekyll Island Millionaires

Jekyll was once the private playground of some of the most prominent millionaires in America. The Vanderbilts; the Rockefellers; the Morgans; and more. Learn about the Millionaire Era, their heyday, their decline, and how they contributed to Jekyll Island history.

Those millionaires were builders. Their "Cottages" were bigger than most houses today. The Jekyll Island Authority has renovated many of these Cottages, as well as other structures built by the moneyed class - including the Jekyll Island Club. Let's take a look at the Cottage building boom.

They also liked their recreation, as shown by the construction of J.P. Morgan's Indoor Tennis Center, now the Morgan Center, a dedicated meeting venue for the Jekyll Island Club Hotel.

The Great Green Time Machine is a-shakin' and a-bakin' now! What will we run across next?

It's Alive!!! The Birth of the Federal Reserve

Rumor has it that a conclave of Jekyll Island millionaires met in secret on Jekyll Island and hammered out what eventually became the Federal Reserve. Read about that intrigue here.

Intrigued yourself? Want further information? Read

The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

by G. Edward Griffin.

Hurry! Back in the time machine before the millionaire's goons stop us! We've a few more stops to make and we're running out of - dare I say it - time.

Graves and Ghosts

Folks not only lived on Jekyll in the past, they died here as well - or were sent back to be buried. Jekyll Island history has its share of grave sites. Let's take a little side trip and look at some of the famous graves on Jekyll Island.

And - you can't have graves without ghosts. Do ghosts haunt Jekyll Island? Some say they do. Put on your Ghost Hunter outfit and we'll see if we can find some.

Whew! That expedition left us a few "sheets" in the wind! What's next on our time travel itinerary?

The Girls of Jekyll Island

What were Jekyll Island women doing all this time their rich husbands were capturing prizes, building plantations, or skulking around planning the Federal Reserve (generally doing millionaire things)? Learn about the women of the era who lived on or visited Jekyll Island, and their legacy.

I think the Great Green Time Machine needs its oil changed - something keeps rattling around under the hood.

Okay - what's our next stop?

Submarines - But Not the Sandwich

Jekyll's moneyed elite got cold feet at the beginning of World War II. Thought there were submarines out in the blue Atlantic. Were they right, or were they suffering from mass hysteria? We'll zip in and check the record...

Jekyll Dresses Up for Graduation to State Park

The State of Georgia bought Jekyll Island and turned it into a park. Learn about Jekyll Island's first public appearance here.

Jekyll Island Comes of Age

Who would have thought those musty old millionaire cottages would have amounted to so much? Check out how the old Millionaire's Village acquired Historic Preservation status as a Historic Jekyll Island Landmark Historic District.

Well, that's it, folks. The Great Green Time Machine has landed back in the good old present. We hope your journey through Jekyll Island history was fun and educational. Please stay seated 'till the light goes off, and put money in the hat next to the door.

Don't forget - the past lives through the life stories of our ancestors. Let's honor them for following their dreams by passing our own stories down to our children - and theirs.

From Jekyll Island History to Jekyll Island Family Adventures