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Kingsley Plantation

Location: Jacksonville, Duval Co., FL
Constructed: 1814

History: In 1814, Zephaniah Kingsley moved to Fort George Island and what is known today as the Kingsley Plantation. He brought a wife and three children (a fourth would be born at Fort George). His wife, Anna Madgigine Jai, was from Senegal, West Africa, and was purchased by Kingsley as a slave. She actively participated in plantation management, acquiring her own land and slaves when freed by Kingsley in 1811. With an enslaved work force of about 60, the Fort George plantation produced Sea Island cotton, citrus, sugar cane and corn. Kingsley continued to acquire property in north Florida and eventually possessed more than 32,000 acres, including four major plantation complexes and more than 200 slaves.

To escape what Kingsley called a "spirit of intolerant prejudice," Anna Jai and their sons moved to Haiti in 1837. There, Kingsley established a colony for his family and some of his former slaves. In 1839, Fort George Island was sold to his nephew Kingsley Beatty Gibbs. Zephaniah Kingsley died in New York City in 1843.

While Kingsley amassed land and wealth, others strove for freedom. The slave Gullah Jack took a dangerous route. Gullah Jack was stolen from Kingsley by Seminole Indians. Later, he reappeared in Charleston as an important lieutenant of the Denmark Vesey slave uprising— and was hanged.

Somewhat less dramatic was the life of Abraham Hanahan. Although a slave, Hanahan managed plantation operations and was completely in charge in Kingsley's absence. When freed by Kingsley, Hanahan became a river pilot, trader, and farmer, who went by the name "Free Abraham Hanahan." He eventually joined those seeking a better life in Haiti.

Associated Surnames: Gibbs, Hanahan, Kingsley

Associated Free White Names

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