BRANTLEY COUNTY HISTORICAL AND PRESERVATION SOCIETY,
Linda, more generally known as "The Linda Plantation," was settled by West Sheffield, whose first wife was Susan Sherod. His second marriage was to Martha Elizabeth Randall. Mr. Sheffield and his second wife are buried in a private burial ground about one hundred yards from the old J. F. King residence, six miles south of Atkinson, which is now in Brantley County. The first house that Mr. Sheffield built at Linda was made of logs. It was on a high bluff on the east side of the Great Satilla River. James Fort bought three hundred acres (300) of land about two miles north of the Linda house. James Fort's daughter Mary married Stephen Clay King and her father bought the West Sheffield place for her and his son-in-law. Their son, James Fort King, inherited Linda. In 1922 the building and grounds were sold to a group of men forming the Satilla River Club. It can be seen to the west of the old river road that extends from Atkinson to Burnt Fort.
Written by my step-mother, who was born March 26, 1856, Rosalee King Atkinson. Mary Atkinson Russel.
James Fort, his wife Martha Gibson Fort, and his father-in-law, Stephen Gibson came from Robeson County, N.C. about 1800. He and Mrs. Gibson invested largely in lands in Brunswick and vicinity, and lived there for some years. He was appointed Commissioner of Glynn Academy on November 21, 1804, and resigned in 1805. He moved to Wayne County and settled on 300 acres of land bought by Stephen Gibson from Lewis Roberson on the northeast side of the Great Satilla River adjoining lands of West Sheffield.
In 1810 he was appointed commissioner of Wayne County Academy and Senator from Wayne County in 1812. His only child, Mary Eleanor, was born in 1807 and married Stephen Clay King in 1823. After building a beautiful brick home for his daughter he bought the West Sheffield place about a mile south of the Satilla River and lived there the rest of his life. He left the place to his oldest grandson, James Fort King, who was born in 1824. In 1850, he married Miss Louise Clark of St. Marys, daughter of Major Archibald Clark of that place. Four children were born to them in the old West Sheffield log house. In 1857 they built the house now known as the "Satilla River Fishing Club." The Savannah Contractor disappointed my mother terribly in the roof, as she had planned a different one! The old roof has held out wonderfully.
The Stephen Clay Kings were very lonely people (as I gather from all I have heard), but "T. B." wrecked their hearts, taking two lovely young daughters and two sons. A third son with T.B. moved to Texas in time to save himself and lived to be 80 years old. His only son, Henry Clay King Jr. and a daughter, Miss Sophie King lived in San Antonio, Texas. The former, with a wife and one daughter. They, with this writing are the last of the Stephen Clay Kings.
At the beginning of the war between the States, my father James Fort king became manager of the estate which consisted of Maryfield, Bernore, The College, and Tabor Plantations, with about four hundred negro slaves to cultivate them. Tabor had just been bought for $8,000 from the Percival Cohens and was never cultivated by our family. "The College" was later sold by my Uncle Henry C. King of Texas and now known as Brookiness.
Maryfield and Bermore, rice plantations are on the Satilla River in Camden County, a distance of fifteen miles from Linda were cultivated by my two brothers, James Fort King and William Gadsworth King managed after my father retired. A good many of the negros remarried on the plantation and bought land near and had their own homes, but planted rice on the plantation "on shares." A very few are still alive.
"The College" was sold soon after the war. Part of Maryfield was sold about 1925; a part of Maryfield and Tabor are still owned by the descendants. On account of malaria being prevalent on the rice plantations we lived at Linda most of the time, spending a few winter months on the plantation.
My father died on April 14, 1902 and after that my mother spent most of the time with us at Incachee, but she never removed her house at Linda.
My brother James F. King who had his own place a mile south of Linda came to the old home to protect it from Intruders after my fathers death, and spent most of the time there until the place was sold. He died at his own place in 1926, never having married.
My brother, W. W. King married his cousin, Martha Lord King in San Antonio, Texas. They had no children. My oldest brother Stephen Clay King died at the age of 21, and was never married.
I married Dr Burwell Atkinson, a widower with five children in 1896 and have been a happy and blessed woman all my long life, now on my way to 84 years.
Brother William Wadsworth King died of a heart attack in Oglethorpe Hospital September 1922. His wife, Martha died in her sleep at Incachee by the Sea on Christmas morning 1931. Written by my step-mother, who was born March 26, 1856, Rosalee King Atkinson. Mary Atkinson Russel
Extracted from Florida Times-Union Homes Editor, Maynard Eilers
"How Silent, Satilla, past the hill crest,
Where Linda in all her beauty stands,
Keep thou her secrets within thy breasts,
Hide them within thy sacred sands." By Judge O. T. Gower.
The winding Satilla River, which until a few months ago had almost completely dried up, has one indelible memory to its past; the Plantation Linda (a Castillian word meaning beautiful. Built in 1857, the white plantation with a red roof and a huge downstairs porch that completely encircles the main building is not a museum or a private residence, or an abandoned relic of bygone days.
It is, instead, the Satilla River River Club, a private club owned by 100 Georgia and Florida residents. Most of them live in Macon, where the club was founded 60 years ago, but a half-dozen or so are from Jacksonville, a 80 minute drive away. Each member owns one share in the club, paying yearly dues, and members can reserve the plantation for $5 a night person, and $9.50 a day for more home cooked food than one ever could hope to eat. The house sleeps about 30 in six bedrooms, but only one group usually is permitted to reserve the club at once. (Prices, undoubtedly, are out of date.)
Imagine spending a quiet weekend at your very own plantation, fishing, tubing walking around the 250 heavily wooded acres or just plain doing nothing. "The busiest times of year are in the spring and summer, so our vacation is over," said L. C. Smith the caretaker of the plantation who lives in a house next door and caters to the needs of the members. "We get all kinds here; families, couples, groups of men. Only about half do any fishing here. A lot of people just come to get away from it all. Many of them set up for skeet shooting, but there's not much hunting done here."
"A lot of people take inner tubers and go upstream and then tube down the river, but that's families mostly." There is a card room with a huge fireplace, and a dice table and a ping pong table on the porch. Adjacent to a dozen or so rocking chairs that look out on the river there is a game, brought by a member from Bimini, where a player swings a small metal ring attached to a piece of string and tries to attach it to a hook about 15 feet away. It is almost like work when one compares it to the lazy, carefree existence of Satilla.
For the more energetic there are eight small boats that can be taken out for fishing or sightseeing on the quiet river, where most of the adjacent land is marshy and where the water is dark brown due to the tannic acid from trees that overhand the river banks.
Meals are served promptly at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. on the end of the porch nearest the kitchen (an antique bell is rung 20 minutes before meals and again at mealtime). A typical fare (meal) recently:
Saturday Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, fried eggs, bacon, grits, toast, pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, orange juice, and coffee.
Sunday Lunch: Ham, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, greens, creamed corn, sliced tomatoes, rice and gravy, biscuits, cornbread, ice tea, and chocolate cake.
Friday Dinner: Pork chops, rice and gravy, butter beans, squash, cabbage, corn bread, biscuits, iced tea, home made butterscotch pudding.
The food is served family style much like it would have been served in 1796, when West Sheffield settled in the area and built his first home out of logs on the bluff overlooking Shell Bank. Sheffield and his second wife, Elizabeth Randall, are buried about 70 yards north of the main house.
James Fort moved to Georgia in 1800, and his daughter married Stephen Clay King, who built a brick home on the site and then 125 years ago, built LINDA PLANTATION. Most of the material was imported from Liverpool, England.