2021 Virtual Kingsley Heritage Celebration

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19 minutes, 17 seconds

A youth created joint project by Groundwork Jacksonville Green Team, Timucuan Parks Foundation, Jacksonville Arts and Music School, and the National Park Service to tell the stores of enslaved people at Kingsley Plantation.

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15 minutes, 30 seconds

A youth created joint project by Groundwork Jacksonville Green Team, Timucuan Parks Foundation, Jacksonville Arts and Music School, and the National Park Service to tell the stories of enslaved people at Kingsley Plantation.


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Hello I'm ranger Emily Palmer from Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. Sadly today I'm not talking to you from our beautiful park but rather remotely so all that's behind me is a wooden wall rather than a maritime forest. We've had to change a lot of things up this year including how we go about ranger programming this has extended to our 2021 Kingsley Heritage Celebration I have had the privilege of attending over a decade's worth of Kingsley Heritage Celebrations. The event has attracted thousands of people over the years from a gathering of the descendant community of both free and enslaved peoples to a celebration of the rich cultural legacy of the plantation era this event has taken many forms this year it's going to take a digital one join us as we mark the event with ranger demonstrations descendant podcasts a very special project debut from the Jacksonville green team and more the last two Saturdays in February the event will be posted to our social media platforms which thank you for joining me if you're coming to us from our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages but it will also live on our park website at www.nps.gov/timu find the link on our homepage thank you so much for joining us and welcome to the 2021 Kingsley Heritage Celebration.

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1 minute, 47 seconds

A video welcoming people to the 2021 all virtual event.


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Hello I'm Ranger Cicely. I'm standing in front the barn at Kingsley Plantation it is made out of an oyster shell cement called tabby. The oysters may have been consumed thousands of years ago, long before European ships reached our shores. The Timucua as they are called now, were loosely related indigenous people that lived in large villages throughout northeast and central Florida and southeast Georgia they used forest materials and resources from the salt marsh to make life here dramatically shaping the land. The Timucua of this area where fish are hunter gatherers and harvested one of the most abundant and accessible animals around the oyster shells and other bits of refuge were piled together forming large trash heaps called shell middens by studying them we learned important details about Timucua culture sometime later the middens also served as raw materials for enslaved Africans to create structures like this one although the Timucua are not here to speak for themselves their impacts are long-lasting and provide a record of life pre-imposed European contact and long before the establishment of Kingsley Plantation.

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1 minute, 15 seconds

Before enslaved people built structures out of tabby there were Timucuans leaving behind oyster shells. Learn the story behind the story with Ranger Cici.


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in beautiful Jacksonville Florida. Today I'm coming to you from our museum curatorial facility and because this is federal property I will be wearing my mask throughout this presentation this facility houses thousands of artifacts related to our preserve including many artifacts that are related to one of the more important and interesting aspects of Fort George island's history the Spanish mission period.

(wind) Native American people lived on what we know today as Fort George island for thousands of years they established their own life ways their own culture their own linguistic traits. Those began to change in the mid 16th century with European contact in 1565 the Spanish established Saint Augustine just down the coast from us here soon thereafter the catholic church and the Spanish government made it a priority to begin to missionize the indigenous people in this region. In 1587 the Franciscan order of the catholic church established the mission doctrina San Juan del Puerto on the western banks of Fort George island it was a rather large mission system it served up to nine smaller missions called visitas in the region at any given time spanish records have told us that there were as many as 500 native americans being served by this mission on Fort George island uh it was uh it lasted until 1702 when it was attacked and destroyed by British militia on their way to lay siege to Saint Augustine this makes it one of the longest lasting and largest missions within the Spanish system in North America.

We are now inside the museum curatorial facility here at Timucuan Preserve this is the room that stores and curates thousands of artifacts that are related to the Timucuan Preserve many of these artifacts are related to the mission San Juan del Puerto throughout the years lots of archaeology has been conducted on Fort George island to determine the whereabouts and the precise location of San Juan del Puerto some of that was avocational archaeology meaning amateur some of it was professional archaeology being conducted by the national park service or the University of Florida or the state of Florida we can learn from all of it though and we have several artifacts that really do demonstrate the cultural change that the mission represented perhaps the most interesting artifact we have here in the collection is a collection of lenten sermons that was published in 1474. this particular book was found buried in a shell midden on Fort George island it is almost certainly associated with San Juan del Puerto it certainly fits the time frame of interest is a handwritten inscription of the marginalia uh dated 25 October 1579 it is in Latin uh we had it sort of roughly translated and roughly what this Latin phrase says is live as if you will die tomorrow love as if you will live forever dated 25 October 1579 the fact that it was found at Fort George island on the site of San Juan del Puerto buried in a shell midden is remarkable but it is a a great story and uh and a very interesting artifact next we have a representation of a war club that was found in 1955 by William Jones uh an avocational archaeologist it's about two feet long and represents the Alimacani or Timucua culture of the site at the mission period.

One of the primary missions of the National Park Service is to protect and preserve artifacts such as these as well as to interpret the history of these sites the San Juan del Puerto mission represents a clash of cultures between the indigenous Native Americans and the colonial catholic missions it's one of the sites that makes the Timucuan Preserve and Fort George island so interesting.

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4 minutes, 33 seconds

A ranger presentation about the Spanish Mission San Juan del Puerto on Fort George island, and some of the artifacts associated with the archaeological site.


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In the 1730s when the Spanish and British were battling for territory British general

James Oglethorpe established several fortifications on the barrier islands along the southeast


Fort St George which is located here on Fort George island was an earthwork and a palisade.

The continued harassment from the Spanish proved to make this fortification uh too challenging

for the British to maintain.

As we all try hard to maintain a work-life balance, so did the soldiers those that were

posted at Fort Frederica uh to the north of here on fort on St Simon's island um may have

spent time in some of the local watering holes along with the town's civilians singing well-known

tavern songs right here we have Carey who is dressed as a musician in James Oglethorpe's

42nd regiment of foot he's dressed in an orange uniform with a light green or pea green lapels

and a tricorn hat uh my name is Ted and I'm dressed um as July he was a free African who

led a group of uh negro and indian scouts along with the Oglethorpe's forces.

I'm dressed um in a knee-high white breeches I've got a brown poncho I have a brown bess

musket and a tri corn hat I also have my ammo box here with me I must have that if you're

a soldier I have a

and I'm Susie and I'm dressed as a tavern keeper's wife I'm wearing a green flowered

jacket a linen apron with stripes on it and a red skirt.

We're going to perform now one of the very well-known British 18th century tavern songs

about one of the most popular beverages of choice it's entitled

Nottingham Ale. (fife music begins)

When Venus, the goddess of beauty and love

Arose from the froth that swam on the sea Minerva sprang out of the cranium of Jove

A coy, sullen dame as most mortals agree But Bacchus, they tell us, that prince of good

fellows Was Jupiter's son, pray attend my tale They who thus chatter mistake quite the

matter He sprang from a barrel of Nottingham Ale Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale

No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No

liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale You bishops and curates, priests, deacons and

vicars When once you have tasted, you all must agree That Nottingham Ale is the best

of all liquors And none understands a good creature like thee.

It dispels every vapor, saves pen, ink and paper For when you've a mind in your pulpit

to rail It'll open your throats, you may preach without notes When inspired with a bumper

of Nottingham Ale.

Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale

Ye poets who pray on the Hellican brooke The nectar of Gods and the juice of the vine,

You say none can write well except they invoke The friendly assistance of one of the Nine.

His liquor surpassed the streams of Parnassus That nectar, Ambrosia, on which Gods regale

Experience will show it, naught makes a good poet Like quantum sufficients of Nottingham Ale

Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale

And you doctors, who more executions have done With powder and potion and bolus and

pill Than hangman with halter, or soldier with gun Miser with famine or lawyer with

quill To dispatch us the quicker, you forbid us malt liquor Till our bodies consume, and

our faces grow pale Let him mind you, who pleases, what cures all diseases A plentiful

glass of good Nottingham Ale.

Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale Nottingham Ale, me boys, Nottingham Ale No liquor on earth is like Nottingham Ale

Well thanks for joining us and come visit us at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

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6 minutes, 4 seconds

The short-lived British fort, which gives Fort George island it's name is explored here in a musical fashion. Rangers Ted and Susie, accompanied by volunteer Carey, sing the tavern song Nottingham Ale. Image description: The costumed trio stand inside in front of a white fireplace with dishes and props along the mantle.


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Hi I'm Susie and I'm standing here in the kitchen of the Fort George clubhouse which is the visitor center for Kingsley Plantation. It is a kitchen much like any other with a stove and a sink and well in our case two refrigerators. Now you may remember me from our previous uh festival the virtual harvest day when I did a demonstration on how indigo was produced. Well today I'm going to show you a technique that you can do in your own home this is wax resist and wax resist fabrics were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries and I will do a simple version of it that that you can try out yourself. So let's get started you'll need white cotton fabric, beeswax, vinegar a dye like turmeric, mask to cover your face so you don't inhale the powder old pans, old utensils, ones you won't use to prepare food again paper pencil and a paintbrush, and if you have it some craft paper to cover your surface an apron and gloves

A tablespoon of powdered turmeric will be enough to dye a handkerchief sized piece of cloth a rich orangey yellow add a quarter cup of vinegar to that powder mix the two into a paste

and then add enough water to cover your cloth about two or three cups

We've reached the design phase it helps to draw a cartoon of what you want your project to look like in my case i love polka dots so I drew polka dots in an offset pattern of threes and twos and then drew a line on either side of those dots.

Fill a pot with water and then place the container with your wax over it in my case an old plastic food container the water doesn't need to be boiling it just needs to be hot enough to melt the wax the wax will be clear when it's ready.

Once your wax is ready carefully take it to your paper covered work surface and place it on a potholder dab the wax onto the fabric along the lines that you drew then flip the fabric over and apply wax along the same lines and dots in my case put your fabric in an embroidery hoop if you have one that way your fabric won't stick to the paper when you go to wax the other side which happened to me. Another method is to crumple up your cloth and dip all of it into the wax then let the wax harden and crumple it up again this will make a kind of neat crinkly pattern for a final product.

Place your wax covered fabric into your die pot and push down to completely submerge the cloth swish it around a little to make sure the dye gets all of the fabric put on your gloves first unless you want yellow fingernails for the next few days... like me. Let the fabric rest in the dye solution overnight then the next day remove the cloth from the dye pot and give it a good rinse then let it dry. The easiest way to remove the wax is to get out your iron grab some craft paper and place it on your ironing board lay your fabric on the paper then layer more paper on top of the fabric, put your iron on a low setting and use it to melt the wax off of the cloth, the melting wax will stick to the paper so you'll need to refresh your paper occasionally, this will take about five to ten minutes.

Here are my finished products I'm absolutely delighted one cloth is a golden yellow with white polka dots and stripes and the other cloth is the color of butter and has paler splotches running across the fabric not bad for a first try there are many ways you can show off a prized piece of cloth in the 18th century ladies might have used a wax resist dyed cloth as a neck handkerchief for a pop of color and for modesty, maybe you'll use yours as a bandana or for a small bag or maybe you'll turn it into a new mask like I did.

At any rate stay safe and tell us in the comments what you'll be doing with your piece of cloth thank you.

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5 minutes, 7 seconds

Ranger Susie demonstrates the steps of making a wax resist dyed piece of fabric in the ranger office at Kingsley Plantation. She repeats the historic step with modern tools so people at home can try it out.


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Hello and welcome today we'll be talking a little bit about the building technique that was used to build these slave quarters, barn and other buildings and structures here on the Kingsley Plantation that building technique is simply called tabby. Tabby's been around for hundreds if not thousands of years maybe even as far back as the Roman Empire but it was introduced to the southeast coast of the united states in about the 1580s to the St. Augustine area to make tabby you need four ingredients you need oyster shells you need sand you need water and you need lime lime being the key ingredient is the bonding agent or it's basically the glue that kind of holds everything together so lime was hard to get during that time period it had to be imported from Cuba and the cost of it and the availability of it left the settlers wanting for something different so what they come up with was making something called quick lime from oyster shells. That process takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of manpower but chemically speaking it's pretty simple what you have to do you take the oyster shells and you have to fire them but before you do that you have to build something that you can fire with so what they did they built a kiln and it's simply called a rick kiln because you're alternating layers of logs with layers of oyster shells until you get the quantity that you need it and you put logs around the outside of it and before you set it on fire you got to think a little bit ahead what are you going to do with it once you make the quick line are you going to use it right then if so you'll have to make yourself some brick molds like these if you're going to make bricks if you're going to pour it like tabby then you'll have to make something like this which is called a cradle mold if you're not going to use it as soon as you make it then you're going to have to build something to store it in and it's basically you're building barrels. So what you do you make your rick kiln you got it all put together and you set it on fire and it burns for a couple of days and hopefully what comes out the other end is something called quick lime the whole oyster shells the key component of it is something called calcium carbonate and when you subject it to an intense heat what comes out the other end is something called calcium oxide or quick lime is what uh what I have right here in this this wheelbarrow so we know that we're going to use them immediately so we're mixing it up make sure it's time fixed. (sounds of metal against wheel barrel)

and since we're going to be making bricks with it the only thing i have to add to it is sand if I was going to pour it like concrete then i would have to add whole uninspired oyster shells to it as in that grate or simply as a volume monster so since I know I'm going to be making bricks I'll mix it up give me some sand preferably river sand because beach sand is much too salty and it'll start breaking down your building in a very short time so I'll put the sand at it

mix it (sounds of scrapping metal)

a little too wet so add some more sand to it

I'm sure there's a formula for this but basically it just comes from working with it until you get the right consistency of it

can't be too thick it shouldn't be too thin

when you add water to it like I've done it changes the calcium oxide into what's called calcium hydroxide or slake lime and you know you got the mixture right if your slake line puts off heat and it starts bubbling

and it did both

and it looks like it's about mixed enough

so what I'm going to do is take my trowel and I'm going to put the slight slight lime mixture into my brick molds and you can really feel the heat coming off of it now fill it up so it's got a level at the top that you're satisfied that will make a nice brick out of.

Drying is also part of the chemical reaction now remember when we first burned it when we heated it up it burns off a carbon dioxide element which changes it from calcium carbonate into calcium oxide we added water into it and changed it to calcium hydroxide now it's absorbing carbon dioxide from the air back into the mixture and going back to the original form which is calcium carbonate, which is what we started with in the first place in the form of oyster shells. So to start with you have calcium carbonate in the form of oyster shells you have calcium carbonate in the in the building of tabby and that's the process itself. So thanks for stopping by but if you'll excuse me I got some more bricks to make.

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6 minutes, 34 seconds

Volunteer Eddie demonstrates the process of making tabby and explains the chemistry lesson behind it. This skill practiced by those enslaved at Kingsley Plantation required hard work, knowledge of the process, and building prowess. Tabby buildings tell the stories of those who built them, and the people who lived there. The largest collection of standing tabby slave cabins is at Kingsley Plantation.


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Hi I'm Herb a National Park ranger here at the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. If you look around me we're seeing many palm trees mixed in with oak, live oaks and in down behind me you'll see one of the largest oaks on the plantation. This is over 500 years old and can tell many stories about what has happened here.

On this plantation there are over 25 tabby slave cabins this is the only place in the United States that you'll find these cabins if you also look behind me with this massive live oak this is where they came to have weddings also funerals where they had sorrow in their lives and at the same time the enslaved people enjoyed song, dance, and hopeful prayers for the

future. The New York Times did a project on the 1619 research of slavery, at that time the story came up with a child that was brought here with her family, her family was sold into slavery all to different plantation owners, herself only being five came to the plantation to help a man that had a sick wife but at the same time missing all her family members, she came out to a live oak and would stand under it and start to remember each family member, their face and their names and named each branch after that as you can see this also brought her sorrow at times and happiness thinking that one day she might rejoin them. In 2004, the oak tree became the national tree of the United States so we think it has earned the right to be called a witness tree because it has experienced catastrophes, slavery, and wars so we invite you to come out to this plantation that has many witness trees and experience it yourself. We're here Wednesday through Sunday from the hours of nine till five thank you.

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2 minutes, 46 seconds

Ranger Herb explains why we use the term Witness Tree and explores some of the history these trees connect people to at Kingsley Plantation.


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Hi everybody I'm ranger Fiona and I'm here at Kingsley Plantation. Today we're near the site of the old Fort George hotel in my background we've got some tall trees and vegetation we have green grass around the landscape and we've got clear blue skies today. I'm wearing a floor-length skirt a blouse that has long sleeves and a really high neck and I've got a boater hat on top of my head you won't find many women dressed like this on Fort George island today but if we took a journey back in time this is almost exactly what the women that were on the island would have been dressed like. Around the turn of the century entrepreneurs tried to take advantage of the natural beauty and the warm climate of the island and they tried to turn this into a weekend haven for local elites and also a refuge for northerners that were trying to escape the cold weather. So all of the fashionable elites of the time would have been dressed like this when they visited the island now the neat thing about fashion is that it tells part of a national conservation story we see history woven into the trends of the time the one thing that might look different about me if we traveled back in time is my hat if this were 1880 my hat may have had feathers on on the rim or I might if I had a lot of money and really wanted to impress my friends I may have an entire taxidermy bird on top of my head. Now this was a time when people became fascinated with the outside world they viewed nature as something that was integral to your health so if you were to visit somebody's house they might have a collection of bones, shells, feathers, they might have big bay windows that let in lots of natural light they may have a plant collection and this fascination with the outdoor world also translated into fashion which is where the plumed hat craze came into play. Now the problem with this fascination with plumed hats is that it exploited and plundered bird populations bird populations across the us but especially in Florida were absolutely decimated. If you were a plume hunter during this time you were making a lot of money because at one point plumes were worth more than twice their weight in gold but this was a bad thing for birds because if you were to walk down a street in any major city at that time you might see more birds on people's hats than you would have seen in the trees.

In 1888 the Fort George hotel burned down and dreams of turning the island into a booming tourist economy faded away and around the same time we start to see a national conservation movement pick up steam people were reading about all of the destruction of native bird populations and some people were so disturbed that they decided that they would do something about it and two of these women were Boston socialites named Harriet Hemingway and Minna B. Hall the two decided that they would host tea parties and when they invited women over to these tea parties they would encourage them to boycott wearing plumed hats at the same time they encouraged them to join a society that would advocate for the protection of birds the two soon established the Massachusetts Audubon society and local state and national organizations soon followed and this is the same Audubon society that we know and is still active to this day. In the early 1900s birds began to gain some protection that were there were laws that were put into place that protected birds you see Theodore Roosevelt establishing the first wildlife refuge in the united states right here in Florida and states begin to imply employ game wardens the laws that protected birds were great but if you didn't have anybody there to enforce them it didn't really mean much because some wild areas in Florida were basically like the wild west one of these game wardens was employed in south Florida and his name was Guy Bradley while on the job trying to protect birds Guy Bradley was murdered by two plume hunters so he effectively lost his life for the cause the two that were accused of murdering him were acquitted of the charge and this made national headlines and it caused outrage across the country. Soon after in 1918 you see the introduction of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and this remains to this day one of the strongest protections for migratory birds luckily for us we have all of these early conservationists to thank for their work in helping to protect birds and today Fort George island is protected mostly as park service property so if you visit the island today you can see a lot of natural birds thriving in their natural habitat and the neat thing about this story is that this is a conservation story that was started by a few women organizing tea parties and we see over 400 local chapters of the Audubon Society to this day.

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5 minutes, 8 seconds

Discover a tale of conservation in the resort era of the island history.


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Good afternoon. I'm Corinne and I would like to welcome you to Fort George island. I'm standing on a sandy trail in a forested area I'm wearing my full National Park Service uniform complete with my flat hat. I have my gray backpack because I'm going to be continuing my hike in just a few minutes. A visit to Fort George island provides opportunities to learn about history to recreate and to improve wellness in 1989 the state of Florida purchased this property to preserve its ecology and history there are two places to learn about history on the island one is Kingsley Plantation part of Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, the other is the Ribault Club part of Fort George island's Cultural state park. Kingsley Plantation offers an audio tour where you can learn about the history of the site the Ribault club offers an exhibit where you can learn the story of the six thousand plus years of human history that took place on this barrier island there are also many opportunities for recreation including water-based recreation the Ribault club has a small boat landing where you can launch a small boat a paddle board or a kayak there's also a three mile loop boat through the island the fairway loop trail will take you through the former Fort George golf course where visitors to the Ribault club could play the nine holes during the 1920s. Today the golf course is returning to its natural state as the forest reclaims it the trail provides sweeping marsh views and is popular among birders. Keep an eye and an ear open for night herons and warblers. Spending time in nature may also improve wellness many studies have shown that time in nature can reduce anxiety lessen stress and can help people solve problems more cooperatively and creatively. Kingsley Plantation has benches throughout the grounds where you can sit and take in the natural setting of this island in your own way when visiting Fort George island we ask that you follow the principles of leave no trace.

By planning ahead and preparing it's always a good idea to pack insect repellent water and snacks we also ask that you dispose of waste properly respect wildlife and leave the forest as you found it for more information visit Timucuan Preserve's webpage or the Florida state park webpage. Happy

Trails. (Ranger walks off)

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3 minutes, 30 seconds

A trailside talk with Ranger Corinne on the educational & recreational opportunities found on Fort George Island. 1989-Today


Last updated: February 26, 2021

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