Inger and Jeff Latreille
Jekyll Island History
~Friday, November 5, 2021~
There were coastal flood and gale warnings posted last night into Sunday and we’re pretty darn close to the ocean. So I’m not nervous at all….no, no, no. 😳(kidding) The north section of the island (not where we are), is supposed to get the brunt of it. Our campsite has a bit of a low lying section so hopefully we aren’t walking in water in the morning. We were a bit disappointed that with it being our last day, we weren’t able to tour again on bikes, so we used the next best thing…….Hank. It was that or staying in all day which likely would have driven us stir crazy with all the rain.
Despite the downpour, we took a drive to the south side of the island to visit The Wanderer Memory Trail at
the St. Andrews Point picnic area. There were a few other die-hards out there taking in this part of Jekyll Island history of which we knew nothing about before today. The memorial is dedicated to the roughly 400 enslaved Africans
who were illegally captured and shipped to the United States via The Wanderer vessel and became one of the most controversial moments in Jekyll Island history. As we walked along the path with Sadie, we were reminded just how brutal this institution was.
After the ship’s heyday of racing in the mid 1800’s, William Corrie of South Carolina purchased the schooner, already scheming with friends to convert it to a slave cargo ship. Mind you, Congress had already prohibited the foreign importation of slaves into the United States in 1808, though they were still sold and transported within the boundaries of the U.S. Landing in Africa he seized close to 500 slaves, where he eluded capture due to his fast vessel. Two months later they landed at St. Andrews Sound, at the south end of Jekyll Island. As you might imagine, many slaves perished along the way due to minimal rations of water, food and unsanitary conditions. This would be Georgia’s last slave ship and the last known group of enslaved Africans sold into captivity in America. Many were sold throughout The South where Corrie saw a profit to be made in the outlawed slave trade, collecting up to $600 for each slave. He would later use that money to refurbish his ship for pleasure use. The boat had changed hands several times until it was captured by the Union Army during the Civil War to supply blockade ships and dispatch important messages. Her final voyage was used during the Indian Fruit Trade until crashing into rocks near Cuba, gone forever.
After this disturbing piece about Jekyll Island, we needed a break, so we decided to check out the Mosaic Jekyll Island Museum but they were getting ready to close. Another time I guess. Instead we went to the shopping area known as Beach Village with a number of boutiques, eateries, general stores, and candy shops. They happened to have a “Life is Good” store, one of our favorite t-shirt stores. The last time we were in one was in Key West. In 1994, after five years of just so-so sales and just $78 left to their names, brothers Bert and John Jacobs designed their first Life is Good t-shirts, and the rest is history. Little did we know they had published a book by the same name. And since I saw my hubby checking it out, Santa’s helpers are on alert!
After perusing a few shops, we stopped into the also recommended Wee Pub Beach for a delicious MudSlide for me and a Jekyll Island Punch for Jeff. And we both weren’t in the mood to cook this rainy day, so we decided to add an early dinner to our visit. I had delicious fish tacos and Jeff had a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. Jeff couldn’t remember the last time he had one of those, so he was definitely savoring every bite.