Historic Markers Across Georgia



Horton House Historic Site - the French Emigre'



Marker ID:  
Location: Riverview Drive near Major Horton Road, Jekyll Island, GA
County: Glynn
Coordinates: N 31° 6.108    W 081° 24.921
  31.1018    -81.41535
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMGPYG
Horton House Historic Site - the French Emigre' Marker  



Text:

By the end of the 18th century, William Horton's small farm had become a large and prosperous plantation. After Horton's death, the island had several owners prior to the arrival of Christophe Anne Poulain du Bignon in 1791.

Christophe du Bignon was born in Brittany, France in 1739 to a poor noble family. His life was forever changed when his family sent him to sea at age 10 to work for the French India Company. Life at sea is not easy for a young boy, but Christophe grew up learning a trade that would provide great returns for him in this adult life.

Christophe stayed with the French India Company until it was disbanded in 1769. He continued with this profession and joined the merchant marines as a captain. This position took du Bignon around the world, but most importantly to the island of Mauritius, a French colony off the coast of Africa. There he met and married Marguerite Anne Lossieux Du Jong de Boisquenay in 1778.


Leaving life at sea in 1784, the du Bignon family settled into a comfortable life in France. After working at sea for 35 years, at age 45, Christophe had been able to accumulate a small fortune, which bought the family their home, La Grande Ville-Harvé, in Lamballe.

This happiness and settled life did not last long however, as by 1789 the French Revolution was under way. As part of the merchant nobility, Christophe was not safe in France. Fortunately, an encounter in 1790 with Francois Marie Loys Dumoussay de la Vauve forever changed the du Bignon family's history.


The Sapelo Company
Dumoussay was the man behind the organization of the Sapelo Company. A group of Frenchman were in the process of acquiring land in America consisting of a large number of the islands off the coast of Georgia. Du Bignon was very excited about this opportunity and wasted little time investing in this venture. It would allow for du Bignon to move his family (a wife and two young sons), to a safer country.

Within a few years the group of Frenchmen began to quarrel, and before the venture collapsed, du Bignon exchanged properties and removed himself from any future disputes in the seperation of properties. Christophe du Bignon was the sole owner of Jekyll Island by 1800.

This family made everlasting changes to the island for nearly the next century.

Erected by Friends of Historic Jekyll Island, Inc., Jekyll Island Museum.



 

Horton House Historic Site - the French Emigre'


 

063-A34