« PreviousContinue »
to have preserved some kind of miraculous | There he caused himself to be launched in
consciousness during all this time, he had himself carried all over Great Britain on the shoulders of his companions. The monks paraded him through Scotland for several years. He at length made a halt at Norham, whence he went to Melrose, where he consented to rest for a short time.
a stone coffin upon the Tweed, and in this he came to Tilmouth. The boat still lies, or did fifty years ago, in two pieces before the ruined chapel at Tilmouth, and being ten feet long, three and a half feet broad, and but four inches thick, might easily, with some assistance, have floated. From Til
of their greater heat; its soil, of sand and shell "hammock," precludes the fear of malarious influences; and the fresh breezes of the Atlantic which blow through its quiet woods bring not only repose and healing, but life and vigor as well.
The island of Fort George received its name from a fortification of some kind, probably not very considerable, which stood in colonial times upon a point of land on the northern shore, built to withstand attacks from the Spanish, who were similarly fortified at Fernandina. Some slight remains of earth-works alone show where it stood.
This island, lying very near the shore, forms one side of the mouth of the St. John's. It is about twenty-five miles from Jacksonville, well known as the largest and most important town in Florida, and is the gate-way to its various points of interest, and is distant from Fernandina eighteen or twenty miles. From the former town the steamer "Water Lily" makes a daily trip to the island. Four days of sea voyage by way of Charleston bring the traveler here directly from New York.
The island has an area of some twelve hundred acres of low wooded plateau, surrounded mostly by a band of salt meadow of varying width, beyond which, on the east
ern and southern sides, three or four miles of fine beach stretch along the sea. Toward the northern end the land rises somewhat irregularly, culminating in Mount Cornelia, the highest point on the coast south of Cape Hatteras. An observatory upon its summit, one hundred and fifty feet above the sea, affords a superb view of the island and the surrounding country, and the Government is about to establish here a Signal Service station, connected by telegraph with Jacksonville and Fernandina.
For long years before the war, the island was owned and occupied by one family, who had received it from the crown, and about one-half its surface was cleared and under cultivation, chiefly in cotton and sugar. When the progress of the war and the emancipation of the negroes broke up this industry, the place fell into decay; the family became impoverished and removed elsewhere; such of the negroes as were able went away to seek for something better; the old and feeble and the very young, ignorant and unthrifty and unable by themselves to make much of the new boon of freedom, fell into sore want and distress, and the island went rapidly to ruin and desolation.
About eight years ago, however, it was purchased by a gentleman from the North,
ing the wilderness once more blossom as the rose. Orange-groves are taking the place of the old plantations of sugar, cotton and rice, giving, so far, the fairest promise of success. That the climate is also adapted to other tropical fruit is shown by the fact that upon the neighboring island of Talbot, having similar soil, is a group of ancient fig-trees, some of which have attained the size of twenty inches in diameter, and last year yielded a crop of two hundred bushels of fruit. Orchards of peach and plum trees, blooming luxuriantly in February, yield later their abundant fruits; grapes, strawberries and mulberries find here a soil and climate well adapted to their growth. Clearings in the woods have made place for the pleasant homes of the few new owners of the soil, for that northern energy which in all parts of Florida is awakening a new life and hope for the future of the state is here blended with taste and culture,-and "The Cedars," "The Oaks," "The Bend," "The Moorings," are seats of a simple,refined and healthful life. A pleasant, home-like hotel affords excellent accommodation for
PALMETTO AVENUE, FORT GEORGE ISLAND.
who fitted up the old mansion for the dwelling of his family; supplied work, help and protection for the two or three scores of colored inhabitants; secured to himself neighbors by selling out some portions of the land, and entered upon the task of mak