Dover Hall Plantation
by Amy Hedrick
with research help from Harriet Ozell
While traveling the less
beaten path, don't you sometimes wonder, "What was this land like before
my time?". Throughout Glynn County are numerous stretches of road
that are nothing but pine tree farms today, yet hidden behind the trees,
possibly even a mile or more away from the paved road, are hidden portals
to our past.
One such area stretches for
over 2000 acres along US Hwy. 99 in Glynn County. This particular
part of Hwy. 99 that I am talking about runs north and south between Hwy.
82 and Hwy. 32. Along this road were several large plantations,
including a small town called Bethel. Hidden amongst these pine tree
forests are old cemeteries, homes, and ruins of a once prosperous farming
But Dover Hall has more than
just a plantation lure, it has the lure of the sporting world under it's
belt too. Let's start with its namesake, Thomas Dover, whose
name can be found in many early 1800 court documents in Glynn County.
Upon his death in 1845, Thomas' household furnishings alone totaled
over $26,000, his
inventory was valued at $20,850. All of his property,
according to his will,
was left to his nephew William Dover Jenkins.
Thomas Dover was
buried on his property, along with
two other men. Curious that no other graves have been found on this
particular piece of the property. No mention of Thomas Dover
having children has been uncovered by me, but a deed that can be found in
Book G page 117 lists him and a wife Catherine. What happened
to her in later years? Is she buried in this small cemetery too?
A record of Mrs. Dover dying was found by my cemetery buddy,
Chrissy Chapman, that states: Dover, Mrs., d. 6-26-1829
at Dover Hall, Glynn Co., wife of Thomas Dover, Esq. Ath 7-7-1829;
SP 7-11-1829/DG 7-1-1829" [Marriages and Deaths 1820- 1830
-Abstracted from extant Georgia Newspapers" by Mary B. Warren/Sarah F.
If we can read between the
lines, we may find that Thomas quite possibly had a daughter named
Catherine Dover who married Charles E. Flynn. After
all, he gave her 10 slaves and 2200 acres of land in consideration of her
"good wishes and friendship."
died and the property was then conveyed to Leighton Wilson Hazlehurst,
who in turn sold it to George W. Wright. During George's
tenure, we get our first bit of history making news involving Dover Hall,
that of the Union soldiers
shelling the area upon receiving word that some Confederate
soldiers may be camped in the area. With no regard to women or
children, they let loose their cannons, in what may have really only been
for sport due to the lack of skirmishes they were expecting to find in
After George's death,
his son George Jr. acquired the land and after his death, the land
was sold to the Dover Hall Club in 1916. It is after this date, that
things became lively once again on the Dover Hall lands.
Many locals may not know this,
but Dover Hall was slated to be one of the largest baseball training camps
in the U.S., spearheaded by Col. T.L. Huston, whose home still
stands on Butler Island. Many sporting luminaries came to Brunswick
to fish, hunt, and generally have a good time. Such baseball heroes
as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth made this their winter stomping
grounds. Click here to read
Mysteries still abound for me
concerning Dover Hall Plantation. A big mystery is
Cemetery Island at the tip of a
peninsula jutting into the Turtle River. One newspaper article
called this island "Shadow Island" where the slaves from Dover Hall were
buried. From all of the deeds chronicling the many plantations in
this area, you would think there would be more cemeteries and ruins.
However, no one has spoken up yet about any such finds.
Today, Dover Hall is slated
for development. Hopefully through this research, and the help of a
few friends, we may soon find new discoveries on this once spectacular and
very historic piece of Glynn County history.