|Bullhead Bluff (unincorporated county).
Map of Bullhead Bluff in Silco District
General Highway Map of Camden County, Georgia. Available through the Camden County Courthouse 912-576-5601
Located off of Hwy. 110 near the Charlton County border, Bullhead Bluff is nestled against the south side of the Satilla River.
In an area commonly referred to as Silco, Bullhead Bluff is a small
community of families, many of whom have lived here for generations.
Camden's Challenge mentions that a Georgia Militia detachment under the
command of Lt. John Gray was stationed out at Bullhead Bluff during the
1790's as defense against Indian raids. (CC p25)
There were numerous timber mills located nearby – including Owen's Ferry
and Burnt Fort. In fact, the railroad owned and operated by the Suwannee
Canal Company went from the Okefenokee Swamp in Charlton County to Bullhead
Bluff. (CC p64)
Bullhead Bluff Plantation was originally owned by Joseph
Thomas, Sr. He
deeded the property to his son, Joseph, Jr. in 1829. I'm not sure what
happened to these Josephs, but my guess is that they are related to
Eliza Thomas, who married D. Britton Manning; that would certainly explain how the
Mannings got a foothold in Bullhead. (CC p36)
Photo to right of Montfort Island, Near Bullhead Bluff, on the Satilla
The Manning Family
Since the mid-1800's the Manning family has owned much of the land out there. Over the years the original plantation has been subdivided into smaller and smaller pieces. Many families of
Mannings still call Bullhead Bluff home. In addition, the Manning family cemetery is still in use and is one of the few well-maintained private cemeteries in the county.
Manning I have a record for is Damon Britton Manning (5/30/1860-1/24/1936),
the husband of Eliza Thomas (8/18/1864-9/4/1949), they are both buried in Brazell Cemetery, south of Kingsland. Was
Eliza Thomas a daughter of Joseph Thomas, Jr.?
Damon Britton, Sr. and Eliza were the parents of:
Damon Britten Manning, Jr. (June 02, 1893 - December 30, 1971 Manning Cemetery - MC)
married Bertha Bennett (October 20, 1898 - February 06, 1975 MC). They were the parents of several children, including, but not limited to:
King David Manning (January 14, 1899 - November 07, 1989 MC) King
David was the father of
Carroll Manning who married Mary Alice
R. Owen Manning (died May 2000 MC) who married Mary
Newton Allen Manning (died 1998 MC) who married Ida C.
(April 19, 1933-December 27, 1994 MC).
Ford Damon Manning (February 02, 1921- January 08, 1992 MC) married
- Coey C. Manning (September 11, 1922- February 01, 1989 Colesburg Cemetery) married
- William A. Manning (December 20, 1926- April 04, 1996 MC) married
Reabozo "Bea" Gibbs.
Clifford Murphy Manning (April 02, 1933-present) married Teresia Ulrich.
Bernice Manning (September 05, 1935- February 26, 1997) married _____ Reed.
Darling Britten Manning (November 23, 1930-February 01, 1988 MC).
(These are not necessarily in order.)
There's another old cemetery at Bullhead that has a very interesting story behind it.
Robert Stafford was a wealthy plantation owner on Cumberland Island. After the Civil War his slaves, of course, had to be freed. Some of them ended up settling around Bullhead Bluff. The cemetery goes by many names including "Stafford, Gibbs, and Silco." It's right off of Bullhead
Bluff Road (on the north side) but as it's in the woods it isn't noticeable from the road. It's in terrible shape. Several times the river has flooded the cemetery and caused the coffins to rise out of the ground. County workers put them back but of course the damage to the stones is great. Most graves aren't legible anymore. Many of these freedmen took on the surname of
Stafford. While I could not find any marked Stafford graves when I visited the cemetery in 1998
or 1999, Mary Bullard, in her book, "Robert Stafford of Cumberland Island" writes that she found many
Stafford graves when she visited in 1988.
She writes: "A Freedmen's Cemetery
In Camden County on the south side of the Great Satilla River, there is a freedmen's cemetery, where nearly all the surnames are
Stafford. On a fine autumn day
in September 1988 the author visited Bull Head Bluff, where Owen Manning, its present owner, runs a hunting camp. The land is little changed from how it looked in 1880, when a large number of ex-Stafford slaves allegedly settled nearby.
Manning said that in the early 1890s the economy of Camden County was boosted by timber interests in nearby Charlton County. The Suwanee Canal Company built a railroad to Bull Head Bluff from its
sawmill at Camp Cornelia on the edge of the Okefenoke (sic) Swamp. Once a thriving terminal for lumber steamers coming up from St. Andrews Sound, Bull Head Bluff provided plenty of employment. According to
Manning's father, the nearby black settlement found work at Bull Head Bluff as stevedores and loaders. They were "all named
Staffords lie buried in an old cemetery near what is left of their settlement. Some of the names are still visible on gravestones:
Grant Stafford was the eldest (perhaps renamed after
General Grant?), Peter Stafford, Isaciah (sic)
Stafford, Retha Stafford, Gus Stafford,
Lonnie Stafford, Lish Stafford, Birdie
Lee Stafford, Nathaniel Stafford, Cora
Stafford, Pollie Stafford, and Janie Stafford.
Manning's father remembered how the Stafford settlement used tubs and barrels for drums. He often listened to them drumming: "They played the drums very well; it was impressive." When the author visited Bull Head Bluff in 1988, Stafford Road was only a rough track, near Silco. Almost nothing remains of their homes. I am indebted to
Richard Owen Manning of Bull Head Bluff and Folkston, Georgia, for my visit."
I have heard the area referred to as "Plum Orchard." As there was a Plum Orchard on Cumberland this would support the theory that freed Cumberland slaves settled at Bullhead.
Cattle Fever - babesiosis
Photo by M Jean Manning 1998-2001 ©
In the first half of the 20th century, the federal and state governments worked together (can you believe it?) to eradicate the ticks which cause "cattle fever." To that end, thousands of "tick or cow dipping vats" were constructed. The only one left in Camden County is at Bullhead Bluff.
From the USDA APHIS website: "Begun in 1907, the Cattle Fever Tick Eradication Program (CFTEP) was the first cooperative state-federal eradication effort. In 1943, the two species of Cattle Fever Ticks (CFTs), Boophilus annulatus and B. microplus, were eradicated from the U.S.,
with the exception of a permanent quarantine zone between Texas and Mexico. Today, this "buffer" zone extends over 500 miles from Del Rio, TX to the Gulf of Mexico and is 200 yards to 6 miles wide. Outbreaks outside of the zone are rare. Premises found to be infested with CFTs are placed under quarantine for six to nine months, depending on the time of year."
Generally, the vats were constructed of concrete. The cattle were walked through the vat, which was filled with arsenic. Today, arsenic is no longer used on cattle and the tick which causes cattle fever has been eradicated. Unfortunately, it is still prevalent in Mexico where it regularly crosses the border. However, due to constant monitoring, the ticks have so far not regained any of their territory. Unfortunately, it looks like they may be growing resistant to current pesticides.
From Tektran's (United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service) web site:
Cattle mortality rate from babesiosis was roughly 50% before the introduction of the tick dipping vats. Symptoms of infection among cattle provided by UCSB Office of Research: (definitions provided by www.dictionary.com )
"Many animals show only mild fever and recover spontaneously. Deaths, which occur
commonly in cattle, are due to either anemic anoxia (deficiency of oxygen in red blood cells) or pulmonary thrombosis (blood clots in the lungs). Other lesions (wounds) stem from the hemolysis (destruction or dissolution of red blood cells, with subsequent release of hemoglobin) and include enlarged spleen, liver, and hemoglobin uric nephrosis (blood in the urine caused by kidney disease and/or failure)."
Clearly, tick/cow dipping vats served a vital role in the safe keeping of not only the cattle but of Camden Countians livelihoods.