Jekyll Island

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Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island
Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island is an island off the coast of the U.S. state of Georgia, in Glynn County; it is one of the Sea Islands and one of Golden Isles of Georgia. The city of Brunswick, Georgia, the Marshes of Glynn, and several other islands, including the larger St. Simon's Island, are nearby. Its beaches are frequented by vacationers, and a number of old mansions that once belonged to famous millionaires of the past are tourist attractions. Jekyll Island is also a National Historic Landmark district.



The Spanish (1566-1686)

Creek Indians were the first occupants of Jekyll Island. The called it "Ospo" and the territory "Guale". The Spanish came to Jekyll in 1566, and attempted to conquer the land and convert the Indians. They established a mission constructed of tabby, called San Buenaventura. The first dogs were brought by the Spanish friars, who improved the Indians farming techniques. The British attacked the island and destroyed the mission in 1680 and drove off the Spanish and the Indians.

Pirates (1686-1733)

Pirates roamed the sea lanes off the island preying on ships. The best known pirate of these days was Blackbeard, who supposedly buried much treasure on the island.

The British (1736-1783)

General James Oglethorpe established Fort Frederica on St. Simons Island in 1736. He built a tabby outpost and renamed Ospo Island to Jekyll, in honor of one of his sponsors, Sir Joseph Jekyll. During this period, Oglethorpe's aide, Captain William Horton, built his permanent home of tabby.

On November 28, 1858, fifty years after the importation of slaves to the United States was made illegal, the ship The Wanderer landed on Jekyll Island with 465 slaves. This is generally thought to be the last shipment of slaves from Africa to arrive in the United States.

In 1899, what is thought to be the first condominium in the USA was built on Jekyll Island. It was known as Sans Succi or Sans Souci (meaning "without worry" or "without care") and also is known as the J. P. Morgan Cottage. It was built by members of the Jekyll Island Club and it had six appartments.

On January 25, 1915 the first transcontinental telephone call was made between Theodore Newton Vail (president of AT&T) at Jekyll Island, Alexander Graham Bell in New York, Bell's assistant Thomas Watson in San Francisco, California, and President Woodrow Wilson in the White House. The telephone is on display on Jekyll Island.

Role in the history of the Federal Reserve

Jekyll Island was the location of a meeting in November, 1910 that may have hastened the creation of the Federal Reserve and affected the 1912 presidential election. Following the Panic of 1907, banking reform became a major issue in the United States. Senator Nelson Aldrich, (R-RI) the chairman of the National Monetary Commission, went to Europe for almost two years to study that continent's banking systems. Upon his return, he brought together many of the country's leading financiers to Jekyll Island to discuss monetary policy and the banking system, an event which some say was the impetus for the creation of the Federal Reserve.

On the evening of November 22, 1910, Sen. Aldrich and A.P. Andrews (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department), Paul Warburg (a naturalized German representing Baron Alfred Rothschild's Kuhn, Loeb & Co.), Frank Vanderlip (president of the National City Bank of New York), Henry P. Davison (senior partner of J. P. Morgan Company), Charles D. Norton (president of the Morgan-dominated First National Bank of New York), and Benjamin Strong (representing J. P. Morgan), left Hoboken, New Jersey on a train in view of a group of confused reporters, who were wondering why these bankers, representing about one-sixth of the world's wealth, were gathering at this particular place and time and leaving together.

Forbes Magazine founder Bertie Charles Forbes wrote several years later:

"Picture a party of the nation’s greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily hieing hundred of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written... The utmost secrecy was enjoined upon all. The public must not glean a hint of what was to be done. Senator Aldrich notified each one to go quietly into a private car of which the railroad had received orders to draw up on an unfrequented platform. Off the party set. New York’s ubiquitous reporters had been foiled... Nelson (Aldrich) had confided to Henry, Frank, Paul and Piatt that he was to keep them locked up at Jekyll Island, out of the rest of the world, until they had evolved and compiled a scientific currency system for the United States, the real birth of the present Federal Reserve System, the plan done on Jekyll Island in the conference with Paul, Frank and Henry... Warburg is the link that binds the Aldrich system and the present system together. He more than any one man has made the system possible as a working reality."

Sen. Nelson's biography claims that they were going duck hunting in "Jamaica," which may have been a code word for Jekyll Island. Some speculate that not only was the Federal Reserve created during the Jekyll Island meeting, but also plans to alter the 1912 presidential election. The attendees knew that the popular incumbent, William Howard Taft (R-Ohio) was not in favor of creating a central banking system, so they decided to split the Republican vote by convincing former president Theodore Roosevelt out of retirement to form the progressive Bull Moose Party. The Jekyll Island attendees' chosen candidate was Woodrow Wilson. Wilson gained the Democratic Party nomination and the presidency. On December 29, 1913, the Federal Reserve Act was signed into law.

Many years later, the Jekyll Island meeting was all but forgotten. However, author Eustace Mullins was talking to his friend, poet Ezra Pound, and Pound brought up the subject of some friends of his who had died in World War I. According to Mullins, Pound wanted to know why they died. He also said that he suspected that the Federal Reserve had something to do with it. After months of poring through the economics section of the Library of Congress, Mullins found an obscure article about the meeting and took it to Ezra Pound. Pound, according to Mullins, was thrilled. "You have uncovered the greatest detective story of the 20th century," said Pound.

External links

Georgia state parks

Amicalola Falls | Black Rock Mt. | Bobby Brown | Cloudland Canyon | Crooked River | Elijah Clark | F.D.R. | Florence Marina | Fort Mountain | Fort Yargo | General Coffee | G.L. Smith | G.T. Bagby | Ga. Veterans | Gordonia-Alatamaha | Hamburg | Hard Labor Creek | Hart | High Falls | Indian Springs | J.H. Floyd | John Tanner | L.S. Walker | Little Ocmulgee | Magnolia Springs | Mistletoe | Moccasin Creek | Panola Mt. | Providence Canyon | Red Top Mt. | R. Bingham | R.B. Russell | Seminole | Skidaway Island | Sprewell Bluff | S.C. Foster | Sweetwater Creek | Tallulah Gorge | Tugaloo | Unicoi | V. Bryant | Vogel | Watson Mill Bridge
Privately-run: Stone Mountain Park | Lake Lanier Islands | Jekyll Island | Centennial Olympic Park

Other natural areas

Sapelo Island | Smithgall Woods

Georgia historic parks

A.H. Stephens | Fort McAllister | Kolomoki Mounds

Georgia historic sites

Chief Vann House | Dahlonega Gold Museum | Etowah Indian Mounds | Fort King George | Fort Morris | Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation | Jarrell Plantation | Jefferson Davis Memorial | Lapham-Patterson House | Little White House | New Echota | Picketts Mill Battlefield | Robert Toombs House | Travelers Rest | Wormsloe

Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites
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