Coastal Georgia History
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Longview Plantation

LONGVIEW was the home of the McNish family. 
Long View, near Cannons Point, was the part-time home of Mrs. John McNish and her daughter, Mary Jane. Mrs. McNish, the former Ann Mary Johnston. was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Dews Johnston of the Hermitage Plantation on the Little Ogeechee River near Savannah [not to be confused with de Montalet's Hermitage Plantation on the Savannah River].
Thomas Johnston, a native of Scotland. was related to John Couper of Cannons Point Plantation. When Ann Mary, age thirteen. and her sister, Jane Elizabeth, age twelve. were orphaned, they were taken into the hospitable Couper home, where they grew up as daughters of the household.
When Ann Mary was seventeen years old, John McNish of Galloway County, Scotland, came to St. Simons Island as clerk and bookkeeper for John Couper and his partner, James Hamilton. Within a few years the young Scotsman had settled in Savannah, where he became a prosperous cotton merchant. In 1819 john McNish and Ann Mary Johnston were married in the Couper home "without much parade or show." McNish's wedding gift to his bride was a dainty set of pearl and amethyst jewelry, made in Paris and consisting of a necklace. two bracelets, earrings. brooch, and tiara. The exquisite set in its original case, is still treasured by descendants of the couple. and individual pieces have been worn by brides of each succeeding generation.
For their home in Savannah itemized bills of lading still in existence show quantities of silverware, "41 and 1/4 yards Brussels carpet and a fancy hearthrug to suit," and other furnishings ordered by john McNish from London and Liverpool. The handsome pieces of hollow ware and flat silver, all marked with the thistle of Scotland, are still in the possession of the family.
After their marriage, John and Ann McNish divided their time between their townhouse in Savannah and the Hermitage Plantation, which they shared with Ann's sister, Jane Elizabeth. Two children were born to the couple. a daughter. Mary Jane, and a son. William Couper, named for his grandfather, William McNish, and for John Couper of Cannons Point. Little Couper McNish died in October 1826, at the age of eighteen months. John McNish died in December of the same year.
After her husband's death, Ann Johnston McNish built the Long View house on four acres of Cannons Point land leased from John Couper for a yearly rental of one dollar. Here Ann and her young daughter could he near the Coupers, and Mary Jane could know the pleasant island life that Ann had enjoyed as a girl. Except for Mary Jane's boarding-school years in Philadelphia, the McNishs still lived at the Hermitage. But they were often at Long View, which was staffed and kept in readiness for their arrival.
A letter from Ann McNish, written from Long View in t836, shows her love for the place and her pleasure in the surroundings. She reports "the little birds well and happy and the plants growing. Anet and Fox [horses?] much pleased with the fresh springing grass, and Betty, the cow, and baby doing well." She also tells of preparations for the celebration of the centennial of the founding of Frederica, with John Fraser as master of ceremonies. and with a ball, "of course." included in the plans.
ln 1843 Mary Jane McNish was married to Leighton Wilson Hazlehurst, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Wilson Hazlehurst, whose families were among the earliest settlers of Glynn County.
In the 1860s Long View, like other places on St. Simons was left unoccupied. Ann Johnston McNish spent the war years with Mary Jane and her family at their summer home in Wayne County, where she died in 1869.



  Jim Bruce Collection