Orange Grove, located south of Frederica on
Dunbar Creek, belonged for much of the twentieth century to
descendants of colonial owners.
The tract was originally
granted to John Terry, silversmith and recorder of
Frederica, who "planted hundreds of orange trees and called
his plantation Orange Grove." The Terry tract was later
vacated and the property was granted to James Bruce, a
Savannah merchant who also owned a lot in Frederica Town.
In 1790 James Bruce's daughter, Rebecca. was married to
Major Samuel Wright of Savannah. Major Wright had come to
Georgia before the Revolutionary War, had served as an
officer with the American forces, and after the war had
operated a "vendue store in Savannah on the Bay." After
their marriage Samuel and Rebecca Bruce Wright made their
home on St. Simom Island on the plantation known as Orange
From the first year of his residence on St. Simons
Island, Major Wright was prominent in local affairs. He
served as a commissioner of Glynn Academy in 1791 and 1792,
represented Glynn County in the state legislature for five
terms, was elected commissioner for the town of Frederica in
1803, and served as a justice of the Inferior Court from
1791 until his death in 1804.
On February 1, 1808, the
Wrights' daughter. Mary, was married to George Abbott of
Frederica in what must have been the first marriage ceremony
solemnized by the Reverend Mr. William Best in the newly
organized parish of Christ Church, Frederica.
Abbott, a lineal descendant of John Abbott, Bishop of
Sussex. had come from Ireland to St. Simons in the late
1700s and had settled at Frederica, where he operated a
mercantile business. When regular mail service for the
island was established in 1800 George Abbott was the first
postmaster. He was one of the founders of Christ Church.
Frederica. and laid the cornerstone for the church built in
George and Mary Wright Abbott's children and their
orphaned cousin, Deborah Abbott, grew up on Orange Grove
Plantation in the house known RS Rose Hill. When the girls
were grown the younger daughter. Ann, was married to James
Gowen, son of William and Mary Harrison Gowen, early
settlers of St. Simons Island.
The Orange Grove property
passed out of Wright-Abbott possession shortly after the War
Between the States and remained out of the family until 1919
when it was purchased by Albert Fendig, Sr.. and his wife.
Gladys Gowen Fendig, a direct descendant of Major Samuel
Wright. The Fendig house on Dunbar Creek was only a few
hundred feet from the old pile of bricks that marked the
ruins of the Wright home, and the site of the Abbotts' Rose
Hill could be seen nearer the road.
After Orange Grove
had been in the Fendig family for four decades the historic
tract became part of the property known as Sea Palms West.
Some of the early inhabitants of Orange Grove are
commemorated by the names of Terry Creek, Abbott Lane, and
Major Wright Road.