Coastal Georgia History
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Orange Grove Plantation

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 Grove.
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.
George 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 1820.
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.



  Jim Bruce Collection