another nineteenth century plantation with an historic
setting, was originally the old Salzburger settlement. A
part of the McIntosh property just after the Revolution, it
was later the home of the Alexander Wyllys.
The Village, on the eastern side of the
island, was the plantation home of the Alexander Wylly
Alexander Campbell Wylly was born in Savannah and educated at
Oxford, remained loyal to England during the Revolutionary
War, and served as an ofﬁcer in the British Army. At the
close of the war, the Wylly family went to live in the
Bahamas. There young Captain Wylly was married to Margaret
Armstrong. the daughter of another loyalist family.
In the early 1800s. when much of the bitter feeling against
Britain had been forgotten. Captain Wylly, with his wife and
four children, returned to Georgia. For several years they
lived on Jekyll Island. where three more children were born
to the family.
When Captain Wylly bought the Sinclair property on St.
Simons Island, the family lived for a time in the old house
described as a big. rambling bungalow overshadowed by a
great live oak known locally as "Old England." It was here
that the youngest Wylly daughter, Caroline, was born.
Captain Wylly added adjacent land to his original purchase
until his holdings covered more than a thousand acres.
Included in the property was the old Salzburger settlement.
and it was from this tract, known as the German Village.
that the Wylly plantation took its name.
Additions were built onto a cottage already on the land. and
the result was a great sprawling house large enough for the
Wylly family and their many friends and relatives who
visited often from Savannah, England, and the Bahamas.
Although Alexander Wylly and his wife lived on St. Simons
Island (for the test of their lives. their loyalty to
England never changed. Three portraits dominated the walls
of the Village drawing room- one of their eldest daughter
Susan, painted by Gilbert Stuart; the other two of the Duke
of Wellington and Admiral Nelson, in the opinion of Captain
and Mrs. Wylly "the greatest men of the nineteenth century."
Perhaps because of their allegiance to England, no Village
slaves were taken by force when the British occupied the
island in the last days of the War of 1812. Every attempt
was made, however, to get the Wylly Negroes to leave. All
refused except Jim, who was inclined to believe the
extravagant promises made by the British. His family and
friends finally persuaded him to stay, but afterward they
always called him "Jim Gwine-Runaway."
When the youngest daughter. sixteen-year-old Caroline, was
married to James Hamilton Couper in 1817, Captain Wylly
wore his regimentals "for the first and only time since he
left Nassau," and the marriage lines were read in front of
the Wellington and Nelson portraits in the Village drawing
room. From the letter of a relative of the Wyllys we have a
description of the evening wedding. attended by all of the
island families "which made it so crowded there could he no
"At eleven we went to supper in the dining room with an
overﬂow table set in the piazza-cold roast and boiled
turkey, stuffed hams. oyster pies, pate of shrimp and crab.
syllabub by the hundred glasses, and the punch bowl twice ﬁlled.
At twelve the health of the bride and groom was drunk in
full glasses, and they bowed and curtsied goodnight and took
leave for Cannon's Point, from where they will go tomorrow
to Hopeton on the early flood tide, in Mr. Couper's big
boat, the Lady Love.
Susan Wylly died in t829. The next year the oldest son.
Alexander William. married Sarah Spalcling, dattgltter of
Thomas Spalding of Sapelo. Captain Wylly died in 1833, and
in 1838 the younger son, John, was killed by Dr. Thomas
Hazzard in a quarrel over the boundary line between the
Village and the Hazzard property.
Mrs. Wylly and her unmarried daughters continued to live at
the Village until her death in 1850. The daughters remained
for a time on the plantation, and later moved to Savannah
where the Stuart portrait of lovely Susan Wylly hangs in the
Owens-Thomas House Museum. On St. Simons Island a bronze
historical marker points out the site of the old Salzburgcr
settlement which is still known as the German Village.
Over the years the Wylly land was divided into different
tracts and belonged to various owners. Part of the old
Village grounds eventually came hack into possession of
descendants of the family, while part was included in the
property known as Musgrove Plantation.
1850 Census Data