Coastal Georgia History
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The Village Plantation

THE VILLAGE, 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 family. 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 dancing."
"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





  Jim Bruce Collection