Kingsley Plantation

The Hauns at the Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island in FloridaOn our last day of vacation we stumbled across this National Historic Preserve on Fort George Island. It is the oldest standing plantation house in Florida and was settled by Zephaniah Kingsley in 1814.

Kingsley was an interesting character with some puzzling contradictions. He married Anna Magjinine Jai, his 13-year-old slave from Senegal (she was Wolof), and then set her free 5 years later after they had 4 children. Jai helped him manage his plantation, started her own, and even owned slaves of her own.

When the Spanish owned Florida they were much more liberal with their racial laws. Once the US took Florida, Jai lost the few rights she had. Zephaniah sent her and their children to Haiti, the only free black country at the time. During their self-imposed exile, Zephaniah Kingsley became an outspoken advocate for rights for freed slaves. He wrote several essays about his opinion but never joined abolitionist movement. He somehow managed to continue to support slavery but at the same time call for equal rights of those slaves that had been granted their freedom.