JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Maintained by the National Park Service, Kingsley Plantation is the home of Florida's oldest surviving plantation house and one of the Antebellum South's most unique and historical civil rights cases.
The story of Kingsley Plantation dates back to the United Kingdom’s 18th-century occupation of Florida. Under British control, several plantations were established throughout the region, including one on Fort George Island by Richard Hazard in 1765. Here, on one of the southernmost sea islands, a chain of barrier islands stretching from North Florida to South Carolina which would become the cradle of America’s Gullah Geechee heritage and culture, the enslaved were used to harvest indigo.
After the transfer of Florida back to the Spanish, the Spanish government granted the island to South Carolinian John “Lighting” McQueen. McQueen developed a plantation with 300 enslaved souls in 1793 but soon found himself in bankruptcy, turning the property over to Georgia’s John McIntosh in 1804. To escape punishment from the Spanish for leading an unsuccessful rebellion to annex Florida into the United States, McIntosh fled back to Georgia, leasing the property to Zephaniah Kingsley Jr. in 1814, who then acquired it in 1817.