Tag Archives: Sapelo Island

The Feral Cattle of Sapelo Island, Georgia

Sapelo Island, McIntosh County

I was aware of the wild cows of Sapelo Island because of different books and articles I’ve read. I was not aware until the morning I took this photo that they are known to charge. I am grateful I had a conversation with a resident who shared a story of a run in with the cattle.

It was my last day on the island, and I wanted to ensure I didn’t miss any road or path that was ok to travel by golf cart (many roads are too rough for the carts to travel safely). I turned down one path, and as I was traveling, I saw ahead of me between 10 to 15 cows. It was a mixture of older cows and their calves. They immediately started to run towards me. I quickly did a 180 as fast as I could on a sandy road in a golf cart.

As I turned around to see if they were still running towards me, only a bull was left. I quickly snapped a photo on my phone and left.

Sapelo is the only barrier island, and one of the few places in the United States with wild cattle. This is a great article that discusses the Sapelo cattle, which are believed to be tied, minimally, to the time RJ Reynolds Jr. had farming operations on the island or when there were plantations on the island.

I am certain I didn’t say a word, but I know I was shouting many a cuss word as I was trying to get away. I will not forget this experience.

Behavior Cemetery-Sapelo Island, Georgia

McIntosh County

Behavior Cemetery is an active cemetery believed to have been in existence prior to the Civil War. It now serves as a burial ground for the descendants of the earliest Black families who have called Sapelo Island home.

Boston Gardner’s grave features a clock. The clock likely represents the passing of time.

The cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The cemetery features many handmade markers that span several decades and more recent granite markers. Burial patterns are not in rows, and the older burials towards the middle and back of the cemetery.

Vases can be seen in many cemeteries, especially coastal ones.
Liberty Bell, 1900-1912
A fleur de lis next to the grave of Isabella Robinson, 1858-1889. In religion, it can represent the Holy Trinity. Additionally, some enslaved men and women were branded with a fleur de lis as punishment for trying to escape bondage.
Glasco Grovner, 1856-1928
Mary Lemon, 1906-1919. The star motif can be seen in many coastal cemeteries.
Deacon Grant Johnson, 1892-1956. The letter stamping is common method to mark headstones.
A modern memento
I believe these are giant checkers.
If you look closely, you can see the rebar and the mesh. It gives an idea of how some of these markers were made.

Farmers’ Alliance Hall-Sapelo Island, Georgia

McIntosh County

Built as the Sapelo Island outpost for the the Colored Farmers’ Alliance and Cooperative Union, the Farmers’ Alliance Hall serves as gathering place for Sapelo Islanders and their descendants. It was restored in 2008 under the guidance of the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society, an organization, an organization dedicated to saving the historic resources on the island..

SICARS Multipurpose Center-Sapelo Island, Georgia

Hog Hammock, McIntosh County

The Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS) Multipurpose Center is located in Hog Hammock on Sapelo Island. From their website, the mission is “to preserve and revitalize the Hogg Hummock Community which is located on Sapelo Island, Georgia.” The organization was in 1993 by descendants to educate and preserve the history of Sapelo Island. They host the annual Cultural Day.

St. Luke’s Baptist Church and School-Sapelo Island, Georgia

Hog Hammock, McIntosh County

Founded in 1884, St. Luke’s Baptist Church is still an active church with services every other Sunday. It was formed by former members of the First African Baptist Church. The church was initially called the 2nd Baptist Church. Current structure has been in use since 1902.

St. Luke’s also had one of two Rosenwald Schools on the island. Everything I’ve read states that the school is still standing and is being used by the church. If that is the case, this is the school, but it has been heavily modified. I hope to get confirmation that this is the building.