2021 | From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga Of Butler Island Plantation (Part I)


From Enslavement to Freedom: The Saga of Butler Island"
Butler Island Plantation, near Darien, McIntosh County, on the Georgia coast, is primarily known as the home of some of the more than 400 enslaved people who were sold in the largest slave auction in U.S. history, known as "The Weeping Time." Families who had lived for generations at Butler Island as well as at Hampton Plantation on nearby St. Simons Island were separated in this sale because Pierce Mease Butler, owner of both plantations, had gone bankrupt. The tragic and cruel events of the sale were documented at the time, and Dr. Anne C. Bailey has chronicled the event in a sensitive and moving book, “The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History,” (Cambridge University Press, 2017).
But what can genealogy research tell us about the lives of the inhabitants of Butler Island before and after The Weeping Time? In this special Black History Month presentation co-sponsored by UJIMA Genealogy of Coastal Georgia and the Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society, Hermina Glass-Hill, Executive Director of the Susie King Taylor Women's Institute and Ecology Center (susiekingtaylorinstitute.org), opens the program with a call to action after the defeat in 2020 of HB906, a Georgia State House bill that would have allowed sale of the Butler Island historic site to a private developer.
Brian Sheffey, author, genealogist, and co-host of the Genealogy Adventures podcast (GenealogyAdventures.net), then shares his multi-phased research into the early history of the people of Butler Island from their arrival in South Carolina. Tiffany Young, the Geechee Griot and the "Voice of Butler Island," shares her heritage as a direct Butler Island descendant in an interview with moderator Michele Nicole Johnson, author of the book "Sapelo Island's Hog Hammock". All join Facebook chat and Low County DNA Project coordinator Adolphus Armstrong in a Q&A session at the end.
This presentation originally aired via Facebook Live (@ujimagen) on February 18, 2021.
See part II of this presentation, featuring research by Terri Ward, the Front Porch Genealogist, into the lives and community influence of Butler Island's people after Emancipation, at: https://youtu.be/3TqKqmfX0uY.
Timestamps: 0:00:05 Introduction/Overview (Michele Nicole Johnson)
0:04:51 HB906 (Hermina Glass-Hill) 0:07:32 Resources (Michele Nicole Johnson)
0:08:41 Brian Sheffey 0:52:38 Tiffany Young, interviewed by Michele Nicole Johnson
01:14:02 Question & Answer Session (Brian Sheffey, Tiffany Young, Terri Ward, Michele Nicole Johnson, and Adolphus Armstrong)
1:37:23 Acknowledgement of Sponsors & Final Words
1:39:27 Stay Tuned for Terri's Session! / Contact Information