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Cannon’s Point Preservation

By Guerry Norwood

Cannon’s Point, a 600-acre tract on St. Simons Island, will become a nature preserve under an agreement between Wells Fargo and conservation groups. The parcel, known as Cannon’s Point, is part of the vast holdings of the Sea Island Co., now owned by Wells Fargo. The property is the last and largest tract of natural undeveloped land on the island. Wells Fargo and the Bobolink Foundation of Chicago, whose trustees include former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and his wife, Wendy, will become partners with former Georgia-Pacific chief executive Pete Correll, the St. Simons Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and community members and groups in the preservation project.

The tract is not only an undisturbed maritime forest, it also contains significant historic sites. In 1796, John Couper moved his family to St. Simons Island to live in a modest one and one-half story cottage that provided a magnificent view of the Hampton River and the distant marshes. The cottage was built by Daniel Cannon, a carpenter of old Frederica. John Couper’s interest in horticulture was reflected in the beautiful grounds of Cannon’s Point. Shrubs, trees and flowers of every description grew in profusion alongside groves of lemons, oranges and Persian date palms. At the request of President Jefferson, Couper imported two hundred olive trees from France, which soon yielded superior quality oil. The Coupers were gracious hosts, and Cannon’s Point was rarely without visitors. It was not unusual for guests to stay weeks or even months: one young couple came to spend their honeymoon on the plantation and stayed until the birth of their second child! Also contributing to the pleasures of a Cannon’s Point visit were the legendary skills of the slave cook Sans Foix, who had no equal on the Georgia coast.

To learn more about the preservation project and planned education center, view the St. Simons Island Land Trust video on YouTube.

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