The Horton-duBignon House on Jekyll Island was built in 1743 by Major William Horton, a top military aide to General James Oglethorpe and beer connoisseur, as part of Oglethorpe’s rapid expansion plan to colonize Georgia.
One of the oldest standing structures in the state, the Horton House is made of a material called “tabby.” A fairly unique-to-Georgia medium for building structures, tabby was made by burning oyster shells to create lime, which was mixed with sand and water to create a fishy sort of cement. The mixture was poured into forms to create walls, and while it may not sound all that sturdy, there it stands. It was Horton who decided that the island could use a little R and R as well, and he built the state of Georgia’s first brewery on the property, the ruins of which are just a few hundred yards down the road from the house.
The Spanish, displeased with the English and their activities on a shore that they had previously claimed, would regularly attack the coast, and the Horton House was a target. Despite being burned, the house still stood… for the most part. Rebuilt by French officer Poulain du Bignon, the two-story house lived a second life as his home and base for plantation operations on the island until du Bignon’s death, the cemetery across the street created in his name, and of course, his final resting place.
Now the house and the brewery are merely scarred ruins on an island with a rich history, but with its interesting construction and old cemetery, it still attracts attention. The site is open to the public, and a paved path that runs near the cemetery is a perfect place to take in the views of the Marshes of Glynn.