the French Emigre'
— Jekyll Island —
By the end of the 18th century,
WilliamHorton's small farm had become a large andprosperous plantation. After Horton's death, theisland had several owners prior to the arrival of Christophe Anne Poulain du Bignon in 1791.
Christophe du Bignon was born in Brittany,France in 1739 to a poor noble family. His lifewas forever changed when his family sent himto sea at age 10 to work for the French IndiaCompany. Life at sea is not easy for a young boy,but Christophe grew up learning a trade that would provide great returns for him in thisadult life.
Christophe stayed with the French IndiaCompany until it was disbanded in 1769. He continued with this profession and joined themerchant marines as a captain. This positiontook du Bignon around the world, but mostimportantly to the island of Mauritius, a French colony off the coast of Africa. Therehe met and married Marguerite Anne LossieuxDu Jong de Boisquenay in 1778.
(Center text)Leaving life at sea
in 1784, the du Bignonfamily settled into a comfortable life in France.After working at sea for 35 years, at age 45,Christophe had been able to accumulate a smallfortune, which bought the family their home, LaGrande Ville-Harv?, in Lamballe.
This happiness and settled life did not last longhowever, as by 1789 the French Revolution wasunder way. As part of the merchant nobility,Christophe was not safe in France. Fortunately,an encounter in 1790 with Francois Marie LoysDumoussay de la Vauve forever changed the duBignon family's history.
(Right text)The Sapelo Company
Dumoussay was the man behind the organizationof the Sapelo Company. A group of Frenchmanwere in the process of acquiring land in Americaconsisting of a large number of the islands off the coast of Georgia. Du Bignon was veryexcited about this opportunity and wastedlittle time investing in this venture. It wouldallow for du Bignon to move his family (a wifeand two young sons), to a safer country.
Within a few years the group of Frenchmenbegan to quarrel, and before the venturecollapsed, du Bignon exchanged propertiesand removed himself from any future disputesin the seperation of properties. Christophe duBignon was the sole owner of Jekyll Island by1800.
This family made everlasting changes to the island for nearly the next century.