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Book details
  • Genre:HISTORY
  • SubGenre:United States / State & Local / South
  • Language:English
  • Pages:338
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781098309688

Postbellum Sapelo Island

The Reconstruction Journal of Archibald Carlyle McKinley

by Buddy Sullivan

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The story of Sapelo Island, Georgia, in the half-century following the Civil War, featuring the daily journal of Archibald C. McKinley, one of the island's residents.
The story of Sapelo Island, Georgia, is a compelling story that holds an endless fascination for many people, whether they be serious historians, occasional visitors, or local residents. This book is a review of one segment of Sapelo's history that is in many respects its most interesting—that of a span of fifty years from 1865 to 1915. It is a very personal story as well, as told through the first-hand account contained within of a Sapelo resident, Archibald Carlisle McKinley, who lived on the island for most of that half-century. McKinley's daily journal kept from 1869 to 1877, with accompanying subsequent accounts by he, and members of his family, tell the story with the immediacy of the moment, providing the kind of personal perspective that is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain through the research done in other, less personal, sources. The centerpiece of this book is McKinley's Reconstruction era journal, with explanatory notes to identify persons, places and events mentioned in the journal. Also in the book is an introductory chapter on Reconstruction Sapelo that is three-fold: an overview of the formerly enslaved people of Sapelo who returned after the Civil War as freed people and developed communities and self-reliance; a review of the Spaldings, McKinleys, and allied families who resided on the island after the war; and the story of McKinley himself, how his journal was written, and then was faithfully held by his descendants long after his death in 1917.
About the author
Buddy Sullivan is a fourth-generation coastal Georgian. He has researched and written about the history, culture and ecology of coastal Georgia for 35 years. He is the author of 30 books and monographs and is in frequent demand as a lecturer on a variety of historical topics. He is a recipient of the Governor's Medal in the Humanities from the Georgia Humanities Council in recognition of his literary and cultural contributions to the state. Sullivan's books include Georgia: A State History (2003) for the Georgia Historical Society, and two comprehensive histories, Early Days on the Georgia Tidewater (revised and expanded 2018), for McIntosh County, and From Beautiful Zion to Red Bird Creek (2000), for Bryan County. The latter volume received the Georgia Historical Society's Hawes Award for Georgia's outstanding work of local history. In addition to the current monograph, his most recent books are A Georgia Tidewater Companion: Essays, Papers and Some Personal Observations on 30 Years of Research in Coastal Georgia History (2014), Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island (2017), Environmental Influences on Life & Labor in McIntosh County, Georgia (2018), Thomas Spalding, Antebellum Planter of Sapelo (2019), Life & Labor on Butler's Island: Rice Cultivation in the Altamaha Delta (2019), Blackbeard Island, A History (2019), Native American & Spanish Influences on McIntosh County, Georgia: An Archaeological Perspective (2019), and, forthcoming, Twentieth Century Sapelo Island: Howard E. Coffin & Richard J. Reynolds, Jr. (2020), Harris Neck & Its Environs: Land Use and Landscape in North McIntosh County (2020), Postbellum Sapelo Island: The Reconstruction Journal of Archibald Carlisle McKinley (2020), Early Families of McIntosh County, Georgia, 1736 to 1861 (2021), An Atlas of McIntosh County History (2020), and Notes on Coastal Georgia: Historical Viewpoints from a Life of Research & Writing (2021). Sullivan has contributed 12 articles to the online New Georgia Encyclopedia, and wrote the coastal chapter for The New Georgia Guide (1996). He was director of the Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve from 1993 to 2013 and is now an independent writer and consultant living on his ancestral land overlooking the marshes and waters of Cedar Point in McIntosh County.