Retreat Plantation

My long-time readers know that my books are inspired by real women and real places across the South. In my current work in progress, another historical romantic suspense with the working title INDIGO POINT, I’m inspired by King’s Retreat Plantation, the 19th century plantation on St Simons Island, Georgia once owned and managed by Anna Matilda Page King.¬† In its heyday, Retreat was a cotton plantation, producing the highly prized strain known as sea island cotton. Originally owned by William Page, Retreat, with its house, corn cribs,, fields, slave hospital, and slaves came to Anna in trust upon her father’s death.

m-1635It was unusual in those days for a woman to inherit property of her own but Anna came to the task equipped with the skills and knowledge handed down from her father. This training proved useful later in her marriage to Thomas Butler King, whose own properties were seized for debt. For many years of a marriage that produced ten children despite Mr. King’s frequent and prolonged absences, Anna was left alone to manage Retreat. Her collected letters have been a great source of information and insight¬† in the writing of Indigo Point, from descriptions of her extensive gardens to her worries about “my family, black and white” to concerns for funding her children’s schooling.

Unlike the beautiful Chicora Wood Plantation in South Carolina which inspired CAROLINA GOLD and which still stands today, Retreat is long gone. A golfing club now stands on the site. This photo from the Georgia Historical Society shows us what Retreat looked like.

In my novel, my hero lives at Indigo Point, an entirely fictional  neighbor to Retreat, and he and my heroine visit Retreat to see the remains of the once-thriving gardens.I hope the story in some small way pays tribute to Anna and her achievements.