Dr. William Stork

Dr. William Stork selected sites for several grant properties in 1767 and 1768. At the end of August 1768, Stork died at New Smyrna, apparently in reaction to a rebellion of some of Dr. Andrew Turnbull's newly arrived Mediterranean indentured laborers. After Stork died, several absentee landowners were informed that Stork had badly mismanaged the startup operations of their estates and squandered their investment money.

Before he died, however, Stork claimed a 1,000-acre tract on the east shore of Lake George. If posthumous accusations against Stork were accurate, he used the funds and laborers intended for the estates of his employers to establish his own estate instead.

In 1774 William Bartram, after traversing the eastern coast of Lake George searching for rare flowers and plants, camped near the ruins of Stork's abandoned plantation. At the spot where Dr. Stork "once resided," Bartram found “many lovely shrubs and plants in the old fields and Orange groves, particularly several species of convolvulus and Ipomea, the former having very large, white, sweet scented flowers..., ramblers, climbing and strolling on the shrubs and hedges.”

The following morning Bartram resumed his search for plants, coasting north along the east shore of Lake George before stopping at the site of another deserted plantation, Lord Moira's Rawdon Hall. Poking through the ruins, Bartram found “a very spacious frame building...mouldering to earth...[and] very extensive old fields, where were growing the West-Indian or perennial Cotton and Indigo....” Either Charles Bernard, or another agent sent after 1768, had in fact established a plantation on the tract granted to Lord Moira. The discovery provoked Bartram to bitterly denounce European development of East Florida.

"I have often been affected with extreme regret, at beholding the destruction and devastation which has been committed...on those extensive, fruitful Orange groves, on the banks of St. Juan, by the new planters under the British government, some hundred acres of which, at a single plantation, has been entirely destroyed to make room for the Indigo, Cotton, Corn, Batatas, &c. Or as they say, to extirpate the musquitoes, alledging that groves near their dwellings are haunts and shelters for those persecuting insects; some plantations have not a single tree standing, and where any have been left, it is only a small coppice or clump, nakedly exposed and destitute;...having no lofty cool grove of expansive Live Oaks, Laurel Magnolias and Palms to shade and protect them, exhibiting a mournful, sallow countenance; their native perfectly formed and glossy green foliage as if violated, defaced and torn to pieces by the bleak winds, scorched by the burning sun-beams in summer and chilled by the winter frosts."

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The approximate location of Dr. William Stork's 1,000-acre tract on the east shore of Lake George. Stork died in 1768, and this property was abandoned. Six years later William Bartram found Stork's "very spacious fram building...mouldering to earth..." but some of the agricultural fields still exhibited stalks of cotton and indigo.

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

William Bartram, Travels , 159-160.