Reddy’s Point and Hampstead Plantations

St. Johns River traffic heading south (or upriver) proceeds east after crossing the bar at the mouth of the river until reaching Reddy's Point, where the channel makes a ninety degree turn and continues generally south for the remainder of its course, approximately 320 miles. Two properties at the southeast corner of that bend were granted in January 1769 to Samuel Currant: a 400-acre tract that adjoined the western boundary of New Castle, and another 400 acres further west at the bend of the river. Captain William Reddy purchased both tracts from Currant in 1772 and named them Hampstead Plantation and the Point Plantation (also Reddy's Point Plantation), and expanded the cultivated acreage. Captain Reddy, a mariner, added a wharf for ocean-going schooners.

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The camera in this photograph is pointed straight at the 1772 Point Plantation of Captain William Reddy. Hampstead Plantation, also owned by Captain Reddy, adjoined at the rear (or east). Adjoining to the south (on the right) was the 10,000-acre plantation purchased in 1769 by London merchant Samuel Potts.

In 1774, Reddy sold both plantations to Samuel Tims, a recent migrant from England. Tims also purchased Talbot Island on the Atlantic Ocean north of Fort George Island, which became his main residence. After expanding cultivation at his estates, and "fix[ing] a valuable stock of hogs, cattle and horses" on Talbot Island, Tims returned to England for his wife, leaving his plantations under the supervision of overseer Richard Sill.

The return voyage was a traumatic event, especially for Mary Tims, who was pregnant when they sailed for East Florida aboard the ship " Hanover." Mary later testified that on January 30, 1777, off the Island of Montserrat, a treacherous ship captain named John Pinckham "pretended" the ship had "sprung a leak, and landed his passengers with only the cloaths upon their backs...but that very night bore away for the continent of North America--carried his ship into Cape Fame Harbour in North Carolina and disposed of the vessel and cargo for his own emolument." With the delivery date of her child only three weeks off, Mary testified that she "experienced every inconvenience and distress" before finally arriving at St. Augustine at the end of March, nineteen weeks after leaving the Port of Dover.

Further tragedy awaited Mary in St. Augustine . Her attorney wrote later: "The moment she landed at St. Augustine she had the mortification to learn that in the beginning of the month of September 1776 a party of the Rebels had landed upon Talbot Island, destroyed what stock they could lay hold of, and carried off her valuable effects contained in a large Cedar Chest left there in the care of Richard Sill, the manager, upon her husband's departure for England. Since her husband had bought two smaller tracts on the South side of the St. Johns River [Hampstead and Reddy's Point], he immediately established another plantation, and with the most unremitting industry cultivated provisions, cut lumber and spars, and made considerable quantities of naval stores."

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

Mulcaster to Grant 11 Nov 1771. Moultrie to Grant, November 3, 1772, in the James Grant Papers. T77/17/8, the Memorial of Mary Tims, widow of James Tims.