Cumberland Island is a national treasure. The largest of the Sea Islands along the Georgia coast, it is a history-filled place of astounding natural beauty. With a thoroughness unmatched by any previous account,Cumberland Island: A Historychronicles five centuries of change to the landscape and its people from the days of the first Native Americans through the late-twentieth-century struggles between developers and conservationists.Author Mary Bullard, widely regarded as the person most knowledgeable about Cumberland Island, is a descendant of the Carnegie family, Cumberland's last owners before it was acquired by the federal government in 1972 and designated a National Seashore. Bullard's discussion of the Carnegie era on Cumberland is notable for its intimate glimpse into how the family's feelings toward the island bore upon Cumberland's destiny.Bullard draws on more than twenty years of research and travels about the island to describe how water, wind, and the cycles of nature continue to shape it and also how humans have imprinted themselves on the face of Cumberland across time--from the Timuca, Guale, and Mocamo Indians to the subsequent appearances of Spanish, French, African, British, and American inhabitants. The result is an engaging narrative in which discussions about tidal marshes, sea turtles, and wild horses are mixed with accounts of how the island functioned as a center for indigo, rice, cotton, fishing, and timber. Even frequent visitors and former residents will learn something new from Bullard's account of Cumberland Island.
Mary R. Bullard is an independent scholar specializing in Sea Island history. Her books include Robert Stafford of Cumberland Island (Georgia), An Abandoned Black Settlement on Cumberland Island, and Black Liberation on Cumberland Island in 1815. She resides in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts.