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St. Simons Land Trust

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As a member of the St. Simons Land Trust, you can be sure that your dollars go to work directly in our community to preserve the scenic and natural qualities of the Island.

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Oatlands (Hasell) - Tracts 1& 3

 

 

 

History

These environmentally important tracts of land are part of the former Oatlands Plantation and show evidence of human occupation for nearly 4,000 years. During the Civil War era, Oatlands was owned by Dr. Robert Grant, a Scottish immigrant who became a wealthy planter-physician.  Dr. Grant also owned Elizafield, a river plantation on the mainland between Brunswick and Darien.

The property was once part of a 300-acre tract owned by Captain Douglas Taylor.  Taylor was the caretaker of Little St. Simons Island between 1908 and the 1960s.  He and his wife, Alberta Gould Taylor, purchased the property from the former Sea Island Company in the 1940s. At that time, the Taylor family and others left their homes on the grounds of Fort Frederica when it became a national monument.

The property was later bought by Buddy and Jackie Hasell, who built their retirement home on the property after Buddy – a St. Simons native and pre-World War II manager of the McKinnon  St. Simons airport – completed his career as a Miami-based Eastern Airlines Captain. After the deaths of Buddy and Jackie, the properties were inherited by their daughters, Jackie Hasell Davis and Barbara Hasell Murrah. Bascom Murrah, Barbara’s husband, inherited Barbara’s property upon her death.

Tract 1 (35.7 acres) is contiguous to Cannon's Point Preserve.  It runs from Lawrence Road east to the marsh and is known by many island residents and visitors as The Farm, a horse rescue/retirement facility. The Farm and surrounding five acres have been retained by Bascom Murrah, the previous owner of the northernmost tract, and will continue in operations for the foreseeable future. Tract 3 (34.7 acres) is the southernmost tract.  This parcel was owned by Jackie Hasell Davis. There are two one-acre inholdings on this property which include two existing homes. The Land Trust has rights of first refusal on the inholdings of both parcels.

Closings on the Hasell properties, which took place in May 2018, were made possible by the Land Trust’s Canopy Campaign and by contributions from the organization's  1% for St. Simons program. Future 1% program contributions are earmarked for payments on these two environmentally and historically important properties.