Clay County, Florida

St. Johns River
Ten miles from Mandarin on the west bank of the St. Johns is Hibernia on Fleming Island.

Spanish Land Grant
George Fleming (1760-1821) Came to Spanish Florida around 1785. For his military service he received a land grand
from Spanish governor Enrique White for 1,000 acres on October 28, 1790. The award was for :"distinguished and
extraordinary service, to which he contributed both his property and person in defense of the said province at different
periods, sacrificing and abandoning his property, as a faithful subject, worthy of every recompense for his love, fidelity,
and patriotism." He married Sophia Philipina Fatio from New Switzerland across the river in 1791. The family was to stay
throughout the 19th century. He was an immigrant from Ireland. His plantation was named Hibernia, the Latin word for
Ireland. George would die in 1821 with the plantation going to his son Lewis.

Lewis Fleming and his first Wife
Lewis Michael Fleming (1798-1862) lived in Cuba for several years where he met and married Augustina Cortes. She
was a direct descendant of the Cortes that conquered Mexico. They had three children: George Claudius (1822), Lewis
Isadore (1825), Augustina (1832). His wife, Augustina, died after the birth of her daughter Augustina (nicknamed Tina).

He would serve as a Major and be promoted to Colonel in the Florida Militia cavalry in the Seminole War. He was
wounded and have a permanent limp.

Second marriage
In 1837 Colonel Fleming married Margaret Seton. The daughter of Charles and Matilda Seton, Margaret grew up at their
thriving plantation, Calle Amelia, near the flourishing
Fernandina Beach seaport. They had seven children: Charles
(1838), Francis Phillip (1841), Frederic Alexander (1845), William Seton (1847), Matilda Caroline (1849), Margaret
Seton (1851), Isabel Frances *1856)

Post Office
The post office would be established on June 19, 1849. On October 17, 1853 the name would change to Magnolia Mills.
On July 30, 1866 it would be moved to Green Cove Springs. The Hibernia Post Office would be reopened on February
16, 1853 and would remain until May 15, 1931 when it was moved to
Green Cove Springs.

Plantation Home
In 1857, in one of the last actions of the Indian Wars, the handsome home built by George Fleming was left in ashes by
an attack of the Seminole Indians. Lewis and Margaret and their seven children barely escaped with their lives. Her
youngest, Fanny, was just a toddler when they fled in the night into the woods. Lewis would die in 1862. During the Civil
War  Margaret and her children were forced to move from the plantation by the United States military. They returned
after the war.

1860 Census
Lewis Fleming was 62 years old and listed as a farmer. His wife Margaret is 45. They had the following children: Charles
S, Frank, Frederick, William, Matilda, Margaret and Isabelle. There were 13 homes and 77 individuals on the census.

The Civil War
Seton survived severe wounds he incurred while retrieving the body of a fallen comrade and he was subsequently a
prisoner of war. Upon release, he returned to assume his duties as a newly appointed captain of Company G, 2nd
Florida Infantry. Charles Fleming was killed at Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864. On June 4, 1864, a company of Union
troops under the command of Gen. Birney landed at Hibernia and evicted Margaret Fleming, her daughters from the
property. They made their way to Middleburg and eventually Lake City.  Margaret and her daughters were nurses at the
Confederate military hospital.

After the Civil War
At first the plantation house they returned to had been stripped of furnishings. The family restored the house and
Margaret Fleming, the second wife of George's son Lewis, opened her house to guests. Then a guest cottage was built
and finally it became a boarding house for winter tourists. Eventually the Flemings would install a bathhouse, a golf
course and tennis court at Hibernia, as well as one of the first swimming pools in the state. Steamers from Jacksonville
stopped three times a day at Hibernia.

In 1869 there was a hotel run by Mrs. Margaret Fleming that accommodated about 35 persons at $2.50 per day or
$15.00 per week. Hibernia is located on an island about 5 miles long north of the entrance of Black Creek. The hotel is
near the landing on the east side of the island. Visitors can obtain boats and tour many attractive spots for short
excursions, picnics, and fishing parties. Rooms were engaged by letter.

1869 A Winter in Florida by Ledyard Bill
The steamer stops, and here a goodly number leave for the hotel. Here and there appears an occasional fine
plantation, with comfortable dwellings and numerous outbuildings, once the house of the lordly planter and his slaves,
but now simply monuments of a past and exploded system.

1873 (Palametto-Leaves by Harriet Beecher Stowe)
We stopped at Hibernia, a pleasant boarding-house on an island called Fleming's after a rich Col Fleming who formerly
had a handsome plantation there. There is a fine, attractive-looking country-house, embowered in trees and with
shaded verandas, where about forty boarders are yearly accommodated. We have heard this resort very highly praised
as a quiet spot, where the accommodations are homelike and comfortable. It is kept by the widow of the former
proprietor; and we are told that guests who once go there return year after year. There is something certainly very
peaceful and attractive about its surroundings.

Florida It's Scenery, Climate, and History by Sidney Lanier, 1876
Ten miles above (Mandarin), on the right-hand side, is Hibernia, a pleasant invalid resort. Mrs. Fleming's large
boarding-house here usually attests its popularity by a state of repletion early in the winter.

St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
St. Margaret's was financed by Margaret Fleming and the first service held in the new church was her funeral.  Bishop
Edwin Weed, who consecrated the chapel in 1894.

Francis Phillip Fleming
In 1889 Margaret's son, Francis Phillip Fleming became the 15th Governor of the State of Florida. In 1889, as his first
order of business he called the Legislature into special session to pass a law creating Florida's State Board of Health.  
Fleming lost his sister, Maggie, in the epidemic of 1877 and was fresh from the grave of his brother, Lewis, a
Jacksonville victim and recognized hero of the 1888 epidemic.

Fleming also signed into law restrictive poll taxes and "literacy" tests designed to limit voting rights of blacks and
carpetbaggers. He removed from office Florida's only black judge, James Dean of Monroe County, because he had
married a white man to a black woman. Dean's judgeship was reinstated posthumously by Gov. Jeb Bush.

Hibernia Hotel
Frederic Fleming ran the house until his death in 1917. William Fleming ran the house until 1922. Tisie and Elle stayed
at Hibernia until their deaths in 1922 and 1934.

Hibernia The Unreturning Tide
In her 80s Margaret Seton's granddaughter wrote the book Hibernia The Unreturning Tide giving a local history of

The Story of Margaret
Eugenia Price would publish Margaret's Story  by Eugenia Price part of the Florida Trilogy: The Florida Trilogy are
Maria (
The Oldest House in St. Augustine), Don Juan McQueen (Second Spanish Period) , and Margaret's Story..
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Fleming House Hotel
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/3922
Fleming Hotel
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/141069
St. Margaret's Episcopal Church
Lewis Fleming and First Wife Augustina Cortes
Governor of Florida
Captain Charles Seton Fleming
Confederate 2nd Florida Infantry
Killed at Cold Harbor
Margaret Fleming
Frederic Fleming
Mary Augusta Fleming
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