The historic Kingsley Plantation is located in Jacksonville, Florida, on the northern tip of Ft. George Island. Owned by Zephaniah Kingsley from 1813 to 1839, the original 1,000 acres has now been taken over by nature and consists only of 60 acres. The plantation house is the oldest remaining antebellum structure in Florida.
Zephaniah was born in Bristol, England in 1765. He traveled extensively, becoming a slave trader which he considered to be “a very respectable business” at the time. He eventually married one of his slaves, Anna Madgigine Jai, who was freed in 1811. Together, the couple restored the abandoned plantation. Anna very successfully co-managed the plantation with her husband, overseeing “about sixty men, women, and children” until the American territory of Florida started passing laws discriminating against the free blacks.
At that time, Zephania moved his family to Haiti for their safety. Many of the Kingsley descendants live in Haiti today. As a widow, Anna returned to Jacksonville to settle an inheritance dispute (which she did win), settling near her daughters who had married and remained in Florida. She passed away there in 1870.
Near the old house, on a long, dark, twisty road are the ruins of several small slave quarters where an entity called “Old Red Eyes” is sometimes glimpsed.
Locals believe that Old Red Eyes is the ghost of an evil male slave who raped and murdered female slaves. He was caught by his peers, and hung from a huge oak tree on the plantation.
The red glowing eyes of the evil slave are sometimes spotted by drivers in their rear view mirrors when they travel near the area of the slave quarters. Occasionally, the red-eyed entity is accompanied by the music of old slave hymns. The vehicle often shakes violently. Sometimes the red eyes “chase” the car for several miles.
The sounds of “people” walking and moving around in the woods are often reported, and the rustling of something large leaping amongst the trees has also been described.
Sometimes the sound of a child crying can be heard coming from a well on the grounds. Of course, most believe that the child must have drowned in the well long ago.
The area is currently managed by the National Park Service, and open to the public daily for exploration.
Hauck, Dennis William. Haunted Places: The National Directory. NY: Penguin, 2002.