There are five graves in this walled cemetery: three belong to members of the DuBignon family, which lived Jekyll Island for four generations, and the others honor two locals who drowned on the same day in 1912.
But, actually, none of these five people are buried in the cemetery.
Historically, in 1792, wealthy French royalist Christophe Anne Poulain DuBignon escaped from his homeland during the French Revolution.
The duBignon family is descended from an old noble family from Brittany.
The family name was Poulain, but in America it soon became known as duBignon from it’s American founder, Christophe-Anne Poulain du Bignon himself.
He and his family sailed from Saint-Malo on his own ship Le Sappello, departing about 5 March 1792 and arriving in Savannah, Georgia on 28 June 1792.
By 1800, they owned the entirety of Jekyll Island, where they lived in Horton House, a home made from lime, water, sand, oyster shells, and ash.
There he ran a cotton plantation that relied on the labor of enslaved African Americans.
Surviving a British raid on the island during the War of 1812, in which almost half of his enslaved workers fled the plantation to join the British who had promised them freedom, and many of his valuables were stolen by the British crew from HMS Lacedemonian, Christophe spent his last days in peace and quiet, having died on his Island of Jekyl on 15 September 1825.
He was buried in an unmarked grave close to an old oak tree by duBignon’s Creek.
His wife, Marguerite, died 29 December 1825 and was buried close to her husband. Their graves are probably located in the vicinity of the present day duBignon Cemetery.
Either way, with his business struggling, he put Jekyll Island up for sale in 1819 and, by the time he died, he still hadn’t found a buyer.
The plantation and the island, thus, remained under family ownership for 40 more years.
After the Civil War, John Eugene DuBignon turned Jekyll Island into a hunting club for rich and fancy New York gentlemen.
In 1886, the exclusive Jekyll Island Club Corporation purchased the island, marking the end of the DuBignon family’s reign, and a club and hotel for the wealthiest of the wealthy opened in 1888.
When preservationists were working on the old plantation, they found the gravestones of DuBignon family members Ann Amelia DuBignon, Joseph DuBignon, and Marie Felicite Riffault.
They placed them within the walls of the cemetery across the street from the Horton/DuBignon House.
The two other headstones in the cemetery belong to Jekyll Island Club hotel employees Hector DeLiyannis and George Harvey, who drowned in the nearby river on March 12, 1912.
Experts believe the bodies of the family members and staff are somewhere nearby, but their exact locations are, and probably will remain, unknown.
Images from web – Google Research