Not everyone who inhabited Jekyll lived in a state of perpetual happiness. A historical sign on the harbor side of Jekyll Island reads: "This chimney is all that remains of the cottage of Bayard Brown, original member of the Jekyll Island Club. In his gay, young days, he built this cottage at Jekyll, overlooking the marshes. He erected a bridge to reach the isolated house, built stables for his horses, and furnished the cottage elegantly for his bride-to-be. But the wedding never came off. The house deteriorated and was torn down."
This eccentric millionaire was known as "The Hermit of the Essex Coast" in England. At the age of 37, he became an exile from America, sailing on his yacht Valfreyia . Unrequited love is said to be the cause of his renouncing his native land to become a legendary port-bound yachtsman for 36 years. On the Essex Coast, his yacht engines were always in readiness for a sea voyage. His crew of 18 waited in vain for the order to put to sea.
According to personal accounts, Mr. Brown's fortune included an income of over a million dollars a year. He frequently tossed gold souvenir's from his yacht for anyone to pick up. It has also been reported that anyone who mentioned "America" in his presence was dismissed. He died in 1926 requesting that his body be returned to America on the Valfreyia.
All that remains of the memory of McEvers Bayard Brown, New York banker, is a chimney, decaying and falling apart. It sits reluctantly at the site where his cottage was.
By permission from Dan K. Phillips'