Written By Angus McLeod Photos by Cobblestone Photography
Overlooking the backside of Ossabaw Island, perfectly situated on the bluff of Kilkenny Creek, is the old Kilkenny House.
The setting—southern, with a very grand presentation of large live oaks dripping with Spanish moss and limbs covered with resurrection fern, all an entry to a place that hosts some of the most beautiful moon rises you will ever see. There are two cottages on the grounds and a detached kitchen that was once thought to be a barn.
On top of the main house is a Widow’s Walk, from which one could observe ships coming into Saint Catherine’s Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. Architecturally, the Kilkenny House is odd for its location. Rarely will you find this type of design in the Southeastern United States. Charles William Rogers of Savannah and Sapelo Island bought this land—in addition to nearby Belvedere and Cottenham Plantations—in the mid 1830s. Rogers was a renowned rice and chocolate planter in Liberty County and also on Sapelo Island. Rogers sold his property on Sapelo and used the funds to focus in Bryan County, where he would concentrate his efforts on cultivating Sea Island Cotton at Kilkenny and Cottenham Plantations.
He built the Kilkenny House, which he named in honor of a castle in Kilkenny, Ireland. The rather large home is 5,000 square feet with a covered front porch. The windows on the frontside of the first floor were once double doors. One can easily imagine the fresh air of the Florida Strait bellowing its salty scent through the home. The windows on the second floor are called eyebrow windows and are very rarely seen in this area of the country.
The Kilkenny House has been a part of several families over the last one and a half centuries. Today, it is owned by the Bacot Family. It has weathered many a storm and continues to stand strong. Marking an important time in Bryan Neck’s history.