John D. Vaughan was born in Boston Mass., March 13, 1763. His parents were Henry and Mary Humphrey Vaughn, native of Dorchester, his mother’s family being one of the most conspicuous of that historic town. Of his childhood, there is no record. He entered military service at age 14, although he gave his age as sixteen in order to secure enlistment under existing army regulations. As the Massachusetts records testify, he enlisted in January, 1777, a private in Captain Wiley’s company, Colonel Michael Jackson’s regiment, and was honorably discharged in 1783.
Following the Revolution he rendered service in the Indian wars in Captain Pierce’s regiment, commanded by Colonel Hamar in the year 1785, and was honorably discharged in 1786
From the official records it is shown that the military services of the young Massachusetts soldier coved in all a period of nineteen years. After the Revolution, he served continuously in Pennsylvania and other states. January 11 1795, he was appointed lieutenant of militia at Burnt For, GA., and continued as such until Jan. 1796. It was about this time that he married Rhoda Effingham, niece of Thomas Harvey Miller, owner of a notable plantation at Peter’s Point near St. Mary’s Ga. Her mother was Pharaba Miller, whose kinsman, Phienas Miller, married the widow of General Nathaniel Greene, to whom the State of Georgia deeded Dungeness, the southern portion of Cumberland Island, as a reward for his distinguished services in the Revolutionary War.
In 1797 Lt. Vaughan received from the Spanish government a grant of a large tract of land on Amelia Island. The exact extent and date of the grant is not known, as for many years before and for nearly a quarter of a century afterward, the loose Spanish control of Northern Florida and the constant entanglements of the nominal government of France, England and the United States made the keeping of accurate records an impossibility. He also received one hundred acres bounty land for service in the Revolution and a grant for service in the Indian War.
When the United Stated declared war on England in 1812, fired with the spirit of loyalty to his country, he left his family on his Amelia Island Plantation crossed the St. Mary’s river into Georgia and once more entered military service, remaining in the service until the close of the war.
The rest of John Vaughan’s life was spent in peace and plenty on his plantation covering the lower portion of Amelia Island bordering the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the inland waterway on the west. The Vaughan plantation was one of three or four into which the island was divided, and according to authentic records he owned 500 slaves. Assisted by his son Daniel, he raised large crops of cotton for which the islands of the South Atlantic coast were famous. The first sea island cotton grown in this country, historic records show was on the southern end Amelia Island.
Thanks and credits to the Amelia Island Museum of History for the use of the dedication picture, and to Ann Fontaine for restoration of the picture.
Inscriptions on the Obelisk