Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
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sign - Swamp Island Drive
The two RV Gypsies enjoyed Swamp Island Drive; a long walk to a tower, and Chesser Island Homestead. They started the day with the one-mile long boardwalk through the swamp area to get to the tower.
Karen  Duquette on the Boardwalk
Lee  Duquette on the Boardwalk
The two RV Gypsies climbed up the 5-story tower for a look at the view.
Lee Duquette approaching the tower
Lee Duquette at the bottom of the tower
Before climbing the stairs of the tower, Lee Duquette checked out the view of the area.
Lee checks out the view of the area.
view of the area.
view of the area.
view of the area.
view of the area.
Lee Duquette stayed at the bottom of the tower and Karen Duquette went up a few flights and told him to look up. Then they took photos of each other.
Karen goes up a few flights of stairs
Lee Duquette
The two RV Gypsies at the top of the tower
Lee at the top of the tower
The two RV Gypsies at the top of the tower

laughiong clipart dudeOn the walk back to the car, Karen Duquette got attacked by a vine stretching over the boardwalk.

Karen gets attacked by a vine stretching over the boardwalk
Karen gets attacked by a vine stretching over the boardwalk
Lee Duquette saw a snake but didn't tell Karen. She begrudgingly posted the photo here..
history bookIn the late 1800s, W.T. Chesser came from the Tattnall and Liberty County area to settle on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp. He settled the area currently known as Chesser Island, a 592 acre island filled with forests of longleaf pine, slash pine and pond pine in low areas, and an occasional oak hammock.

The original homestead was south of the current buildings. W. T. Chesser had six sons. Son Robert Allen Chesser married Lizzie and had 13 children. Son Sam Chesser married Sara and had 9 children. Tom Chesser, the youngest son of Sam and Sara, built the current homestead in 1927, with his wife Iva.

The home is built of yellow pine and reportedly cost $200.00 to build. Originally, the building had four rooms and it featured an indoor kitchen. Bathroom facilities were outside, but a bathtub was located on the back porch. Two bedrooms were added as the family grew to seven children. Outbuildings include a smokehouse, syrup shed, chicken coop, corncrib, and hog pen. The yard retains its original character - it is free of all vegetation, as was the custom of the time to reduce fire danger and increase visibility of snakes.

They grew corn, tobacco, sugar cane and tapped pine trees for turpentine. Work and play often came together - hog butchering and syrup grinding were times when families got together to visit, work, and play.

Typical of families at the time, they told stories, attended church all day on Sunday, and played with toys made at home. The Chesser's were fond of a distinctive type of music - four-note or sacred harp singing. Chesser descendants continue to sing these primitive, acapella, harmonies today.

Most of the Okefenokee Swamp became a national wildlife refuge in 1936; slowly the Chesser family located to other areas. Tom and Iva Chesser were the last family to leave the island, in 1958. Many members of the Chesser family remain in the local area.

sign - Chesser Island Homestead
the easy, short walk
Chesser Island Homestead
Inside the house is the water pump which pumps water into the bathtub
water pump and bathtub
Lee checking out the water pump
When the bathtub was emptied, this is how the water was drained out of the tub and to the outside of the house.
outside water drain
grist mill
meat drying
Lee Duquette saw an old wash tub and wringer and volunteered to do laundry
Lee Duquette
Lee Duquette
Lee Duquette
look below

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Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

Swamp Island Drive

go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAfter you have visited all three (3) sections above, please continue on to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies - Cave City, Kentucky, Kentucky Down Under and more.