The Georgia legislature in 1889 authorized Governor John B. The Suwanee Canal Company purchased the property on January 1, 1891.
The company attempted to drain the swamp from 1891 until 1893.
The self-sufficient lifestyle of these settlers continued until the early twentieth century.
Sailing vessels visited Traders Hill, fewer than ten miles outside the Okefenokee, by the first decade of the nineteenth century, and steamboats regularly traveled the St. Outside of these developments, there was little change in the Okefenokee landscape or livelihood until the railroads reached the rim of the great swamp in the 1860s.
Many articles extolling the wonders of the Okefenokee wilderness were published in newspapers, magazines, and books.
A number of writers urged that the swamp be purchased as a refuge.
They built a sawmill and purchased steamboats and steam logging equipment in an effort to raise money by harvesting the cypress timber. In 1899 the property was sold to the family of Captain Henry Jackson of Atlanta, the canal company's former president.
Family and friends camped on the island during the following decade, usually hunting ducks.With the railroads came sawmills and turpentine stills, store-bought goods, circuses, and new people.