Sharon's Blog


Fleming Island History - Margaret's Chapel

Margaret's Chapel on Fleming Island FloridaIt was one of her life's dreams and today it is an important part of Fleming Island history. Margaret Seton Fleming wanted very much to build a church at her plantation on the banks of the St. Johns River on Fleming Island Florida. That dream was thwarted by life's events, including the burning of the family home, the death of her husband and the Civil War. Finally, in 1875, construction began on Margaret's Chapel.

Sadly, the first service held in the new chapel on the grounds of Hibernia Plantation was Margaret's funeral, but her dream was realized and today Margaret's chapel still stands under the ancient mossy oaks down a sandy road at the southeastern end of Fleming Island. Margaret and Lewis are buried close by. Lewis' father, George, is the oldest grave in the cemetery.

The Carpenter Gothic Church is one of five oldest wooden church buildings still in use in the state of Florida. St. Margaret's Episcopal Church and Cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Places. Margaret's Chapel is still used for the 8:00am service each Sunday.

Margaret's Chapel on Fleming Island FloridaMargaret's Chapel on Fleming Island Florida

A stirring tale of Margaret's life is told by Eugenia Price in Margaret's Story. Lewis Fleming was a widower and Margaret married him and became mother to his two children. Margaret and Lewis' son, Francis P. Fleming, became the fifteenth Governor of Florida. Their son, Charles Seton Fleming, died in the Civil War.

If you drive down to Old Church Road, you can enjoy the peaceful setting that the Flemings enjoyed - in between Indian uprisings, wars, and fires. Margaret's son, Francis, became the fifteenth Governor of Florida. The Fleming family still owned land on Fleming Island into the 20th Century. One of the last riverfront parcels owned by a direct descendant was sold to a family we know in the 1980s.

Old Church Road on Fleming IslandSt. Margaret's Episcopal Church on Fleming Island

If you are looking for a home in the lovely Fleming Island area, please call or text us at 904-673-2308. You may also email us at


Original Photography, All Rights Reserved, *Fleming Island History - Margaret's Chapel*









About the Author: Sharon Alters works with her husband, Frank. They are in the top 5% real estate agents for production in the Jacksonville Florida area, specializing in Military and Corporate Relocation in the Fleming Island, Orange Park, St. Johns, St. Augustine and Beaches areas. Their local knowledge can help Relocating Buyers find the perfect lifestyle, whether it is a Castle on the Ocean, or a Cottage in the Country. 

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Comment balloon 6 commentsSharon Alters • September 12 2009 05:58PM


Hi Frank and Sharon, what a beautiful site. I always love to know the story behind a building or landmark.  It really brings a place to life.  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) about 7 years ago

What a lovely story, and a wonderful photo. I missed the age of the church, but was wasily able to scoop it of the  Internet - it was moved to it present location in 1880. Quite a structure. Hard to imagine that it is still being used.

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) about 7 years ago

Hi Sharon and Frank

Very interesting story, I enjoyed reading the post.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) about 7 years ago

Silvia, thanks for stopping by. It is a beautiful place.

Jon, thank you. The church was built in 1875 and moved to its present location in 1880.

Lou, thank you for reading the post. I love to write about local history.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 7 years ago

That is sad about Margret and the first service, but at least it got built and is still standing. Sounds like the family had some very successful people in the family. Is the family still prominent in the area today?

Todd Clark -

Posted by The Friendly Home Team, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Realty Pro Oregon, LLC) about 7 years ago

You're right, Todd. The family was very prominent, but they have moved on. I was told that the last parcel owned by the family (they were in Texas) was sold to the people I know in the 1980s.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 7 years ago