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The Early Settlers

Jack Kilgore, the president of the Fripp Island Resort; his wife, A.J.; and their four sons; along with Roy Krell, the resort’s chief financial officer; his wife, Mary; and their two daughters were the first people to live on Fripp Island. Shortly afterward arrived the families of Ben Eidson, the resort’s office manager; Shirley and Bob Sutton, the island engineer and jack of all trades; and Demos Jones, the golf pro. In 1967, with plans underway for opening an inn, a general manager and a director of public relations moved with their families to Fripp. Considering the few residents during the first few years, there was a surprisingly large number of children. Fripp Island Real Estate

These families faced a dramatic change in lifestyle when they moved to the island. A.J. Kilgore transitioned from the social whirl of Columbia, where she was president of the Junior Woman’s Club, to the relative seclusion of Fripp. She had to get used to the absence of friends and many conveniences and to the half hour drive to buy groceries. Additionally, wild animals lived on the island: alligators and big snakes. There were no streetlights and at night it was very dark with lots of new sounds, particularly the loud chorus of katydids.

Both A.J. Kilgore and Mary Krell stood ready on very short notice to entertain and feed prospective buyers. Sometimes Mary would take pimento cheese sandwiches and iced tea down to the palm frond cabana on the beach for visitors touring the island. When Jack call A.J. about some particularly Hot prospects A.J. would rush to buy fish from the Gay Fish Company on St. Helena Island while her sons built a fire on the beach. A.J. would fry fish and hush puppies in her large iron skillet, and the tailgate of their Bronco would serve as a small bar. The sun would be setting and the smell of sizzling fish would permeate the beach just as Jack would arrive with his client. Fripp Island Real Estate

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