“What in the world were they thinking?” Looking back on the early 1950s on Hilton Head Island, Avary Hack Doubleday has asked herself this question. Fred and Billie Hack loaded their belongings—and two young children—onto a boat and moved to this South Carolina barrier island in June of 1950. Amenities on the Island did not include electricity, telephones, a doctor, or regularly scheduled ferry service to the mainland. There was only one paved road and children attended a one-room school—with an outhouse.
Daughter of the Dawn takes you to a remote island—not so long ago—where, as barefoot children, Avary and her brothers played in the creek, searched for deer and alligator eyes reflected in the dark, collected shells on deserted beaches, and watched loggerhead sea turtles as they deposited their rubbery eggs in the dunes. Through a child’s eyes, she describes private hunting clubs on the Island, evacuating for a hurricane, and lessons learned in a one-room school. As Avary paints her memories she reveals the characters of her parents which led them to this adventure and which molded her own character as she grew up at the dawn of modern Island development...
Daughter of the Dawn gives readers a glimpse into a little-known part of Hilton Head Island's history---long before its name became synonymous with beaches, resorts, and tourism. Avary Hack Doubleday shares her personal experiences of growing up on the Island and gives those of us who never experienced it a chance to slip back into time to imagine a period before traffic lights, resort hotels, or even a bridge from the mainland. Her vivid recollections of her home, Honey Horn, will help us share its past with visitors for years to come.
— Natalie Hefter, Vice President of Programs, Coastal Discovery Museum,
Hilton Head Island, SC
A must read for all who love Hilton Head Island, from one of the founding families. The opening poem, I Am, sets the mood for a compelling memoir of family, faith, courage, compassion, and a deep love of the Island.
— Nelle and Ora Smith, authors of Paradise: Memories of Hilton Head in the Early Days
Daughter of the Dawn shines a light on a fascinating period of Hilton Head Island’s colorful history. But this is no ordinary history. Avary Hack Doubleday is an artist with words, and the picture she paints for us is glorious, vivid, memorable. She was a child when her father moved the family to Honey Horn Plantation on the Island. It was a time when cows wandered into backyards. Marsh hens cackled all day. Copperheads sunned in the road. "Currents and ebbing tides left behind deep slews" in which children played, “little ponds warmed by the sun.” If you’ve ever visited Hilton Head, if you live (or lived) there -- if you simply enjoy good writing – you’ll love this book.
— Judy Goldman, author of Together: A Memoir off a Marriage and a Medical Mishap
Opening with a moving poem covering a wide spectrum of “I am…”—from “silver sunlight” to “sea oats and sand dollars,” Avary Hack Doubleday ends her seductive introduction with “I am from the Island.” Indeed she is.
From 1950 when her father moved his young family to Honey Horn Plantation, Doubleday describes her childhood and growing years on the sparsely populated island of Hilton Head in the years before there was even a bridge. After the purchase of a little over 8,000 acres for timber, her parents began to see new directions of progress for the island and had a strong hand in its progress.
Avary Hack Doubleday is truly a Daughter of the Dawn. From her years spent in the wilderness of unpopulated beaches, adventures in the woods, long horseback rides, essentially a childhood in Paradise, Doubleday introduces us to the people of the Island before its development—people of the earth and the open skies. In the process of her story, by the time she leaves for college, her parents’ vision for the island has greatly shifted the idyllic landscape of her childhood. The island has become idyllic for many others, but its essential wildness is now tamed and groomed.
Though meticulously checked against memories from others and documented facts, Daughter of the Dawn remains a memoir, an engaging telling of one child’s memories from the early days of Hilton Head Island—memories evocative for many of us of life more open, free, and connected to the earth—along with the changes that make it such a different place today. And who best to share those memories of an island “growing up” than one who shared that growing up herself.
— Diane C. McPhail, author of The Abolitionist’s Daughter
When Avary Hack Doubleday moved with her family to Hilton Head Island in June 1950, her family were among the few white residents on the Island. They set up housekeeping at Honey Horn Plantation without modern conveniences such as electricity, telephones, or even medical services. Avary lived there until graduating from Agnes Scott College in 1967. After earning an MBA in Accounting she enjoyed a career in accounting and finance in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2000, she moved with her husband, Gerry, to Highlands, North Carolina. Since retiring, she has volunteered with numerous nonprofit organizations, serving on several boards in both Atlanta and Highlands, including libraries and environmental organizations. She enjoys reading; travel, particularly in Africa; birdwatching; and writing. This memoir of her life on Hilton Head Island before the bridge is her first published work. Avary and Gerry split their time between Highlands and Greenwood, South Carolina.