Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jackson County in 1823

This map in the National Archives is one of the first known to have been drawn following the creation of Jackson County.

Although settlements had been established in the area by 1823, when the map was drawn, the only one shown is "Tocktechla" (or Tocktoethla), a Native American town occupied by the followers of Econchatimico. This village had been established in 1818 following the destruction of the chief's former town, Ekanachatte, by U.S. forces during the First Seminole War.

Tocktoethla, which roughly means "River Junction" when translated from the Creek language, was located on a site now inundated by Lake Seminole. It was adjacent to the later sites of Port Jackson and Butler Landing. The surrounding area today is part of the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area north of Sneads.

A couple of other features of importance are shown on the map in the modern Jackson County area. The "Forks of the Creek" at the head of the Chipola River are clearly visible, although they were drawn a bit larger than life by the mapmaker. Three important early trails are shown. Two of these connected Tocktoethla with the Chipola River, one by way of the Natural Bridge at today's Florida Caverns State Park and the second is what today is known as the "Fort Road," which leads across the modern sites of Two Egg and Greenwood before crossing the Chipola at Bellamy Bridge. The third is the "River Road," a pathway that has been in use for hundreds if not thousands of years. It leads up the west side of the Chattahoochee River. Portions of the original track can still be seen along the sides of County Road 271 (River Road).
The map also shows the Natural Bridge of the Chipola as well as another important early landmark, the "Rocky Mount" near the present site of Sneads. This feature was shown on maps as early as 1778. The "mount" today is known as Gorrie Hill and is located along the south border of Three Rivers State Park. Part is inside the park and part is on the adjoining private land.

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