Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Webbville - Jackson County, Florida

I've devoted some attention over the last month or two to exploring the historic site of Webbville, Jackson County's "lost town" and one time county seat.
The community was founded during the 1820s and once vied with Marianna to be named County Seat of Jackson County. In fact, the U.S. Congress gave Webbville the "temporary designation" but the Florida Territorial Council, favoring Marianna, imposed fines on public officials who refused to conduct business from the latter city. As a result, Webbville slowly faded away and today is a pine covered hilltop, despite the fact that it may still be the official county seat of Jackson County.
Unlike many of the faded communities in Jackson County, Webbville was an actual town, incorporated by act of the Florida Territorial Council. Here is the act in its entirety:
To incorporate Webbville, in Jackson County.

Be it enacted by the Governor and Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida, That Harris B. Crews, Hosea Presler, E.J. Bower, Richard L. Watson and Sears Bryan, and their successors in office, be and they are hereby created a body corporate a politic, by the name and style of “Commissioners for the Town of Webbville,” and as such, may assume the rights and privileges and a body politic or corporate, with the trust, powers and duties hereinafter provided.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That said Commissioners shall hold their respective offices for and during the term of one year, from the date of their appointments; and they shall have power, and it is hereby made their duty, to fill all vacancies that may happen in their body, by death, resignation or removal, and shall in regular succession, at the expiration of their term of service, hold an election on the first Monday in January next, for the requisite number of members, (citizens of said place: ) Provided, that in all cases when the said Commissioners shall fail to hold an election, as is prescribed, it shall and may be lawful for any justice of the peace, residing within the limits of the aforesaid incorporation, or most convenient thereto, to appoint three discrete persons, citizens of the Town of Webbville, whose duty it shall be to give three days notice of an election to be held to fill such vacancies, and proceed to hold such election.

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That all free white male citizens of the age of twenty-one years, residing within the limits of said town, shall be entitled to vote in the election of Commissioners of said Town.

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That said Commissioners shall from their body elect a Chairman, who shall be known & described as “The Magistrate of Police,” and not more nor less than three of said Commissioners shall be necessary to constitute a Board for the transaction of business.

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That the Chairman or Magistrate of Police is hereby invested with the authority to convene the Board as often as he may deem necessary, and in case of absence or neglect of said chairman or magistrate of police to convene said Commissioners, they may convene and appoint a chairman or magistrate of police for the time being, for the transaction of business.

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That said Commissioners shall have full power, and are hereby invested with the authority to prevent or remove nuisances, to license retailers of spirituous liquors, and prescribe such rules and regulations as may be deemed necessary for the good order and quietude of said town. They shall furthermore have the power to prohibit all sorts of gambling, to regulate markets, to commission and license weighers, to direct the safe keeping of the standard of weights and measures, to provide for the opening and preservation of streets, squares, wells, pumps, and other public structures, to appoint patrols for said town, and prescribe rules and regulations for their government, and generally to provide such laws and regulations for the police and good government of said place as they may deem necessary.

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That said Commissioners through their chairman or magistrate of police, shall have power to carry into effect all laws and regulations of their own Board: Provided nevertheless, that no punishment by imprisonment, for contempt or other violation of the ordinances of said commissioners, shall exceed twenty-four hours, nor shall any fine exceed the sum of ten dollars.

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That said Commissioners shall have the power and authority to appoint a constable, whose duty it shall be to serve all process emenating from the said corporate body, and to suppress all riots, routs, affrays, and breaches of the peace, contrary to the good order and harmony of society; and for this purpose, he is hereby vested with all the authority, rights and privileges of the constables of the several magistrates’ districts in this Territory.

Sec. 9. Be it further enacted, That said Commissioners shall have power to enforce the collection of any fines, debts, dues, demands or forfeitures due said corporation; Provided nevertheless, the parties may be heard in person or by counsel, and that appeals to the county or superior courts be not allowed; And provided further, that the said constable shall receive, exact, or claim no other or greater fees for his services than are provided in similar cases by law; the said commissioners shall have the power to levy a tax on town lots, and apply the same to such useful public and charitable purposes as they may deem necessary to advance the interest and welfare of said town.

Sec. 10. Be it further enacted, That the chairman or magistrate of police shall keep a book, in which he shall record the proceedings and orders of the Commissioners at their several meetings; he shall keep a fair and correct account of all the receipts and money coming into his hands, and of all disbursements made by the Commissioners; it shall be his duty to issue all notices, advertisements, process and receipts, for and on behalf of said corporation, to preside at their meetings, and to preside on all process emanating, by virtue of this act; and when disbursements or appropriations of money are to be made, to notify all the Commissioners, or so many thereof as may be within the reach of his process, to attend at the meeting pending, wherein there is to be a disbursement or appropriations of money.

Sec. 11. Be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.

Passed, Novemebr 19th, 1829.

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