Sunday, February 24, 2008
Early Spanish Account of Blue Spring
Blue Spring, near Marianna, has been a Jackson County landmark for centuries.
In 1693, a Spanish missionary named Rodrigo de la Barreda visited the spring and wrote a fascinating account in his journal. Friar Barreda called the spring by its early name, "Calistoble." Possibly a Chacato Indian word, its exact meaning is unknown.
Here is Friar Barreda's description:
On June 11 we proceeded northwest through various woods and pine groves and in about five leagues, reached such a large and excellent spring that a stream deep enough for canoes actually issues from it - the Indians sail on it. This stream joins the Apalachicola river a league more or less above where the latter empties into the sea. This spring is entirely surrounded by woods with many walnut, evergreen oak, laurel, common oak, sassafras, and some pine trees; around it are numerous huge rocks and habitable caves frequented by the Indians on their hunting trips for bear, deer and bufflo, of which there is an abundance. The soil for three or four leagues round about is rich and suitable for all kinds of cultivation. There are very excellent wild grapes on the many vines, and many luscious chestnuts. Here we spent the night, thanking God for such a pleasant and delightful spot uninhabited save for the wild animals who enjoy it.
Friar Barreda's description provides a unique view of the spring and Spring Creek before the latter was dammed to create today's Merritt's Mill Pond. He measured distance in Spanish leagues, which measured about the same as three miles.