Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lake Seminole History, Part Four


This view of Lake Seminole was taken from the Mission San Carlos site looking out at the "big water" of the lake just above the Jim Woodruff Dam.
Beneath the water near the shore is the site of Pope's Trading Post, an important early Jackson County settlement.
William S. Pope first arrived in Jackson County shortly after the transfer of Florida from Spain in 1821. He lived for a time at Mt. Vernon (Chattahoochee), then relocated west to the Chipola settlement in Jackson County. Early land records show that he acquired property around Webbville (a few miles northwest of Marianna).
He lived in this area and speculated on the success of the community until nearby Marianna was established and secured the Legislative Council's backing to become county seat. Pope then relocated to the high ground just west of the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers. Here he acquired land, established a trading post and began farming.
Pope's Store was listed as a Jackson County voting precinct during the 1830s and Pope was appointed to the role of U.S. Subagent to the Native Americans still living on reservations along the lower Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers. In 1833 he negotiated the "Treaty of Pope's" with several of these groups, by which they agreed to relinquish much of their land. The treaty ultimately led to their removal west on the Trail of Tears.
The site of Pope's first settlement is now covered by the lake, but his legacy lives on in a pattern of continuous occupation in the area that continues today in the Town of Sneads.
Our series will continue.

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