By Dale Cox
Marianna – One of the most interesting accounts ever written about Jackson County is found in the journal of an early Catholic Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Michael Portier. He entered the county in June of 1827 by way of Orange Hill in what is now Washington County and left the only known description of the site of Marianna before the founding of the city.
Biship Portier crossed over the site where Marianna would be founded just a few months later while make his way on horseback from Pensacola to St. Augustine.
Pushing on across the Chipola River, the bishop spent the night at the home of William Robinson overlooking Blue Spring. Robinson had moved to the area from Georgia a few years earlier and acquired more than 3,100 acres in the area around Blue Spring. A life-long bachelor, he was described as less than an ideal host by Portier.
Portier’s description of Blue Spring provides a fascinating word picture of how it must have appeared before the creek flowing from it was dammed later in the 19th century: