Monday, October 13, 2008

Excerpt from New Book: "The History of Jackson County"

The 19th century U.S. soldier shown here was Captain Hugh Young, a topographer or mapmaker assigned to the army of General Andrew Jackson when it marched through what is now Jackson County in 1818.

Young wrote one of the earliest American accounts of the Jackson County area and his description of the area helped attract many early settlers to the region.

The following is an excerpt from the new book, The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One. You can obtain information on how to order the book by clicking here.


"The army turned to the northwest on the morning of May 10th and crossed into Jackson County. Their route led them across the approximate site of Grand Ridge to Blue Spring, where they camped for the night. Captain Hugh Young, Jackson’s topographer, called the spot “Big Spring,” a name it would hold for a number of years. He described it as being “forty yards in diameter and of considerable depth with a rock bottom and a clean rapid current.”

"The soldiers in Jackson’s army marveled at the beauty and richness of the surrounding countryside. Young himself kept careful records of the quality of the lands through which they marched.

"The army continued forward on the morning of May 11, 1818. Crossing the hills between Blue Spring and the Chipola River, they arrived by around midday at the natural bridge. It was here that the supposed incident involving Andrew Jackson took place, but Captain Young did not record it in his journal. Instead, he wrote that the men were well aware that they were crossing a natural bridge and even offered a theory as to how it had been formed:

"'The Natural Bridge is in the center of a large swamp and appears to be a deposit of earth on a raft or some similar obstruction. The passage is narrow and the creek, with a rapid current is visible both above and below.'

"Young, of course, was mistaken about the formation of the bridge. It is actually created by the sudden disappearance of the Chipola River into a series of limestone passages. It flows underground through these for a short distance, before rising back to the surface. Nineteenth century loggers cut a canal across the top of the feature to allow them to float timber across to a downstream mill, taking away some of the unique appearance of the natural bridge, but it can still be seen today."

I will post additional excerpts from the new book over the days to come.

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