Friday, October 24, 2008

Perryman's Town was an important early landmark in Jackson County


By Dale Cox

Parramore – In writing or discussing the history of Jackson County, it is often easy to forget that the “first settlers” of the area were not really the “first.” The county had a rich Native American history for centuries before the first American settlers drifted into the area in around 1819.

Among the noteworthy Creek settlements in Jackson County was a place called Tellmochesses or “Perryman’s Town.”
Located just east of the “River Road” near today’s Parramore Landing, Perryman’s Town was an important Creek village established by Chief William Perryman at some point prior to the American Revolution. The inhabitants of the settlement lived in cabins and farmed and were of the “civilized” or pro-white faction of the Lower Creeks. Perryman himself was the grandson of an early English trader named Theophilus Perryman.
Perryman’s Town was noteworthy because of the role of its occupants in a number of highly significant events of early U.S. history. William Perryman, for example, was a Loyalist and joined the British forces in St. Augustine with his warriors to fight against the colonists during the American Revolution. He took part in a number of British attacks on Georgia and was engaged in several little known but significant Revolutionary War battles.
After the war, he became an associate his brother-in-law, the notorious pirate William Augustus Bowles. The later individual had married Perryman’s sister and dreamed of establishing an empire for himself in the wilderness of what is now North Florida. He commissioned a flotilla of pirate ships that struck against Spanish and civilian vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and frequented Perryman’s Town. The two had a falling out during the late 1800s, however, when Bowles threatened to execute Perryman’s father, Thomas, and William Perryman thereafter assisted the Spanish in apprehending the pirate and adventurer.
Later, William Perryman again served the British during the War of 1812 and was an officer in a force of Native American auxiliaries raised by the English for a planned invasion of Georgia. When the war ended and the British disappeared, however, he saw the writing on the wall and thereafter allied himself with the United States.
When the First Seminole War erupted in 1817, Perryman led a party of his warriors down to present-day Blountstown to rescue Chief John Blunt, who also had allied himself with the United States. Blunt’s village and the nearby plantations of traders Edmund Doyle and William Hambly were under threat of attack by a large force of Seminole and Creek warriors. Perryman arrived just as the attack materialized and was killed in the resulting battle, although his mission to rescue Blunt ended in success.
The death of their charismatic leader and beginning of the First Seminole War prompted the people of Perryman’s Town to abandon their long occupied village site in Jackson County. They relocated up to the Creek Nation in Alabama and Georgia and the old village site was slowly reclaimed by the woods. The site today is indistinguishable from the pine forest that now covers it.
If you are interested in learning more about William Perryman and Perryman's Town, please consider my new book, The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One. You can order the book online directly from the printer by visiting www.exploresouthernhistory.com/dalecox.

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