Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Econchattimico's Reserve - A Unique Jackson County Historic Site

One of the most unique historic sites in Jackson County is located along the old River Road (Highway 271) about six miles north of Sneads and nine miles or so southeast of Two Egg.

Econchattimico's Reserve was an Indian reservation established in 1823 by the terms of the Treaty of Moultrie Creek. Covering four square miles along the west side of the Chattahoochee River, it provided a home for the Lower Creek chief Econchattimico and his followers, most of whom had been born and lived their lives in what is now Jackson County.

Econchattimico, a title that means roughly "Red Ground King," had fought against the United States in the War of 1812 and the First Seminole War of 1817-1818, but by 1823 he was tired of war and was living in peace with his new white neighbors. Jackson County was formed that same year and the chief and his followers actually lived in some of the finest homes in the county at that time. Records of the time indicate that many of them lived in nice frame homes or sturdy log cabins, surrounded by fields and orchards that were enclosed with split rail fences. Econchattimico owned a mill and the reservation also had a blacksmith shop and other necessities of life.

The chief and his followers lived on their lands until 1838, when they were forced west to what is now Oklahoma at gunpoint by soldiers from the U.S. Army and Florida militia. Their removal to the west was part of the episode remembered today as the Trail of Tears.

To learn more, please visit You can also learn more by reading The History of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years available here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blue Spring was an important Confederate camp

Although most Civil War camps were temporary affairs, the one at Jackson County's Blue Spring was occupied for three years by troops assigned to protect the area from Union attacks and raids by irregular bands that secreted the swamps of the Apalachicola, Chipola and Choctawhatchee Rivers.

The spring was then part of Sylvania, the plantation of Governor John Milton who had been elected in 1860 just as war was about to erupt between the South and the North. Because of its abundant supply of fresh water, access to plentiful supplies of food from the surrounding farms and plantations and location along what was then the primary road connecting Marianna with Chattahoochee, Tallahassee and the ferry landings at Port Jackson and Bellview, Blue Spring was selected in 1862 as a site for a Confederate encampment.

The first unit documented to have been stationed at the camp at Blue Spring was Captain Richard L. Smith's Marianna Dragoons. This was an independent mounted unit raised in Jackson County during the spring of 1862. It was later consolidated with other similar companies from Alabama and Florida to become Company B, 15th Confederate Cavalry.

Other units known to have been stationed in the camp over the years 1862-1865 included, at various times, Companies E and G of the 5th Florida Cavalry and Captain Robert Chisolm's "Woodville Scouts," a militia cavalry company sent down from Alabama to help protect Marianna.  Chisolm's unit was praised by Governor Milton for the courage it showed during the Battle of Marianna and ultimately became Company I, 5th Florida Cavalry.

The camp at Blue Spring was just a small part of the beautiful landmark's history. You can learn more at or by reading The History of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Battle of Ocheesee, Florida

This week marks the 192nd anniversary of the Battle of Ocheesee, an important Seminole War engagement fought on the Apalachicola River at the southeast corner of Jackson County.

The battle began on December 15, 1817, when hundreds (if not thousands) of Seminole and Creek warriors attacked a small flotilla of U.S. Army supply boats as it rounded the bend in the river between Ocheesee Bluff and Rock Bluff. These former location is in Calhoun County and the latter is now part of Torreya State Park in Liberty County.

Over the next four or five days, the warriors pinned down the soldiers on their boats in midstream, killing at least two and wounding another thirteen. The fire from both banks of the river was so bad that the soldiers aboard the boats could not even raise their heads above the bulwarks to fire back without being shot themselves.

The stalemate continued until December 19th, when General Edmund Gaines commanding at Fort Scott, Georgia (on today's Lake Seminole), sent a covered boat down with materials to be used in better fortifying the supply boats. The relief boat was also equipped with a special anchor that could be rowed ahead of the other boats and dropped. The soliders could then pull on the anchor rope to slowly move the boats forward. Eventually they managed to get moving again and the attack ended as the boats slowly gained headway.

I've launched a new webpage on the Battle of Ocheesee that you might enjoy checking out. Just follow this link to take a look: