Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blue Springs is one of the Most Historic Places in Jackson County

I've written quite a bit here about Blue Springs, the beautiful first magnitude spring a few miles east of Marianna.

This stunning natural spring, which pours out an average of 73 million gallons of clear water a day, has played a key role in the history of the the area for hundreds of years. Archaeological evidence from the vicinity indicates that Native American hunters frequented the spring for thousands of years before the first European explorers entered what is now Jackson County.

The Spanish visited Blue Springs, which they called Calistoble or Calutoble (depending on the source), in 1674, 1675, 1676, 1686 and 1693. The British made note of the road that passed by the spring as being a major trail during the era of the American Revolution. Future President and Major General Andrew

 Jackson passed the spring in 1818 during the First Seminole War. It was settled by less than two years later by William Pyles, who crossed into Florida while it was still Spanish territory and threw up a log cabin and started farming at Blue Springs.

Over the years that followed, the main spring became a focal point on the 3,100 acre cotton plantation of William Robinson, which was incorporated into the more than 6,000 acre Sylvania Plantation of Florida's Confederate governor, John Milton.

To learn more about the history of Blue Springs, please visit the new webpage on the spring at

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Irwin's Mill Creek was Key Area for Early Settlers

By Dale Cox

Irwin’s Mill Creek – When American settlers began drifting across the Florida line into what would become Jackson County in the years following the First Seminole War, one of the areas that immediately attracted their attention was the rich country along the south side of Irwin’s Mill Creek.

Then called Red Ground Creek, this beautiful spring-fed stream rose in the southeast corner of Alabama and flowed down across the border into the northeast corner of Jackson County. Florida was then still Spanish territory and would remain so until 1821, but to these early settlers, the opportunity offered by the high quality land was more than worth the risk of moving into a foreign country.

Several factors attracted early settlers to the area as they began to drift across the line in around 1819. First was the availability of good, clean water. Second, the creek flowed with enough force to power a watermill, one of the few industries essential to life in the early 19th century. Third, the land along the creek was very rich and ideal for farming the types of crops then popular (corn, sugar cane, cotton). Finally, the heavy forests that grew naturally across much of the region had already been cleared away.

For at least fifty years, the area of Jackson County from Irwin’s Mill Creek down to Neal’s Landing on the Chattahoochee River had been the site of the important Creek Indian village of Ekanachatte or “Red Ground.” Established before the American Revolution, this rather spread out town had been supported by fields and pastures along both the river and creek. Ekanachatte had been destroyed on March 13, 1818, during the First Seminole War and its inhabitants had relocated downriver to a new site about ten miles north of present-day Sneads.

The fields and cleared areas were empty when white settlers began to arrive, providing an excellent opportunity for them to build homes and start farming immediately without the back breaking labor of felling old growth trees to clear land.

By 1821, when Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain, Irwin’s Mill Creek had become one of the three largest early settlements in Jackson County. The others were in the Spring Creek area near Campbellton and along the Apalachicola River below Sneads.

Given the opportunity to file claims for land they had occupied while Florida was still a Spanish colony, ten Jackson County residents did so based on farms they had established along the creek between 1819 and 1821. They were Joseph Brooks, Joseph Brown, William Brown, William Chamblis, James Irwin, Adam Kimbrough, William McDonald, William H. Pyke, George Sharp and Allis Wood.

The presence of so many heads of household indicates that the Irwin’s Mill Creek settlement probably had a total population of at least 50 or 60 people.

James Irwin, one of these early settlers, built the mill that provided the creek the name by which it is known today. The ruins of his mill can still be seen and are thought to be the only surviving remains of a structure built in Jackson County while Florida was still Spanish territory.

Note: You can learn more about early settlements in The History of Jackson County, Florida: The Early Years. The book is available online at, where you can also find the second volume in the set, The History of Jackson County, Florida: The War Between the States.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Two Egg featured on the morning news in California's Capital City!

 I had an enjoyable interview this morning with the nice folks of the Good Day Sacramento show on KMAX-TV, the CBS owned and operated CW network station in Sacramento, California.

They were interested in sharing the story of Two Egg with their viewers for a bit of fun on their Easter Morning show. So, they went from talking about hunting for eggs to how Two Egg got got its name. We talked about one of the stories behind the naming of the unique and special little community, as well as some other features of interest in Two Egg and Jackson County, including the Bellamy Bridge ghost legend.

If you would like to see the interview, you can watch it here:

It was a fun way to spend a few minutes talking about our great area and promoting Jackson County to the viewers in Sacramento, which is not only California's capitol city, but also a significant metropolitan area with an area population of more than 2,000,000 people!

 There has already been a nice surge of visits to the Two Egg website at, so hopefully more people are taking the time to learn about Two Egg and enjoy information about Jackson County and the surrounding area.

Thanks again to the Good Day Sacramento folks for seeking us out!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Spring Blooming Season arrives in Two Egg area!

The dogwood trees are coming out just in time for Easter in Two Egg and eastern Jackson County. It looks like the spring blooming season is going to be spectacular
Here are a few samples of photos taken over the last day or so. You can see more at

Just look for the Spring Arrives in Two Egg, Florida link under Two Egg News Updates.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Legend of the Dogwood Tree is a Popular Local Tradition

One of my favorite legends of the spring is the story of the beautiful little dogwood tree.

The dogwood is noted for its small size but stunning beauty. Each spring it blooms in full force and trees all over Jackson County are now covered with stunning blossoms. The annual blooming season also brings back memories of the old Southern legend that the dogwood tree provided the wood for the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

The story holds that the dogwood once grew to great size, so big that it provided timber for various purposes. Because it provided sturdy, solid hardwood, the tree was selected to provide the timbers for the cross of Jesus. Its role in the crucifixion, however, brought about eternal changes for the tree.

Legend holds that God both cursed and blessed the dogwood tree. It would never again grow large enough for  its wood to be used for crucifixions. In exchange for its loss in size, the dogwood was blessed with its beautiful blooms, which open each year in celebration of Easter. The petals themselves hold special significance associated with Easter.

To learn more about this unique story, please visit