Friday, November 26, 2010

The Ice Man Cometh - Dr. Gorrie in Jackson County

Replica of Gorrie's Machine
It is a virtually unknown fact today that Dr. John Gorrie, the Floridian honored in the U.S. Capitol as the inventor of artificial refrigeration, once lived in Jackson County.

Although Gorrie is primarily associated with Apalachicola, where he lived and worked during the 1840s and 1850s, he settled first at the Pope settlement in eastern Jackson County when he made his way south from South Carolina in around 1833. The site of his home was atop what is still known as Gorrie Hill, an elevation adjoining the southern border of Three Rivers State Park just north of Sneads.

Like many of his day, Dr. Gorrie came south in hopes of making a life for himself in the rapidly growing Territory of Florida. Pope's Store, a settlement that would later become Sneads, was then an important trading post and village on the heights overlooking the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers (the actual site of Pope's Store is now under Lake Seminole). Having covered the long distance down from South Carolina, Gorrie decided to settle there to ply his profession as a medical doctor to see if he could establish himself in Florida.

It was during this same time, however, that the port city of Apalachicola was entering its boom phase. Gorrie remained at Pope's for only one year before moving on South to Apalachicola, where he would eventually invent a machine that not only could refrigerate or "air condition" a room, but could also make large quantities of ice.

His ties to Jackson County would remain strong, however, as he married a young woman from the Myrick family. Both his wife and son relocated to Marianna after the doctor's death in 1855 and their graves may be seen at St. Luke's Episcopal Church cemetery in Marianna.

You can learn more about his life at

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue Moon rises over Jackson County

A legendary Blue Moon is rising over Jackson County tonight. It is the third appearance of a full moon since the beginning of fall and is considered the oldest type of Blue Moon.

In more recent times, the term Blue Moon has come to mean the second full moon in a single month, but long before this use of the term came into use, a Blue Moon was the third full moon of four to appear between a solstice and an equinox. Usually there are only three full moons to appear between the beginning of a season and a mid-point of the year, so seasons when there are four are extremely rare. Hence the term, "Once in a Blue Moon."

The Blue Moon has long been associated with sadness and disaster, and of course the passage of long periods of time.

Seasonal Blue Moons, like the one tonight, are extremely rare. The next two will be on August 21, 2013 and May 21, 2016.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Egg gets more National Attention!

The quaint little Jackson County community of Two Egg has once again received the kind of publicity that many larger cities would love to have!

Two Egg, Florida was among the places listed today on's list of "Funny Place Names." Please click here to read the brief article.

Among the other locations included in the interactive online article were Toad Suck, Arkansas; Cuckoo, Virginia; Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; Boring, Oregon and quite a few others. Bing is a major search engine and thousands of people took advantage of the opportunity to search for more information on Two Egg. Many of them spent time browsing local website today to learn more about the community.

Two Egg, of course, is no stranger to publicity. On Easter of this year it was featured in a live report on television in Sacramento, California's capital city, and over the years the crossroads has attracted the attention of television shows including Jeapordy, magazines including National Geographic and Life and numerous radio programs.

You can always learn more about Two Egg in the book, Two Egg, Florida, available for order at the top left of this posting, or at

Friday, November 12, 2010

Book Signing tomorrow morning

If you will be in and around Marianna tomorrow (Saturday) morning from 10 a.m. until around noon, I will be doing a signing at Chipola River Book and Tea. Copies of both of my new books, Old Parramore: The History of a Florida Ghost Town and the expanded edition of The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida, will be available, along with all of my other Florida books. I'll be glad to do special inscriptions for you if you would like to use them as special Christmas or birthday gifts.

Chipola River Book and Tea is located in downtown Marianna on the same block as the Gazebo Restaurant. You can enter from either Lafayette or Market Street. I'll bet there from noon until 12ish.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month...

Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside on November 11th of each year to recognize the veterans who have served our nation and defended our liberty.

It began as Armistice Day, an observation of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I, the first "war to end all wars." The truce ending the fighting took effect at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, literally the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

To help remember the veterans of Jackson County who have served their country over the years, the Blue Springs Society of the Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.) placed United States flags on the graves of veterans at St. Luke's Episcopal Church this week. The cemetery is the resting place of nearly 50 known veterans who served from the War of 1812 through the modern era.

The flags will be saved so the veterans can be honored again next Memorial Day. Here are some photos I took today that you might enjoy:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Expanded Edition of "The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida" is Now Available!

The new and expanded edition of my book, The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida: The Confederate Defense of Tallahassee, is now available.

A companion volume to my book on the Battle of Marianna, which will also be released in new and expanded form soon, this book explores the history of the Battle of Natural Bridge, which was fought along the St. Marks River south of Tallahassee on March 6, 1865. The last significant Confederate victory of the War Between the States, this battle not only preserved Tallahassee's status as the only Southern capital east of the Mississippi not captured during the war, it also saved much of North Florida and South Georgia from vast economic devastation.

The expanded edition of the book includes a great deal of new information, including a section featuring original accounts of the battle, expanded casualty lists and the fascinating and mysterious story of the "last casualty" of the Battle of Natural Bridge.

Many men from Jackson County fought in the Battle of Natural Bridge and the book includes numerous mentions of the county and its connections to the engagement.

To order the new book, please follow the link above. To learn more about the battle, please visit