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Blue Spring - A Jackson County Landmark
by Dale Cox
|Copyright 2009 by Dale Cox
All Rights Reserved
One of the most remarkable sights in the
Two Egg area is Jackson County's beautiful
Blue Spring on a clear sunny day. The crystal
clear water is blue to the eye and surprising
depths seem almost close enough to touch.
Now a county recreation area that is open to
the public during the late spring and summer
months, the spring is located just 7 miles
from downtown Two Egg on Blue Springs
Although the spring is extremely popular
today as a place for swimming and enjoying
the outdoors, few visitors realize that it is one
of the most significant historic sites in the
Long before the Spanish arrived in Florida,
the early Indians of the area frequented the
lands around Blue Spring as they hunted for
game, fished and gathered nuts, berries and
other edibles from the forests. The Spanish
first arrived in 1674, when a party of soldiers
and missionaries passed the spring on their
way to found the missions of San Carlos and
San Nicolas to the west. The first of these
was likely located in what is now Washington
County, while the second is generally thought
to have been at Arch Cave (also called
Gerrard's Cave) in western Jackson County.
The area was then inhabited by the Chacato
Indians (often incorrectly confused with the
Choctaw, who never lived in the area) and
they called the spring by a name that an early
priest recorded as "Calutoble." Other writers
rendered the word as "Calistoble." The
meaning of the word is not known.
Fray Rodrigo de la Barreda, a missionary
who camped at the spring in 1693 when an
expedition making its way overland to
Pensacola Bay passed by, described seeing
herds of buffalo grazing on the surrounding
lands and mentioned that Indians sailed on
Spring Creek (today's Merritt's Mill Pond) in
A key road used by the British during the
American Revolution (Florida was a British
colony from 1769-1783) passed by the
spring, connecting the Apalachicola River
with Choctawhatchee Bay via the natural
bridges of the Chipola River and Econfina
In 1818, an army of 1,065 men led by Andrew
Jackson stopped at Blue Spring while
marching from Fort Gadsden (on the
Apalachicola River) to Pensacola. One of
Jackson's officers, Captain Hugh Young,
identified it by the name "Big Spring," a name
that it would maintain for many years to come.
The land at Blue Spring was first settled in
around 1819, two years before Florida was
acquired by the United States, and by the
early 1820s had been purchased by William
Robinson. He built a home on the hill
overlooking the spring and even devised a
unique system of ropes, buckets and pulleys
to draw fresh water from the spring.
Bishop Michael Portier, who visited Robinson
in 1827, left a flowing description of the
The beautiful body of water, of a perfect blue
color, imparts the same tint to whatever it
reflects, and when the sun is in the zenith the
reflected images take on all the colors of the
rainbow through the prismatic influence of
Later during the Antebellum Era, the large
plantation surrounding the spring passed
into the hands of John Milton, who would
serve as Governor of Florida during the War
Between the States. Milton built his home a
short distance northeast of the spring and
named the plantation "Sylvania."
It was about the same time that the name
Blue Spring first came into use. It remains so
to this day, although for some reason the
state now officially calls it "Jackson Blue
Spring," a name that has never been used
The spring was an important landmark and
resting place for visitors on the main road
connecting Marianna with the ferries at
Chattahoochee, Port Jackson and Bellview. A
mill was built just below the spring by the
Ming family and eventually replaced with the
larger Merritt's Mill downstream at the
present U.S. 90 crossing point.
Blue Spring was an important Confederate
camp during the Civil War. Cavalry units were
stationed there as early as 1862 and the
Southern army continued to use the camp
until the end of the war in 1865.
In September of 1864, the camp at Blue
Spring was occupied by Captain Robert J.
Chisolm and his 80-man cavalry company
from Alabama. Then a unit of the Alabama
State Militia, the company had been sent to
Jackson County to assist in rounding up
deserters and to help protect the area along
the Florida-Alabama border. When Union
troops attacked Marianna on September 27,
1864, Chisolm and his men were among the
soldiers and citizens who opposed them.
Governor Milton later praised their courage
during the Battle of Marianna in a letter to the
Confederate Secretary of War.
In the years after the Civil War, Blue Spring
was a popular spot for picnics, baptisms and
swimming. In the 20th century it also became
popular with cave divers, who now have
explored miles of underwater caverns that
spread out from the main spring.
Read more in The History of Jackson
County, Florida: The Early Years....
Beautiful Blue Spring, seen here from the
air, is a major historic landmark.