Thursday, July 21, 2011

Proclamation read for 190th commemoration.

Happy Birthday St. Johns County!  You are 190 years young today.  You too Escambia.  As the 500th and 450th commemorations approach us in St. Augustine, it is healing to put aside famous firsts and focus on what we have in common.  What do you say Pensacola?  Shake on it, even if just for the day?

Thanks to Robin Moore's presentation to the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, I learned more than I ever  knew before about the formation of our county and the significant role it played in establishing Florida as a U.S. Territory.

The presentation began with an overview of prehistoric and historic cultures present in St. Johns county for over 10,000 years and events that brought the county into being.  Some of the oldest place names in the county demonstrate the long period of occupation by the Timucuan natives, First Spanish military and mission sites, British period influence, and back again to Spanish reign in 1784.





To the day at hand-- Spain cedes Florida to the United States in 1819 and the land transfer takes place in 1821.  Transfer of flags took place in St. Augustine July 10, 1821.  The transfer of West Florida occurred in Pensacola on July 17, 1821.  Less than a week later General Jacksonon's first act as Provincial Governor was approving an ordinance that  created two political jurisdictions with courts, a sheriff for each court, and no less than 10 justices of the peace for each jurisdiction – the business of land transfers was probably a top priority.

(West Florida 7 days later, but who's counting)




Two Counties - One Day


Those two jurisdictions were St. Johns County east of the Suwannee River, and Escambia County west of the Suwannee River that was on July 21, 1821, 190 years ago. The names of these counties were both derived from large rivers that existed close to each county seat, and their jurisdictions echoed those established by the British in 1763 with St Augustine and Pensacola being the administrative centers. Not only were we one of the two first counties, but we were the largest!

(easy now Robin, we're trying to get along today)

(but wow, we are quite large to start in 1821!)







Now 190 years later, thanks to Robin, the County recognized the significance of the day by reading a proclamation at the start of the County Commission meeting on Tuesday.


Robin mid-presentation at Tuesday's County Commission meeting.

Well done Robin, and thanks to St. Johns County Commissioners for taking the time during one of the most debated meetings this year (budget discussion followed); the more we know the more we appreciate our place in the world.  For more information or presentation request, contact Robin Moore, Historic Resource Specialist for St. Johns County at remoore@sjcfl.us or check out the county website.

PS- Sorry Pensacola, tomorrow the cease fire ends and "WE'RE NUMBER ONE!" chants are back on!

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