As commerce of this extensive territory was entirely carried on by boat, St.
Marks, Apalachicola, Pensacola, and Mobile, facing the Gulf, were busy
trade centers. Apalachicola was the seaport for all the counties of southern
Georgia lying adjacent to the Apalachicola, Flint, Chattachoochee, and
Chipola Rivers, and for the counties of middle and west Florida bordering
on these streams. True, there was a railroad, the first in the South, between
Tallahassee and St. Marks, but it moved little freight.
Ocean-going vessels could not approach closer than 16 miles to
Apalachicola because of the shallow channels which intervened between the
city at the mouth of the Apalachicola River and the deep waters of St.
Georges Sound at the west pass. All the freightage of the back country had to
be carried to ships in the lower sound by the dangerous and expensive medium
When the title to Forbes Purchase was awarded to John Forbes and
Company, the residents of Apalachicola became illegal squatters. They were
compelled to either make terms with the company or move. Angry discussions
were held on street corners, meetings were called, and speeches were made in
protest. When the idea of starting a new town, free from company restrictions
and requirements, was presented many prominent residents eagerly endorsed
Close at hand, only a little father to the west, was St. Josephs Bay,
with virgin land along its shore and every facility for shipping. Reports
were so satisfactory from all points of view that this location was chosen
with enthusiasm by the pioneer. A bayou, Lake Wimico, ex-