History of Bay County

History of Bay County


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Lodge of England. 
Most of the Spaniards left this section when the English took possession in 1763. Some of them went to St. Joseph, but most of them returned to Spanish possessions. The English who settled in St. Andrews Bay, were composed of fortune hunters who had come over with Gov. Johnstone, of discharged soldiers, and probably of Tories who were run out of Georgia and the Carolinas by the patriots. 
The few planters who settled in this section were occupied in the [production] of indigo and of naval stores. A trading post owned by the firm of Panton, Leslie & Co. was established in Wells. Trade with the settlers and Indians in this section was also done by sending out goods by pack trains, and exchanging them for what the other had to offer. 
At some points the shore line of the [sic] Bay county changed often because of the ease with which sand was washed from one point to another. For this reason many points on the West Coast mentioned in history have never been located, and some references made may have been to St. Andrews Bay. When, in 1783, the Floridas returned to the possession of the Spaniards, the English who had settled there left, immediately, and the improvements that they had made were abandoned. The new settlers who arrived were mostly Spanish soldiers who were uninterested in development and [improvement] of the land. 
Little is known of this section between the second Spanish occupation and the purchase of Florida by the United States in 1819. We only know that a few poor Spanish fisherman remained on the shores of St. Andrews Bay. After Florida was acquired by the United States the pioneers from other sections began moving into West Florida. Planters from Alabama and


State Library of Florida, WPA - Historical Records Survey, County Histories


Brief history of Bay County, Florida collected by the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey.

Note to Researchers: Though the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, it should be noted that these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.