History of Jefferson County

History of Jefferson County


In January 1827 Jefferson County was formed from Leon County with its Western boundary nearly the same as at present and the eastern boundary remained at the Suwannee river until December 1827, when Madison County was formed with its western boundary on the Aucilla river and its most eastern fork. Thus Jefferson County became a separate division and governmental organization, having been at different times situated in the provinces of East Florida and West Florida, then in the Counties of Escambia, Jackson, Gadsden and Leon.
In the act of June 6, establishing Jefferson County, it was provided that the County Court, at its first session, appoint five County Commissioners to select a permanent seat of Justice. The Commissioners were James Gadsden, Solomon E. Mathers, Asa Townsand, William Blackburn and the other not mentioned. The court was authorized to be held at the home of John G. Robinson, until the selection was made and approved. The location chosen was the site of an old Indian town in the west half of the northwest quarter of S. 30 T. 2 North 5 East, which was entered by William Bailey, August 15, 1827. As soon as the lands in this section were surveyed and offered for sale, they were in great demand, even before the survey was completed and accepted.
The date of the earliest entry on record is April 23, 1825, while Jefferson County was still a part of Leon County. This land was deeded to Elizabeth W. Wirt by C. C. Mills. The first entries after Jefferson was established were made by Richard Parrish, Charles Williamson, Robert Jamison, Samuel R. Overton, James Gadsden, Daniel E. Burch, Romeo Sears, John Bellamy, Thomas White and Thomas Townsend. As soon as it was definitely understood that the Indians had relinquished all claim and title to other lands in Middle Florida, by a treaty at Fort Moultrie, in 1823, many noted persons purchased homes in Jefferson County and today their descendants may be found in her borders.
The site selected for the permanent seat of Justice was named "Monticello" and is situated northeast of the County's center and covers one of the highest points in West Florida, thus bearing out the meaning of its name, which is "little mount" or "mound". This did not signify to our early fathers, however, for, as they named the County in honor of Thomas Jefferson, so they bestowed upon the County seat the name "Monticello", in remembrance of his beautiful home in Virginia. It is a significant fact that later descendants of Thomas Jefferson were residents of the county for many years.
Monticello was laid out in 1828, her two main streets being Jefferson, running north and south and Washington, lying east and west. Approaching at right angles, both streets merged into a square, reserved in the center of town for the location of a Court House.
The first white settler in the vicinity of Monticello was John G. Robinson and his place was known by the name "Robinson's", the exact location not known. On May 10, 1827, a post office was established there and Robinson was appointed post-master. He was also the town's first mayor. On December 26, 1827, the name of the post office was changed to "Monticello", and Mr. Robinson reappointed post-master.


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


Brief history of Jefferson 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.