(First entry, p. 34)
Wakulla County lies in west-central Florida and extends from the Ochlockonee River eastward to the Gulf of Mexico. Broad swamps, rising but a few feet above the sea, form its coastal portion. The inland surface continues flat for many miles, gradually growing more diversified with rolling sand ridges and hills. Toward the northern corner of the county the land rises more than 50 feet above the sea.(1) The one recorded elevation in the eastern part is at St. Marks, which is only 8 feet above the sea.(2)
Lost Creek flows through the north-central portion of the county. Several natural bridges are formed by the alternate sinking and rising of this stream. Wakulla Springs, near Crawfordville, is one of the natural outlets of the deep waters in the county. It covers an area of about 4 acres and is 118 feet deep. Wakulla River originates in this spring. The Ochlockonee and Sopchoppy Rivers on the west receive the surface drainage of this division. Sprinkled over the north-central region are numerous sink holes and solution channels through which surface waters enter into underlying porous limestones. The St. Marks, Wakulla, and East Rivers form the principal drainage of the eastern portion.
The Apalachee, one of the principal native Indian tribes of Florida, maintained a town in the sixteenth century at the site of the present St. Marks, and it was here that the explorer, Narvaez, embarked in 1528, followed 11 years later by Hernando de Soto. Until after the year 1600, these Indians successfully resisted Spanish occupancy, but finally were subdued and accepted the Christian faith presented to them by the Spanish.(4) Subsequently, San Marcos de Apalache, or St. Marks, became the most important mission station in Florida.(5) A rude fort was erected by the Spanish at St. Marks, in 1677.(6) In 1704 the English governor of South Carolina with his allies, the Creeks, invaded the settlement reducing it to ruins, including the fort.(7) The entrance of this tribe,
1. George Charlton Matson and Samuel Sanford, "Geology and Ground Waters of Florida," Florida State Geological Survey, Annual Report, Water Supply Paper 319, 1913, p. 420; the Ochlockonee River was formerly spelled Ocklockonee and Ocklocknee.
2. E. H. Sellards and Herman Gunter, "The Underground Water Supply of West-Central and West Florida," Florida State Geological Survey, Annual Report, 1912, p. 140.
3. Ibid., p. 140.
4. Frederick Webb Hodge, "Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico," pt. 1, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 30, 1910, p. 67.
5. Ibid., pt. 2, p. 499.
6. Mark F. Boyd, "The Fortification at San Marcos de Apalache," Florida Historical Society Quarterly, XV, no. 1 (July 1936), 32.
7. Hodge, op. cit., pt. 1, p. 68; pt. 2, p. 449.