Jacksonville FL History

Part 2

15336.43      Robert 7 BIGELOW, was the son of  Benjamin 6 ( Paul 5 , Cornelius 4, Samuel 3, Samuel 2, John 1) and Eunice (AIKEN) BIGELOW, was born 17 October 1797 at Norfolk, Litchfield, CT.
There is an interesting oral history about Jacksonville that mentions the Bigelow Plantation:
There is more history of Jacksonville including cemeteries and houses including Robert Bigelow at jackvil3.htm
This passage below and email from Ann White lead me on this research......ROD

"One enjoyable feature was the moonlight boat-rides on the St. Johns. There were no railroads running up the river, so these boat excursions terminated at Green Cove Springs, Middleburg, and Arlington. Those were also favorite picnic spots. "In horseback riding, we used to go out some distance on the old plank road towards Lake City, and again on the 10-mile drive around by Talleyrand Avenue along the River and back.
"The Springfield section from the time of my early boyhood was known as the Jones Plantation. Mr Jones was the grandfather of the late Mr. William Bostwick.
"At Arlington was the Sammis Plantation. Mr. Sammis' wife was an African Princess.
"On the South side of the River were the [Hudnall?] Plantation, Phillips' Plantation - Red Banks - the Hendricks', Hegarths', and the Bigelow's at Strawberry Creek. (Rod's Note: Strawberry Creek was near the present day intersection of Arlington Expressway and Arlington Road. [207 Noble Circle West. John H. Sammis house, circa 1855] [1300 Oak Haven Road- Francis Richard I and II residence, circa 1848][ Orange Avenue and Grove Street border the Samis property later owned by William Matthews " Arlington Bluff Assoc."][ Bacon place is Bigelow Place, and was the site of a movie location. smoke pouring out caused alarm until it was discovered that a movie was being filmed])
     I talked to a number of residents in the area in the spring of 2000 and did some research at the library. I did explore Floral Bluff and found what I believe is the foundation of the old Bigelow Plantation. It is on a Bluff along the river and near where Strawberry Creek once was. It is also only a couple blocks from the Bigelow cemetery. Below is a map and more information about the Plantations........................ROD 09/02/2000.

      This map shows the Arlington area of Jacksonville along the St. John's River. The cemetery is in the Floral Bluff area.

 A History of Arlington
       Arlington occupies the comer of land shaped by the abrupt eastward turn which the St. Johns River makes before it empties into the Atlantic Ocean some seven miles distant. The Arlington River, hardly a mile in length and flowing out of Pottsburg Creek, historically formed the neighborhood's southern boundary. By recent definition, Atlantic Boulevard, an east-west running thoroughfare less than one-half mile south of the Arlington River, constitutes the southern edge of
what is commonly called Arlington. The neighborhood's east boundary is more difficult to define, shifting with the city's outward crawl. Before the growth that followed completion of the Mathews Bridge in 1953, the population of Arlington was essentially gathered between the St. Johns River and what is now Rogero Road.
       Arlington Expressway, which runs parallel to Atlantic Boulevard on the north side of the Arlington River, provides the other major east-west thoroughfare in that part of the city. University Boulevard constitutes the main north-south artery of highway travel, running parallel to the St. Johns River. Commercial establishmeuts line Atlantic Boulevard, the Expressway, University Boulevard, and Arlington Road. Arlington elsewhere generally consists of residential neighborhoods set within heavily wooded areas. The land along the river in the north part of Arlington rises to high bluffs, uncommon to northeast Florida and offering well situated and picturesque residential locations.
     Throughout prehistoric and early historic period times, Indians, Spanish explorers, and British colonists in turn made their way through what is now Jacksonville, which provided the most convenient place in northeast Florida to cross the St. Johns River. Referred to as Cow Ford during the Second Period of Spanish Occupation (1785-1821), the area experienced little development before the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821.
     Isaiah D. Hart, who emigrated from the St. Mary's River area, surveyed and laid out the town of Jacksonville in 1822. The city became a major shipping port during the century and eventually a center for the insurance industry. Rail and steamship service to northern markets transformed the city at the end of the nineteenth century into the gateway to the Florida peninsula. As a result, Jacksonville's population rose steadily, its growth fueled by the steady annexation of surrounding suburbs. Arlington, on the east bank of the river, did not truly join the city until 1953, when construction of the Mathews Bridge provided the first direct link between downtown Jacksonville and lands on the east bank. Consolidation of Duval County in 1969 officially brought Arlington within the city's fold. Extension of Merrill Road eastward in the mid-1960s and opening of the Regency Square Mall in 1967 inaugurated a period of intensive growth that continues as the century nears its end.
     Archaeological evidence suggests that the first human occupation of northeast Florida occurred during the Middle Archaic Period (5,000 - 2,000 B.C.). The original inhabitants consisted of nomadic tribes from the North Central Highlands region, who migrated to the St. Johns River basin on yearly hunting and gathering expeditions. Not until the Middle Prehistoric Period (1,000 B.C. - 1,000 A.D.), however, did year-round settlements in northeast Florida appear. The Indians, who set up permanent village sites, depended on the abundant fish and game found in and along the St. Johns River for their subsistence. Sites excavated in Duval County dating from the Middle Prehistoric Period tell a story of an advanced culture. The Indians conducted elaborate burial ceremonies, made their own pottery, and traded with neighboring Indian tribes. The cultural lifeways established by those early aboriginal groups changed little until the seventeenth century, when Europeans and Indian tribes from the north displaced the indigenous people.
     Evidence of the prehistoric inhabitants in this section abounded until recent decades. The most conspicuous prehistoric feature remaining in the early twentieth century was the so-called Shields Mound, a hill so large that it appeared from the river to have been a bluff. Located in the Gilmore settlement, Township 2 South, Range 27 East, Section 1, the mound stood some 150 yards from the river bank. One observer in 1936 described it as "slightly oblong, with rounded corners." The mound had a diameter of about 214 feet at its base and a summit plateau of 115 by 133 feet. It rose some eighteen feet above the surrounding surface. A frame residence surrounded by giant oak trees stood atop the mound in the 1880s,
before C. B. Moore, an archaeologist employed by the federal government, began conducting the first excavations there. The building later burned.
     Moore discovered the remains of some 150 bodies, suggesting that the mound served a burial as well as ceremonial function. It probably provided the base for an elevated structure. Truncated pyramidal mounds of that kind, archaeological relics of Florida's Mississippian Period (c. 1100 A.D.), virtually lined the banks of rivers and streams throughout the northern part of the Florida peninsula.
     Early twentieth century road builders mined many of them for their shell content to make road beds. Modern development later removed all but a precious few. The Shields Mound disappeared shortly after World War Two, probably when construction of the Mathews Bridge spurred the initial burst of post-war development. 

continued on jackvil3.htm ...............

Modified - 01/19/2003
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