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St. Marks in Wakulla County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

The Old Store on the Wakulla River

1784-1804

 
 
The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker<br>(<i>front side</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 3, 2021
1. The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker
(front side)
Inscription.  
[front side]
St. Marks was the only settlement along this coast at the time of the American Revolution and became economically important after the war. In 1784, Panton, Leslie & Company set up a store along the west bank of the Wakulla River, and tens of thousands of deer skins, hides, furs and bees wax traveled along these waters to awaiting ocean-going vessels from which the English products came.
See back for more information
[back side]
British and Spanish entrepreneurs competed for the Indian trade. When the Second Spanish period began in 1783, after the American Revolution, Panton, Leslie & Company was the only British company allowed to continue their trade with the Indians. By 1784 Panton had a two-story headquarters building in Pensacola and had set up a store on the west bank of the Wakulla River. With his close connections to Alexander McGillivray, Grand Chief of the Creek Nation, Panton virtually controlled the Indian trade.

In 1785 William Augustus Bowles tried to break the Panton, Leslie & Company's monopoly. He attempted to capture Panton's trading post, but failed.
Marker detail: Old Store & Map image. Click for full size.
Courtesy State Library and Archives of Florida
2. Marker detail: Old Store & Map
Click or scan to see
this page online
Early in 1800, as self-appointed Director General of the Muskogee Indians, Bowles made another effort. He led a band of Indians, attacking and looting the trading post and capturing the fort at San Marcos. The Muscogee flag flew over the fort for five weeks before Bowles was driven out by Spanish troops.

The Indians changed their way of life in order to trade more skins for English products and guns. Their debt to the company became large. In 1804, the John Forbes Company (formerly Panton, Leslie & Company) accepted 1.2 million acres between the Apalachicola and St. Marks Rivers to settle this debt. For years there were ownership disputes over the land. Present-day plats still show survey lines of the Forbes Purchase. One reason for the location of the St. Marks-Tallahassee railroad terminal in the now ghost-town of Port Leon was due to its location east of the St. Marks River, thereby avoiding controversy over ownership.

Today the Wakulla River provides recreation for people and habitat for manatees and other wildlife.

This Historic Marker Funded by
St. Marks Stone Crab Festival

 
Erected by St. Marks Stone Crab Festival.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceNative Americans
The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker<br>(<i>back side</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 3, 2021
3. The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker
(back side)
Settlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1784.
 
Location. 30° 9.085′ N, 84° 12.599′ W. Marker is in St. Marks, Florida, in Wakulla County. Marker is at the intersection of Old Fort Road and River Breeze Street when traveling south on Old Fort Road. Marker is located beside the St. Marks Boat Ramp at the south end of Old Fort Road, near St. Marks River Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 148 Old Fort Road, Saint Marks FL 32355, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. San Marcos de Apalache (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Princess Malee "Milly" Francis (about 300 feet away); Fort St. Marks Military Cemetery (about 300 feet away); a different marker also named San Marcos de Apalache (about 400 feet away); Telltale Bones (approx. 0.4 miles away); Port Leon (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bo Lynn's Grocery (approx. half a mile away); Tallahassee - St. Marks Railroad (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Marks.
 
Also see . . .
1. Panton, Leslie & Company (Wikipedia). Panton, Leslie & Company was a company of Scottish merchants active in trading in the Bahamas and with the Native Americans of what is now the
The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker<br>(<i>St. Marks River in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 3, 2021
4. The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker
(St. Marks River in background)
Southeastern United States during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Having already established themselves in Florida and the Bahamas, the company was able to continue operating in Florida after the colony's return to Spain in 1783 because there were no Spanish traders interested in doing business with the region's Natives. (Submitted on May 3, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. William Augustus Bowles (Wikipedia). In 1795, along with the Seminoles, he formed a short-lived state in northern Florida (part of Spanish East Florida) known as the State of Muskogee, with himself as its "Director General." After designing a flag and constitution for his state, Bowles raised an army and began to carry out raids of Spanish territories in Florida. In 1800, he declared war on Spain. Bowles operated two schooners and boasted of a force of 400 frontiersmen, former slaves, and warriors. (Submitted on May 3, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker<br>(<i>back side • St. Marks River in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 3, 2021
5. The Old Store on the Wakulla River Marker
(back side • St. Marks River in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 3, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 3, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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May. 17, 2021