According from one source, the first white man to come to the Dixie area was in 1820, a young man named George Miller who was from North Carolina. He became friends with Suwannee and Bowlegs, Native Americans, and sons of Chief Tigertail and his wife, Suwannee, of the Seminole tribe, who settled in the region around Lake Miccosukee near what is now Tallahassee. With the blessings of the Indians, Miller settled in the area. He planted corn and peanuts and raised cattle and hogs. Ten years later he was die from malaria and buried into what is now known as Old Town.
During the Second Seminole War, 1835-1842, General Andrew Jackson would meet the Seminoles in the area known as Old Town, near the Suwannee River, across from Ft. Fanning and fight in what is known as the "Battle of Old Town."
The population following the war, was quite sparse. There were a few Spanish and British setters in addition to the Indians. Later families from Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama came by way of the Old Spanish Trail before the Civil War, bringing their slaves with them. Those slaves cleared many acres of farmland that is still used today. By the end of the Civil War (1880's) the white population was not much more than a few hundred.
In the years that followed the Civil War, the leading industries were commercial fishing, cedar logging, farming and livestock. In the 1920's the logging industry would become big business for the area with the addition of Putnam Lumber Company.
Dixie County was created in 1921 from the southern portion of Lafayette County. The county has a total area of 864 square miles, of which 705 square miles is land and 159 square miles is water. As of the 2008 census, there were 14,957 people, a population density of 20 people per square mile.
Towns in Dixie County are Cross City, county seat, and Horseshoe Beach. Unincorporated communities are Clara, Eugene, Hines, Jonesboro, Old Town, Shamrock, Shired Island, Suwannee, and Yellow Jacket.
Points of interest include the City of Hawkinsville, a sunken steamboat in the Suwannee River near Old Town, one Florida's underwater archaeological preserves; the original Old Town Elementary School, which is now the home to the Dixie County Cultural Center; Old Town Methodist Church, built in 1890, located behind the 1983 church building off US 19; and the Putnam Lodge, built in 1927 located just outside of Cross City on US 19 in Shamrock. There is also the Cross City Airport built in 1940, which has undergone major renovations and is now a major hub for small aircraft.
Today the natural hammock lands, access to rivers and springs as well as to the Gulf of Mexico, make Dixie County the ideal place for all types of eco-tourism activities. You can simply enjoy the natural beauty of the area or enjoy fishing, diving, swimming, canoeing and kayaking, hiking, biking and even bird watching! There are also some great hunting lands open to the public.
Some of the information collected for this history came from a 1951 reprint from the Dixie County Advocate, and was part of Linnie C. Ange's collection of memorabilia. Ms. Ange died at the age of 96, the article was provided by H.F. Jones and submitted by Ms. Ange's nephew Billy Chauncy.
Dixie County Chamber of Commerce • PO Box 547 • Cross City, FL 32628 • Email: email@example.com