Thursday, January 31, 2008

Greetings from Snowy Arkansas

Many of you know that I divide my time between Arkansas and the family place in Two Egg. Tonight I thought I'd share a bit of Arkansas winter with you.
We got a pretty nice snowfall here this afternoon and it is still snowing tonight. I took this photo when I ventured out for a couple of minutes earlier to watch it come down. We get ice and snow here from time to time, but this one is turning into one of the prettiest snowfalls we've had in a while.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Bazzell Murder - 1860

One of the earliest recorded crimes in the Two Egg area was the 1860 murder of William Bazzell. The details surrounding the event remain sketchy, but he is believed to have been the first person buried at the Bazzell Cemetery in Lovedale, a community about three miles northeast of "downtown" Two Egg.

Although the details of what happened are unclear, a reward for the apprehension of two suspects was issued by Governor Madison S. Perry on September 14, 1860. Here is the notice that was published in the Tallahassee Floridian newspaper on October 6, 1860:


$200 Reward

Whereas, Information has been this day filed in the Executive Department that a brutal murder was committed in Jackson County, during the night of the 20th ultimo, on the body of William J. Bazzell, by Daniel O. Neel, and Samuel H. Chisolm, and that they have fled from justice,

Now, therefore, in order that said Neel and Chisolm may be brought to condign punishment, I, Madison S. Perry, Governor of the State aforesaid, and by this my public proclamation, offer TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS reward for the apprehension and delivery of said criminals to the Sheriff of Jackson County.

MEN. – Daniel O. Neel is a middle aged man, about five feet ten inches high, --- black hair, with white lock on the right side of his head; of dark complexion, and heavy countenance, has very penetrating grey eyes, has a scar on his right arm between the wrist and elbow, made by a half ounce bullet, weight about 140 or 145 pounds, and wore at the time of his escape a very heavy beard. He is an Engineer by trade.

Samuel H. Chisolm is about twenty-one years ago, has fair skin prominent nose, blue-eyes, large mouth and dark curly hair; has rather a good countenance, is fine looking, and talks well and freely. Is about six feet high and wighs about 160 pounds, was clean shaven when he escaped.

It Testimony Whereof, I have hereto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Florida. Done at the Capitol, in the city of Tallahassee, this 14th day of September, A.D. 1860.

M.S. Perry,
Governor of Florida.

By the Governor – Attest:
F.L. Villepigue,
Secretary of State.

The Florida Sentinal and Marianna Patriot run four times, and forward bills to the Comptroller’s office for settlement.

September 15, 1860.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Two Egg, Florida - The Book

If you've tried to pick up a copy of Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts at Chipola River Book and Tea in Marianna this week, you already know this, but the most recent printing of the book has sold out. A new round is on the way and should be on hand by the end of next week.

In the meantime, if you would like to purchase copies, they are still in stock through and

If you would prefer to order by mail, you can also send a check or money order to me and I'll be glad to place the order and have the book shipped to you. The price is $16.95 for the book plus $4.60 for shipping (Total amount: $20.55).

The address is:
Dale Cox
P.O. Box 180814
Fort Smith, AR 72918

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lovedale featured in the "Jackson County Times"

The Two Egg area community of Lovedale is featured in this week's issue of The Jackson County Times. The weekly community newspaper has begun featuring the histories of communities across Jackson County and this week turns its attention to Lovedale.
Lovedale was founded during the late 1800s by families that still live in the area. Unique among the small communities established in Jackson County during that era because it was built around a central square, the community is now the home of Lovedale Baptist Church and Cemetery.
To read the article, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Jackson County Times. If you live out of the area or live in Jackson County and would like to receive the weekly community newspaper by mail, you can subscribe online by visiting:

"Southern Heritage" on Chipola College TV

It is rare that I come across a television program that I gains my firm endorsement. Many of you know that I spent a career in the television business and, if you know me well, you also know that I don't have a particularly high opinion of most of what is available there.

Mainly this is because I think that many television stations have gotten so consumed with profits that they have forgotten what community service and involvement is all about. (I am far from being anti-profit, but I think you understand what I mean.)

This is why I have become such a fan of a developing project in Marianna called "Chipola College TV." Produced by a dedicated staff at Chipola College, the channel carries programs of interest to viewers in the counties served by the college. It is available on cable and, if you live in an area where you can't get cable, can also be seen live on the internet.

I'm particularly a fan of a program called "Southern Heritage" that airs every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. (Central Time). The show features a wide variety of interviews and videos exploring the history and rich heritage of the area. They visit historic sites, interview authors and give you chances to relive history.

If you would like to watch "Southern Heritage," just go to my website at and you will find a link to Chipola College TV. The program airs every Tuesday night at 7 p.m., so that is when you need to click in if you would like to watch. You can see the other programs at CCTV any time you like by following the link.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Much needed rain falls in Two Egg

The Two Egg area is getting some badly needed rain this week. It is cold, but there is definitely a silver lining in the clouds. The water table throughout the area has been far below normal for months, but for a couple of days now rain has been falling off and on and some improvement is starting to show in the water levels of lakes and ponds in the area.

All the prayers for rain are being answered.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Book: "A History of Jackson County, Florida" to be released soon

The first volume of my new three volume set of books, A History of Jackson County, Florida will be released in a couple of weeks. Volume One covers the years 1674-1865 and will be the first of the three books to be released. Volume Two, which covers the years 1866-1935 will be released this summer and Volume Three, 1936-Present will be out by Christmas.
I divided the book into three volumes because of its length (over 700 pages). This will keep each of the the parts affordable (retail price is set for $24.95) instead of them all being put together into one large book that would cost more than many readers could afford to pay in one lump sum.
Volume One will be available through, and most other online retailers by around the end of January. It will also be available in Marianna at Chipola River Book and Tea downtown (same block as the Gazebo Restaurant).
Here are some of the chapters from Volume One:
  • San Nicolas and San Carlos, The Spanish Missions of Jackson County
  • Ellicott's Observatory, 1799
  • The Perryman Family and the War of 1812
  • The First Seminole War
  • Andrew Jackson's March through Jackson County
  • First Settlements
  • The Establishment of Jackson County
  • Greenwood and Campbellton
  • Marianna vs. Webbville
  • The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge
  • Fort Marianna and the Second Seminole War
  • The Plantation Era
  • Slavery
  • The Riverboat Era
  • The Calhoun County War of 1860
  • The War Between the States
  • The Battle of Marianna

Friday, January 18, 2008

Two Egg was once part of Fayette County

It is a little known fact that Two Egg (and all of eastern Jackson County, in fact) was once part of short-lived Fayette County.
Established by act of the Florida Territorial Council in 1832, Fayette County was made up of the sections of present-day Jackson and Calhoun Counties between the Chipola and Chattahoochee/Apalachicola Rivers. The county seat was at Ocheesee, a small town on the Apalchicola River in the northeast corner of what is now Calhoun County. The photograph at right shows Ocheesee Bluff as it appears today.
Fayette County didn't last long. A political maneuver from the beginning, it died out within 8 years and is today remembered as "Florida's Lost County."

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sylvania Plantation - Home of Governor John Milton

Located a few miles south of Two Egg is the site of Sylvania Plantation, the home of Florida's Confederate Governor, John Milton.
The plantation property is located in the vicinity of Sylvania Plantation Road and Blue Springs Highway, just up the hill from Blue Spring. The road leads northeast from the old plantation site and crosses Highway 69 just west of Two Egg crossroads.
Milton lived here during the years leading up to the War Between the States. A tutor, brought in to educate his younger children, wrote in her journal that the home was not a classic Southern mansion, but instead was a large home with a low, overhanging roof and verandas running around it. It was situated in a pleasant grove of trees.
It was here that Milton planned his successful campaign for governor and that he spent many hours during his brief trips away from Tallahassee during the war. At the end of the war, after hearing of the fall of Petersburg, he came here to consider the situation. He died from a gunshot that many believe was suicide, although there is also tradition that it might have been an accident.
The home no longer stands, but a state marker can be seen at the site.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Legend of Two-Toe Tom

My recent book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts, includes a number of fascinating folk tales from around Northwest Florida. One of my favorites, introduced to me by the late folklorist and historian E.W. Carswell, is the legend of Two-Toe Tom.
Two-Tom Tom, as the story goes, is a monstrous demon-possessed alligator who haunts the swamps of Holmes, Walton and Washington Counties as well as the neighboring areas just across the Alabama line. He is often associated with Sand Hammock Lake near Esto in Holmes County and Boynton Island near Vernon in Washington County.
Said to range anywhere from around 16 to 24 feet long, Two-Toe got his unique name because he lost all but two of the toes on one of his feet in a failed effort to capture him using a bear trap. Dynamite, "war rifles," shotguns and other weapons have also been used through the years, all without success.
Believe it or not, there are some indications that the legend may be based on a real alligator. During the early 1900s, a lumber crew killed a giant alligator in Walton County that measured 8 feet across the shoulders and 19 feet from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail. If the measurements are accurate, then he was the largest alligator ever recorded. But, he had all of his toes so he could not have been Two-Toe Tom. The report does indicate, however, that alligators of a monstrous size once grew in Northwest Florida.
If you would like to read the full story of Two-Tom, you will find a chapter about him in Two Egg, Florida. The book is available through,, and can be purchased in Marianna at Chipola River Book and Tea (located downtown on the same block as the Gazebo Restaurant).

William Henry Cox - A Two Egg pioneer

The photograph at right is of my great-grandfather, William Henry Cox. He came to the Two Egg area with his father, Joseph Cox, before the Civil War and settled a few miles east of the crossroads near today's Parramore community.
In 1864, as a student at the Academy in Greenwood, he joined Captain Henry Robinson's Greenwood Club Cavalry. The unit was made up of boys who attended school at the academy under the supervision of Robinson, their teacher. They participated in military training daily. On September 27, 1864, William Cox fought at the Battle of Marianna as a member of the Greenwood Company. He was among the men who avoided capture during the battle by pulling up the flooring of the bridge over the Chipola River and holding back a Union attempt to capture the crossing. His father also fought in the Battle of Marianna as a member of Captain W.W. Poe's Company C, 1st Florida Infantry Reserves.
After the war, he married Elizabeth Owens and they went on to raise ten children. Family legend holds that William (best known locally as "Bill"), who worked as a well-digger, often would become so frustrated with all the noise of the children that he would climb down into the family well to get some peace and quiet.
He also was known to take long evening walks and another family tradition tells of how, for years after his death, the squeaky front gate would still open and close at the times he used to leave for his walks.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Prints available of Dellwood Methodist Church

Framed prints of my black and white photograph of the historic Dellwood Methodist Church are now available for purchase at

Matted and framed in your choice of oak, black wood or black aluminum gallery faming, these prints are available for $65.

Black and white prints of the Russ House in Marianna are also availabel, and other images from my photography collection will be coming soon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Milly Francis and Duncan McKrimmon

This is a 19th century artist's rendering of Milly Francis, the "Creek Pocahontas," begging for the life of a captured Georgia militiamen named Duncan McKrimmon.
This is one of the stories I featured in my recent book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts.
The incident took place during the spring of 1818. McKrimmon, a soldier in Andrew Jackson's army, wandered from Fort Gadsden on the Apalachicola River to do some fishing. He was quickly captured by several Creek warriors who were hovering around the fort to watch Jackson's movements. Taken to the village of the Prophet Josiah Francis on the Wakulla River, he was tied up and preparations began to execute him.
Milly later described how she heard shouting and ran to see what was happening, only to realize that McKrimmon was about to be killed. She pleaded with her father, the Prophet, to spare him, but was told that under Creek law, that decision must be made by the warrior who had captured him. She then took her appeal to the warrior in question who was finally convinced to spare McKrimmon on the provision that the young soldier agree to shave his head in the Creek style and become a member of the Prophet's band.
The Prophet Francis was captured and executed by Andrew Jackson a short time later and Milly and the other members of her family went up into Alabama. In 1836, she was among the Native Americans forced on the Trail of Tears to today's Oklahoma. After years of living in poverty in the Indian Territory, she was granted a pension and special medal of honor by the U.S. Congress. She died, however, before the funds and medal reached her.
If you are interested in learning more about Milly Francis, consider picking up a copy of Two Egg, Florida. It is available at Chipola River Book and Tea in downtown Marianna and can also be purchased at,, or ordered from my website at

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More on Lovedale

This is one of the oldest graves at Lovedale Baptist Church Cemetery. The stone, located virtually in the shadow of the church itself, marks the burial spot of Charles Weston. He was only 6 weeks old when he died in 1891.

Such tragedies were sad facts of life during the late 1800s, when Lovedale was founded. Disease, malnutrition, lack of modern medicines and other causes contributed to claim many children before they reached the age of 5. The number of graves of children at cemeteries like the one in Lovedale is a sobering testimony to the fact that the "good old days" weren't always so good.

Despite such tragedy, however, the people who survived the hard times built families and homes and helped make Jackson County the special place it is today. There is much history in the tombstones around Two Egg.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Lovedale Baptist Church Cemetery

Located just a couple of miles northeast of Two Egg, the community of Lovedale has been an important part of the area since the late 1800s. The community is unique among similar Northwest Florida crossroads because it was built around a central square. Although there were originally businesses and other structures there, today the peaceful community is best noted as the site of Lovedale Baptist Church and Cemetery.
The cemetery, which includes graves dating as far back as the late 1800s, is beautifully maintained by local residents.
Tombstones here tell the stories of numerous local families. One is even inscribed with a drawing of a man fishing.
Along with Two Egg, Lovedale has for many years been one of the principal communities making up Jackson County's Central voting precinct.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dunaway family celebrates landmark achievement

Members of Jackson County's Dunaway family, all of whom have close ties and roots in Two Egg, saw a dream become a reality yesterday. For the first time in nearly 20 years, a new chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution was formed in Florida. The celebration in Marianna marked an accomplishment that came as the result of decades of work by Robert ("Kenny"), Harry ("Hap") and Fletcher Dunaway.
The William Dunaway Chapter of the Florida Society of the Sons of the American Revolution was officially instituted during ceremonies yesterday. The new chapter, Jackson County's first, honors Patriot William Dunaway, who served in the 5th Virginia Regiment during the American Revolution. He served during the Yorktown Campaign and then went on to fight under Col. Elijah Clarke in Georgia during the final major actions of the war.
If you live in or around the Two Egg or Jackson County area and have an ancestor who served in the American Revolution and would like to join the new chapter, feel free to contact me and I'll be glad to put you in touch with them. Just follow this link to send me an email:

The Garden of Eden

One of my favorite legends from the area around Two Egg is the story of the Garden of Eden in Liberty County, Florida. I included this as one of the chapters in my book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts.

If you aren't familiar with the story, it holds that the area around Alum Bluff just north of the town of Bristol is the actual site of the Biblical Garden of Eden. Advanced by a local minister years ago, the theory originated because of the unique plantlife found there. Among other extremely rare plants, the Florida Torreya can be found growing at Alum Bluff. According to local legend, this was the "gopher wood" tree from which Noah constructed the ark. In addition, the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system resembles the Biblical description of the waters that flowed through the Garden of Eden.

Whether the theory is accurate or not, one thing is definite. Alum Bluff is a natural wonder of amazing proportions. In addition to the Torreya, the extremely rare Florida Yew can be found growing there, as do other plants usually only found in the mountains. The photograph above was taken from the top of the bluff, which is now part of the Nature Conservancy's Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve.

It is a long walk (more than 3 miles roundtrip) to visit the bluff, but the view is spectacular. The access is by the appropriately named "Garden of Eden Trail" off State Road 12 just north of Bristol. There is no admission charge and the preserve is open during daylight hours.

If you would like to read the entire Garden of Eden story, my book Two Egg, Florida is available through,, or at

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winter arrives in Two Egg, Florida

If you think it never gets cold in Florida, think again! We are experiencing a nice dose of winter here in Two Egg. As I write this at around 8:30 p.m., the thermometer is showing 27 degrees and and temperatures are expected to deep into the teens tonight. As Floridians like to say, that is "pipe busting weather" this far South.

It brings to mind a couple of events from my childhood. When I was four or five years old, I remember we had a freeze in Two Egg with temperatures dipping to within a degree or two of 0. I remember it well because the ponds and lakes froze completely over and my father had to use an axe to chop up the ice so the livestock could get water.

The biggest snowfall I recall in Two Egg was the one that hit during the winter of (I think) 1974. We had an all night snow that left an accumulation of 8 inches on the ground. It actually drifted up on fence rows and took days to melt. I've lived in many areas of the country where 8 inches of snow didn't really cause major problems, but take my word for it, an 8 inch snow in Two Egg, Florida, is a big deal!

If you are staying in out of the cold and looking for ways to occupy your time, considering browsing through my website at It is filled with photographs and details on historic sites and points of interest all across the South. I think you might enjoy it.