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These pioneers herded cattle, raised hogs, hunted and fished, and cultivated small corn patches and gardens. They occasionally visited Traders Hill or Centre Village, trading hides, jerky, and pelts for salt, ammunition, trinkets, and entertainment.
A few families moved onto islands in the swamp during the 1850s.
The Atlantic and Gulf Railroad from Savannah was built a few miles north of the Okefenokee by the start of the Civil War (1861-65).
Another railroad, from Brunswick to Albany, passed north of the swamp in 1870.
With the railroads came sawmills and turpentine stills, store-bought goods, circuses, and new people.
A line connected Waycross and Jacksonville, Florida, in 1881, passing within less than a mile of the eastern edge of the swamp.
Roads and forts were built around the perimeter of the swamp, and Georgia militia and U. That Seminole band abandoned the swamp in 1838, but skirmishes continued to occur along the Georgia-Florida boundary as late as 1840.
Settlers moved into the areas east, north, and west of the swamp after the land lottery of 1820.
It has a long history as a wilderness, a public common, and a refuge.
The Georgia legislature in 1889 authorized Governor John B. The Suwanee Canal Company purchased the property on January 1, 1891.
The company attempted to drain the swamp from 1891 until 1893.
Since 1937 most of the Okefenokee has been a National Wildlife Refuge.
It was designated a National Wilderness Area in 1974.
At least two Timucuan villages and Spanish missions were located in or near the swamp between 16.