William Bartram’s Foray Through Jacksonville, Florida

America’s first native-born naturalist and artist William Bartram was the first author who portrayed nature through his own personal experiences, as well as, scientific observation. Bartram’s significant journey took him from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains down into Florida and then all the way to the Mississippi River. William Bartram published an account of his adventure in 1791. During his expedition, he explored Northeast Florida and briefly visited Cowford; known today as Jacksonville. Information for this map and tour was obtained from the Bartram Trail Conference website (http://www.bartramtrail.org/)

Stop #1: Sawpit Bluff

2-48 E Cape Dr Jacksonville, FL 32226

30.506078, -81.474603

In 1774, Bartram left the Egmont Plantation on Amelia Island by boat, passing through Kingsley Creek and across Nassau Sound. His party probably camped on the north end of Talbot Island, as Bartram reported a well of fresh water there. They camped at Sawpit Bluff one night and then they sailed from America Island to Cowford (Jacksonville).

Stop #2: New Castle Plantation

4131 Ferber Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32277

9CG7+7W Arlington, Jacksonville, FL

In the 1770s, New Castle Plantation was owned by a company of London investors and operated by hired managers. William Bartram and Steven Egan stopped at New Castle Plantation at mid-day on April 13, 1774 and dined with the manager Phillip Francis Fatio. Bartram and Egan toured the grounds where Fatio pointed out many curious shrubs and fruit trees uncommon in Florida. The garden included figs, pomegranates, oranges, lemons, olives, and European grapes. (Report to Dr. Fothergill)

Stop #3: Ferry Dock & Marina

Clifton Jacksonville, FL 32211

30.319751, -81.609698

At that time, there was a public ferry here - probably in the area of Arlington on the east side of the St. Johns opposite Jacksonville. Bartram secured a small boat and fitted it with sails for the journey up the river.

Stop #4: Historical Marker: Soldiers of the American Revolution

N30.32017 W81.65667

Jacksonville, just off the Riverwalk, on the south bank of the St. Johns River, in front of the Riverplace Tower.

Marker Text: Soldiers of the American Revolution Associated with Jacksonville’s History: General John McIntosh (c.) 1756-1826 was born in Darien, Georgia. He assisted botanist William Bartram 1773-1774, and in 1774 they explored along the St. Johns River. His activities during the Revolutionary War included serving as a captain, lieutenant colonel, and as a prisoner of war. He served in the War of 1812 as a general. He died in McIntosh County, Georgia.

Stop #5: Ortega Area Campsite

3703 Ortega Blvd Jacksonville, FL 32210

Sadler Point N30.32017 W81.65667

After leaving Cow-Ford William Bartram camped first in - or near - present day Ortega.

Stop #6: Marshall Plantation

2851 Forest Cir Jacksonville, FL 32257

30.201791, -81.643209

The next day he again crossed the river to the Goodby’s Creek area where he visited the Marshall Plantation (familiar to him from earlier travels with his father as Greenwood’s). The next plantation after Marshall’s was very likely at New Switzerland Point in St. Johns County.

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