If someone were to ask you what is the oldest road in Tosohatchee, you might be quick to say the original Bee Head Ranch Road or maybe the narrow road leading to the Bumby Camp. That's probably what I would have said until I started reading stories about the Second Seminole War and how the U.S. Army started building military roads in order to connect the forts along the St. Johns River. Supposedly during the month of December 1837, a column of Dragoons under the command of Brigadier General Abraham Eustis were dispatched from Fort Christmas on special detail. Their orders were to construct a new fort called Fort McNeil near Chickasaw Hatchee (an old Indian name for Taylor Creek). Along the way they had to blaze a wide trail to allow wagons carrying supplies for troops to get through. Although the fort didn't last long after it was built, the military trail continued to be used long after the war. In fact some people think Taylor Creek Road use to follow the grade of the old military road and in a lot of places it does. But after looking at detailed survey maps that were done for the U.S. General Land Office back in 1845, I noticed the military road took a more easterly route near Tosohatchee. It crossed Tootoosahatchee Creek not far from where the creek enters the reserve near Power Line Road at N28° 30.262 W80° 59.645. It then made a slow turn towards the south and crossed the entrance road at N28° 29.897 W80° 59.676 before leaving the reserve. That's the only place where the road crossed Tosohatchee land. It came really close down where it crossed Jim Creek, which coincidently is the same place where the old burned down bridge is located on the abandoned strip of Taylor Creek Road.
File Formats Downloads TopoGraphix ExpertGPS military_road.gpx Google Earth military_road.kmz
Inspections of the areas have yet to reveal any sign of a road, but I hope once the water goes down near Tosohatchee Creek, I'll be able to see something -- maybe an old bridge timber or a stump from an old piling. I can only hope the creek has not washed everything away.
Last updated on 30-Aug-2009