History of Santa Rosa County, A King's County

by M. Luther King. Used with permission.

 

SPANISH REOCCUPATION

Under the reoccupation of Pensacola and West Florida by the Spanish, the Spanish Governor, Callava (1819- 1821), at Pensacola complained that the wholesale migration of English settlers from Spanish Florida was leaving the country bare and unpeopled. His plea to his king won an invitation to those people who would, to come and settle in Florida without many of the restrictions that had previously been placed upon them. For instance, nationality, race, or religion were no longer barriers to settlement in Florida. However, wholesale grants of land for speculative purposes were not allowed. Then, too, an oath of allegiance to the King of Spain was a primary requisite. Quite naturally, under that regime.of Spain there was no toleration of any public religious worship except Roman Catholic, though others could worship privately.

Even so, with this lack of restrictions on the one hand and imposed restrictions on the other, there was a rather pronounced migration of settlers from nearby states of the United States. Many came from the Carolinas, nearby Georgia, and the Mississippi Territory (now Mississippi and Alabama).

For varied reasons, these settlers sought homes in this Spanish territory. Many came a bare jump ahead of law enforcement officers in their old home areas. Others came hoping for material gain and still others for "elbow room." There was a final and quite sizable group who came to satisfy that great "American Urge" - the spirit of adventure.

It is still somewhat difficult, even thus far objectively removed, to say just which of the above-mentioned motives prompted those who came to Milton and Santa Rosa County. The reasons were probably as many and as varied as the people and their origins.

The names entered on these concessions (or grants) are in themselves interesting to some of us - Calhoun, Brewster, Parker, Quigles, Holmes, Hawthorne, Maloy, Edgley, Towns, Weaver, Nelson, Mason, Michelet, Falzon, Keyser, Villaseca, Carrer, Simpson, Limbough, Innerarity, Kelker, Wilson, Philabeau, Paul, Bru, Riaboo, Palmes, Murrell, Barco, Fernandez, Hernandez, Bonifay, Molino, Anderson, Brackenridge, Call, Garcia, and Mastria.

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