|Marker for Sylvania Plantation, home of Gov. John Milton|
John Milton was unique among many Southern governors of the War Between the States era because he was elected prior to Florida secession from the Union, but did not take office until the fall of 1861. Consequently, he was the legal governor of Florida from both points of view - Southern and Northern.
He lived on Sylvania Plantation, a massive farm located in the rich agricultural district just east of Marianna in Jackson County. At their height, Sylvania and the governor's second farm near Parramore on the Chattahoochee River included nearly 10,000 acres. He grew cotton for profit as well as subsistence crops to feed his family, employees and the enslaved Africans who worked on the farms.
|Gov. John Milton of Florida|
Major Milton's story, as preserved by his descendants, was that the gun had been loaded at the time of the nearby Battle of Marianna, but that everyone had forgotten this. When the governor set the stock on the floor, the bump caused the hammer to press against the percussion cap which went off causing the shotgun to fire. The blast struck the governor and killed him.
Such accidents were not uncommon with percussion cap weapons and the family story has a ring of truth to it.
|Sylvania Marker at Blue Springs park entrance|
The historical marker was severely damaged by an unknown person or persons on the night Barack Obama was elected President. County officials took custody of it and, with assistance from state historic preservation officials, had it restored.
Once again beautiful and new in appearance, it stands just inside the roadside fence of Blue Springs Recreation Area on Blue Springs Road near Marianna. It can be read from outside the fence, even when the park is closed.
Blue Springs was part of Sylvania Plantation and a favorite fishing spot of the governor. Learn more at http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/jacksonbluespring.html.