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P.O. Box 75
Apalachicola, Florida 32329

Reprinted by Permission

Chapter 1 - The Indians
Chapter 2 - The Spanish
Chapter 3 - The English
Chapter 4 - Scottish Traders
Chapter 5 - The United States
Chapter 6 - The Settlements
Chapter 7 - Apalachicola
Chapter 8 - The Civil War
Chapter 9 - Cypress
Chapter 10 - World War II
Chapter 11 - Seafood
Selected Bibliography
Chapter 1 - The Indians

The Port of Apalachicola did not exist until President James Monroe appointed a port collector in 1822. Before that time the area around the mouth of the Apalachicola River had been occupied by Indians for some 10,000 years.

The Indians came to eat oysters. There are Indian mounds west of town at "11 Mile," back of town in the Magnolia cemetery area, and in Eastpoint. The shell mounds served as religious and burial sites. Indian mounds may also be found up the Mississippi River and throughout the Southeastern United States.

The primary reason why there was no settlement at the river's mouth until 1821-1822 was because the lands at the mouth of the river were isolated from the hinterland by a large network of bayous and swamps. The river also empties into a shallow bay.

The Apalachicola River Indians probably came into contact with the first European expedition to reach the general vicinity of the river: the ill-fated Narvaes expedition of 1528 into Apalachee country. Apalachee country was east of Apalachicola River country. The members of the Narvaes expedition killed their horses at a place called the Bay of Horses and used the skins for water bottles before building small boats and sailing toward the Southwest. The account of the DeSoto expedition tells of finding remnants of the Narvaes expedition on the coast. The Bay of Horses was probably somewhere around the St. Marks and Ochlockonee Bay area, near the head of Apalachicola Bay.

The name "Apalachicola" comes from the Indians and apparently described a ridge of earth produced by sweeping the ground in preparation for a council or peace fire. Such an area might be translated as an area of peaceful people or people on the other side. "Land of the friendly people" might be taken as a broad interpretation of the word. It was spelled with two "p"s in the Act of the Legislative Council of the Territory of Florida in 1821 which named the town.

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