HOLMES COUNTY, FLORIDA

HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- Holmes County's Beginnings

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))

On Jan 8, 1848, Walton County contributed 435 square miles of her northeast corner, west of the Choctawatchee River, to form Holmes County.  Washington, Calhoun, and Jackson counties also made contributions.  The county, with an area of 484 square miles, was the 27th county in order of establishment.  It was the second county created after Florida's admission to the Union.  It is located in the northern part of the Florida Panhandle, along the Alabama state line.  It is bounded on the north by Geneva County, Alabama; on the east by Jackson County; on the west by Walton County, and on the south by Washington and Walton Counties.  It was said that Holmes County was created to help maintain a balance of power between northeast Florida and the more populous middle Florida.

The Legislative Act to create Holmes County whizzed through the Legislature and reads as follows:

    Section 1.  Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives in General Assembly convened, that the County of Holmes be and is hereby declared established, and shall be bound as follows:  Commencing at the Alabama line where it crosses Holmes Creek, thence down the said creek to the line of Washington County, thence west on the said line to the Choctawhatchee River, thence down the said river to the dividing line between the third and fourth townships of Walton County, thence west of the said line dividing centrally the eighteenth Range of said County of Walton, thence due north by the said last mentioned line to the Alabama line, thence east on the said line to the beginning.

    Section 2.  Be it further enacted, that the Governor of this sate on the passage of this act, shall appoint all officers for said county of Holmes as it is by law made his duty to appoint for the other counties of this State.

    Section 3.  Be it further enacted, that the qualified voters be and they are hereby authorized to elect such County officers as by law are directed to elected in the other counties of this State, in the same manner, and subject to the same duties, provisions and responsibilities.

    Section 4.  Be it further enacted, that an election for County officers shall take place, on the first Monday of March A.D. 1848, or as soon as possible thereafter at the usual places of holding elections within the limits of the said County of Holmes.

    Section 5.  Be it further enacted, that the Circuit Court of said County and the meetings of the County Commissioners, shall be held at Hewett's Bluff, until the qualified voters choose a County site, and until suitable buildings shall have been erected, and the Judge of Probate shall order an election to be held to locate the County site.

    Section 6.  Be it further enacted, that the Justices of the Peace in office before the passage of this act shall continue in office.

    Section 7.  Be it further enacted, that until the Clerk of Court of said County shall be qualified, and provided with the necessary materials for recording, the citizens of said County who have their domiciles east of the Choctawatchee River, shall record all instruments of writing, required by law to be record, in the office of the Clerk of Court of Jackson County, and all west of said River in said County, in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Walton County.

    Section 8.  Be it further enacted, that all east of the Choctawatchee River shall remain a part of the fourth Senatorial District, and all west a part of the third Senatorial District.

    Section 9.  Be it further enacted, that said County of Holmes shall be entitled to one Representative in General Assembly in the State of Florida:  Provided its population shall equal the existing ratio of representation, and in such case the Judge of Probate shall order an election for such Representative according to law: And provide further, that the population of Walton County, shall not be reduced by taking such County of Holmes from its territory, below the existing ration, and the Judge of Probate shall forward a copy of its territory, below the existing ratio, and the Judge of Probate shall forward a copy of the list of the enumeration to the Secretary of the State of Florida: and no election shall take place for such Representative, until such evidence shall be forwarded to the said Secretary of State.

    Section 10.  Be it further enacted, that until the population of Holmes County equal the existing ratio of representation, the qualified voters east of the Choctawatchee River shall be entitled to vote for representative to the General Assembly for Jackson County, and those west of said river, for the representative to the General Assembly for Walton County.

    Section 11.  Be it further enacted, that a Circuit Court shall be held in Holmes County on the second Monday of November and in Washington County on Thursday thereafter, and the Spring Court shall be held in Holmes County on Thursday after the third Monday of May in each and every year.  (Passed the Senate, Dec 27, 1847.  Passed the House of Representatives, Jan 7, 1848.  Approved by the Governor, Jan 8, 1848.)


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This page was last updated on:  17 June 2002 , 08:42 PM