Dames Point / Crosses Point

A 300-acre tract located twelve miles up the St. Johns River on the north shore was granted to John Cross on June 3, 1768. The property subsequently became known as Crosses Point. Cross sold it in 1770 to George Middleton and David Moses, St. Augustine merchants, who resold it in 1780 to Charles Dames, a ship captain. Dames berthed ships for the West Indies trade at a wharf on the property, and established a ship-building facility. Twenty-one acres were cleared, fenced and planted in provisions crops to feed the nine slaves Dames owned. The rest of the tract was farmable hammock and pine land. Dames constructed a new two-story dwelling house, a kitchen house, dwellings for the slaves, and several storage and other buildings.

The town of New Berlin and the ruins of a Civil War fortification, Fort Yellow Bluff, are currently situated on this tract, as are the northern footings for the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge. Despite the prominent name that appears on all official maps showing the Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge, and despite the fact that Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was a mayor of Jacksonville and a popular governor of Florida known to most residents of northeast Florida, the river crossing is most often called the Dames Point Bridge. Sometime after 1780 the property known briefly as "Crosses Point" became the "Dames Point." Although few people know the location was named after a British East Florida ship captain, the name seems permanently affixed.

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The Napoleon Bonaparte Broward Bridge (more popularly the Dames Point Bridge) which starts at Gilmore in Arlington (on the right) and ends at Dames Point (on the left), and spanning Bartram Island in between. Mill Cove can be seen in the distance; Blount Island is on the left beyond the bridge.

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The 300-acre tract purchased by Charles Dames is at the far end of the bridge. The precise location of his wharf and ship-building facility is not known. Dames moved to New Providence Island in the Bahamas after Spain resumed control of East Florida.

Plat Map for the tract granted to John Cross in 1766. Charles Dames purchased the tract in 1784 and berthed schooners engaged in the West Indies trade somewhere on the property. Dames also established a ship-building facility on the tract.

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/4/1-Charles Dames