Green Cove Springs to Rice Creek

Five consecutive tracts south of Governor Tonyn's Black Creek estate (upriver from today's Green Cove Springs to Rice Creek north of Palatka), each of 20,000 acres, were granted to wealthy British speculators who made no attempt to develop their properties. The grantees were George Udney, William Mills, Charles Mills, Charles Legge, and John Deike. Charles Mills's tract was directly across the river from Fort Picolata, extending from there to the south for approximately two miles. Between fifteen and twenty miles of waterfront property, consisting of 100,000 acres, lay idle without governmental intervention or pressures on the grantees. The flaws in the government's land policies, and the difficulties faced by the East Florida governors is nowhere more apparent than in this segment of the St. Johns.

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Between Bayard Point on the north and Rice Creek on the south, a distance of nearly twenty miles from the point on the right to the smoke stacks below, the west shore of the St. Johns was granted to wealthy Englishmen who made no attempt to farm or otherwise develop their properties.

Plat Map of the 20,000 acres granted to Charles Legge, showing the neighboring tracts granted to Charles Mills, and John Deike.

With the influx of large numbers of Loyalist refugees after 1776, Governor Tonyn carved some of the undeveloped absentee grants into smaller tracts and redistributed the land. Ralph Cooke, a refugee from Georgia, was granted 500 acres from the 20,000-acre tract of George Udney. Isaac Herbert and Curtis Shaw also received 500-acre grants from the Udney land. Charles and Elizabeth Shivers, two other refugees who escaped from violence in Georgia, were given 700 acres of the William Mills' grant. Plat maps in the Public Record Office of Great Britain place the Shivers property on the southern boundary of today's Green Cove Springs.

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/4/15-Legge; T77/12/9 & 4/3-George Munro, who bought Deike's tract; T77/4/3-Charles & William Mills; T77/23/fragments for Udney; T77/16/6 for Shivers; T77/23/fragments for Herbert; T77/28/fragments for Cook.