Observation Creek

A 5,000-acre tract with great potential for rice cultivation was granted to Thomas Woolridge in 1767. The tract was located a few miles above East Picolata at St. Johns River and Observation Creek (Deep Creek today). The site between McCullough Creek and Deep Creek Creek, and intersected by Moccasin Branch, had abundant cypress swamp on both shores and was judged excellent for rice cultivation.

Woolridge was appointed provost marshal through the influence of the Earl of Dartmouth, and later filled the posts of fort adjutant and barrack master, and receiver general of quit rents. He and his wife Susannah arrived at St. Augustine in January 1767 with white servants whose salaries and expenses amounted to £30 Sterling per year per servant. Governor Grant persuaded Woolridge to relinquish a manadamus for a seat on the Royal Council, calling him a "mean low poor creature despised by everybody." Suspended from office in 1772, Woolridge sailed to London to gain reinstatement, but never returned to East Florida. By 1777 he was bankrupt.

Henry Constable was also awarded a 5,000-acre grant on St. Johns River and Observation Creek (Deep Creek now) opposite the tract awarded to Thomas Woolridge. No record of cultivation has been found.

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Federal Point at the intersection of Deep Creek and the St. Johns River. Land in this area is heavily cultivated today, but during the British years it lay idle.

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/17/12- William and Thomas Taylor ; T77/18/16-Woolridge; T77/25/fragments-Constable. The negative comments about Woolridge are from Charles Loch Mowat, Florida as a British Province , 1763-1784 (Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1964).