February 9, 1766
"A fine morning; rowed down to the Cattle-ford, below which is a marsh on both sides, then pines, then another pretty large marsh, and so on alternately high oak-banks, open marshes, and flat pine-woods and savannahs, back there is pretty high sand-hills, and some ponds; came to William’s point and creek, the water is pretty deep at the point, out of which issue several little springs: We then soon came to Forbes’s bluff, where grows a good sort of rush to bottom chairs with, or make matts, much better than the common bull-rush or the three-square ones; it rained in the evening, but cleared up about midnight; this bluff is very productive, being covered with shells of oysters, which the Florida Indians fed much upon near the sea-coast."
The "Cattle-ford" (more commonly Cowford) was at the narrows of the St. Johns River to the right of (downriver from) the Main Street Bridge shown in blue on on this image of Downtown Jacksonville. During East Florida's British years travelers from St. Augustine followed the King's Road to the ferry landing at today's Southbank to be carried across the river to the matching landing at the foot of a hill at today's Liberty Street. One mile on each side of the landing--on the north and south shores--was set aside for public usage. It is hard to imagine the "marshes on both sides" that Bartram saw, but extensive fill and construction of pilings for parking lots and roads, and the erection of bulkheads eliminated the marshes in this area.
"William's point and creek" is now Empire Point and Little Pottsburgh Creek at the convergence of the Arlington and St. Johns Rivers, shown here at the right foreground of the photograph. The view is downriver (to the north), looking beyond the Mathews Bridge toward Reddy's Point where the river bends sharply to the right (east).
Reddy's Point was named after William Reddy, a British planter and ship captain who developed plantations here in the late 1760s. John Bartram found no residents in this area in February 1766.
“Forbes’s bluff,” shown here to the right of Shipyard Island and Shipyard Creek, was named after the Anglican cleric in St. Augustine, The Reverend John Forbes. It is now the Fulton neighborhood.