Page 174 - a-history-of-columbia-county-florida-(1996)-edward-f-keuchel
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A History of Columbia County Florida (1996) Edward F. Keuchel  163/340

                  A History of Columbia Cozinty, Florida
        Coastline, assisted Fort White but was also responsible for re­
        tarding its growth. It assisted the area by providing railroad
        facilities but retarded growth when Plant rejected Fort White and
        built a shop and hospital for the railroad at High Springs.26
           Smaller communities in the county included Benton, Mikes-
        ville, Leno, Mt. Tabor, Barrsville, Blounts Ferry, Suwannee
        Shoals, and Columbia City. Benton was one of the more important
        small communities in the northern part of the county. Located on
        the banks of the Suwannee River some twenty-one miles from Lake
        City, Benton had a population of around one hundred during the
        mid 1880’s. The Suwannee River was not regarded as navigable at
        Benton, but it was used by lumbermen in rafting logs. Benton was
        connected to Lake City by railroad in 1889, but prior to that time a
        semi-weekly stage provided transportation. The stage fare for the
        twenty-one mile trip was $1.30. Benton was regarded as having a
        high quality public school which was conducted in this period by
        Miss R. S. Bryan. The Reverend J. N. Reed served the Benton
        Baptist community. Many members of the Cone family hailed
        from the Benton area. W. H. Cone was one of the larger cotton
        growers. D. N. Cone operated a large general store. Benton also
        had a cotton gin, a saw mill, and a grist mill.27
           Blounts Ferry was located in the extreme northwestern part
        of the county on the Suwannee River near the Georgia state line.
        Troops camped on this site during the Second Seminole War.
        Blounts Ferry was thirty miles from Lake City and had about one
        hundred and sixty people during the mid 1880’s. It had two stores,
        a saw mill, a grist mill, and a cotton gin. Epanimondas Brown and
        W. W. King were two of the well-known residents of Blounts
        Ferry. The closest railroad connection for the families of Blounts

          26 Ibid.
          27Webb, Webb’s Historical, Industrial and Biographical Florida, pp. 39-40;
        Board of County Commissioners, Columbia County, p. 58.
                               150 LCH-UUID: 02905885-C4E0-4A35-9DAE-804ED8349EC9
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