Jacksonville Turns 200: How Jacksonville got its name

Florida was a Spanish territory before the U.S. took it over in 1801.

People lived along the St. Johns River at the narrow point, where it’s believed cattlemen brought their cows across.


It was named the cow ford, or just Cowford.

“In 1822, Isaiah Hart acquires land and he, along with John Brady and Louis Hogans, begins to plot out the city,” Dr. Scott Matthews of Florida State College at Jacksonville.

On June 15, 1822, the residents wrote a letter to President John Quincy Adams, asking to be designated a customs port of entry named Jacksonville after Florida’s first territorial governor.

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“In 1822, he was a legitimate national hero. What better way than to name their settlement after Andrew Jackson, it probably seemed to them. And so that was the first recorded mention that we can find of this place being identified by that name. The name began to stick, it gained traction. In 1824, the then-territorial governor of the Florida territory William Duval granted a cross-river ferry charter to an operator and he identified the location as Jacksonville”

Jacksonville was officially incorporated by the territorial legislature in 1834.

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