McCaskills: Early settlers in this region
ASHS Column for 02 23 06
Margaret Collier

     Before continuing
the story of the
McCaskill family
from my last column
on 2-9-06, I do
believe that it is
important to remind
you of the 105th
anniversary of the
naming of Century. To
celebrate, The Alger-
Sullivan Historical
Society is hosting a
great day in the
James Houston Jones
Historical Park. 
  In addition to the
fascinating antique
cars display, toe-
tapping music, and
succulent food, we
especially want you
prepared to view
the titillating
white elephants that
will be on sale for
a donation to the
Society. Those
"elephants" range in size from tiny trinket boxes to a bathroom sink. 
     Honestly, we already have a huge variety of items and our members and friends have only just begun to bring in their contributions. Of course, my favorites are the books and puzzles, but there is that cute clown doll, a collection of really nice picture frames and even a lot of items that I have no idea what they are, but they are lots of fun for speculation.
At any rate, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 8 and plan to spend the day with us in the Park.
     We'll continue to remind you about this and keep you updated in the intervening weeks. You know, of course, that we want as many people as possible to wear vintage clothing for this special occasion, so start planning now.
* * *
     In that last column, we left Finlay, the son of Allen McCaskill (directly from Scotland in 1727), on duty at the Battle of Stone's Ferry in June of 1779. Now we'll take up the story with Finlay's son, Allen, born in 1795 in South Carolina and named after his immigrant grandfather. Allen first settled in Conecuh County, Alabama.
     Allen and his brother Alex were commissioned to select a spot for a new courthouse on the east side of Murder Creek in 1819. The courthouse was moved from Hamden Ridge to Sparta. A few years later in the early 1820's, at the end of the Spanish Second Period, Allen and Alex McCaskill moved to Santa Rosa. They settled in an area known as the "Scottish Bend of Scotland" along the Escambia River near the Winding River Road.
     They were among some of the earliest English-speaking settlers in this area and some of the first founding Florida pioneers.
     The McCaskills, as many early settlers, were drawn to this area because of the beneficial terms of acquiring property called Spanish land grants. The McCaskills acquired the land through one of these grants. The original document, written on a piece of leather, is still in the possession of one of the family members.
     Allen and his wife, Elizabeth Daniels (1794-1884) had three children: Mary Jane, James Jefferson, and Edward V. McCaskill. Edward served as a sergeant in Company F of the Florida Infantry for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War. He was later referred to as Honorable E. V. McCaskill, serving his county and state for many years as a member of the House of Representatives and later as a member of the Senate. Allen McCaskill, one of the first registered voters of Santa Rosa County Precinct Number 2 in the 1840's, died in 1856 and is buried in Coon Hill Cemetery.
     James Jefferson McCaskill, born in 1824 in Territorial Florida, married Mary Wilkinson (1829-1898). They had eight children: Evander Alonzo, Edward, Lizzie, Mattie, Mollie, Georgia, Margaret, and Allen.
James Jefferson erected a mill, later known as the McCaskill Mill, which was operated by the water supply of the McCaskill Mill Creek that fed into the Escambia River. Like many mills of the area, the McCaskill Mill would grind corn meal for bread and chops for livestock feed.
     Some of the original timbers of the dam can still be seen today. James Jefferson died in 1880 and is also buried at Coon Hill Cemetery.
James Jefferson's son Edward, the namesake of the present-day Ed Field near the mouth of McCaskill Mill Creek, ran a post office in the front part of his home. A ferry would bring the mail across the Escambia River from Bluff Springs; then he would have the mail carrier, Alonzo Carnley, distribute the mail to the community. The McCaskill School, built on the McCaskill estate in the 1800's, served the community as an educational facility for a number of years until a fire destroyed it.
* * *
     In my next column, March 9, you will get the remainder of this fascinating account. Hopefully, you are saving these columns in order to have the complete story. If, by chance, you miss out, let us know and we'll share a copy with you.

Century Grammar School 4th grade in 1920. The only one identified is Roy Findley, back left. Anyone know any of the other children?

This page last modified on Sunday, March 05, 2006