Jackson County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. The 2000 census recorded the population to be 46,755. The 2010 census, taken ten years later, showed the population as 49,746, an increase of 2,991 persons comprising a 6% increase in population. Its county seat is Marianna.
Jackson County was created by the Florida Territorial Council in 1822 out of Escambia County, along with Duval County out of St. Johns County, making them the third and fourth counties in the Territory. The county was named for Andrew Jackson, who had served as Florida's first military governor for six months in 1821. Jackson County originally extended from the Choctawhatchee River on the west to the Suwannee River on the east. The county had been reduced close to its present boundaries by 1840 through the creation of new counties from its original territory. Minor adjustments to the county boundaries continued through most of the 19th century, however.
There were no towns in Jackson County when it was formed. The first county court met at what was called "Robinson's Big Spring" (later called Blue Springs) in 1822 and then at the "Big Spring of the Choctawhatchee" in 1823. The following year the county court met at "Chipola Settlement" which is also known as Waddell's Mill Pond.
Marianna became the county seat, but not without controversy. It was founded by Robert Beveridge, a native of Scotland, in September 1827. The first town established in Jackson County was Webbville in January 1827. Webbville, a community of land squatters, was located northwest of present day Marianna and was designated as the county seat. Webbville thrived until 1828 when Beveridge and other Marianna settlers went to Tallahassee and enticed the Florida Legislature with free land, construction of a courthouse, a public square and $500 to purchase a quarter section of land to be sold at public auction as a way to finance the new government, if the county seat was moved to Marianna.
Beveridge and his supporters succeeded and Marianna became the county seat of the county justice and civil authority, even though it was never officially proclaimed the county seat. Marianna began to grow and prosper when the county government moved into the new courthouse in 1829. Webbville's prominent citizens moved to Marianna and the L&N Railroad decided to bypass the town. Webbville does not exist today.
From 1869-71, Jackson County was the center of a low-level guerrilla war known as the Jackson County War. Members of the Ku Klux Klan consisting of Confederate Army veterans assassinated over 150 Republican Party officials and prominent African-Americans as part of a successful campaign to retain white Democratic power.
Note: Jackson's 1830 population excludes the portion west of Holmes Creek, which was reported with Washington, and includes the portion of Washington on the Chipola and Apalachicola Rivers.