Historic Markers Across Florida

Sawpit Bluff Plantation

Marker ID: FLHM F-842
Location: off Sawpit Rd in Black Hammock Island Park, Jacksonville, FL
County: Duval
Coordinates: N 30° 31.177    W 081° 28.847
  30.51961666    -81.48078333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMQCBG


Side 1:
Sawpit Bluff Plantation, located on Black Hammock Island, was built in the 1750s by Edmund Gray. The plantation was named for the sawpit excavated to accommodate the up and down motion of a vertical saw blade. The plantation house was constructed of tabby, an early building material made from shells, sand, and lime. During the American Revolutionary War in the British colonial period, an invasion force composed of Continental Army soldiers and Georgia militia encamped at Sawpit Bluff and engaged in fighting on May 14, 1777. Known as the Battle of Sawpit Bluff, and part of the larger Battle of Thomas Creek, this skirmish was one of the few battles of the Revolutionary War fought in Florida. The invading soldiers were forced to retreat after an attack by the loyalist East Florida Rangers and their Creek Indian allies. After the return of East Florida to Spain in 1783, Black Hammock Island was part of a land grant made to Juan Thorp. Thorp established a large estate on the island, called "Sawpit Bluff" or Barranco de Acceradero." Used for growing Sea Island cotton and for raising cattle and horses, the plantation later passed to his daughter, Mary Thorp Smith.

Side 2:
In 1801 and again in 1812, life on Sawpit Bluff was disrupted by conflicts between American settlers migrating south from Georgia and the Spanish colonial government. During the War of 1812, an American military force under the leadership of General George Matthews, invaded the region in quest of Spanish territory as part the conflict known as the Patriot's War. The invaders stole a boat from the Smith family. After the war, the daughter of Mary Smith, Mary Martha, grew up at Sawpit Bluff Plantation and married Florida's fourth territorial governor, Robert Raymond Reid. During the Civil War, Mary Martha Reid was the matron of the Florida Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Sawpit Bluff Plantation was also the childhood home of her sister Rebecca, wife of CSA General Joseph Finnegan, who won the Battle of Olustee. Unable to keep up with the taxes on the property, Mary Smith lost the land, which fell into disuse and returned to swamp. It remained unchanged until the late 1970s. Little is left of the old house except a few tabby remains.

This marker was erected in 2015 by Martha Reid 19, United Daughters of the Confederacy for the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States.

F-842The Martha Reid Chapter 19, United Daughters of the Confederacy
and the Florida Department of State