Middleburg, Florida

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Middleburg, Florida
Top, left to right: Black Creek, Middleburg United Methodist Church, Middleburg High School, Jennings State Forest
Location in Clay County and the state of Florida
Location in Clay County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 30°3′3″N 81°54′7″W / 30.05083°N 81.90194°W / 30.05083; -81.90194Coordinates: 30°3′3″N 81°54′7″W / 30.05083°N 81.90194°W / 30.05083; -81.90194
Country United States
State Florida
County Clay
Area
 • Total19.62 sq mi (50.81 km2)
 • Land19.62 sq mi (50.81 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
Elevation
33 ft (10 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total12,881
 • Density656.66/sq mi (253.53/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
32050, 32068
Area code(s)904
FIPS code12-45350[2]
GNIS feature ID0286819[3]

Middleburg is an unincorporated area and census-designated place (CDP) within Clay County in the U.S. state of Florida, located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of downtown Jacksonville and 16 miles (26 km) northwest of Green Cove Springs, the county seat of Clay County. As of the 2020 census,the population of Middleburg was 12,881.

It is home to Middleburg High School and to the Middleburg Historic District.

Geography[edit]

Middleburg is located northwest of the center of Clay County at 30°3′3″N 81°54′7″W / 30.05083°N 81.90194°W / 30.05083; -81.90194 (30.050783, -81.902013).[4] Florida State Road Blanding Boulevard leads northeast 13 miles (21 km) to the Orange Park area and southwest 23 miles (37 km) to Keystone Heights.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Middleburg CDP has a total area of 19.6 square miles (50.7 km2), all land.[5]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
202012,881
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 13,008 people living in 4,891 housing units within the CDP. Between the 2000 and 2010 census, Middleburg realized a population increase of 2,670 individuals. The racial makeup of the CDP was 92.9% White, 3.1% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.9% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 24.87% under the age of 18, 75.13% age of 18 or over, and 10.36% age of 65 or over. The population is 49.7% female and 50.3% male.

History[edit]

Early Settlement[edit]

Middleburg began as a settlement called in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Asa Clark ran the first ferry on Black Creek until 1828; as such, the settlement was known as Clark's Ferry from the 1820s through 1833. John Hanson ran the ferry from 1828 through 1833, after which it was sold to Samuel and Charlotte Garey, leading the area to be known as Garey's Ferry. George Branning operated a ferry that competed with Garey's."

United Methodist Church in the 1880s.

In 1826, the Federal Road (Main Street) was built, resulting in increased traffic through the community and providing a postal route. Blakey (1976) stated that Whitesville was a settlement that existed approximately near the intersection of present-day Florida State Road 21 and County Road 218) and had grown large enough by 1828 to warrant its own United States Post Office,[7] which was established on February 19 of that year. Also in 1828, the Black Creek Methodist Church was founded by Isaac Boring, but the frontier Methodist society met in their own homes until the Methodist United Church was built in 1847.[8]

Forts Heileman and Sanderson[edit]

The community expanded rapidly during the Second Seminole War. Fort Heileman, a wooden stockade fortification located between the North and South prongs of Black Creek, was hastily built in 1836 and protected settlers at Garey's Ferry where it was the "principal depot for the east coast of Florida."[9]

During the Seminole Wars, Fort Heileman was used as a quartermaster workshop and storage depot until its[10] armaments were moved to Fort Shannon in Palatka and the fort was largely abandoned after June 18, 1841. The Fort was permanently abandoned in 1842 and destroyed by a flood later that year. The only building remaining of what was once Fort Heileman is the Clark-Chalker House, which was built in 1835 and served as Fort Heileman's army hospital.

In 1840, Fort Sanderson was built at an unspecified location. Used mostly for storage, the short-lived Fort was abandoned the following year.

Creation of Middleburgh, Seat of Clay County[edit]

Garey's Ferry expanded following the Seminole Wars, growing quickly and trading in timber, citrus fruits, cotton, and farm crops. In 1851, Garey's Ferry and Whitesville were consolidated into the town of Middleburgh and the Post Office moved from Whitesville to its current location on Palmetto Street. Clay County (named for Henry Clay) was created from Duval County in December 1858, and Middleburgh became and remained the county seat until 1874.[11] Throughout the 1850s, as national tensions leading to the American Civil War were increasing, Middleburgh and Clay County remained a stronghold of Whig voters and pro-Union sentiment; in 1859, Whitesville residents renamed their community Webster in honor of Whig politician Daniel Webster.

American Civil War[edit]

On October 23rd, 1864, during the American Civil War, the 4th Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry engaged local Confederates in a skirmish from their base at the Magnolia Springs hotel. Moving into Middleburg the next day, October 24th, 1864, 4th Massachusetts raided and set fire to downtown Middleburg (Main Street and Thompson [now Wharf] Street), destroying Samuel B. Thompson's cotton warehouses and docks, as well as a hotel. The 2nd Florida Cavalry, under command of Captain J.J. Dickison, retaliated by firing on the Massachusetts regiment, leading the latter to retreat across Black Creek and burn the ferry bridge behind them. As the Massachusetts regiment rushed back to Magnolia Springs, Dickison's regiment detoured four miles through Whitesville[12] and caught the Massachusetts regiment at Halsey's Plantation (near the site of present-day Shadowlawn Elementary School), engaging in a skirmish known officially as the Battle of Halsey's Plantation (interchangeable with Battle of Big Gum Creek),[13] resulting in twelve Union deaths and Confederate victory.

Among the repeated skirmish between the 4th Massachusetts and 2nd Florida cavalries, there was also a two-hour engagement whereby Dickison's troops rescued cattle that had been seized by Union troops; local history refers to this as the Battle of the Tiger Head.[14]

Decline and Expansion[edit]

Middleburg suffered from the Civil War, after which there were less than 100 residents.[15] Middleburg's population numbered 700 in 1890 and in 1895, a big freeze and lessening of the river trade caused the city to decline further.[16] The population numbered in the 700s in 1920.

The 1989 film, Brenda Starr, was partially filmed on Black Creek. Since then, Middleburg's population and industry have rapidly expanded along with the surrounding communities of Orange Park, Fleming Island, and Jacksonville.

Notable people[edit]

Bands

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  5. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Middleburg CDP, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  7. ^ Blakey, Arch Frederic (1976). Parade of Memories:A History of Clay County,Florida. The Drummond Press.
  8. ^ "Middleburg, Florida, USA". h2g2.com. h2g2.com. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  9. ^ "Middleburg". ccpl.lib.fl.us. ccpl.lib.fl.us. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  10. ^ "Fort Heileman, Florida – Legends of America".
  11. ^ "Clay County Public Library Historical Resources Page". ccpl.lib.fl.us. ccpl.lib.fl.us. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  12. ^ "Union soldier's battle career lasted only 10 months in Clay County".
  13. ^ "Calendar of Civil War Activity". archives.clayclerk.com. archives.clayclerk.com. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  14. ^ https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/88001701_text
  15. ^ https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/64500119_text
  16. ^ "Florida State Marks - Clay County". Retrieved 2007-06-24.