The Smithsonian traveling display featuring "The settling of America" has arrived in Blountstown at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement. Local displays will be added to the traveling display of free-standing collages showing all areas of American life as the country was settled by our people.
The local displays will feature stories about families in the area as they came and built their homes, raised their families and helped develop the counties in the area, as well as how they came to America from different counties.
The Chipola Historical Trust's display features the two families who responded to the request to submit their family history.
The Lovic Sexton Family came to the area in 1844 from North Carolina. Ironically, the log cabin built by Mr. Sexton, reportedly in the late 1860's or early 1870's is one of the homes which has been relocated to the Pioneer Village and restored. It can be seen by walking to the further-most point on the property directly behind the display building. It is a one room home, furnished as it would have been at that point in time. This is the family of Harvey Sexton, longtime Tax Assessor for Jackson County. Many family members still reside in Jackson and Calhoun Counties.
The other family who responded was the Dunaway Family who still lives on Nubbin Road where the family, who moved to Jackson County from Georgia, settled and built their home in 1906. This family came on the paddle wheeler, The M.W. Kelly, which brought them to Neel's Landing with all their earthly possessions. There is also a beautiful story about their ancestor, William Dunaway, born in 1751, who fought in the Revolutionary War in the 5th Virginia Regiment under General George Washington and later helped drive the British out of Georgia.
The Chipola Trust also features the river system of the Flint, Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Rivers which served for many years as the "Interstate Highway System" for this area of America. There were no good roads, and all products produced in this area and those consumed, but not produced locally, had to travel on the river to their proper destinations. Also, any people traveling great distances had to use the river boats in order to move temporarily or permanently from one location to another. The story is told about the first cars being brought into Jackson County were unloaded at Neel's Landing (near where the bridge crosses the river on the way to Donaldsonville, GA). They had to be driven back to Marianna over buggy trails---there were no real roads!
The display will be open beginning Saturday, July 14th, and each Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. until August 25th. The Park is located about 3 miles west on Highway 20 from the traffic light on US 71 in downtown Blountstown. It is on the north side of Highway 20. There are signs directing to the park which features many relocated and restored homes, a church, an old one-room schoolhouse, an old store and other interesting relics from the past. It is an exciting and educational place to visit.