Andrew Jackson

Western Gate Chapter, FTA

Two centuries after Andrew Jackson’s march into northwest Florida, a local historical group plans to re-trace his steps next weekend.

Jackson’s march through the Panhandle in May of 1818, near the end of the First Seminole War, is now the 17-mile Andrew Jackson Red Ground Trail in the Blackwater River State Forest.

“There had been numerous skirmishes that were along the border of Alabama, Georgia and Florida between Indians and the settlers,” said Helen Wigersma, who chairs the Western Gate Chapter of the Florida Trail Association.

194 years ago Friday, the United States flag was hoisted over the new territory of Florida. One of the ceremonies was in what’s now downtown Pensacola.

Spain had re-acquired west Florida after defeating the British at the Battle of Pensacola in 1781, beginning what’s called the “Final Spanish Period.”

Pensacola historian John Appleyard says the area had been overseen by a series of governors, and the Spanish had become increasingly uncomfortable when the United States entered into the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, effectively boxing in Spanish interests.