Marcos Delgado at Bellamy Bridge
Spanish Expedition Crosses the Chipola, September 1686
The earliest recorded use of the Bellamy Bridge vicinity as a
place for crossing the Chipola River dates from the 1686
expedition of Marcos Delgado.
Appointed by the governor of Florida to investigate reports of
French intrusion on the Mississippi River, Delgado led a small
force of Spanish soldiers and Apalachee Indians west from
Mission San Luis at present-day Tallahassee.
Reaching Mission San Luis near Sneads, Delgado turned
slightly to the northwest and crossed what is now eastern
Jackson County to Blue Springs, which the Spanish called
"Calistople Spring." Until the time of the 1686 expedition, they
believed it was the head of the Chipola or Calistoble River.
From Blue Spring, the Spanish expedition turned north around
the head of Baltzell Spring and across the site of today's
Marianna Municipal Airport before turning back west again.
Encountering no other streams or obstacles, they soon
reached the Chipola River:
...[T]here is a clayey swamp and in its center a stream which has
36 feet of width and a depth of 6 feet and the swamp itself has
half a league of breadth. It is thick and it was necessary to cut
Delgado's description of the stream he encountered matches
the Bellamy Bridge vicinity very well. Since he would have
encountered a much wider swamp and other streams or even
multiple river channels blocking his way if he had crossed
either to the north or south, the area right around Bellamy
Bridge is the only real geographic match for his crossing point.
The location is supported by the earliest Jackson County land
surveys, which show an old trail leading northwest from Blue
Springs, around the head of Baltzell Spring and to the Chipola
River at today's Bellamy Bridge site. Since the trail was there
before the first American settlers moved into the area, it likely
was the one followed by Marcos Delgado.
After crossing the Chipola, the explorers moved on to the vicinity
of Waddell's Mill Pond in western Jackson County where they
first saw buffalo (American bison). Delgado eventually reached
the towns of the Upper Creek Indians around today's city of
Montgomery, Alabama, but never made it to the Mississippi.
His crossing of the Chipola River in the vicinity has led to
Bellamy Bridge being included on the new Jackson County
Spanish Heritage Trail, a driving tour of historic Spanish
To learn more about the history of Bellamy Bridge, please
consider The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge: 10 Ghosts & Monsters
from Jackson County, Florida. It is available in both print and
Kindle formats and proceeds benefit the Bellamy Bridge
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail
Florida's Most Famous Ghost Story
The legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge
is perhaps Florida's most famous ghost
story. The ghost of a young woman named
Elizabeth Jane Bellamy has been seen in
the bridge vicinity for more than 120 years.
Click Here to Read the Story!
The "Other" Ghosts of Bellamy Bridge
Three other ghost stories are told about the
bridge and its vicinity. All originate from the
early 1900s and add an additional air of
mystery to historic Bellamy Bridge. They
surround three untimely deaths.
Click here to Read More!
Battle of the Upper Chipola
An important battle of the First Seminole
War was fought near the Bellamy Bridge
Heritage Trail in March 1818. U.S. Creek
troops, led by Brig. Gen. William McIntosh,
attacked the Red Ground chief here.
Read about the Forgotten Battle.
History of Bellamy Bridge
The historic steel-frame bridge turns 100
years old in 1914 and stands on the site of
earlier wooden bridges that date back to
1851. The history of the bridge itself
provides a unique look back through time.
Read the History of Bellamy Bridge
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail
Learn more about the new Bellamy Bridge
Heritage Trail, print out the self-guided tour
brochure and take a look at photographs
and video of this great new Florida heritage
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail Info
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