Phillip Williams has the answer to the first question about the creek that gushes out of the woods into the Withlacoochee River just downstream of Skipper Bridge Road: “For most of the 1800s, it was called Shanks Mill Creek after James D Shanks, who owned a fair bit of land in the area and had a mill a bit further up the run of the creek. By 1908, it was called Crawford Branch. The Crawford family moved to the area in 1866 and purchased the land from the heirs of James D Shanks.”
Phillip has also provided the approximate location of Shanks Mill: “”The deeds suggest somewhere in the WH of LL 99. LD 11. I have been locating it about here based upon the geography.” You can see it on the map above, behind Ziegler’s Auto Body Shop, about where there are dams now on a feeder creek.
How does Phillip know all this? Because he leads the Wiregrass Region Digital History Project, which “is a volunteer-based effort between professional and amateur historians, archivists, photographers, videographers, and others with the goal of helping to document and preserve the history of the Wiregrass Region, i.e. South Georgia, North Florida, and Southeast Alabama.” He digs into old deeds, even reconstructing deeds that burned up in courthouse fires by references to them in later deeds, he reviews old newspapers, tax lists, etc. Here’s his 1870 map of that area.
Still looking for an answer to the other question: Where is this water gushing from in a drought? It was really flowing Thursday, after no rain for weeks.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®