Discover San Marco
Permanent habitation on this part of the St. Johns River came only during Florida's British period, when officials established a ferry crossing at the Cow Ford in 1760. The ferry docked on the river's southern bank, which was thus populated continuously long before what is now downtown Jacksonville. When the Spanish resumed control of Florida in 1783 they built Fort San Nicolas beside the ferry landing in present-day St. Nicholas. In 1793 the Spanish government issued a land grant for a slave plantation, which was eventually taken over by Isaac Hendricks. By 1850, Hendricks had married Elizabeth Hudnall, who owned a large adjacent tract, and his daughter Margaret married Albert Gallatin Philips, owner of the nearby Red Bank Plantation; as a result much of the area was owned by families connected to each other by marriage.