History of Marianna, Florida

Marianna is one of the oldest towns in Florida and is located in Jackson County. It is is called the “City of Southern Charm” and is best known for being the site of a small battle during the Civil War.

The following is a timeline of the history of Marianna:


  • Marianna is settled when the Spanish mission of San Nicolas de Tolentino is established in the area.


  • The city is officially founded by Robert Beveridge, a Scottish land speculator, and his wife Anna Maria. Beveridge came up with the name Marianna by combining his wife’s middle name with her first name.


  • On November 5, Marianna becomes an incorporated city in Florida.
Official Seal of the City of Marianna, Florida
Official Seal of the City of Marianna, Florida


  • The First United Methodist Church is built on Caledonia Street.


  • The First Presbyterian Church is built on the corner of Jefferson and Broad Streets.
  • The Lewis-Wykoff House is built on Jefferson Street.
  • Sometime in the 1840s, John Davis builds the Davis-West House on Putnam Street for his daughter, Rebecca Davis Spears.
  • The Ely-Criglar House is built on Francis R. Ely’s cotton plantation on West Lafayette Street.
Ely-Criglar House, West Lafayette Street, Marianna, Florida
Ely-Criglar House, West Lafayette Street, Marianna, Florida


  • The Dekle-Brunner House is built by Amanda and Oliver Rostrum on Green Street.


  • The Holden House is built on Lafayette Street.


  • The population of Marianna is 356.


  • The population of Marianna is 440.


  • On September 27, the Battle of Marianna takes place in the downtown area and more than 25% of the male population is wounded, captured or killed in the fighting and 12 Union soldiers are killed and 25 are wounded.
  • Joseph T. Russ builds a house on Caledonia Street that is later purchased by the Mariana Woman’s Club in 1950.


  • In March, the Freedmen’s Bureau, a government agency created to assist newly freed black southerners during the Reconstruction effort in the South, is established.


  • The Jackson County War, a guerrilla war between the Ku Klux Klan and Jackson County Republican politicians, breaks out in Jackson County.


  • In February, Freedman’s Bureau agent, William Purman, and clerk of the county court, Dr. John Finlayson, are shot while walking to Purman’s home. Finlayson is killed and Purman is wounded.
  • One week after the attack, a man by the name of Colliter, a white Democrat and critic of Freedman’s Bureau is shot and killed at his house.
  • Within several weeks, three of four murders are committed and a half a dozen people are wounded during failed assassination attempts.
  • In September, a group of 25 black men are fired upon at a picnic, where one man and a two-year-old boy he was carrying are killed, during an assassination attempt on Calvin Rogers, the elected black constable of the county government.
  • On October 1, in retaliation, Rogers orders a group of men to fire upon the front porch of the Marianna Hotel where suspected KKK leaders James Coker and James F. McClellan were sitting with James’s daughter, Maggie. James F. McClellan is wounded and his daughter Maggie is accidentally killed.
  • On October 2, a mob of 50 to 60 armed men, believed to be KKK members, roam the town looking for Rogers but cannot locate him and began spreading out and searching the county for him.
  • On October 5, Republican Samuel Fleishman flees Marianna due to threats. A week later he returns and is assassinated at his home just outside of Marianna.


  • The population of Marianna is 663.


  • By April, it is reported that 75 Republicans have been murdered since the start of the violence, the majority of them black.
  • On April 3, John Q. Dickinson, clerk of the county court, is shot and killed on almost the exact same spot where his predecessor, Dr. Finalyson, was killed two years earlier.
  • On April 20, the Ku Klux Klan Act is passed in Congress which helps bring an end to the violence. By the end of the Jackson County War, it is believed that a total of about 150 to 200 local politicians and government workers have been assassinated.


  • The population of Marianna is 586.


  • On November 20, the Confederate Soldiers Monument is erected on Lafayette Street.


  • The Saint Luke Baptist Church is built on Jackson Street.
  • The population of Marianna is 926.


  • The Joseph W. Russ Jr House is built on West Lafayette Street.


  • The First Presbyterian Church is rebuilt on the corner of Jefferson Street.


  • The population of Marianna is 900.


  • The population of Marianna is 1915.


  • The Bellamy Bridge is built on County Road 162.


  • The population of Marianna is 2,499.


  • The St. Luke Baptist Church is built on East Jackson Street.


  • The First Presbyterian Church is dismantled and rebuilt with gray brick.


  • The population of Marianna is 3,372.


  • On October 19, a woman named Lola Cannady is murdered on her family’s farm in Marianna. A neighbor, Claude Neal, is arrested and confesses to the crime on October 22.
  • On October 25, an angry mob kidnaps Neal from his jail cell in Alabama and brings him back to Jackson County where they lynch him.
  • On October 26, the mob brings Neal’s body back to Marianna and hangs him from a tree near the Jackson County Courthouse.
  • On October 27, rioting breaks out in Marianna and the National Guard is sent in to stop the riots.


  • The population of Marianna is 5,079.


  • The population of Marianna is 5,845.


  • The population of Marianna is 7,152.


  • The population of Marianna is 7,282.


  • The population of Marianna is 7,006.


  • The population of Marianna is 6,292.


  • The population of Mariana is 6,230.


  • The population of Marianna is 6,102.


  • On October 10-11, Hurricane Michael hits the Florida Panhandle and causes massive damage in Marianna.

“Historical Markers and War Memorials in Marianna, Florida.” Historical Marker Database, hmdb.org/results.asp?Search=Place&Town=Marianna&State=Florida
Wasserman, Adam. A People’s History of Florida, 1513 – 1876. A. Wasserman, 2010.
Brevard, Caroline Mays and Henry Eastman Bennett. History of Florida. American Book Company, 1914.
Morgan-Palmer, William. “Assassination in Jackson County: A Defender of Freedmen is Murdered in Reconstruction Florida.” Military Images, vol. 34, no. 1, 2016, pp. 32–34. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24865669. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.
“The Claude Neal Lynching.” Explore Southern History, exploresouthernhistory.com/claudeneal.html
“Davis-West House.” The Historical Marker Database, hmdb.org/m.asp?m=67534
“Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail.” Visit Jackson County, visitjacksoncountyfla.com/play/culture-heritage/bellamy-bridge-heritage-trail/
“Marianna.” Viva Florida 500, vivafl500.org/cities/marianna/
“Welcome to Marianna.” City of Marianna, cityofmarianna.com/239/Welcome-to-Marianna

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