While basically a timeline for Okaloosa county, we have included some major national, Florida, and other events as added help. One must also remember that much of this timeline applies to our mother counties. Okaloosa was carved from 12 miles of the eastern section of Santa Rosa and 12 miles of westernWalton.

Please use this as a guide to finding out why some of your ancestors may have moved, changed occupations or disappeared. Wars, floods, transportation changes, natural disasters and disease epidemics influenced where and how people lived. As an example, you find that a family of 2 parents and 3 daughters were in a certain area in the 1840 census, but you can't find them in the area in 1850. A scan of this timeline shows a Yellow Fever outbreak in 1841 while the census shows that parents of the family have a child listed as "granddaughter" and a cousin's listing shows a child by the same surname listed as "servant," or perhaps "niece."One may infer that the parents and one daughter died in the epidemic and the 2 other girls went to live with relatives. Further research should verify or refute the assumption.

Another possible scenario involves double entries on census records in adjoining precincts or counties. Perhaps a railroad is being constructed, nearby. The family may live in the expected home, while older boys and father are off working on the railroad. The census taker may go to the home and get the names of everyone who normally lives there, while the one in the adjacent county enumerates the men in that district. This has happened many times, leaving many a researcher thinking there is another family with males of the same name and ages that they must research.A careful study of area history and timelines may help to solve such mysteries.

1513 The Apalachee and Timucua Tribes lived in the northern part of Florida in large houses grouped in permanent towns, often surrounded by walls.

1528 Panfilo de Narvaez, Spanish explorer lands at East Pass, now Destin – first greeted, then attacked by Indians. Old Spanish Trail from St. Augustine to Mexico City, a distance of 2260 miles completed by 1633. Don Andres de Arriola with 300 settlers and soldiers are at Pensacola and report in a survey of Indians that there are 250 tribes. Alabamo Tribal hunting groups were between Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers east to the Blackwater River

1633 Old Spanish Trail from St. Augustine to Mexico City, a distance of 2260 miles completed by 1633.

1696 Don Andres de Arriola with 300 settlers and soldiers are at Pensacola and report in a survey of Indians that there are 250 tribes.

1700sAlabamo tribal hunting groups were between Alabama and Tombigbee rivers east to the Blackwater river.

1812 During the War of 1812, Spain allowed Britain to use Pensacola as a Naval base.

1814 American troops captured the base in Pensacola.

1815 Euchee Tribe moves into Spanish West Florida.

1816 Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia erupts producing clouds overthe northern section of the US and killing crops and people with freezing temperatures and snow all summer long.

1818 General Andrew Jackson blazed a trail between the Choctawhatchee River and Pensacola Bay.

1820 Growing numbers of American and Scotch families settling at Pine Level and along the east bank of the Escambia River. Neill McLendon establishes the first homestead next to Old Indian Field at the invitation of Sam Story, Euchee Chief.

1821 Florida officially transferred to the U.S. Quarantine station established at Navy Cove at Deer Point. July, 1821, Military Governor of Florida divides the territory into two counties – lands between Perdido and Suwannee Rivers form Escambia County.

1822 In July, Andrew Jackson received Florida from Spanish authorities at Pensacola. Congress establishes civil government, investing authority in a Governor and 13-member legislative council.

In August, territorial boundaries changed – all territory west ofChoctawhatchee River shall constitute Escambia County.

1824 In December, Walton County was formed – east of the Choctawhatchee River and west by the Blackwater River - about 2918 square miles.
White settlements established along the upper course of the Yellow River; stage coach routes established at Almirante and Holt.
U.S Army troops construct the Federal Road along the Santa Rosa peninsula.

1825 John Garnier and George W. Barkley establish plantations near present-day Fort Walton Beach.

1825 Exum, Love, Benjamin and Clements begin a land survey of present-day Okaloosa County and finish the survey in 1829.

1826 Florida Territorial Paper document Barrow’s Ferry as the area’s first voting precinct for an election held that year.

1827 Post Officers were at Almirante, Euchee Valley, Alaqua and La Grange. (Stuart PO map).

1830s Three Indian Wars
Leonard Destin established East Pass fishing setlement - now Destin.

1832 Euchee Chief Timpoochee Kinnard and families abandon Walton County via the East Pass and migrated southward.
National Cholera Epidemic

1836 First railroads begin to operate in Florida, among them the Alabama, Florida and Georgia RR that passes through Santa Rosa County.

1837 "Renegade" Creek from Alabama and Georgia flee into Northwest Florida and hostilities arise - Alaqua massacre. Indians are relocated to the West.

1839 & 42 Florida Territorial Papers record that Florida citizen petition Congress to clear the Yellow River rendering it safe for commercial traffic.
Leonard Destin establishes a fishing settlement that is now Destin in the late 1830s . During the next 30 years the Choctawhatchee river was used heavily for transporting goods, mailand people.

1840 Jesse Rogers settles at the Narrows and raises cattle and hogs. Baptist Church established nearOak Grove on the Yellow River.
1841 National Yellow Fever outbreak, severe in the south.

1842 In February, land between the Blackwater River and Yellow River is ceded to Santa Rosa County.
Moreno Point declared military reservation

1845 Florida obtains statehood 3 March

1847 New Orleans - Yellow Fever and in 1847 & 48 worldwide Influenza.
Volunteers from area go into Mexican War

1848 In January, northeast corner of Walton (435 square miles) is ceded to Holmes County.

1848 & 49 National Cholera outbreak.
Mexican War over

1850 National Yellow Fever epidemic

1850-51National Influenza epidemic
Santa Rosa's eastern boundary expanded

1852 NationalYellow Fever outbreak

1853 Santa Rosa Northeastern boundary expanded
Yellow Fever strikes area

1855 The General assembly passes the first Internal Improvement Act which uses swamp and other land ceded by the Federal government to furnish incentives for a statewide railroad and canal transportation system.
National Yellow Fever outbreak

1855-1858 The third Seminole War takes place.

1857 Yellow Fever strikes area

1857-59 Worldwide Influenza epidemic

1860 The Legislature, meeting after Abraham Lincoln's election as president, passes an Act for a Constitutional Convention to meet in Tallahassee and appropriates $100,000 for outfitting state troops. The Florida Railroad, the first cross state line, links Fernandina on the East Coast with Cedar Key on the West.

1861 Civil War - Florida did not sign articles of secession, but many agreed to serve.
Walton Guards on duty at Camp Walton from July 1861 to August 1862.

1861 Florida withdraws from the Union on January 10. State troops occupy Chattahoochee Arsenal, Fort Clinch on Amelia Island, Fort Marion at St. Augustine, and Fort Barrancas at Pensacola.

Federal authorities hold Fort Taylor at Key West Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, and Fort Pickens at Pensacola.

1861-1865 Florida furnishes salt beef, and bacon to the armies of the Confederacy. The voting population of Florida is 14,374 in 1860 which gives greater significance to the fact that more than 16,000 Floridians serve in the Civil War 15,000 in the Confederate army and 1,290 in the Union forces. Of those inthe Confederate > armies, 6,700 serve for the entire war or until disabled or killed. Florida troops are represented in all principal battles and more than 1,000 are killed in action.

At least 5,000 Florida soldiers are dead by the spring of 1865. In 1862 businesses in Santa Rosa County are burned by Confederate Troops under a "scorched earth" policy before Yankee troops advance into the area.

1864 Federal troops, General Asboth, enter Walton County looting farms and arresting citizens. Destroyed Douglas’ Ferry enroute to Marianna.

1868 John T Brooks, patriarch of Fort Walton Beach made first settlement at Camp Walton.

Brooks Memorial Cemetery established ca.

1869 Santa Rosa courthouse burned

1873-75 National Influenza epidemic

1879 William T. Marler moved to Destin.

1881-83 W.D. Chipley organized Pensacola & Atlantic Railroad (now L&N) from Holt to Argyle – opening the way for naval stores industries to boom.

1884 Florida Chautauqua organized in DeFuniak Springs.

1886 Influenza, Jacksonville, Florida

1887 Yellow River Railroad organized; built a line from Crestview northeastward to Florala, AL

1906-08 376,000 acres of land removed from public domain in Walton County to form Choctawhatchee National Forest.

1915 Land is ceded from parts of Santa Rosa & Walton Counties to form Okaloosa County.

1917 World War I begins.

1918Worldwide Influenza epidemic

1926 Mother Nature, assisted by O.T. Melvin, Dewey Destin, Arn Strickland & Dolf Weakley, of Destin, used shovels to reroute the Destin East Pass Channel.

1934 Federal Hwy 98, Brooks Bridge, Ft. Walton Beach and East Pass Bridge at Destin completed, opening motor traffic to Okaloosa and Walton County beaches.

1935 Val-P Bomb and Gunnery Range activated on June 14, 1935 (Kessler)

1937 March:
1460 acres of land for Val-P Bomb and Gunnery Range accepted from James E. Plew (Hutchinson)
August: Val-P Bomb and Gunnery Range named Eglin Field.

1940 June:
Choctawhatchee National Forest (400,000 acres) transferred to the War Department and incorporated into Eglin Military Reservation.
Robert Lee Fulton “Bob” Sikes, 1906 –1994, was first elected to the first of 19 consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1941 – 46 World War II

1948 In November the first Birthday Club of the Air weekly radio feature is aired by W.D. “Cooter” Douglas.

1964 Fort Walton Indian Temple Mound designated a National Historic Landmark.

1963 Okaloosa Walton Junior College begins in Valparaiso camera icon

1970 OWJC becomes Okaloosa Walton Community Collegecamera icon

2007 OWCC becomes Okaloosa Walton College

2008 July 8: OWC becomes Northwest Florida State College