This community history article is brought to you by Navarre Lumber
Robert Broxson relocated to Santa Rosa County during the Civil War, and today his great-great-great-great grandson, Danny Hawkins, lives near the site where he first moved.
Robert was born in South Caroline in 1812 but by 1842 he had moved to Florida. He relocated his family to Santa Rosa County during the Civil War.
Robert first settled on East Bay at a saw mill owned by William Miller at Chimney Cove near the present day site of Miller Point Court.
According to Dr. Brian Rucker, a professor of history at Pensacola State University, before evacuating due to the war in 1862, Confederates burned saw mills along local bays.
It is believed that after point Robert relocated to an area off Yellow River known as Flower’s Field which in 1908 became part of the Choctawhatchee National Forest — now located on Eglin Air Force Base Property.
The Broxson family lived in the forest and harvested trees, floating them down the creeks and rivers where they were eventually ferried to large mill sites along the Bay, such as that in Bagdad. They made shingles and railroad cross ties from the wood and also extracted turpentine by “cat facing” trees, cutting a V-shape mark into trees and draining the resulting gum into a bucket.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, up to four million feet of timber and 500,000 cups of turpentine were harvested annually from the forest by the Broxsons and other early settlers.
Robert’s son, Joseph Robert Broxson Jr., known as “Uncle Bud” also lived near what became a ferry site around Flower’s Field.
Bud’s son, William Milton Broxson was the father of Faircloth Broxson, who married Lillie Mae Tolbert.
Faircloth and Lillie Mae’s oldest daughter, Betty (Broxson) Hawkins, purchased a waterfront parcel on Miller Point Court from her brother, Mickey Broxson, in 1998.
Mickey and his cousin, Bill Timlin, son of Betty’s sister, Wanda, originally purchased the land in 1984 from Miller Properties.
“When Bill and I first bought the property we found a lot of old slabs and other stuff when building a sea wall,” Broxson said, adding, “It’s nice to know some of (Robert’s) descendants are still living there.”