ECB Publishing, Inc.
Before the American Civil War of 1861-1865, most of the salt consumed by the people of the southern states of American was shipped from Europe to the south.
Salt was an incredibly important commodity of that time of pre-refrigeration. People used salt to mainly preserve meats because, at the time, no one had refrigeration. Salt was also for seasoning meals, as an ingredient to multiple products and for packing fragile food products.
During the Civil War, however, salt became an even higher-prized asset for people in the southern Confederate states. Union blockades prevented cargos of salt from being shipped to Confederate states from overseas, as the ships carrying salt were not being allowed to reach southern shores.
Without the assurance of overseas shipments, people who lived in Confederate states began to look elsewhere for salt, and discovered that the coastlines of Jefferson County and surrounding counties were the perfect area for salt gathering and production. Soon, there were saltworks set up along the coast of Jefferson, Wakulla and Taylor counties.
The Salt Road, also named County Road 257, was founded when Floridians began hauling salt from the Florida Coastline to the rest of the country.
Salt production became so essential in the south that workers at the salt works were exempt from enlisting into the Confederate Army. The workers would boil saltwater in kettles until there was nothing but salt left.
The resourcefulness of the Confederate people in producing their own salt came to attention of the Union armies, resulting in the Union locating and eliminating the working salt sites in the south. They did not want the south having the ability to create salt. The attacks on salt factories made these working salt sites dangerous for workers.
The workers would work at the salt sites seven days a week. The working salt sites were built up high, near the shorelines, in areas where trees are usually growing, as that is likely an area you can find salt works. The marshes also protected the sites from incoming ocean high tides. The workers would get the water when the tide was going out, then boil the water for salt.
Today, there are remains of multiple dotted sites along Jefferson, Wakulla, and Taylor coastlines. There are also some salt works that were built on top of Native American’s burial mounds.
Due to that fact, archaeologists who research native mounds have an increased chance of finding Native American artifacts mingled with objects used for salt collection. Often, in the rubble of burial mounds, even where some have already searched, there is a slim chance of finding an old iron kettle that was once used for separating the water and the salt from long ago.