One hundred years ago, a different kind of horse ran through the area that became the namesake for the ranch north of Hilliard -- an iron horse.
The Savannah, Jacksonville & Western Railroad, which is the CSX Transportation line today, was built in April of 1881. The track ran through a patch of timber land now called the Iron Horse Ranch.
According to a book on Nassau County's history, Yesterday's Reflections II by Jan H. Johannes Sr., the site where the railroad crossed the St. Marys River was called Owen's Field, the site of the ranch.
When yellow fever struck Jacksonville in 1888, the U.S. Government purchased land at Owen's Field and established a yellow fever quarantine on the property. People traveling north out of Florida by train were held for 10 days at the Camp Perry quarantine station.
Ranch owner Marquita Lloyd said people were afraid yellow fever was contagious, unaware that mosquitos were the carriers of the deadly sickness. They fled the state to escape the fever.
What they didn't realize was that they were very near the mosquito-infested Okefenokee Swamp in South Georgia, Lloyd said. …