HISTORY MYSTERY: What did the First Survey of Moreno Point Reveal?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log

Another one of the History Mysteries of Destin are some interesting facts about early Destin or Moreno Point that the first land survey conducted by the War Department revealed.

After the War Department acquired the land from the public domain, it ordered a survey of Moreno Point or Township 2, South, Range 22, West. A survey of the new military reservation was conducted during July 1847 by John M. Irwin, deputy surveyor. Assisting him were chain men and markers Michael Lynch, Christian Unu, Miles Borrington, James Tyner, and Madison Borrington.

The survey was approved by B. A Putman, surveyor general on May 22, 1849. The survey stated that: “The whole township is densely covered with live oak scrub, soil sandy. Pure fresh water can be readily obtained by digging two or three feet in the sand.” 

So we know that pure fresh water was easily located by simply digging a few feet into the sand.

The surveyor’s field notes written at the time the survey was conducted in July, 1847 mentions the word “house” seven different times.

After a certified federal surveyor examined the survey and notes he stated, “After reviewing the field notes it appears to me that they are talking about the same house.  They are just locating it from different stations along the meander line.”

So we also now know that there was only one house at Moreno Point when the surveyors arrived in 1847 to conduct the first survey on this land since it was acquired from the Spanish government. 

This sole house was probably that of Leonard Destin, the first permanent settler of what we call Destin today – the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.”

H. C. “Hank” Klein is a Destin historian who visits often and lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with his wife (the former Muriel Marler of Destin). He also contributed historical research for Tony Mennillo’s recently published book “Salty Memories along the Coastal Highway – Historic Stories of Destin and the Emerald Coast.”  He can be contacted at klein@aristotle.net.