Washington County Courthouse (Keith Vincent Collection)

     A county seat controversy has been a political factor in Washington County throughout much of its history.  When Florida became a state in 1845, Washington County included much of what would become Walton, Bay, and part of Okaloosa Counties.  Vernon was chosen as county seat and several log buildings served as its courthouses.  In 1897, a new brick courthouse and jail were built there but Chipley citizens wanted the county seat for themselves.  After several unsuccessful attempts to have the voters choose a new county seat, Chipley strategists tried a new tactic.  They led the cause for the creation of Bay County which removed many of the supporters that had previously voted for Vernon.  In 1917, Chipley lost another election by a mere 20 votes but in 1927, they were successful and immediately built their courthouse which stands today. 

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