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You’d think a name like Iamonia would be unique, yet in Florida we seem to enjoy reusing even the most obscure Native American words. Thus, in Calhoun County, we have Iamonia Lake, which is a long, narrow lake on the west side of the Apalachicola River, just north of the Gulf County line.
Over in Leon County, they have Lake Iamonia, a much bigger lake that is also more well-known. It seems like I’ve spent my whole life trying to explain to folks that a) yes, I do mean “Iamonia Lake”; b) no, it’s not in Leon County; and c) yes, I realize that’s a strange name to recycle.
The best I can tell, after countless seconds of Internet research, is that the name ‘may’ be linked to a Seminole village called Hiamonee on the Ochlocknee River near the Georgia border. That information is courtesy of Carolee Boyles and can be found here: http://carolee-boyles.suite101.com/old-towns-and-flowered-rocks-a369098
Iamonia also isn’t unique among the place names you’ll find reused in different parts of Florida. For example, both Bay and Taylor counties in the northern part of the state, have Econfina rivers flowing through them. And you’ll find a Withlacoochee River flowing into the Suwannee in North Florida’s Madison County, and another one originating in Polk County in the central part of the state.
If you’re looking for Dade City, don’t look in Miami-Dade County. Instead, it’s on the western side of Florida in Pasco County. Also, be careful not to confuse Lake Okeechobee (in South Florida) with the Okefenokee Swamp near Jacksonville. And neither is anywhere near the Ochloknee River just west of Tallahassee.
And while we’re on the subject of names, I owe the following tidbit to Bill McCartney, longtime executive director of the Northwest Florida Water Management District, who hails from Fort Walton Beach. According to Bill, that whole name is a lie. “First of all, it was never a fort, it was a camp,” Bill told me once. “Second, it’s in Okaloosa County, not Walton County. And, it’s not on the beach, it’s on the bay.”