The town of Jay was incorporated in 1951 and named after its first postmaster, J.T. Nowling. With agriculture as its main source of income, Jay's population is around 600 people.
Jay's heritage dates back to the early 1900s when the community was dependent on agriculture-related ventures, including cotton, peanuts, soybeans, corn and timber production.
Then in the 1970s oil was discovered. The "oil rush" of Santa Rosa County, Fla., changed the small community like never before. People bought land and mineral rights in hopes of striking it big - some did and some didn't. Today, the small community is reaping the benefits of the gushing crude oil that has provided Jay more than $400 million dollars in revenues.
Santa Rosa County is historically the state's No. 1 cotton producer and No. 2 peanut producer. Florida's cotton production is concentrated in Santa Rosa, Escambia and Jackson counties, and one-third of the state's cotton comes from farms in northern Santa Rosa County. The Town of Jay holds the only two cotton gins in Florida and some of the state's richest farmland.
Jay is your typical small town U.S.A. It has restaurants, beauty shops, barbershops, service stations, banks, grocery stores, a drug store, flower shops, garages and auto supply stores, hardware supply stores, one funeral home, and a U.S. Post Office. Church denominations in Jay include Assembly of God, Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist, and Pentecostal Holiness.
Jay is preparing for the 21st century. There's something for everyone -- industry, residential development and a community pride. It's a place where neighbors still help neighbors, and there's always time for family and friends.