Vernon, Florida

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Vernon is a city in Washington County, Florida, United States. The population was 743 at the 2000 census; according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 estimates, the city had a population of 757.

The town gained infamy in the late 1950s and early 1960s due to the improbably high percentage of residents who put out insurance claims on lost limbs, to the point that many speculated that residents of the town were intentionally dismembering themselves for the insurance money. Although there is no real evidence to support these speculations, and many people believe the story was greatly exaggerated as a publicity stunt for Errol Morris' movie, these insurance claims from Vernon, with a population of 500–800, accounted for as many as 2/3 of claims nationally. As such, the town gained the nickname "Nub City".[3]

The geographical center of Washington County, Florida, Vernon is named for George Washington's Virginia home, Mt. Vernon. The quaint, pioneer town was also the site of a major Indian settlement. Vernon held the county seat until 1927 when the seat was moved to Chipley. The move was approved by a margin of one vote.

The city is also known for the Errol Morris documentary film Vernon, Florida (produced in 1981) highlighting the eccentricities of the people who lived there. The movie angered many residents of the city and surrounding areas who felt the documentary portrayed Vernon in a negative light. Morris had originally intended to document on the "Nub City" aspect of the town, but re-focused his subject after claiming to receive death threats from residents.[3]



Vernon is located at 30°37′18″N 85°42′42″W / 30.62167°N 85.71167°W / 30.62167; -85.71167 (30.621699, -85.711628)[4].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.3 km² (4.7 mi²), all land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 743 people, 296 households, and 206 families residing in the city. The population density was 60.8/km² (157.3/mi²). There were 372 housing units at an average density of 30.4/km² (78.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.25% White, 15.75% African American, 2.42% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 3.77% from two or more races. Hispanic of any race were 1.48% of the population.

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