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It is part of the Panama City–Lynn Haven–Panama City Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. Port St. Joe was founded in 1824 by John Sims, who named it for his friend, Joseph B. Roberts (1788-1825), a native of South Carolina and an early settler on Apalachicola Bay who died at sea near Cuba while serving as captain of the schooner "Mary". It became a port city after construction in 1838-40 by Henry Yulee made it possible to ship products through Port St Joe instead of Apalachicola or Pensacola; this led to its development as one Florida's most important ports until railroads were built later in the 19th century that bypassed small towns like Port St Joe and allowed goods from other cities such as New York to be shipped directly into larger coastal cities such as Tampa without having to go through smaller ports first.