THE HISTORY OF FLORIDA AGRICULTURE THE EARLY ERA
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian Emeritus
Florida Agricultural Experiment Station The Hume Library University of Florida
In Memory of My Beloved Parents
Ida Golson Keeling and
William Oliver Keeling
A Note to Readers
When Ida Keeling Cresap came to Gainesville in 1923, she came with the hopes of becoming editor for the publications of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station. During the 1923/24 fiscal year, she was appointed Librarian succeeding Thompson Van Hyning. Early in her busy days of building a catalog of the library's holdings, she became aware of the lack of anything that pulled together the many diverse facets of early agriculture in Florida. It became her goal to assemble such a work that she could call a history of early Florida agriculture. Her hopes of the editorship were set aside as she plunged into the everyday task of being Experiment Station Librarian and her pursuit of material for records of early agricultural endeavors of the state.
When Mrs. Cresap retired in 1963, her manuscript was essentially complete. Shortly before her death she asked Dr. Hervey Sharpe, then the editor of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to assist her in getting the work published. Dr. Sharpe found publishers shy principally because much editing was needed and they were unwilling to commit funds.
On his retirement, Dr. Sharpe turned the unprinted manuscript over to me. I had no more success than he until I was able to convince the IFAS grant program SHARE to provide sufficient money to edit, have a finished product typed and bound for Hume Library. Dr. Sharpe, now Editor Emeritus, was persuaded to do the editing.
Although I. K. Cresap is the author, she was ably assisted by her two longtime co-workers in the Agricultural Library. Janie Lee Tyson, who started in a secretarial position in the late 1920's and who had advanced to the rank of Assistant University Librarian before her retirement in 1970, along with Kathryn Cone, longtime secretary to Mrs. Cresap, contributed many hours' time assembling notes and doing rough drafts. Their efforts deserve full notice for as they became her confidant they shared with her the research efforts needed to acquire the bibliographic details.
However, it is the personal style of I. K. Cresap that flavors this history. Note please, the two methods of furnishing citations. Chapters 1 through 3 have footnotes at the bottom of the page. Starting with Chapter 4
citations refer to the bibliography in the appendix. In the first chapters all included quotes are typed with the same margins as the author's work. This tends to make the reader pause to determine if one is reading a quotation or not. In editing the decision was made to preserve the author's form. Descriptions of manners of the time and activities are especially colorful when the language of the era is quoted. Florida's agricultural heritage has been neglected too long.
Albert C. Strickland Librarian Hume Library June, 1982
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 INDIAN AGRICULTURE 1
2 EARLY COLONIAL AGRICULTURE TO 1763 9
3 LATER COLONIAL AGRICULTURE TO 1821 22
4 TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSPORTATION 37
5 TOBACCO 45
6 FLORIDA CITRUS INDUSTRY 62
7 CORN 125
8 COTTON 128
9 PRE-WAR COTTON PLANTATIONS 144
10 SUGAR CANE 152
11 LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY 175
12 AGRICULTURAL, HORTICULTURAL, AND MARKETING
13 PLANT NURSERIES BEFORE 1890 216
14 FEDERAL AND STATE LAWS THAT ADVANCED FLORIDA
15 AGRICULTURAL INSTITUTIONS 224 BIBLIOGRAPHY 261
INDIAN AGRICULTURE In the Beginning
Before the coming of Europeans, Florida"'' was inhabited by several Indian tribes. Some of them did not cultivate the soil, depending for food on hunting, fishing, and on roots and berries. There were other tribes, however, that practiced agriculture. They were the Apalachee Indians who lived in the northwestern part of Florida, the Timucua or Utima Indians in the central part, and a portion of the Potano tribe living in the Alachua plains.
During the sixteenth century, France and Spain, each suffering from
political and religious unrest, intent on colonization in the New World,
anxious to christianize the Indians, or to seek wealth in gold, sent explorers
and colonies to what is now the peninsular state of Florida. It is to the
writers from these two countries that the world is indebted for the important
but scant records concerning Indian agriculture, and the knowledge that some
of the aborigines produced crops as early as 1513.
In 1539, Hernando De Soto, wealthy explorer of Spain who had been appointed governor of Cuba, started out to explore Florida. He found in the Indian village of Ocali (Ocala), maize, vegetables and different kinds of fruits. He also found an abundance of cultivated food in the towns of the Apalachee Indians and around the present site of Tallahassee.
It is certain that the Indians inhabiting Florida were using tobacco when the first white explorers came. The earliest record of it was made by Spark who said:
^As used throughout this work, Florida boundaries are what they are today. In no part of this text does "Florida" occupy the land area ascribed to it by the original explorers.
John Reed Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. U. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnology (Washington, 1922) Bui. 73, p. 334.
The Floridians when they trauell, haue a kinde of herbe dried, who with a cane and earthen cup in the end, with fire, and the dried herbe put together doe sucke thorow the cane the smoke thereof, which smoke satisfieth their hunger, and therewith they liue foure or fiue dayes without meat or drinke, and this all the frenchmen used for this purpose; yet do they hold opinion withall, that it causeth water and fleame to void from the stomaches.^
This account of tobacco and smoking was written about the middle of the sixteenth century. It is entirely probable that Ribaut, when he discovered the St. Johns River, or River May as he named it in 1562, found the Indians using tobacco. It remains within the realm of possibility that the Timucua Indians actually grew the plant as it was cultivated by tribes in other parts of the United States at the time. However, if this were true, no writer amongst the explorers, in naming plants grown by Florida Indians, includes tobacco. It was indigenous to the soil and gathered by the Indians where and as they found it.
The Indians were very much addicted to the use of tobacco and as the years
passed the Spaniards used it as a medium of exchange. Jonathan Dickerson found
in 1699 after being ship-wrecked on the lower east coast that the Spaniards at
San Augustin who formed the rescue party sent after the survivors used tobacco
in this way. Dickerson wrote of them:
The Spaniards from the fort were continually searching for what they could find, of such things as the Indians had gotten from us or others: And when they could find no more, they would offer to buy with Tobacco what they could persuade the Indians to bring to Light. A Leaf or half a Leaf of Tobacco, would purchase a yard of Linen or Woolen, or Silk, from the Indians; such Admirers of Tobacco are they, that they esteem it beyond any other Thing.^
Another Indian, after he had found about five pounds of ambergris on the
beach boasted to Dickerson that he could trade it at San Augustin for "a
Looking-glass, an Axe, a Knife or two, and three or four Mannococoes (which
is about five or six Pounds) of Tobacco." The Indians were paid in tobacco
for transporting the white men across rivers and for many other things they
did. It remained a medium of exchange for many years.
3Ibid. p. 360.
^Dickerson, God's Protecting Providence Man's Surest Help and Defense in Times of the Greatest Difficulty and Most Eminent Danger Evidenced in the Remarkable Deliverance of Robert Darrow, with Divers Other Persons, from the Devouring Waves of the Sea; Among Which they Suffered Ship-wreck; and Also from the Cruel, Devouring Jaws of the Inhuman Canibals of Florida. Faithfully Related by Jonathan Dickerson, One of the Persons Concerned Therein. (Philadelphia, 1751)
Florida's Indian agriculturists did not grow wheat. Instead, as a grain crop, maize was produced in abundance. It was their chief food and of the first settlers as well. According to early records maize grew to a height of seven feet with a stalk as large as that of a cane. Its grain was as large as a pea. The ears were a foot long and its color was that of fresh wax.^
In the central and milder parts of Florida, maize was planted in March and in June. The land was "burned" to destroy the weeds. Then the cacique (chief) of the tribe called his subjects together and the daily work in the fields was started. The ground was broken by an instrument of wood that resembled a broad mattock. After this, the women came and planted two grains of maize in each hole prepared for the seed No fertilizer was used.
During the planting season the cacique "causeth store of that drink (cassine) to be made for them (the laborers)." As cassine was prepared for warriors on the eve of battle or before beginning an arduous mission, it is possible that the drink was used, thus, to remove the stigma of squaw's work from the preparation of the soil.6 No record is found in which Indian women were given, or allowed to drink, cassine.
At the completion of planting, three months passed before maize was ready for harvesting. It was then stored in a "common-house: from which it was distributed to each Indian according to his standing the tribe.
In the colder part of the country, around present-day Tallahassee, only one planting of maize was made each year. In that region after gathering, the grain was stored, and no part of it was used in trade "unless perhaps some barter is made for some little household article."'7
French explorers, in 1562, found the Indians growing beans, gourds, citrons, cucumbers, pears and many other fruits and roots. By "citrons" and "cucumbers" Ribaut probably meant that the Indians grew pumpkins and squash.^ However, most yellow-colored vegetables and fruits were called citrons.
~*Paul Louis Jacques Gaffarel, Historie de la Florida Francaise. (Paris, 1875) p. 462.
^Jacques Le Moyne, Narrative of LeMoyne, an Artist Who Accompanied the French Expedition to Florida Under Laudonniere, 1564-9.
John R. Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors. U. S. Bur. Amer. Ethnology (Washington, 1922), Bui. 73. p. 360.
While it is known that the watermelon was indigenous to Florida, Ribaut was the first explorer to record the fact. The Indians in the agriculturally rich central part of Florida were found growing the melon as a part of their food crop.
Although the Indians made bread from cultivated maize, they also made
it from a root that grew in the marshes. This was the kunti---variously called
conti, coontie, coontia, compte, comtie, koonti or koontee. It is the root of a Cycad, (Zamia integrifolia), and is very starchy. To make bread, the root was pounded and mixed with water. The starch was then allowed to settle in the bottom of the vessel and the water drained off. The wet mass, after fermenting slightly, was spread upon palmetto leaves to dry. It was then baked into a sort of white bread.*
Thus bread made from maize or conti was the principal item of food for the Indians and the early settlers soon learned its value. The latter has been called "Wild Sago" and is at present known as the "Florida arrowroot." There was also a "red" bread made from what the Indians called "Conti Chantee" or Red Root. It was made from the hard rhizomes of the China Briar-root or similax (Bona-nox L.) which they called "Kunti tscha-ti."
On long journeys, the Indians carried food with them which usually included honey and meal, the latter made from maize which had been parched in the fire and pounded. Meal kept for a long time. As well as bread, a "porridge" was made of it. However, the latter must be eaten at once as it spoiled quickly.W
It must be emphasized that the agriculture practiced by the Indians during the first and latter part of the sixteenth century applied only to the area of Florida roughly bounded by the present site of Ocala to the south, San Augustin to the east and Tallahassee to the west. The Indians south of Ocala were not agriculturists. Among east coast Indians the men felt that planting was menial work and that it was beneath the dignity of warriors to cultivate the earth. Any work of that sort was left to the women who appeared equally reluctant to plant and reap. Jonathan Dickerson, in relating the harrowing experiences of the survivors in their efforts to reach the Spanish settlement at San Augustin, said that the savages were very fierce. They
Laudonniere and other writers mention this bread.
^Paul Louis Jacques Gaffarel, Historie de la Francais. (Paris, 19875) p. 462.
grew no food, but depended almost wholly upon fish, palmetto berries and roots for subsistence which was a distasteful diet but peculiarly strenghtening and healthful.
Because there was no planting the South Florida tribes moved often from place to place seeking food.
The first mention of livestock in Florida was made by Hernando De Soto
in 1539, before passing through the Indian town of Ocali. He related that:
They say that there is to be found in it a great plenty of all the things mentioned, and fowls, turkeys in yards and tame deer tended in herds. How this can be, I do not understand, unless they mean the cattle, of which we heard before coming here. They say there are many traders and much barter, and that there is an abundance of gold and silver and many pearls.
At this early period Spain had introduced cattle and other livestock into Mexico. There is every possibility that herds of cattle and horses penetrated far north into the United States from that country. They may have wandered into Florida. Some of the explorers previous to De Soto may have brought cattle with them. Again there is the possibility that ships loaded with cattle going from Cuba to Mexico, or the reverse, may have been wrecked off the treacherous coast of southern Florida and the cattle gone ashore. This is all problematic, and none of the theories is likely to be true, as no other explorer, except De Soto, mentions the presence of such animals. The Indians did have wild turkeys and dogs. They presented De Soto with 300 of the latter. The Indians did not eat dog meat but the Spaniards did. Whether De Soto actually found the fowls and cattle at Ocali, he does not say. The fact remains that regardless of how improbable it is, it is the first record of the possibility of such livestock already being in the country on the arrival of the Spaniards.
De Soto brought with him 350 horses and 500 hogs. These were the first hogs brought into Florida. As De Soto passed through the country the herd of hogs was driven along. Those Indian nations that treated him kindly were given a couple of swine, male and female, from which future stock was to be raised. The original "piney woods rooter" and "razor back" hogs were descended from these Spanish hogs that De Soto either distributed or lost on march.
^In the translation of an original letter written by De Soto on July 9, 1539 to the municipal authorities of St. Jago de Cuba which is included in: Historical Collections of Louisiana...by B. F. French, Pt. II. 1850.
During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries many superstitions were prevalent amongst the Indians concerning the planting of seed or the cultivation of crops. Before tilling a field a ritual was performed by the shaman of the tribe. Prayer must always be offered over the first corn, and when the corncrib was opened a formula was recited over the first flour. The shaman used ritual when worms began to eat the corn or disease attacked it. Wild fruits were not eaten until formulas had been repeated over them. Corn from a newly broken field was not supposed to be eaten. It is hard to believe that this regulation was absolute. The shaman must offer prayers to the "spirit" before any one was allowed to approach or open the corncrib. A
hunting party had to have a formula repeated over tobacco by the cacique,
before starting on the hunt.
Another custom indulged in by the Indians toward the end of each February, was to kill a large stag, remove its skin with the horns intact, after which it was stuffed full of all the choicest sorts of roots that grew. Wreaths or garlands of the best fruits were draped on the horns, neck and other parts of the body. Thus decorated, the skin was carried, with music and song, to a tall tree, where it was hung with the head and breast of the stag toward the sunrise. Prayers were then offered to the sun that it would cause to grow on the Indians' land good things such as those offered the sun. The cacique with his sorcerer stood near the tree and offered the prayer; the common people at a distance made responses. Finally, this annual ceremony ended, the Indians departed, leaving the deer's hide there until next year.^
While not definitely known to have been practiced by the Indians in Florida, it is quite likely that an Indian woman would steal out to the plantation in the dark of night, disrobe, and trail her garments over the earth to make a magic circle over which no worm could crawl to reach the crop.
Communal Storehouse When the crops of maize, beans, squash and pumpkins were harvested they 12
John R. Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors,
p. 384. 13
Le Moyne gives a good account of this ceremony.
were stored in granaries or storehouses called "barbacoa." Usually the barbacoa was built of stone and earth and covered over with palm fronds. They were sometime erected near some hill where they were sheltered from the sun for the better preservation of the stored food, but more often the barbacoa was built on the bank of a stream where ready access to it could be had by water. The Indians in Florida were the only ones known to build storehouses out of stone and earth.
Here also was stored any other provisions the Indians collected, such as wild fruit, game, fish, reptiles and alligators which were dried and smoked over a fire. The Indians were particularly adept in drying and smoking food in order to preserve it.
The barbacoa was under the custody of a special guardian who was killed with a blow from a club on the slightest neglect of his duty. The stores were only resorted to in case of extreme necessity, when full notice was given to all interested, whereupon the distribution took place to each according to his rank. The cacique alone was at liberty to take whatever supply he chose.^ Seldom was it necessary to kill a guard. Nor were the Indians guilty of attempting to steal, being satisfied with their share. Some of the tribes put aside a certain amount of the stored food to be used in emergencies, particularly to aid other tribes during a scarcity of food.
The Florida Indian plantation from the first record was a community project. Planting was always the work of the group and not of the individual, while its benefits were largely individual although the common good was provided for and protected by the public granary which was under the absolute control of the cacique or mico. The plantation was regulated according to a system that was little different in principle from that employed by large groups of workers in some European countries in recent years. The main flaw in the system was that the Indians did not always plant enough to supply their needs throughout the year. Thus, between planting seasons there was nearly always a period of want which was lived through by recourse to the bountiful game, fish, and the native plants growing in the forests.
Woodbury Lowry, The Spanish Settlements within the Present Limits of the United States, 1562-1574. (New York, 1905) p. 65.
These Indians were not nomadic as were the tribes that did not have a fixed agricultural policy. Instead, they built permanent towns and lived under a regulated economy enforced by their ruler, the cacique. Except for the defense of their homes and lands, the agricultural Indians were less warlike than the tribes that did not till the soil, spending much time in attending to the work relating to the community plantation.
Crude farm tools were made from bones and wood. Pottery of a varied sort was made, used as dishes for food, for its preparation, and for carrying water.
Altogether life around the Indian plantation appears to have been ideal. But the time was rapidly approaching when Indian rule over Florida was to be questioned by foreign intruders.
Chapter 2 EARLY COLONIAL AGRICULTURE TO 1763
While considering the geographic boundaries, the area of this treatise was divided into two distinct parts which are to be designated as East Florida and West Florida, with the Apalachicola River as the dividing boundary between them, the northern boundary being, approximately, 30 30". A vast coastline existed uniting the two sections by hazardous water transportation while the interior with marshes, streams, jungle growth, and savage Indians, made transportation and travel from the east coast to the present location of Pensacola practically impossible. Thus the early history of each is more or less independent of the other.
It should be understood that because of the Line of Demarcation ordained in a papal bull by Pope Alexander VI (about 1493), the entire New World was divided between Spain and Portugal.* Thus, Spain believed she had the right of ownership and instituted steps to put this ownership into effect by sending expeditions to explore and colonize her part of the new world. Becoming of particular interest to her was the country around present-day St. Augustine, Tampa and Pensacola, the former, however, being the most successful and permanent venture.
Of the explorers, first came Juan Ponce de Leon, who on April 2, 1513, landed somewhere on the upper east coast and named the country Florida. In addition to treasure, he sought a fabulous Fountain of Youth about which he had heard. While he was destined to find neither, and actually lost his life in a second expedition, De Leon's name has lived because of his intrepid explorations in the New World and because he gave Florida a permanent name.
A few years later, in 1528, another Spaniard, Pamphilo de Narvaez, landed on the west coast in the Tampa Bay region. This expedition was unfortunate and shipwreck along the coast resulted in the death of all but four men.
"''"Alexander VI," Encyclopedia Americana, 1954 ed., I, p. 361.
Then in 1539 came Hernando De Soto, wealthy Spaniard, with an army of 600.
This expedition landed in Tampa Bay. De Soto wanted to make a settlement and
had brought with him a herd of 500 hogs and 350 horses. But pressing westward
to the Mississippi, he died as did a large part of his company
An elaborate expedition was sent out in 1559 under Don Tristan de Luna.
Inspired by De Soto's account of "Coosa", an Indian town in Alabama, De Luna
arrived at near where Fort Barrancas now is with between 1500 and 2,000 followers
for the purpose of christianizing and colonizing the country. He had intended
to go to "Coosa" but instead he remained at the Barrancas site which he named
Santa Marie des Peniscola. A shipwreck caused great loss before the party
landed which probably accounts largely for its ill-fated outcome. For two
years the colony wandered about the country between the location of its
settlement and Apalachia. In 1561, hopelessly discouraged, the survivors returned to Mexico.
While these first expeditions to Florida were tragic failures, they did serve to make the country better known. It is a peculiar fact that the men fortunate enough to return safely home invariably gave the most fascinating and glowing accounts of the new country.
France Sends Colonists to Florida
Spain was not to enjoy the possession of Florida without contest from another great European nation. France had shown little interest in the new country until 1562 when Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France, to aid that religion-torn nation, sent two ships under Captain Jean Ribaut, to Florida.
Although Ribaut discovered the mouth of the St. Johns River, which he named River May, he did not stop there. He proceeded northward beyond the present boundary of Florida where he built a fort. He then left the garrison and sailed away to France for new supplies. The soldiers left in the fort very shortly became disgusted with the hardships they had to endure and finally succeeded in building a boat and escaping. That was the end of Ribaut's first expedition.
Theodore Irving, The Conquest of Florida Under Hernando de Soto (London, 1835), Vol. 2, p. 5.
The towns of the Apalachee Indians were called Apalachia.
In 1564, Admiral de Coligny sent out another French expedition under Rene 4
de Laudonniere. Laudonniere had accompanied Ribaut on his first expedition. Instead of returning to the original site Laudonniere decided to make his settlement on the southern shore of the River May. The new settlement was named Fort Caroline.
The French landed on June 29, 1564, and immediately began construction of the fort. Food in small quantities was secured from the Indians, principally acorns, pumpkins, squash, beans and cassina.
Nearly a year passed without reinforcements coming from France. The Frenchmen were not farsighted enough to conserve their supplies nor did they make efforts to plant. Starvation was a constant threat.
It was August, 1565, that Sir John Hawkins, a rear admiral of the English navy and greatly feared, arrived at the mouth of the river with his fleet of four vessels. He landed in search of fresh water and was received courteously by Laudonniere, who, in order to entertain the Englishman properly, killed some of the sheep and poultry which he had hitherto "carefully preserved to stock the country withal."~*
The dire want of the Frenchmen was commented on by one of Sir John Hawkins' party who related that the men, being soldiers, would not cultivate the soil although they could have grown crops of food had they wanted to.
Laudonniere, who feared that reinforcements would never come from France, had decided to attempt to return home and bought one of Sir John Hawkins' ships. The Frenchmen were ready to sail for France on August 28, 1565, when circumstances arose to prevent this simple ending to France's attempt to colonize Florida. For on that day they sighted vessels which proved to be the long-expected ones from home!
Pedro Menendez de Aviles Brings Spanish Farmers
In the meantime, when the Spanish king, Philip II, heard of the move France was making to settle and conquer Florida, the monarch determined to stop it. He sought out Pedro Menendez de Aviles, a famous soldier, and, after
At this time Ribaut was held a prisoner in England where he had gone in an effort to secure aid for his colony.
~*This is the first mention of poultry growing in Florida.
^George R. Fairbanks, Florida, Its History and Its Romance (Jacksonville, Fla. 1904) p. 81.
appointing him the new governor or adelantado of Florida, issued a royal cedula by which Menendez was to be guided in settling and governing the Spanish province.
This cedula, or contract, was the basis for the first genuine effort ever made to establish a permanent settlement in Florida. Philip II was greatly impressed with the advantages to be had in possessing new land which was believed to have fabulous mines of gold and silver, and in conquering and making christians of the aborigines, but he recognized the fact that this province so far away from the mother country must be made self-supporting.^ Over and beyond that the new land should contribute to the wealth of the homeland.
The cedula stipulated in part that within three years Menendez was to settle 500 men in Florida, one hundred of them to be farmers. Two hundred were to be married and the rest were to be craftsmen. He was also to take with him one hundred horses and mares, two hundred calves, four hundred swine, four hundred sheep and some goats, as well as any other livestock the colonists wanted. This contract also stipulated that Menendez:
pledge yourself to import into the aforesaid country, within the said three years, five hundred (negro) slaves for your service and that of the people you are to take over, and in order that the towns may be built and the land cultivated with greater ease; and for planting sugar cane for the sugar mills that may be built, and for building the said sugar mills.
In return for the colonizing done by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the Crown
agreed to give him twenty five square leagues of good land in Florida wherever
he selected it, if the Indians were "without prejudice." This land was to
belong to Menendez and his heirs "in perpetuity (but) without your holding any
jurisdiction therein, or owning any mines, because that must remain for Us
(Spanish King)." However, Menendez was to receive one-fifteenth part of all
the income, whether of gold and silver, precious stones or agricultural
products, as well as two fisheriesone for pearls and one for fish. For the first ten years after the country had been settled, neither the adelantado of
^This was an entirely new approach, and was the first real effort to establish a self-supporting settlement, g
Jeanette Thurber Conner, Pedro Menendez Aviles. Memorial of Gonzalo de Solis de Merca. Florida State Historical Society. (Deland, Fla. 1923) pp. 259, 262.
As stated before, it was believed that the new land would yield fabulous mines. This belief existed for a long time.
of Florida, the settlers nor inhabitants were required to pay any duty of almoxarifazgo10 on anything brought over as supplies to Florida.
Menendez1 fame as an explorer and adventurer brought immediate success to this venture. Armed with the royal cedula, he assembled 34 ships and was besieged by men who wanted to go with him to the new land. He accepted 2,646, a number so large he was not able to load the 500 slaves the cedula stipulated. He sailed from Spain in June, 1565.
Menendez Destroys French Settlement
Undoubtedly Menendez knew the general location of the French settlement
which was near the area the Spaniard was to colonize. What may well be called
Florida's greatest tragedy was now enacted.^ Upon landing at the site of his
new town, Menendez learned that the French fort was only about thirty-five
miles to the north and that Ribaut's fleet was anchored in the St. John's River. Storm and Spaniard, both, conspired against the French, for Menendez immediately descended upon Fort Caroline which he destroyed, ruthlessly slaughtering the Frenchmen.
In 1568, France sent Dominique do Gourgres to avenge the French. He succeeded in the destruction of the garrision at the mouth of the St. John's River, which the Spaniards had renamed San Mateo, but made no effort to reinforce it. This ended France's attempt to colonize East Florida.
Spanish Farmers Had Hard Life
With the French out of his way, Menendez built San Augustin, with a fort for protection of the small settlement that lived about it.
But the farmers had a wretched time. Menendez had promised them land as good as that they had left in Spain. They were each to be given twelve head of stock and some of the farmers had brought with them cows and sheep of their own. After reaching their new homes they went to work planting corn, wheat, oats, pumpkins, chick-peas, beans and sugar cane. Pigs were given them with
^An ancient duty on imports or exports.
^It is believed that Menendez knew Ribaut had left France to join the French garrison at Fort Caroline, but that he hoped to destroy the latter before Ribaut's arrival.
Rembert W. Patrick. Florida Under Five Flags. (Gainesville, 1945) p. 10.
the understanding that they were not to be slaughtered for ten years. At the end of that period the increase was to be divided between the farmers and the adelantada.
The first year the wheat failed entirely; worms, rats and moles ate the seed which had been planted and the only vegetables that grew successfully were pumpkins and melons. The cattle roamed at large and ate what little corn had grown. The cows and sheep died. The Indians killed many of the pigs and finally the settlers, to prevent starvation, were forced to consume the remaining livestock.
Pedro Menendez de Aviles who was forty-six years old when he brought his first colonists to Florida was an indefatigable worker. He believed that he could make San Augustin self-supporting by eventually growing all the food that was needed. In the meantime, however, it was his responsibility to see that sufficient supplies were available. This required his frequent absences from Florida.
In December, 1565, Captain Diege de Maya arrived at San Augustin while Menendez was on an exploration trip to the north. Maya brought a vessel of "80 toneles laden with cassava, meat and cattle." The adelantado returned on March 20, 1566, and on that day Estebano de las Alas who had been sent to Havana for supplies, returned with poultry, meat and cattle. It is not exactly known what was meant by "cattle" as this term was used to include hogs, sheep and goats as well as beef cattle.
Several years passed with no certainty as to the future of the colony. The Spanish farmers appeared unable to become accustomed to the change in soils and climate. More than that the Indians hated these new-comers so that cultivating the fields, even though they were located right outside of the fort, steadily grew more hazardous.
In the early part of 1570, Menendez wrote the Spanish king:
for the farmers and settlers of that country (Florida) have to live inland, where they have found the soil is very good and no one will want to live in the harbors and sea-shore forts, because of the great danger they run from Indians and because the soil has proved unprofitable for them.
A few days later he wrote: "The soldiers that your Majesty has in
Florida are very unprovided for and I fear that for lack of supplies the
soldiers will dismantle the forts, and the farmers run the risk of perishing.
It was shortly after this that Menendez went to Spain in the interest of Florida. He returned in 1571 bringing with him 650 people for the colonies. He did not remain very long for in April, 1572, he again went to Spain.
In the meantime, on March 5, 1571, Philip II, in a royal cedula, granted Menendez the right to bring 100 more farmers to San Augustin; on January 26, 1572, he authorized him to secure another 100 farmers from the Azores and on February 23, 1573, the king stipulated that fifty more farmers could be secured from Seville.
During most of this time Menendez was in Spain where he was detained by
the king, who had placed him in command of a large armada to protect Spain.
The Spanish governor was distressed by his enforced absence from Florida where
he felt he was sorely needed. On September 7, 1574, he wrote to his nephew,
Pedro Menendez Marques who was temporarily in charge of Florida:
I have ready a great number of farmers in this home land, as well as Portugese from the River of Mino, in order that they may embark at Bayonne; all of them people trained to many tasks, and (among them) tradesmen, stonecutters and carpenters, who appear to me to be among the most useful there are in the these kingdoms, very suitable for the settlements we have at present in Florida, as they are for those we have to make.
But Menendez de Aviles was destined never to see the transportation of
these people to Florida, for his death at Santander, in the latter part of
1574, put an end to his career.
Dissatisfaction of Farmers
Before the death of Menendez it became evident that the Florida colonists were in a wretched condition. The adelantado's chief officer, Estebano de las Alas, left San Augustin on August 13, 1570, taking back to Spain 110 soldiers. When they reached Spain an investigation followed to learn why he had brought so many soldiers back from Florida. One soldier's report throws some light on the conditions existing there.
Menendez was constantly petitioning Philip II for permission to bring more farmers to Florida and more soldiers to protect them. Food was scarce and suffering great. Because of hostile Indians, the farmers could not work the fields unless under protection of the soldiers.
This man, Jeronimo de Sobrados, stated that when he left San Augustin there were only fifteen or sixteen mares and ten or twelve cows left; that the cattle could not sustain themselves for the mosquitoes ate them and the Indians killed them. He claimed that the soil was so poor no vegetables could be raised and so the people had nothing else except the fishing, and the Indians killed them when they went to fish. This man stated that besides the soldiers in San Augustin, only one married farmer remained.
On February 4, 1573, the Council of the Indies met at Madrid and questioned some of the returned soldiers and farmers about the conditions in Florida. The Council was presided over by the Illustrious Senior Licentiate Gamboa.^
Although Menendez de Aviles was in Spain at this time it does not appear that he was present at this meeting of the Council although he may have been.
One witness at this time was Pedro Gonzalez who told the Council that he had gone to Florida, in 1566, and had lived at San Augustin for six years. He believed there were about forty farmers there. Two years after he went to Florida, or in 1568, the adelantado had brought over at least twenty horses and mares, twelve cows, forty hogs, thirty goats and a few sheep. These were all consumed because of famine, the Indians, however, killing the hogs. This man stated that later on Menendez brought over eighty cows, one hundred hogs and about twenty goats.
Several other men were questioned and each of them gave about the same factsthat the farmers at San Augustin planted maize and vegetables, that cattle consisting of cows, mares, goats, hogs and sheep had been distributed amongst them, eventually to be eaten to save the settlers from starvation; that the Indians particularly liked the hogs, killing and eating them, and that the adelantado later on brought over more cows, goats and hogs. Dissatisfaction with the soil on the coast, when the settlers all seemed to believe that a little way inland the soil was fertile and easier to cultivate was evident.
Menendez had established another colony on an island off the coast of present South Carolina which he named Santa Elena. As it was north of the
Jeanette Thurber Conner. Colonial Records of Spanish Florida. Letters and Reports of Governors and Secular Persons, 1570-1580. (Deland, 1923) p. 83.
boundary being treated in this work, it is not under discussion. Suffice it to say that the settlement was a complete failure and its history is of importance only because of one fact which will appear presently.
Nothing was accomplished by the investigation of the Council of the Indies unless it was to give a little more information about the new country. Spain neither reproved Menendez de Aviles nor sought to urge settlement farther inland in Florida.
After Menendez' death, Diego de Valasco wrote to Philip II, from San Augustin, the latter part of August, 1575, that:
the coast is barren for it is near the sea, where there is little land for cultivation and cattle-raising, and at a few leagues such is to be found; so that if they (farmers) had any one who would give them aid and protection, they could succeed very well; for the soil is of good character and adapted to make a profit for any one who will cultivate it.
While Spain concentracted her major efforts toward the exploration and
colonizing of the east coast of Florida, other expeditions were made along the
gulf coast and within the interior of the country. Missions were built and
Franciscan priests were stationed at them where they labored unceasingly for
the christianizing of the Indians.
First Farmers Meeting
Although the first called meeting for farmers in the new World originated at San Augustin, it was held at Santa Elena. The new adelantado, the very Illustrious Senor de Mirando, held a meeting on the island and all farmers were asked to attend. The cabildo began on February 27, 1576 and lasted for several days. Its purpose was to draw up a report for the Spanish King, urging that those farmers who wished to do so be permitted to return home.
While the farmers were given the opportunity of expressing their wish to return to Spain, the petition did no good. For on January 10, 1577, Indians destroyed Santa Elena, only a remnant of survivors escaping to San Augustin. Efforts to rebuild were permanently abandoned in 1580 because of poor soil and constant threat of Indian attacks.
Officials Paid Partly From Produce
One of the causes for dissension between the adelantada and the Spanish king began about 1578. The Crown believed that if the governor had to collect
half of his salary from the crops grown in the new land he would work that much harder to secure new farmers and to make the venture a success. Thus it was that the new adelantado, Pedro Menendez Marques,^ was to receive as his salary 200 ducats to be paid, half from the subsidy or money allotted the people of Florida, and the other half from the products of the country. All other officials were to be paid in the same way. As they were not able to collect anything from the produce the officials were constantly pleading that the full amount of their salaries be paid from the subsidy, a plea that made little impression on the Crown.
Regardless of this discouragement Menendez Marques continued to work for the settlements. On April 2, 1579, from San Augustin, he wrote the Audiencia of Santa Domingo that he was sending a frigate for a load of horses, mares and "other cattle." He explained the need for horses by saying that with them he might be able to capture twenty-four ship-wrecked Frenchmen who had taken refuge with friendly Indians.
Destruction and Rebuilding of San Augustin
In 1586, Sir Francis Drake, English pirate, visited San Augustin and destroyed it. An engraving made in England to represent this event shows gardens planted to the rear of the town.
San Augustin was rebuilt by the Spaniards. With the scattered Catholic missions it remained to support Spain's claims as sole possessor of Florida.
The years passed with scarcely any change in the original settlements. The Spainiards were not essentially agriculturists, and the Indians were always hostile. Under the conditions, progress was impossible. The inhabitants were constantly on the verge of starvation, eking out the barest living without attempting to develop an agricultural policy of any sort.
Santa Marie Pes Peniscola
Spain's interest in the western part of the territory lagged for over a century. In 1696, De Ariola with 300 soldiers took possession of De Luna's old settlement and built Fort San Carlos.
^"Pedro Menendez Marques was a nephew of Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
The Spaniards were even less successful around Santa Marie des Peniscola in establishing farms and cultivating the soil than they had been around San Augustin. There was constant Indian warfare. Fundamentally, as stated before, the Spaniards were not agriculturists and even starvation could not inspire them to till the earth.
At Santa Marie des Peniscola, the Spanish garrison as late as 1699, made no provision for the growing of food. For a number of years this garrison and the French settlement at Biloxi were compelled to resort to each other for food to stave off starvation. This continued for nearly a decade, but in time the relatively greater neglect of agriculture by the Spaniards caused their colony to become a market for farm products from Louisiana.
After the destruction of the town, in 1719, by the French fleet, Santa Marie des Peniscola was rebuilt on Santa Rosa Island. As the people found the deep, white sand too poor to cultivate, they obtained permission from the Indians to plant a large field on the north side of what is now Pensacola Bay. It was around this corn field that Pensacola was permanently settled about 1754, the corn field becoming the public square.
The Spanish officials in West Florida made no attempt to extend colonization beyond the fort, partly because the Indians were nearly always at war with them, and partly because warfare appealed more to the soldiers than did farming.
Iviahica, the most important Apalachee town, was located near Tallahassee. It, and the other Apalachee towns, were for a time removed from this petty warfare. In addition to farming, the inhabitants carried on a steady industry in deerskins and wild turkeys. In 1639, from three to four thousand bushels of maize and beans were sent from Apalachia to San Augustin.
By the beginning of the eighteenth century, warfare was constant in the area, and the Apalachee were almost completely destroyed by invading English and Creed Indians. After this, the Spanish inhabitants, with their few Indian allies, formed a consolidated settlement at San Luis, which was north of old Iviahica.
The Debatable Land 1665-1763
The entire period of Spain's possession of Florida was one of turbulence and warfare. Not only did the Indians detest the Spaniards, because of their cruelty, and do all that they could to prevent them from making deep inroads into the country, but the English began to settle the country to the north, which greatly bothered the Spanish ruler. In 1666, a new English settlement, St. Helena, was made on Amelia Island to the extreme discomfort of San Augustin. This brought on renewed disputes about the northern boundary of Spain's possessions. A treaty of 1670 legalized English possession south to Charles Town, South Carolina, and Spain's possession as far north as Port Royal Sound. This left a strip of land between, which was not to be settled by either nation.
England disregarded the treaty and continued to send settlers into forbidden country which became known as the "debatable land." Spain endeavored to safeguard her interests by attempted new settlements north of San Augustin as well as the establishment of more Catholic missions.
End of Spanish Rule
This constant strife made agriculture a disordered and almost impossible industry.
Two centuries had passed since Spain became active in colonizing Florida, when, because of the Treaty of Paris, England came into possession of the sorely-torn province, in 1763. Agriculturally, little had been accomplished. Gardens, with fruit trees, had been made about San Augustin and Santa Marie des Peniscola. Also around the Spanish missions, priests had planted gardens and the seed of oranges, which had grown into groves. Along the St. Johns and the Halifax rivers vast orange groves grew. There were herds of wild "razorback" hogs and droves of fleet but small horses.
Transportation was hazardous. Pirates infested the waters between New Spain and Cuba and around the coast of Florida. The Indians were savage and bitter enemies. And above all, San Augustin and Santa Marie des Peniscola were a long way from Spain.
It was necessary for the adelantados of Florida to write constantly to the Crown urging and pleading for more farmers, soldiers and supplies.
A. S, Aiton. Antonio de Mendoza, First Viceroy of New Spain. (Durham, N. D. 1928) p. 108.
Duplicate letters were sent on different ships, so that if one were lost, the other might reach its destination.
An outstanding order, and one that was probably the most important, agriculturally, of any cedula issued, was given by the Spanish Crown, in 1532, to the Casa de Contractacion of Seville. It required all ships bound for the (West) Indies to have in their cargoes plants, seed and domesticated animals.^ Because of this order, many of the plants, fruits and animals of Spain were to become a part of the agrarian economy of New Spain, the Indies and, to a small degree, Florida. Because of that order, in New Spain and the Indies, important Spanish crops were growing at the time San Augustin was founded. Thus it was largely from these countries, rather than direct from Spain, that the Florida colonists received plants, seeds and domesticated animals. Oddly, however, Spain's other possessions employed labor saving devices, including windmills, and all improved agricultural methods, while Florida officials offered little to encourage the farmer in his work.
It was because of the cedula of 1532 that the first governors of Spanish Florida were able to introduce citrus and other fruits into the territory, as well as the sugarcane which was to become so important in its future economy. It is most likely that the first Spanish explorers introduced the sweet orange, as well as the sour and the bitter-sour, as the former fruit had been introduced and was growing in Spain at that time, according to Gallesio.
The entire structure upon which the Spanish Crown attempted to build agricultural independence for the Florida territory was unsound, but it is not possible to claim that nothing was accomplished by the program.
LATER COLONIAL AGRICULTURE, 1763-1821
English Plantation Period
When Great Britain came into possession of the Spanish province of Florida, in 1763, wealthy Englishmen, from the colonies to the north, from England, and the West Indies sought large land grants for the purpose of establishing plantations. This was particularly true of the territory known as East Florida. San Augustin, now renamed by the English, St. Augustine, had become much better known than had Santa Marie des Peniscola. In West Florida the new settlers found the country uncultivated "from the insuperable laziness of the Spaniards." Forests grew right up to that village which the English renamed Pensacola.
Commodore George Johnstone, of the British Royal Navy, was appointed West Florida's governor. One of the first things he did was to survey the town. It was divided into a south and north part, a street named Garden Street designated as the dividing line between the two sections. To the south of Garden Street were all the dwelling lots, while to the north were garden lots. Each "guarantee of a town (dwelling) lot" after making certain improvements on it was entitled to receive one of the garden lots which was to be used for the family garden.
For commercial purposes the English, at Pensacola, recognized the importance of lumber and naval stores. As a result of large land grants they began to develop these industries although there was some cattle raising and some indigo and a little sugarcane were grown. Also a considerable commerce was developed in skins and peltries.
Farming was confined to the garden lots and food was very scarce. A system of barter was arranged with Mobile which, repeatedly, saved the population from famine.
With the onset of the American Revolution, many loyal Englishmen left their homes in northern Georgia, South and North Carolina and sought to re-establish themselves in East or West Florida. Particularly did they come
to the former, bringing their slaves and plantation equipment, as well as home furnishings. They were welcomed by the first British governor, James Grant, who served in that capacity for seven years.
These settlers were essentially agriculturists. They sought and obtained land grants embracing thousands of acres. The waterways were important to them, which resulted in plantations being established along the St. Johns, the St. Marys and Nassau rivers and other streams. Trading posts were established as far west as St. Marks on the Gulf of Mexico.
Upon the British occupation of Florida, none of the colonists who received large land grants had any idea that, after a short period of twenty years, the province would pass back under Spanish ownership. Large personal fortunes were involved, and long-drawn-out litigations were to close the British period, when, in 1783, the exodus of Englishmen began to make way for the return of Spanish ruler and colonists.
The history of this plantation period is a tragic one. This work will record, by name of planter and plantation, only a few examples.
The First Plantation
The first man to clear and plant a plantation in East Florida was Major John Moultrie, of South Carolina.''' In 1767, he was appointed lieutenant-governor and served as governor from 1771-1774. Moultrie's plantation which was established on the Halifax River near the mouth of the Romoka River, and about four miles from St. Augustine, was named "Bella Vista." He had 180 negro slaves to work the plantation upon which he grew rice and sugarcane. He remarked at one time that these two products allowed him to live "clear of debt, in plenty, ease and some elegance." His home was a stone mansion. Other buildings included: Offices and other necessary buildings for a hundred people besides kitchen garden, 10 acres that were fenced and laid out in pleasure gardens containing a bowling green; beautiful walks planted with trees including:
Since this is Florida's first plantation it is deemed important enough to give its description in part as it appears in: Loyalists in East Florida, 1774 to 1785, by Wilbur Henry Siebert.
olives dates oranges lemons limes citrons figs chaddock vines white mulberry pomgranate peach and plum banana pines &. A park in good order about the house off (sic) about 30 acres with many pea fowls, Poland geesepidgeons, bees &,100 acres hard marsh; fish ponds stock'd with fresh water fish 300 acres of land well clear'd cultivated and well fencedplanted this year (1783) 170 acres of corn pease potatoes rice &this Plantation contains a thousand acres (asked for reimbursement)2974-10s.
A tract of land 1000 acres about 20 miles from St. Augustine being a neck of land on a navigable river and the Sea shore, all good oak land; quarries of fine stone on the river bank for building and limeabout 50 acres cleared and plantedan Orange that has produced juice that sold for above 70 in one year (asked for reimbursement) ^750.2
These two tracts of land were only part of Moultrie's East Florida possessions. His entire claim against the British government was for 9432. He was awarded only 4479.
These plantations were dependent upon negro slaves for labor as were nearly all of those that followed under the British regime. As the owner was responsible for the slaves' food, clothes and shelter, the income of necessity must be considerable.
The Second Plantation
The second plantation to be established was one owned by Robert Bisset who established it in 1767, shortly after John Moultrie began to clear and cultivate his land. Like Moultrie, Bisset expected British possession of the province to be permanent and developed his plantations accordingly.
Bisset had nine different tracts of land totaling 9500 acres, all of which he attempted to cultivate with negro slave labor. Sugar cane, from which sugar and syrup were made, indigo and "provisions" were grown.
The first tract, of 1000 acres, was on the west side of the Hillsborough River. The produce from this plantation had to be carted two miles to a landing at Mount Plenty Plantation. Here Bisset built a frame corn house, 40 by 20 feet, a small log house for his overseer and 20 negro houses. For his indigo crop, he provided:
Wilbur Henry Siebert. Loyalists in East Florida, 1774 to 1785. The most important documents pertaining thereto edited with an accompanying narrative. Vol. 2. The Florida State Historical Society. (DeLand, 1929) p. 239.
2 setts of Indico vatts consisting of 2 steepers 2 beaters and 1 lime vat the steepers 16 feet and a horse corn mill with a house over it which he thinks must have cost about30 He cleared and fenced in a field of high swamp of about 137 acres for Indico and Provisions.^ Bisset also had 1000-acres upon which he cleaned 60 or 70 acres that were planted to the inevitable indigo corn and provisions.^
The marauding Spaniards forced Bisset to abandon this plantation in 1779,
at the same time that he was forced to leave "Mount Plenty."
In 1767, the largest colonization plantation scheme attempted in Florida was that begun by Dr. Andrew Turnbull. Turnbull was a Scotchman who had married a lady from the island of Minorca. While a practicing physician in London he became greatly interested in the advantages of establishing a colony in Florida. He succeeded in interesting Sir William Duncan and Sir Richard Temple, who was commander of the British Navy, in his scheme which culminated in their contract of partnership on April 2, 1767. Temple acted in place of Grenvill, prime minister of England, who felt that his high position prevented him from taking active part in such an enterprise.
Turnbull, with his family, arrived in East Florida, in November, 1767. He located them in an old Spanish house in St. Augustine where "he could see first the grape arbor before the entrance, and beyond, his garden, as well as many others, containing fig, guava, plantain, pomegranate, lemon, lime, citron, shaddock, bergamot, China and Seville orange trees."
Turnbull visited Mosquito Inlet and was so delighted with the country that he decided to locate his colony there. Before he returned to England, he also bought a cotton plantation there which he expected to stock with cattle from a northern English settlement.
Upon returning to England to complete his plans he was given, in addition to increased land grants for himself and his two partners that then totalled 101,400 acres, the forty-five hundred pound bounty which England had decided to allow on Florida's agricultural products. Turnbull was to use 400 pounds
3Ibid. p. 257. 4
"Provisions" included everything edible that was not a major crop.
^Carita Doggett, Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna Colony of Florida. (Jacksonville, Fla., 1919) p. 21.
of this fund for building roads which at that time the English colonists in Florida were sorely in need of. This was the first appropriation for roads ever made in Florida.
Turnbull then sailed to his wife's country of Minorca and from there to Greece and Italy were he recruited 1,500 persons to bring to the new country. He promised each one that the company would pay his fare to Florida and establish him there. In return, the colonists were to work for the company for between seven and eight years, at which time each adult would be given fifty acres of land and each child five additional acres. They were also promised that after they had served out their required time if they did not want to remain in Florida they could return home.
Turnbull sent a ship to Africa for 500 slaves who were to be taken to Florida to clear the land and build houses for the colonists before they arrived. Unfortunately, the ship was wrecked on the Florida Keys and all on board were lost. As a result of this, when Turnbull reached Florida, in June, 1768, and hastened with his colonists to their new home, which had been named New Smyrna, he found the only preparation made for them were some large shacks which Governor Grant had had built and enough food to last four months.
The colonists worked hard and in two months they were comfortably housed. Although there was trouble caused by a mutiny of some of them, the first year proved a successful one, for the net value of the indigo grown was $3,174. In five years 3,000 acres of land had been cleared and drained and were highly productive.
Turnbull realized the importance of drainage and irrigation. He built one of the most perfect systems of canals of that time, patterned after those of Egypt. Today some of the canals are still in use.
In addition to indigo the colony grew cotton to which Turnbull brought over cotton gins, and sugar cane, as well as the usual "provisions" grown by all the planters. By 1770, the colonists had cleared seven miles of water front on the Hillsborough River, and both the mulberry trees and grape vines brought over with them were flourishing.
While the Turnbull colony at New Smyrna was not a success as the founder had envisaged it, and was actually destined to complete failure, it created
No description is given other than "ginns for cleaning of cotton."
much interest, for it was shown that Florida really had the soil and climate necessary to produce agricultural crops of quality. Owing to the complicated political conditions of the period and the fact that a considerable body of people, composed of several different nationalities, who had been placed at great disadvantage in an unfamiliar environment, were likely to have disastrous disagreements, in 1776, while Turnbull was in England some of the settlers became mutinous and abandoned New Smyrna. They went to St. Augustine where they sought protection of the English governor, claiming that they were being held in virtual slavery by Turnbull and pleading for their liberation. Governor Tonyn, a bitter enemy of Turnbull, released them from their contract and gave them land in the northern part of St. Augustine where they and their descendants became fine citizens of the place.
The Turnbull project was criticized by some people who contended that the Scotchman treated the colonists brutally and like slaves. However that may be, he only used about the same system in vogue in the northern colonies, in which indentured persons were brought over to labor in the fields or elsewhere, in return for the payment of their debts and expenses to this new country, and during the period of their indenture.^ The system could not work in Florida, for, in the first place, Turnbull's project was too large for the available resources, the people concerned were of various nationalities, having no common language and a religion at odds with that of the English. The settlers were discouraged because, after nine years, out of the 1,500 who left their distant homes, the colony then numbered only 600. The founder of necessity had spent much of his time in England evdeavoring to secure funds to finance his colony, and the political unrest of the time fostered conditions that tended to produce dissension and strife.
With breaking up of the colony, Turnbull made no further attempt to carry on the work started at New Smyrna. Its great fields of indigo, cotton, sugar cane, corn and rice gradually became a part of the wilderness.
Turnbull put in a claim for his losses when England ceded Florida back to Spain in 1783, one for himself for real property for ^6462.10 and another claim
No description is given other than "ginns for cleaning of cotton."
However, Turnbull's project used white indentured persons as laborers, while, to the north, the negro slave was used for it.
for himself and his children for ,^15057.10. He received nothing for the former claim and only ^916.13.4 for the latter. This claim was settled by Parliament in 1788. Turnbull died in South Carolina in 1792.
Dennys Rolle and His Colony
Next to Turnbull, Dennys Rolle attempted the second largest colonization scheme of this period. Rolle was a wealthy man of Stevenston, Devonshire, and a member of the British Parliament. In 1763, he, with four other men, applied to the Commissioners of Trade and Plantations for an immense tract of land extending from the southern boundary of Georgia, southward two miles below the forks of the Apalachiocola River and eastward to the Altamoha River in Georgia. The applicants stated that they wanted to use the land to grow indigo, grapes, and the mulberry, the latter to feed silkworms for the production of silk.
In January, 1764, Rolle and his partners petitioned that the grant extend as far up the two rivers as possible as they wanted to establish a "shorter land Portage from the Atlantic to the guelph of Mexico." Their plans then included bringing with them to the new country a Swiss engine for removing trees to enable the white settlers whom they were bringing to clear and cultivate the land. They were also to bring the latest type of saw mill, the drill plow, and other machinery "recommended by the Society of Arts," of Great Britain.
The main difference between Rolle's scheme and that of Turnbull was that the former was a philanthropist who felt a great compassion for the so-called outcasts of London and wanted to give them an opportunity for regeneration by placing them in a new environment. In this way his agricultural project was to be used as the means to accomplish this end. With Turnbull the agricultural development and financial success of his immense plantation, as New Smyrna was in reality was the chief object, and the securing of the colonists was the means to this end, and their well-being of minor importance.
Shortly after he made the last petition for land, there was a disagreement between Rolle and his partners. They evidently withdrew from the project, for the next time Rolle applied for a grant he asked for 100,000 acres upon which to establish a colony near St. Marks on the gulf coast and only his name appeared in the petition. At this time Rolle offered as an inducement to the British government to safeguard communication between St. Augustine and St. Marks if the land were granted him.
Finally in May, 1764, Rolle was granted a township, 20,000 acres, wherever he wanted it in the East Florida province. It was to be settled with white Protestants within ten years in the ratio of one white person to every 200 acres. If, in three years time, one third of the land were not settled, the whole tract was to revert to the Crown.
Rolle sailed for Florida in the early fall of 1764, as a steerage passenger with a few colonists. He arrived at St. Augustine on September 13, and shortly afterwards, with an escort furnished him by the governor, he set out for St. Marks. Instead of going to St. Marks, however, Rolle began to explore the St. Johns River. He located his small colony, first, at Mount Pleasant, only to remove it later to Mount Royal. In 1766, he went to England and returned to Florida on January 26, 1767, with 49 white people whom he had collected from the streets of London. He finally decided to form a permanent settlement at the "narrows" southwest of St. Augustine.
The proprietor proved himself erratic in establishing the settlement and
did not get on well with his people. The colonists were required to build a
church before they had houses to live in. While they were promised half of
the produce grown, because Rolle stopped their rations when they refused, in
clearing the land, to remove the roots of the palmettos, the colonists fled to
St. Augustine. There they were tried by three justices of the peace who would
have released them from their contract with Rolle but Governor Grant intervened
and persuaded most of them to return to the settlement, which had been named
Charlotta at first, but later on was known as Rollestown.
Tie proprietor eventually decided that his plan for converting useless persons into self-supporting citizens was a failurey so he acquired 22 slaves and put them to work preparing the land for planting.
In commenting on the failure of the white men to make good with Rolle, Governor Grant stated that the former's labor of more than four years had produced smaller results than that of a planter, with twelve negroes, would have been in six months. While the other planters in that section of East Florida had grown around 10,000 pounds of indigo, from which they collected a bounty, Rolle had lost 10,000 in his project. He had all sorts of trouble.
Wilbur Henry Siebert, Loyalists in East Florida. Vol. 2, p. 370.
9Ibid. p. 293.
He declared that when he left the settlement in 1771, to attend to business in England, he had more than one thousand head of cattle which were sold by his agent, without permission, before his return. In 1778, he transported from London 89 more persons whom he claimed brought the number of whites on his estate to 200, at a cost of over
In recording his losses at the change of government, in 1783, Rolle declared that his plantation was in a fine condition then and that, in addition to the slaves, livestock and crops grown, he had a great quantity of turpentine to export. Some years he claimed he had produced for export 1,000 gallons of orange juice. He had 76,000 acres of land which were divided into two plantations and part of it was, he believed, the "first cattle range in America." There were 320 acres fenced for growing rice, and 1,500 trees had been tapped for turpentine.
In referring to the excellent pasture, Rolle said that the sheep and goats
thrived in land described as "Barren" which produced "agreeable food for those
animals and furnished a quantity of fine mutton to the Bon Vivants in Augustine
at the time of the sale in 1771." This sale is probably the illegal one he claimed was made by his agent during Rolle's absence in England.
Other English Planters
After Moultrie and Bisset began clearing their plantations, others seeking land grants began to come into the region and big plantations sprang up all through the region. There was the Marshall plantation on the St. Johns River not far from the present site of Jacksonville. William Drayton, chief justice of Florida, acquired title to 300 acres of land close to St. Augustine early in 1768, and established a plantation. He made it his home and called it "Oak Park." He secured other timber grants but, becoming involved with Governor Ronyn, probably because of his friendship with Doctor Turnbull, he left Florida in 1778, and settled in South Carolina.
Richard Oswald, shortly after Florida became an English possession in 1763, obtained two grants of land of 20,000 acres each. One of these grants was on the Halifax and Timoka Rivers. On it he established, by 1778, four plantations for the cultivation of rice, indigo, Indian corn, "provisions" and sugar cane. The plantations were Mount Oswald, Ferry Settlement, Swamp Settlement and Adia Settlement. These plantations were managed through an agent.
With his first grant it was stipulated that Oswald should have the land "conditioned for settling it with protestant white inhabitants paying quit rents & as appears by the grant." It was never settled by white inhabitants but Oswald, a few years after acquiring the tract, placed about 150 negro slaves on it who worked to clear the four plantations. In 1780, following depredations by the Spaniards, Oswald sent the negroes to Georgia where they were kept until its evacuation by the British, in 1782. They were then returned to the Mount Oswald plantation and Swamp Settlement.
The other tract of 20,000 acres called "Ramsey Bay" Oswald bought from Lieutenant Colonel William Fawcell for from 250 to 500 both f igures being given in conflicting records. The place was never improved nor cultivated.
Jesse Fish, Sr., owner of El Vergel Plantation, on Anastasia Island, at this time had developed the most famous orange grove in the territory and carried on a thriving trade with London.
Bernard Romans, born in Holland about 1720, lived in Florida from 1763, to 1766, when he went to Georgia. He was a "surveyor, engineer, botanist, cartographer, seaman and soldier. Also linguist, artist and engraver." Today Romans is known principally as an historian. At the request of Lord Egmont he returned to Florida to survey the Egmont plantations on the St. Johns River. In 1769, Romans obtained a grant of land but he did little with it as the year following he was appointed principal deputy surveyor for the southern division and "first commander of vessels in that service." This work occupied most of his time and after surveying the coasts of East and West Florida he was located at Pensacola, from August, 1777, to February, 1785.
All of the British officials appear to have had land grants. James Hume, of Georgia, was appointed chief justice of Florida and arrived in St. Augustine, in April, 1780. He acquired large tracts of land and planted thousands of sweet and sour orange trees, lemon, limes, citron, shaddock and other fruit trees.
Hume's most highly cultivated plantation was 180 acres of land, called
"Oak Forest," four miles from St. Augustine. Around the commodious house were
several acres in what the English called "pleasure and garden grounds." It
was on this tract that Hume had most of his fruit trees. He planned to make
"Oak Forest" a fruit farm on account of the glowing account of Mr. Fish as to
the profits to be made from one. Siebert states that there were planted:
9 acres with 3,500 sour orange trees; they were seedlings of two or three years growth when planted which was in the fall of 1780, and Spring of 1781; that besides these he had about 700 standards in other parts of this plantation, some of which were beginning to bear in 1783 and a great quantity more in the hedges. That the sour orange grew wild in the province and the sweet orange succeeded very well.
Hume paid his gardener Jz20 a year, and the labor of 70 slaves is given at jl0, each, per year.
In 1782, Lieutenant-Governor John Graham, of Georgia, moved to Florida. He was a very wealthy and notable Englishman. He brought with him 215 negro slaves who cleared the land and made the improvements on five tracts of 500 acres, each, that had been granted to Graham and his four sons. Lieutenant-Colonel John Douglas, another refugee from Georgia, was employed by Graham as his superintendent. Douglas had the slaves clear 340 acres which had been planted when Florida passed again into the hands of the Spanish crown. In December, 1784, the negroes were sent to South Carolina where they were sold.^
Plantation Management and Land Grants
Detailed accounts covering the management of these English estates are not available. The main facts to be derived from the records show that, with very few exceptions, the owners did not live in Florida and managed their vast holdings through agents. With the exception of Turnbull and Rolle, the plantation owners used negro slave labor entirely. The crops grown were mostly the same, being indigo, corn, sugar can, rice and "provisions" which were largely the vegetables. Nearly all the large tracts were worked for lumber
It was an expensive procedure for planters to transport large numbers of slaves. Graham, in his claim against the british government charged that it cost him^12,000 for insurance upon negroes from St. Augustine to Beaufort, South Carolina, and that freight on the same negroes was 229-17s.
and naval stores. This was true both in East and West Florida. Practically all of the wealthy Englishmen who moved into Florida from more northerly colonies brought with them their cattle, horses and hogs, which they had originally brought with them from England or from the British island possessions.
In June, 1781, there was a called meeting of a special committee of the Florida Common House of Assembly consisting of twelve members of which Robert Baillie was chairman. This committee drew up a report on the causes of slow progress in cultivating the land. The report showed that around one million acres of land had been granted, mostly in large tracts of 20,000 acres, each. The persons to whom the grants were made had, with few exceptions, never made any special efforts to settle the land or to cultivate it. Agricultural methods, soil and climate were entirely different from the home land, and the agents sent over by the proprietors were ignorant of how to proceed. Even when the agents, by experimenting, learned, the proprietors in Europe would seldom permit them to put the new methods into practice.
For convenience, and for protection from the Indians, the Governor and the Assembly decided that the planters should settle in townships. The 20,000 acre grants were made to persons who would undertake to settle them at their own expense within a limited time, with people who would cultivate the land.
Governor Patrick Tonyn, who was the last governor under British rule, sent to Lord George Germain of the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, in 1777, a list of land grants made by England in East Florida, which showed that 1,500,000 acres had been granted to 108 persons, but that only sixteen of the proprietors had attempted to comply with the conditions of making settlements on their grants. These large grants, concentrated in so few persons, and the fact that the rich lands in the North Central part of the province were securely held by the Indians, prevented many people from securing grants.
As a result of this report the Governor was told that all the large grants
could be revoked, if, after three years from the date of grant, no settlement
had been made on them. In this way, towards the end of British possession,
Tonyn was able to make grants of 500 acres or less to refugees from the
northern colonies who intended to remain in Florida.
Not all of the persons who came to East Florida during this period had
land grants. Many persons "squatted" on vacant land, upon which they built log cabins, thatched with palmetto leaves. Some of them cultivated extensive farms.
Orders to Evacuate
The year 1783, was a tragic one for both East and West Florida. It was the long anticipated and dreaded announcement that the two Floridas would go back to Spanish rule. The plantations which stretched nearly one hundred miles above and below St. Augustine were just reaching a profit-making stage. The planters had lived through turbulent times but they had looked forward to peaceful years at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.
Although the announcement had been imminent for some time the English people scarcely knew what to do. Those who had large numbers of slaves could not take them to England. The Englishmen who had been driven out of the Northern colonies because of their loyalty to the mother country felt that their old homes would not freely receive them; nor could they accept the Spanish King's invitation to remain by becoming his subjects. Some of the planters, who were not known as Tories by their American neighbors, returned to their former homes in the northern collies. In 1784, it was estimated that 1,372 slaves were taken from Florida to South Carolina.
The treaty between Spain and England provided that the English inhabitants should be given eighteen months to dispose of their property, and leave the territory. This time was eventually extended to twenty four months. The terms of the treaty also made it possible for Spanish people only, to buy the property of the English, which effectually prevented any sale for it, as the Spaniards were not interested in the plantations in the first place and, if they had been, a matter of waiting a few months would make it possible for them to secure what they wanted without paying for it.
Governor Tonyn gave East Florida's population on April 20, 1783, as 17,375. Of this number 6,090 were whites and 11,285 were negroes.^
England aided her colonists in their exodus from Florida, most of them going to the British Island possessions.^ They had to leave behind everything
The large population was the result of East Florida becoming a place of refuge for the Loyalists from the northern colonists. Although every indication pointed to Florida's reversion to Spanish ownership, the British people in that territory had a strong faith in England's continued possession.
^Rembert W. Patrick, Florida Under Five Flags. (Gainesville, Florida, 1945) p. 30.
that was not easily movable. The fine plantations with their growing crops, the gardens of St. Augustine and Pensacola, the lumbering operations around Pensacola for which large land grants had been secured, everything was deserted. About the only persons to remain were some of the Minorcans and Greeks at St. Augustine who did not differ so much in religion from the Spaniards, and the trading post owners, Panton, Alexander, Forbes and Leslie.
On August 10, 1785, Governor Tonyn wrote to an associate in London: "no country. .was left in a more deplorable state of desolation than Florida then was." Tonyn himself left on November 19, of that same year.
What The British Accomplished
The British had developed the plantation system in East Florida. It involved slave labor on large acreage, which was located mostly in the northeastern part of the territory, along the St. Marys and St. Johns Rivers, between the later river east to the coast, and from St. Augustine southward to New Smyrna.
St. Augustine was the East Florida port from which most of the agricultural commerce was handled. As only small vessels could enter it, exports were shipped on them to Savannah or Charleston from which larger vessels were loaded for shipment to England.
Indigo was chief export, partly because it could be grown easily with slave labor in the semi-tropical climate, and partly because of the four pence per pound bounty England paid for it.
Citurs fruit, with its by-products, was an important crop. The British had
found vast "wild" orange groves when that nation came into possession of East
Florida. The gardens in St. Augustine had extensive citrus plantings. In 1764,
21 barrels of oranges were shipped to England. By 1776, 65,000 barrels were
shipped, as well as a quantity of orange juice and dried citrus peel. About the same time, 1,170 barrels of rice were exported, also.
Naval stores and lumber, hides and skins, were exported from both East and West Florida.
Some of the- products claimed to have been exported from East Florida are questionable. Coffee may have been planted but the records are inconclusive. The same is true of cocoa.
Charles Lock Mowat, East Florida as a British Province, 1763-1784. (Berkeley, 1943) p. 81. "
The plantations, farms and gardens in East Florida, with goods purchased from Panton, Alexander, Forbes and Leslie in 1782, were largely responsible
for the support of a population of 13,375, of whom 8,285 were negro slaves.
Second Spanish Occupation
Before British East Florida had its orders to evacuate, in 1781, British West Florida had been captured by the Spanish Crown. There then followed years
of strife and controversy between Spain and the United States as both nations
wanted possession of the territory. Because of this, agriculture was neglected in "West" Florida. When, in 1783, Spain acquired East Florida by treaty from England, both territories were restored to Spanish rule and occupation. But "West" Florida remained in a turmoil. A number of plantations had been established by Americans and English. Lumbering was important. Conditions were against the colonists, however, most of whom longed for American annexation.
In East Florida, a few of the original British plantations were taken over by Americans who were admitted to the territory by a Spanish government that functioned differently from the first occupation. Non-Catholics were welcomed, farmers were encouraged to come with their slaves. But Spain's possession of Floridaboth East and Westwas slowly drawing to a close. On February 22, 1821, by a treaty between Spain and the United States, the latter took possession of the territory that it had so long coveted.
Siebert, Loyalists in East Florida, 1774-1785. I, 131.
Since this is an agricultural and not a political history reference to the latter is made only as it relates to the former. The author has referred repeatedly to facts related in: Rembert W. Patrick, Florida Under Five Flags. (Gainesville, 1955)
TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
No country ever had more complications to be settled than had Florida when in 1821 Spain permanently withdrew from both the east and west province and it became United States territory. Constant warfare had hampered the development of the country, warfare between contending Europeannations, between the settlers of Florida and the Americans to the north and with savages. Throughout the 318 years that had passed since the discovery of Florida by Ponce de Leon, all of these contending influences, and its exchange from one nation to another, had prevented any great progress in agriculture. On account of the Indians little was known of the interior or the southern part of the state except along the coast.
General Andrew Jackson was appointed the first military governor. One of the first things he did was to divide the territory into two counties with the Suwannee river the dividing line. To the west of the river was Escambia county with Pensacola the county seat. To the east of the river was St. Johns county. St. Augustine retained its original importance by being designated its county seat. East and West Florida were no more. The territory was more closely united in 1823 when the present site of Tallahassee was selected as the capital of the two counties.
The United States government recognized the importance of retaining the settlers who were already living in Florida. Congress immediately passed a law that all land grants made by Spain before January 24, 1818, should be confirmed to the grantees as they would have been had the territory remain a Spanish colony. Many fraudulent claims were made by persons who desired to secure large land grants and long court cases were necessary to settle some of them. Congress granted to the settlers who were heads of families, and who had occupied and made improvements on lands of the public domain, six hundred acres in fee simple. The right of pre-emption to one hundred and sixty acres to actural settlers also brought many persons into the new territory. By 1838, nearly all titles to old Spanish land grants had been decided in Escambia county, and many of those in St. Johns county had been settled.
Aside from the complications arising from confusion about titles to land, one great force existed that made rapid settlement of the country and active development of its agriculture difficult. This was the presence of the Indians who became increasingly savage as they realized that their country was steadily being taken from them.
On December 25, 1835, Dade's Massacre precipitated the Seminole War which lasted for seven years. During this time the Indians terrorized the inhabitants to such an extent that agriculture scarcely existed.
In 1845, Florida was admitted as a state to the Union. But it was not until 1850, that for the first time, at least theoretically, Florida was free from warfare and bickering. Many new people moved in and agriculture began to assume great importance. Rapid progress was made until the threat of the Civil War materialized and placed an almost crushing blow upon the planters of Florida.
Relation Between Transportation and Agriculture
The presence of trails made by Indians and beasts, the early development of the natural watercourses, the construction of dirt roads, canals, railroads and paved highways, is an accurate index to the development and expansion of agriculture in Florida. As each important agricultural section was opened up to farmers and planters, transportation was developed also. In some instances the development of transportation came first and was followed by agricultural development.
Because the two are so closely related it is impossible to consider a history of Florida's agriculture without including at least a short resume of its history of transportation.
Florida has a natural system of waterways that influenced the first agriculturists in their choice of lands. The St. Johns, St. Marys, Halifax, Indian, Manatee, Peace, Appalachicola and Chattahoochee Rivers, with almost innumerable lakes, made transportation possible at relative ease at an early date in the state's history. Settlements were confined to the rich lands along these water courses, just as the Indians before the coming of the white man.
White settlers found well defined trails made previously by wild beast and savages which connected various waterways. One of these trails led from the present site of Tampa, northeastward through Marion county to Picalata, and another went to the Indian town of Hirrhigua, across the Kissimmee Valley to Lake Okeechobee. At this point it divided into two trails to the east, one crossing the St. Johns river at the mouth of Lake Monroe and the other at Picalata, from where it went to Cowford.
Another famous trail originally made by the Indians and later described by Bartram was one that began on the St. Johns River at the place where Spalding's lower trading house was to be established. From that point it went to within a short distance of the famous Indian town called Cuscowilla where it divided, one path going into the two, the other passing through what is now Payne's Prairie, westward for 70 miles to another big Indian town, called Talahasochte. From there, the trail continued to the Gulf of Mexico to where the village of St. Marks was eventually established.
What was to be known many years later as the Spanish Trail, or the St. Augustine Road, went from St. Augustine across the St. Johns River to Lake Santa Fe, then westward to the present sites of Tallahassee, Pensacola and Mobil These trails existed before white men visited Florida, and had been used so much that they resembled well-kept roads in places. The French and Spanish people depended on them in making their explorations. Eventually they were to b converted into the territory's main arteries of travel and transportation.
It was not until the English took possession in 1763-1783, that Florida had a road built. It was King's Road constructed in 1765. The road followed an Indian trail that went from New Smyrna inland, in a westerly direction, for a few miles, and then northwest, across Spruce Creek and the Timoka River, then northeast to St. Augustine. From there the road extended north, crossing the St. Johns River at Cowford (Jacksonville), on to the St. Marys River. Good bridges were built over the streams that were crossed. From New Smyrna, the road was extended southward to the Haulover canal. This road was along the route of the great plantations that were established by the English. Lateral roads were built from the main highway to these plantations.
Money for the King's Road was subscribed by a number of men prominent in early Florida history. They were Governor Grant, Lieutenant-Governor Moultrie, Fisk, Forbes, Elliott, Gerald, Henry, Huges, Izard, Laurens, Manigault, Murray, Oswald and Walton. In 1767, the British Government gave Turnbull the <4500 bounty on Florida products, and stipulated that d400 of it was to be used for roads. Turnbull used this amount in building the roads through the New Smyrna grant portion of the King's Road.
The trails and the King's Road, with the natural water courses, remained the only means of traveling, or of transportation, until Florida became a territory of the United States. At that time some of the holders of land grants endeavored to open up roads. In 1822, the settlers on the Arredomdo grant built one from Micanopy to Picolata sufficiently good to be used by wheeled vehicles. In 1823, a road was made by the colony of Moses E. Levy, from Volusia to Picolata.
In order to induce settlers to come into the territory the government, in 1824, had a twenty-five foot road surveyed over the old Spanish Trail, from Pensacola to St. Augustine, by Captain Daniel E. Burch, a United States engineer. That part of the road surveyed by Burch, from Tallahassee west to Pensacola, was through almost impenetrable swamp and wilderness and in country without habitations and was never completed. But from the Ocklockonee, west of Tallahassee to the St. Johns River, the road was actually built. Burch's father-in-law, Col, John Bellamy, who may be considered the state's first good-roads enthusiast, was also one of the wealthiest planters in Florida. He felt the great need of easy accessibility to the capital and built the road entirely with his own slaves. It was ready for use in 1826, and in honor of the builder was named the Bellamy road.
The same year that this road was surveyed, 1824, the Indians had been removed south of old Fort King. This left the central portion of the state open to settlement and the rich lands were eargerly sought. From Picolata to Micanopy, a coach line was established, as was one over the Bellamy Road to Tallahassee in 1826. Thus it was that passengers, freight and mail were brought, on boats, from the Cowford up the St. Johns River and transferred at Picolata to coach and wagon for the trip inland.
A federal appropriation about this time was made to open up a road from Cowford to Tampa Bay. In 1830, Congress appropriated $2,000 to repair the
Bellamy road between St. Augustine and Tallahassee: $2,000 was also appropriated at the same time to construct a road from Marianna to the mouth of the Applachicola River. In 1835, $7,000 was appropriated to work on the road between Pensacola and St. Augustine, and from Bayard, on the St. Johns River, to Newnanville.
A cross-state canal had been advocated for a long time. Williams writing, in 1837, said: "A canal across the Peninsular of Florida has been located by the Engineers of the United States, Under an Act of Congress;- a report of which was made in the spring of 1829. The first project of this canal submitted to Congress, proposed a ship canal, but on examination the table land of the Peninsular was found to be much higher than was anticipated, in consequence of which a steamboat canal was recommended by the Engineers. A speedy execution of the work has been strongly recommended to Congress as highly important to the commercial interests of the eastern and western parts of the Union. The location commences at the south branch of Black Creek, 12 miles westward of St. Johns River, in Duval county, and proceeds by Kingsley's Pond down Alligator Creek to Sampson's Ponds; thence to the Santaffe River and along its channel to the natural bridge, thence westward to the Suwanne River, and from this river ultimately across the country to St. Marks, and thence to the Gulf of Mexico. When completed much of the produce of the western country is expected to be conveyed across the peninsular to the Port of Fernandina, at the mouth of the St. Marys River. To facilitate which, the inland communication between the Rivers St. Johns and St. Marys is to be considerably improved by deepening and straightening the channel, an appropriation of $15,000 having been made and expended on this route to very little purpose. A dredging machine is still slowly at work (1830) at the 'Sisters', a little north of the St. Johns.
"A company has been incorporated to connect the waters of Oclockony River with Lake Jackson; should this be accomplished, it will greatly add to the commercial importance of Tallahassee.
"Another company has been incorporated to connect the eastern arm of St. Andrews Bay with the Chipola and thence with the Appalachicola River. When the titles to the country about St. Andrews are set at rest, this project will
afford one of the most promising of the speculations in the Territory. The counties watered by the Chattahooche are extensive and rich in commercial products. The Bay of St. Andrews is one of the pleasantest as well as the healthiest situations in Florida. It affords an entrance and safe anchorage for any number of vessels drawing 18 feet of water. These water-courses are separated by a level tract of land only 8 miles wide.
"The Legislative Council of the Territory in 1832 incorporated a company to open a canal from the head of Matanzas Lagoon, to Smith's Creek, a tributary of Halifax River. With this act, a memorial from the company was presented to Congress, asking for a grant of land for the location and to assist in carrying into effect the purpose of the company; 5 sections were appropriated for that purpose. The company propose to commence this canal at the plantation of Mala Compra the seat of Gen. Hernandez, and carry it through a rich, wet savanna parallel with the coast, to Smith's Creek about 4 miles above Mr. Bulou's plantation. The distance may be 11 or 12 miles at most.
"A similar act was passed, incorporating a company to construct a canal from Six Mile Creek, below Picolata, on the St. Johns River to St. Augustine. The distance from the navigable waters of Six Mile to the Sebastian's will not exceed 12 miles. An excellent Steamboat now plies between Savannah in Georgia and Six Mile Creek, through the inland passage, touching at Darien and St. Mary's in Georgia and at Jacksonville on the St. Johns.
"A survey has lately been completed between Mobile Bay and Pensacola and a canal to connect those waters is located and levelled.
"Indeed, the whole of our extensive sea coast is lined by inland water courses that might, at the expense of a few miles cutting, be rendered navigable for steamboats and the whole danger from our southern reefs, keys and currents be obviated." C126, 145 3
In 1831, the first railroad company to be incorporated in Florida was that of the Leon Railway Company at Tallahassee. The line was to extend from the capital to St. Marks on the Gulf. Three years later it became the Tallahassee Railroad Company. In 1836, the road was completed to Fort St. Marks and across the river to Port Leon. This railroad was operated for its full length of twenty-three miles by mule power.
In 1839, the first steam railroad in Florida, and one of the first in the South, was built from Iola, on the Appalachicola River, to St. Joseph on the Gulf of Mexico, a distance of twenty-two miles. It required two and a quarter hours to make the trip and two trips were made every day. The cost $300,000.
The rails were brought from England but the cars and engine were made in the United States. There was a car for passengers who were handled very much as was freight. Each passenger had to: "procure his ticket at the office before the starting of the cars, and no person will be allowed to take a seat without his name is entered on the waybill."
Because the town officials of St. Joseph were afraid that the sparks from the engine would set the town on fire they passed an ordinance to the effect that "no locomotive engine shall pass (by steam) into any part of the corporate limits of this city west of Cherry street." When the train approached the town the blowing of the whistle announced the fact. A dozen mules with cables, were attached to the train, which was then drawn to the depot and warehouses. The destruction of St. Joseph by yellow fever, in 1841, put an end to the railroad which had never been a success financially.
By 1861, the following railroads were in operation: Florida Railroad from Fernandina to Cedar Keys, 155 miles; Pensacola and Georgia Railroad from Lake City to Tallahassee, 114 miles; Florida, Atlantic and Gulf Central Railroad from Jacksonville to Lake City, 60 miles; Alabama and Florida Railroad from Pensacola to Tarzon, 44.45 miles; Tallahassee Railroad from Tallahassee to Appalachicola, 22 miles; St. John's Railroad, 13.5 miles. These lines gave the state a total of 408.95 miles of operating railroad.
It was not until 1880, that the contracts were awarded for the construction of a railroad between Pensacola and the present site of River Junction. J. D. Smith, of Marianna, who came to Florida at that time as an engineer to assist in building the road, stated that at Cottondale westward, the railroad did not go near a single house until it reached Milton." [108, 21] Marianna and Milton were the only towns between Pensacola and Tallahassee on the line of the railroad. In the early 70's the Atlantic, Gulf and West India Transit Company extended its line from Waldo to Ocala, and, by 1880, it had been built south to Wildwood.
The South Florida Railroad was begun in 1880. The Boston Herald Syndicate was responsible for it through the backing of E. W. Heuck, General Henry S. Sanford, James E. Ingraham, S. A. Chase and Dr. Clement C. Haskell. By May, 1881, the railroad was completed from Sanford to Orlando, and was extended to Kissimmee shortly afterward. In 1882, the line became a part of the Plant System. By 1883, there was rail service from Sanford to Tampa, a distance of 124 miles. The People's Steamship Company operated on the St. Johns River from Sanford to Jacksonville. This gave an uninterrupted transportation route from Tampa to Jacksonville.
On May 5, 1884, the Savannah, Florida and Western Railway Company completed its line from Savannah to Gainesville, by way of Live Oak and New Branford on the Suwannee river, the Eichtucknee, to Santa Fe River, to Newnanville, Hague and Gainesville. For the first time central Florida shippers had a direct rail line to Savannah, one of the most important markets and shipping points in the South. It required eleven hours to make the trip. In celebrating the event at Gainesville a "collation" was served, the menu consisting of roast beef, mutton, corned beef, ham, veal, venison, dried beef, wild turkey, chicken, duck, shrimp, clams and lobsters. The only vegetables served were lettuce, cucumbers, Bermuda onions, radishes, celery and tomatoes. Vegetables at that time were not considered of great importance as necessary food.
By 1886, a railroad had been constructed from Jacksonville to Titusville. On April 22, 1896, the Florida East Coast Railway was extended to Miami. H. M. Flagler, with his great wealth acquired in Standard Oil, was responsible for the Florida East Coast Railway. He saw a vision of a railroad extending from Miami to Key West, and although it was considered by practically every one else as an impossible engineering feat, on January 22, 1912, railroad cars rolled into the city that is surrounded by the sea. Its construction cost Flagler $27,000,000.
The completion of this line opened up a virgin country to settlers, which by 1925, had become one of the most important citrus and truck-growing sections of the state.
Chapter 5 TOBACCO
Just what variety of tobacco was grown in the United States, before it was grown commercially in Florida, is not known. In 1784, Captain J. F. D. Smith, of the British Army, who had fought during the Revolutionary War, listed seven varieties growing in the country at that time. They were: Hudson, Frederick, Thick Joint, Shoe String, Thickset, Sweet-scented and Oroonoka.
So far as Florida is concerned tobacco was not grown commercially until about 1828. At that time Florida had been a territory of the United States for only seven years. William P. Duval was appointed Governor in 1822. Governor Duval had great faith in the possibilities of the new territory and sought to find suitable crops to plant. He was interested in tobacco and believed that the cigar leaf should succeed as well in Florida as it did in Cuba. He sent to that island for seed of the cuba tobacco. It grew successfully and was called the "Little Duval" in honor of the Governor. It had a short, narrow leaf and a fine aroma.
Beginning of Culture in Gadsden County
In 1824, a Virginian named John Smith moved to Gadsden County and began to experiment with tobacco as a market crop. His farm was about three miles south of Quincy. Smith had grown chewing tobacco in Virginia and probably grew some variety of it at first in Gadsden County. In a short time he began to plant the "Little Duval" but, as in the meantime a larger variety had been introduced from Cuba and named the Florida Wrapper, Smith abandoned the first variety and devoted his acreage to the latter, which was far more productive. The Florida Wrapper was also called Florida Leaf.
As Smith was not a slave owner his efforts and success with growing tobacco with the aid only of his family drew the attention of other small farmers [168, 14] In a very short time Gadsden County farmers were all growing tobacco. It rapidly developed into a staple market crop.
The large plantation owners in that section of the state, who hitherto had been interested solely in cotton, began planting tobacco. They soon learned that they could grow it without curtailing their major crop.
Thus it was that John Smith really began commercial tobacco growing in Florida.
Gadsden County was at once recognized as almost ideal for its cultivation. Because the crop did not require such immense acreage, nor so many hands to care for it, as did cotton, many of the settlers migrating to that district being people of limited means were immediately attracted to it as a good crop to grow. Hard work by themselves and by their families produced a very good living from the soil. As a result of their industry at the end of the year a family had a good cash balance.
It was profits made from tobacco that built at a very early date the "Quincy Academy" for the children of Quincy and Gadsden County.
State's Production, 1840-1860
In 1840, Florida produced 75,274 pounds of tobacco. Practically all of it was grown in Gadsden County. But between 1840, and 1850, other counties began to cultivate it. Its production had spread into Calhoun, Leon, Jefferson and Marion Counties, as well as to a lesser extent to other counties. The crop of the state for 1850, amounted to 998,614 pounds, the most of it, however, still being grown in Gadsden County. By 1860, Jefferson and Marion Counties had abandoned its culture in favor of other crops.
By 1850, seventeen counties were growing tobacco and in another ten years twenty-one out of the thirty-eight counties of the state reported growing it.
Foreign Market Seeks Gadsden Product
All of the tobacco grown in Gadsden County was leaf wrapper for cigars. German buyers, even at the earliest date, went to Quincy to buy up the crop. They required a very light, silky leaf suitable only for wrappers. The greater the number of white specks on the leaf, the more was it prized. It grew best on "light grey or sandy hammock, largely interspersed with the growth of beach."
At a later date the market taste changed to a heavier article which the Gadsden County growers learned could be grown on the best "hammock, oak and
hickory ridges, with a good subsoil of red clay." This type of tobacco remained popular until about 1873.
The prices paid between 1845 and 1860 ranged from 25 cents to 60 cents a pound.
Tobacco was packed in 400 pound boxes and hauled in wagons, driven by oxen, to the port of St. Marks. There it was shipped to Germany.
Civil War Tobacco Law in Florida
With the Civil War, conditions in the South and in Florida changed drastically. The Federal government enforced a rigid blockade against southern ports, completely destroying all commerce.
Tobacco suffered with the other farm crops. It was impossible to get it through to German markets. Although Jefferson and Marion Counties had abandoned its production in favor of sugar cane and sea island cotton, and other counties than Gadsden were planting only a very small acreage of it, the State government feared tobacco would continue to be grown instead of much-needed food crops.
The Florida legislature by a statute of December 3, 1863, attempted to regulate its planting. It was enacted that no more than one fourth of an acre of tobacco could be planted by one person. C155H A man over sixty years of age and a.boy over nine years or under fifteen, jointly, were classed as one man, and together could plant and harvest one fourth acre of the plant.
Regardless of this law and other difficulties met with during the war period several planters succeeded in growing an unknown variety of tobacco which was highly prized by persons who cared for a strong cigar. It was aromatic and somewhat pungent. The cigars sold for $80 per thousand. This tobacco was never named.
Markets Closed to Florida Tobacco
By 1865, the economic situation in Florida was so shaken that tobacco almost ceased to be grown. Labor was chaotic and much too uncertain and too unreliable to risk growing much tobacco as a market crop. The former slaves were of the belief that "freedom" meant exactly that, and they gave little work, of the poorest sort, in exchange for the money now paid them. The families of independent small farmers who originally cultivated their own field
were now depleted of sufficient man power, as a result of the war, to properly cultivate the plant. The German market was lost and northern markets which used an entirely different tobacco were supplied by northern growers. The only hope left for the Florida grower was to produce the type of tobacco that would finally appeal and win a place for itself in the American market.
About this time an interesting incident occurred in Gadsden County. It is related that some German buyers secured tobacco seed from that county and sent them to Germany. Years afterwards seed from the resultant crop were secretly secured and returned to Quincy where they are supposed to have become the progenitors of the famous Sumatra Tobacco.
1870 to 1880
In 1870, the state produced only 157,405 pounds of tobacco, with Gadsden County producing 118,799 pounds of the total amount. Calhoun County grew 13,822 pounds; Washington County, 7,590 pounds and Jackson County, 4,202 pounds--not enough to take care of that county's own consumption. The next three years saw a greater reduction, for in 1873, the state crop registered only 80,000 pounds, which sold for from 38 to 40 cents per pound. The year following, the tobacco crop was encouraging with a crop of 160,000 pounds. In 1875, production went to a new high level of 320,000 pounds.
This increase was not to last. From 1875, to 1879, a real depression was to visit the tobacco growers. It was brought about by a number of causes. The loss of the German market to the Florida growers who were unable to secure another good market in its place was one of them. The unsettled labor condition made the securing of sufficient laborers on the large plantations problematic, so that the growers were afraid to risk much acreage for the crop. Then, too, at this time there commenced a systematic stealing of tobacco. Sometimes hundreds of pounds were stolen out of the open sheds in a single night. The thefts were made by the negro freedmen and the "carpetbag gentry."
All of these causes resulted in a crop for 1879, of only 21,182 pounds of tobacco for the entire state, grown on 90 acres of land. This was an average yield of 235 pounds per acrethe lowest yield reported anywhere except for Maine and New Mexico. CI74,62511
An incident of disastrous effect, so far as Gadsden County's opportunity
of re-establishing a German market was concerned, occurred in 1874. A man named Hammond who was said to be a representative of Rosenwald and Son, New York visited Quincy to look over the tobacco. He bought up all the old Florida Leaf that was to be had and prepared it for shipping. For some unknown reason it is claimed that he saturated it with water before packing it, after which it was shipped to Germany. Several years later A. Ottinger is said to have stated that while in Germany he had seen that same tobacco, badly rotted, in the boxes in which it had been shipped from Quincy. It was believed that this ruined shipment had much to do with Germany losing interest in Florida tobacco, which contributed largely to the great reduction in acreage and production in 1879.
In the early days it was recognized that Florida's importance as a tobacco growing state could not be based on the quantity produced. Rather, it was the extremely fine quality of the leaf, which, more nearly than anywhere else that it was grown in this country, resembled the fine tobacco of Cuba, that made it such a valuable crop.
Great Era of Development in Gadsden County
The tobacco business of Florida was destined to survive all the obstacles in its path. In 1887, Straitton and Storm, the largest firm of cigar manufacturers in the world, sent agents to the state to investigate it, and the result meant the beginning of a new era for the tobacco industry.
The agents were so greatly impressed with what they saw that the company bought several of the largest tobacco properties in Gadsden County. These totalled over 10,000 acres. William Corry, who in 1876, at the age of fifteen, was first employed by Straitton and Storm, was sent immediately to Florida and placed in charge of the new holdings, with offices in Quincy. This branch of the company was called the Owl Tobacco Company.
The property bought by Straitton & Storm was divided into eight plantations Santa Clara, J. H. Bushnell, superintendent; La Isabella, Sulita & La Camelia, J. G. Curry, superintendent; La Violeta, T. G. Smith, superintendent, and Columbia with W. T. Smith, one of the oldest planters in the state, in charge.
Extensive curing sheds and packing houses were constructed. Over 1,000 hands were employed by this one concern. C38, 873 Hands were paid $10 a month, with a house to live in and land to cultivate, with rations consisting of four
pounds of meat, one peck of meal and one quart of syrup per man; or else, if preferred, he was paid $13 a month in cash. They were all negroes and gave entire satisfaction in their work. C18, 7113 Many cases of tobacco, stored away, that had been cured four or five years before, were found and it proved of such excellent grade that it received a most favorable reception in northern markets.
While this company was especially interested in tobacco, only 900 of its 17,000 acres were used for growing it. Fifteen hundred acres were planted in corn and 300 acres in other crops. They made 2,500 bales of tobacco each year and in 1897, had 17,000 bushels of corn in the cribs and 1,000 acres in field peas. Three hundred tons of hay were grown each year although at that time it was believed that Florida could grow no hay. The annual payroll of this company was around $150,000.
Other companies, both growers and manufacturers, continued to keep Gadsden County in the front rank of tobacco production.
Carl Vogt and Sons went to Quincy in 1888, and were greatly impressed by the outlook. They bought practically all of the tobacco left in the county. It is claimed that they wished to sell it as an imported product, as at that time Florida tobacco had not established a well-known name with northern trade. To make it look like such a product, bark, bark rope and linen drill were imported for use in preparing it. The tobacco, when rolled into cylindrical rolls or carottes, gave the appearance of imported Cuban tobacco. It gave perfect satisfaction until it was learned that instead of Cuban, it was Florida-grown tobacco.
This scheme did not really hurt the Florida tobacco market for it showed the manufacturer as well as the consumer that Florida tobacco was as good as the imported article. It was not long before the Florida leaf was accepted on its own value.
Straitton and Storm continued to urge other firms to invest in the
Gadsden County product. F. A. Shroeder and Bon, and A. Cohn, both important
companies of New York, became interested. They sent agents to Quincy who were
so well pleased that they bought up quantities of tobacco which they then had
cured and packed by Straitton and Storm. As the result of this Schroeder and
Bon bought several plantations in Gadsden County, and Cohn purchased others at Amsterdam, Georgia, both companies producing tobacco on a large scale.
Cohn secured seed from Sumatra in 1895, and called it Florida Sumatra. It was difficult to secure the seed as the Dutch government would not permit it to be openly exported. About 1903, a hybrid tobacco was bred by crossing this plant with the old Florida leaf and Little Cuba. It was named Big Cuba and made a satisfactory wrapper for the trade for the time being.
The firm of Schroeder and Bon was destined to play a great part in the advancement of the tobacco industry in the state and nation. C66, 53 F. A. Schroeder, the senior member of the firm, had noticed that when tobacco was planted in orange groves in Cuba it was thinner and of finer texture than when grown in the sun. Again, as he went to Palm Beach with his son-in-law, F. M. Arguimbau, he observed pineapples growing under shade. He immediately saw the possibility of duplicating this shade for tobacco, and after investigating how the shade was constructed he returned to Quincy where he at once began to experiment with a quarter acre of tobacco at his farm just outside of Quincy. This was in 1896. D. A. Shaw was the manager under whom the experiments were conducted.
At first, slats of lath were used for shade, 40,000 slats being used to cover an acre of tobacco. But the growers decided that shade could be used to protect the crop from winds, hail, and insects,, as well as from the sun, and so they began using from 18,000 to 24,000 slats to the acre, over which they spread cheese cloth. The side walls were also covered with the same material, and were found equally important as the overhead shade.
The experiment was an immediate success, though it was found necessary to make various changes in cultural habits on account of the shade. Schroeder later on made the same experiment of growing tobacco under similar shade in New England but he found that it would not work there.
This experiment, inaugurated by Schroeder, opened up an entirely new field in tobacco growing and one that has proved successful continuously. The tobacco at once commanded a good market at a good price. Most of the Gadsden County growers commenced the construction of shade over the tobacco field and increased acreage. Big Cuba was the leading variety grown from
about 1900 to 1923. Sumatra tobacco or, as it was usually called, Florida Sumatra leaf, was generally grown without shade and was used as a filler. [117, 383]
Another pioneer grower was J. L. McFarlin, who in 1888, began growing tobacco. He was so successful with this crop that he eventually devoted most of his acreage and time to it. He was one of the first growers to experiment with growing it under shade. His success with it was partly attributed to his system of irrigation, at that time a not greatly considered adjunct to farming in Florida. He represented Taussig and Wedeles, of Chicago, an old tobacco firm. In 1909, McFarlin organized the Effangee Tobacco Company, which owned tobacco plantations in Gadsden County and Decatur County, Georgia. "Effangee" stood for "Florida and Georgia."
D. A. Shaw began growing tobacco in Gadsden County in 1889. Three years later he joined the firm of Schroeder and Bon with whom he worked until 1904. As soon as shade tobacco began to be experimented with, Shaw became interested in it and worked unceasingly to advance its culture. In 1904, he withdrew from Schroeder and Bon and began to grow shade tobacco for himself. A short time afterwards he organized the Florida Tobacco Company with officers in New York. In 1910, this and other companies were combined into the American-Sumatra Tobacco Company, of which Shaw was made a vice-president and plantation manager. Seven years later he again organized his own company at Quincy calling it the Florida Growers' Tobacco Company and another one, the D. A. Shaw Special. His nephew, John W. Shaw and P. C. Keeter were his associates in these concerns, the latter having been with Shaw at the American-Sumatra Tobacco Company offices at Amsterdam.
E. B. Embry was born in Kentucky. His father grew tobacco in that state before the family moved to Quincy, when his sons were quite young. Young Embry had the advantage of working with his father on the farm before shade tobacco was thought of. After his father's death he continued to farm and grow tobacco, adopting the shade-grown variety on it introduction. He also believed in irrigating tobacco fields. In 1922, the Embry Tobacco Company had around 170 acres under slats and cloth shade.
Taussig and Wedeles, of Chicago, became interested in Florida tobacco about 1896. The Weyler embargo on Havana tobacco helped the Florida grower to
place his product on the market. William Taussig and Max Wedeles were both enthusiastic supporters of the Florida product and purchased a large acreage upon which buildings and shade were erected. Max Wedeles died in 1917, and I. Gardner became president of the Company, known as the Max Wedeles Tobacco Company, in 1922.
Another pioneer tobacco planter was P. W. White of Quincy, one of the oldest and best known growers in the county. He was also agent for Washington Vetterlein, of Philadelphia, who not only sold much Florida tobacco to the northern markets but exported it to Europe.
Marcus L. Floyd was another pioneer who contributed largely to the success of the Gadsden County tobacco industry. He was born in Florida and for some years was tobacco expert, for the Division of Soils, of the United States Department of Agriculture. He was greatly interested in the production of shade-grown tobacco in Florida and organized the Floyd Tobacco Company at Quincy. His son, Durham B. Floyd, joined him in business about 1919. They were not to be permanently located in Gadsden County, however, for a few years afterwards they moved to Connecticut.
In 1890, Henry F. J. Fenton, tobacco agent for the Florida Central and Peninsular Railroad, estimated 700,000 pounds of tobacco were grown in Gadsden County, 10,000 pounds in Leon County, 10,000 pounds in Madison and Jefferson Counties, 10,000 pounds in Columbia County and 10,000 pounds in the rest of the state, or a total of 740,000 pounds. This was considerably more than the Federal Census showed. There were about 512 tobacco growers in Gadsden County, in 1889, but only 150 in 1890. Regardless of this the county produced more merchantable tobacco in 1890, than in 1889. Formerly, many growers were careless about handling the tobacco crop, bringing it to the packing houses in wagon-beds, sacks, bed-quilts or in anything that would hold it, regardless of bruising or breaking the leaves. In 1890, careful growers, only, remained in the industry so that practically all the tobacco grown commanded a good market. C151, 9573
Other Sections Try Crop
Elsewhere there was temporary activity in attempting to produce tobacco. West of Gadsden County there was some interest in growing it. Early in 1889,
F. A. Gonzales, a pioneer grower, went to Cuba and returned with forty Cubans. Later on he brought over 31 more families. The company had about 75 acres in tobacco. This project was short-lived.
At Lake City in the 80's B. F. Moodie, a former principal of a girl's school, became interested in tobacco growing. He grew Burley tobacco and the imported Cuban seed known as Vuelta Abaja. The Burley was a very coarse tobacco.
For a short time it looked as though Lake City would become the center of a tobacco growing industry. Moodie was so successful that a party of Louisiana people interested in tobacco went there to seehow he grew it.
Dr. Jas. P. DePass, director of the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1889 to 1893, at Lake City, seeking to establish a valuable new industry, in 1892 sent out hundreds of packets of Cuban tobacco seed. Each packet contained enough seed to plant ten acres.
Captain A. B. Hart had for years operated the only cotton gin around Lake City. Cotton seed formerly sold for $14 and $15 a ton. In 1896, either as a result of less demand or oversupply, it brought only from $8 to $9 a ton.
Hart decided to put in a crusher so he could crush the cotton seed for fertilizer. Then by furnishing this fertilizer, with tobacco seeds, to a sufficient number of farmers, he could repay himself for the material advanced, when the tobacco was harvested and sold. This would net him about the same high price originally paid him for cotton seed and help the farmers, too.
Scattered within 10 miles of Lake City, fifty farmers agreed to grow tobacco for Hart, each one averaging one acre. Forty-two farmers accepted the former proposition and were paid for it as quickly as it was brought to Hart's packing house from their barns.
Hart employed a tobacco expert, furnished him with a horse and buggy and kept him going all summer instructing the growers about their tobacco crops. Sumatra and Cuban tobacco were used.
Judge D. J. Pulling, a pioneer tobacco grower of Wisconsin, came to Florida and settled at Madison, where he bought a farm and began to grow tobacco. In 1892, he claimed that nearly a million pounds of Vuelta Abajo tobacco, grown from seed produced in Gadsden County and Middle Florida, were taken to Quincy to sell. He asserted that buyers assembled but when they
learned that the tobacco was from home-grown seed and had been fertilized they refused to buy it. The reason given was that the buyers did not know how the cured article would turn out.
The disappointed growers stored it in a Mr. Ward's warehouse, which eventually caught fire and burned up with its contents.
This same year Pulling, who had used no fertilizer on his crop, because of its excellence, was paid $1,000 for it. This grower claimed that Sumatra tobacco seed gradually became acclimated and produced a leaf that was excellent in armoma and flavor. [169, 561
At this time some people believed that tobacco was better if grown near the sea coast. "So this Cuban tobacco, breathing the salt air that surrounds it, gives it its finest quality. It is nitrogen to which it is indebted for its best qualities" was the belief of Judge Pulling.
Ocala had a short-lived interest in the crop fostered largely by efforts of a Cuban, L. J. Medero, who moved there in 1896, to get the farmers to plant it. The meeting of the National Tobacco Growers Covention at Ocala the next year resulted in renewed efforts to enlarge the planting in Marion County, which did not turn out very successfully. At Fort Meade, following the freeze of 1894-95, and the collapse of its phosphate industry, one of its citizens, Captain Cordery, who believed that tobacco could be grown there successfully, invited a Doctor Abalo and Senor Piloto, of Cuba, to visit the place. These men declared the soil proper for its cultivation, and agreed to return to Cuba and bring back a colony of Cubans if the town would donate 1,000 acres in or near Fort Meade to the colony. In a very short time, instead of 1,000 acres, 1,200 acres were secured and deeded to the company.
In 1895, this company, known as the Cuban Tobacco Growers Company, of Fort Meade, had cleared and planted a small acreage, but by the fall of 1897, they had planted over 150 acres. The company claimed to have produced 60,000 pounds of tobacco that year, most of it selling for $1 a bound.
Willie Varn, another tobacco enthusiast at Bartow, in 1897, had his plant bed east of John C. Blunt's residence about two miles from town. He had from 150 to 200 beds, each one, three feet wide by thirty-six feet long, which would supply about 200,000 plants an acre for 150 acres or thirty million plants. Varn grew the plants to sell. He used a piece of low, damp, palmetto hammock
land, which had been carefully cleared and burned over more than a year before. About eighteen inches below the surface was a bed of pebble phosphate, heavily covered with rich black soil. The water level was two feet below the surface.
While it was always damp, Varn used irrigation. Oil barrels, 25 or 30 feet apart, connected with inch and a half piping, were all over the plat. Water was drawn from a well in the center of the plat and poured into an elevated tub that emptied into the barrels. They could be filled quickly. Ordinary sprinklers were then used.
In planting, seeds were scattered over the beds, after which they were pressed down with boards and sprinkled. Frames, 3 feet wide by 18 or 20 feet long, covered with burlap, protected plants from sun and rain. These covers were lowered before showers to prevent the plants being beaten and injured. Two boys were used to transplant from 6,000 to 8,000 plants a day in transferring crowded plants to other beds.
Osceola County began agitating for the growing of the plant. Citing Bartow and Fort Meade, Osceola farmers believed that the county's muckland should produce more tobacco without fertilizer than could these two towns, and they began planting it. In Kissimmee, W. L. Van Duzois had a muck farm. Tobacco which he planted two weeks later than it was planted elsewhere, looked better and while it had been very dry, was of a good color and was expected to mature earlier than in the rest of the state. Van Duzois had Cubans cure it and make it into cigars without removing it from his farm.
The Putnam County Tobacco Growers Association was organized in 1897. A committee composed of S. W. Rowley, M. Griffin, Sr., and Dr. W. H. Cyprus was appointed to investigate Cuban methods. It resulted in the appointment of Dr. Mesa, of Tampa, to go to Palatka and take charge of curing and selling the crop maturing in July, of that year. He was also to establish a model farm for the benefit of the growers.
Difficulties arose about this arrangement and, early in 1898, the contract with Mesa was broken, the tobacco growers refusing to pay him anything for his services. It was said that he charged too much and the growers were advised to sell their crops, pole-cured, at the barns for any reasonable price.
Dade City, in Pasco County, was also growing tobacco. The Florida Agriculturist for October 13, 1897, related: "J. T. McMichael, of Dade City,
has just harvested probably the best and what will prove the most profitable crop of fine cigar tobacco ever grown in this state. From nine acres he has already weighed up 11,380 pounds, and there is yet in the barns about 800 pounds from the same acreage. From five acres he secured 7,000 pounds. The average cost of making this crop has been between $75 and $100 per acre and it was made within three months. The result is that on the expenditure of $600 for the nine acres he now has tobacco in his barns which has a market value of $6,000.
In Tampa, a number of persons were trying to grow tobacco. J. H. Neyland and Sons, who owned a model truck farm in East Tampa, planted a seed bed of Vuelta Abajo tobacco. Upon harvesting an acre of celery they would reset it with young tobacco plants. They experimented with half an acre of plants by covering them with a prepared sheeting to protect them from pelting rains and insect pests.
In Hernando County a number of persons were also growing tobacco. John
Dewey was one of the largest planters. In the Florida Agriculturist, for
May 5, 1897, this article appeared:
"John Dewey has received a machine for setting out tobacco plants that is regarded as one of the best devices ever introduced into that county. The machine sets the plants, waters them, presses the soil around the roots and leaves the plants in their proper growing position. Mr. Dewey states that the machine will set out about six acres per day, and is so constructed that two small boys and a driver can operate it, thus relieving the planter of the irksome task of setting out plants in a stooping position. The machine is provided with a galvanized iron tank, which will hold about one barrel of water, when setting out plants. The machine is durable, and is drawn by two horses."
This machine eventually proved to be good only for tobacco grown without
shade, and even then only where labor was very expensive.
Reasons for State-Wide Interest Between 1895 and 1899
There were several causes that contributed to the state-wide interest in growing tobacco between 1895 and 1899. (1) The freeze of 1894-95 had destroyed many citrus groves. Growers were afraid to spend money to replace damaged trees and sought a crop that was more likely to bring big returns with a small expenditure of money. (2) Political strife in Cuba caused many Cubans to seek freedom and safety in Florida. Their presence in large numbers inspired Florida
growers to plant tobacco and to use Cuban labor in curing and packing it. (3) The outbreak of the Spanish-American War kept Cuban tobacco out of the country and created a demand by manufacturers and dealers for Florida tobacco. (4) Failure of the crop on the island of Sumatra in 1897. (5) Increased tobacco tariff. (6) Success of Gadsden County tobacco.
As a result the entire state became interested. Few counties were there that did not organize a tobacco growers' company.
Reasons for Failure in State-Wide Production
The outcome was far from satisfactory. The glamour of the orange groves was not destroyed by the freeze and it was only a short time before their cultivation again took precedence over other crops. The Cubans in Florida took advantage of the ignorance of the Florida tobacco grower. One writer stated: "In growing a tobacco crop the farmers must cultivate, fertilize, cure and manipulate the leaf in certain ways or it will be well nigh worthless. It is a great 'fad' now to hire Cuban experts to teach us benighted Americans how to grow the fragrant weed, and in this connection I wish to say that the farmers of Florida are going to waste thousands of dollars. The wily Cubans have 'got on' to the fact that the Floridians receive the "Cuban tobacco expert" with the open-armed enthusiasm. Some of these people are all right and know their business but the majority are rank imposters bent on making expenses while the war lasts. It is against this class I would have you warn the farmers, for I see that in many places they are already hiring experts and these people will depart from our shores sooner or later with our hard earned dollars in their pockets and the only thing the farmer will have learned is that he is again fleeced. Among the hundreds of Cubans of my acquaintance I can very nearly count the actual experts on my fingers. I don't know of a single person who has hired an expert to teach them to grow tobacco who is satisfied with their investment." O, 5163
It is evident that the chief reason for the failure to make the entire state a tobacco growing one was that much of the land used, especially muck land, grew fine looking tobacco but its smoking quality was negligible.
On January 31, 1900, the Florida Agriculturist said: "The tobacco growers are now receiving returns for tobacco grown two years ago and sent to Quincy to be cured and sold. John Edmondson sent 1,000 pounds of fine leaf to the
curing house and received a bill for $3.40 to help pay the remaining expenses after the sale was made. W. S. Knight had 1,000 pounds and was so fortunate as to receive $3. Postmaster E. B. Trask is proud of a gross receipt of 50 cents for 600 pounds, and a farmer who went into the business on a small scale and only spent about $100, besides his labor, got enough money to buy three postage stamps. The farmers say tobacco growing in south Florida is a success but selling is another matter just at present. There has rarely been seen in this country a lot of finer or better flavored leaf than was produced in this vicinity, and the business would be carried on extensively if there was some sure way of disposing of the product at right figures." 11147,6711 The growers mentioned were at Plant City.
By 1900, nearly all other counties had almost entirely abandoned tobacco culture. Gadsden County, with the right soil and climate, the expert knowledge of its growers, and a perfected marketing arrangement, continued its successful production.
As early as 1888, F. B. Moodie, of Lake City, had organized a tobacco growers' association. This association worked with other state tobacco organizations to secure an increase on the import duty of foreign tobacco. The organization, however, did not last very long.
Again, in 1889, the tobacco growers felt the need of an active association. On February 6, of that year, some men, greatly interested in the success of the industry, met at Tallahassee, and organized the Florida Tobacco Growers' Association.
As a result of this meeting Florida had her second tobacco fair at Lake City, on Wednesday and Thursday, October 27-28, 1897. Large crowds attended. Governor Bloxham and his staff were present and many other prominent persons.
Among the especially fine exhibits were those of A. B. Hart, and F. B. Moodie, of Lake City, E. S. Hubbard, East Coast Railroad, the Nashville exhibit collected and prepared by A. Canova, and that of the De Land Board of Trade. [146, 6941
National Tobacco Growers' Convention Meets at Ocala
The National Tobacco Growers' Convention was held at Ocala in January 1897. Governor H. L. Mitchell, of Florida, on October 24, 1896 wrote each governor of the United States to appoint delegates to the convention. In response to his invitation the delegates arrived on January 12, from Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Mississippi, as well as from the tobacco-growing counties of Florida. It was announced that there were delegates from other states who had not registered. F. A. Teague, President of the Ocala Board of Trade, was in charge of the meeting.
Among the prominent people from foreign countries who were present were: Edmond Johanet, France; E. Mulder, Singepore, India; Joseph Woodrow, Scotland; Gordon Brown, C. S. Clark and Arthur Farrell, England. The United States Department of Agriculture was represented by Milton Whitney.
Col. W. D. Chipley, of Pensacola, was the temporary chairman and he made the opening address. As representative for the railroad company of which he was vice-president he had offered $500 for the best 300 pounds of Cuban leaf tobacco grown. The next year he gave away tobacco seed and offered $500 in numerous premiums. In 1894, he again distributed tobacco seed but this time instead of offering cash premiums, his company agreed to give forty acres of land in each county for the best specimen of tobacco and forty acres for the "best of the best." The awards were made at a Tobacco Fair held in Pensacola, the first such fair ever held in the state, which attracted an immense crowd of visitors.
A New Era
The discovery that tobacco could be grown under shade gave an unprecedented impetus to the tobacco industry. But this method of cultivation had its drawbacks. After a few years the growers found that the continuous shading of the ground and the growing of the crop on the same land for years made the tobacco plant susceptible to destructive diseases.
The need rapidly grew for disease-resistant varieties of tobacco and for more knowledge as to how to combat tobacco diseases and insect pests.
It was not until 1921, that the situation grew so serious that state-action
was secured. The destructive disease called blue-mold began to attack tobacco. Some interested tobacco growers and packers, that year, requested the legislature for an appropriation to be used to save the industry. The legislature was responsive and an act was passed creating the Tobacco Experiment Station at Quincy. This station was to be a branch of the main Agricultural Experiment Station, located at Gainesville. The sum of $30,000 was appropriated for the biennium, $15,000 to be available on July 1, 1921, and $15,000 on July 1, 1922. The appropriation was contingent on Gadsden County, or its residents, donating the land needed.
The tobacco growers and business men of Quincy, and the county, bought 22% acres of land and deeded it to the state as a location for the new experiment station. The Board of Control accepted the land and on March 13, awarded a contract to build a two story brick building for a laboratory.
Chapter 6 FLORIDA CITRUS INDUSTRY
First Orange Plantings
When Laudonniere established his ill-fated colony on the St. Johns River, June 29,1564, he expected to make a permanent settlement. For this purpose he brought over a number of farmers to till the soil but for some unknown reason they did not. When Sir John Hawkins visited the French settlement on August 4, 1565, he commented on the fact that no attempt had been made to grow food, but mentioned that the Frenchmen had made twenty hogsheads of wine from the grapes which "the ground yieldeth naturally." While there is no mention of the fact there is every possibility that Laudonniere imported oranges or orange seed and that they were planted, as the French, as well as the Spaniards, were fond of fruit.
The records show that Menendez de Aviles did actually have his colonists plant oranges. In 1577, Bartolome'Martinez wrote the King that he had planted "with my own hands" orange and fig trees in Santa Elena.
As all the farmers at St. Elena and St. Augustine had the same fruits and vegetables to plant, this record of planting oranges at the former place only emphasized the fact that oranges were planted at St. Augustine. At Santa Elena, off the coast of South Carolina, orange trees could not have lived for many years without being destroyed by the cold winters. But at St. Augustine it was different. The trees grew rapidly owing to favorable soil and j climatic conditions.
In 1579, Menendez de Aviles' nephew, Pedro Men end e'z Marques, wrote to the Audencia of Santa Domingo: "There are beginning to be many of the fruits of Spain, such as figs, pomegranates, oranges, grapes in great abundance." This is the first authentic record of bearing orange trees in Florida or the United States.
The Spanish people were deeply religious. The uncivilized Indians offered them a splendid field in which to work. Menendez de Aviles brought over a number of Catholic priests whose special duty was to christianize the
the savages. The priests established missions and they probably had a great deal to do with the distribution of oranges.
Where a mission survived the depredation of the savages for any length of time, the priest in charge always planted a garden. These gardens were to supply herbs and fruits for medicinal and religious purposes. They were largely instrumental in introducing new plants. Assuredly the orange must have been planted in these scattered gardens.
While the author has seen no Spanish document that definitely states this fact, Fairbanks is responsible for the statement that: "Early Spanish writers speak of the practice of horse parties visiting the interior stations (missions), carrying with them oranges and planting the seed. There were many Franciscan missions established throughout the peninsula among the native tribes, and under the guidance of the worthy Fathers, we owe the general distribution of the sour and bitter-sweet varieties which are by much the most hardy of the citrus." C55, 833
Thus it was that both at the Spanish forts and settlements at Santa Elena and St. Augustine and at the various Spanish missions the orange was first introduced into America. From these places the Indians secured it and in carelessly dropping its seeds as they went their way along the St. Johns River, or to the Alachua Savanna, they became the planters of the vast wild orange groves that eventually were to mean so much to Florida.
Because the country around St. Augustine and the St. Johns River was the better known in those early days, records are available that give undisputed evidence of the ancient orange groves in that section. However, there is every reason to believe that elsewhere in the state the orange grew at a date earlier than at St. Augustine.
In 1539, Hernando de Soto arrived at the bay which he called Espiritu
Santa, now Tampa Bay. De Soto was really prepared to make a settlement. He
and his followers progressed slowly from Tampa to, at, or near what is now
Ocala, but then was called Ocali by the Indians. Because of the abundance of
corn or maize, plums, grapes, nuts and acorns at Ocali, De Soto left part of
his retinue there for some time. It is entirely possible that these Spaniards
had oranges or orange seed with them and that the ancient groves around that
section of Florida should be credited to them instead of to the Spaniards, located at St. Augustine, twenty-six years later.
As De Soto proceeded westward to what is now Apalachocola Bay his men may also have dropped orange seed which eventually grew into groves. An old Indian named, Chefixico, in 1827, related that when he was a little boy the land between Tallahassee and St. Marks, on the Gulf of Mexico, was open country "scarce of game and was not resorted to by Indians until the forests grew up; that it was then full of orange and fig trees, and the roads and bridges still to be seen." C125, 1073
Some of De Soto's men are believed to have returned to that western section of Florida and to have remained there. It was thickly populated up to 1706, when enemy Indians from out of the province descended and destroyed the inhabitants. Bartram, as late as 1774, remarked about the remains of the Spanish old fields he saw around the Tallahassee section.
Authentic Records of Old Groves
In 1697, a party of English people were ship-wrecked off the lower coast of east Florida. Jonathan Dickerson, one of the party, in writing of their experiences in their journy to St. Augustine, does not mention seeing an orange tree. They went along the coast and not along the St. Johns River where they would have seen many trees. When the Englishmen reached the Spanish town, however, the writer records that they found "plenty of Oranges, Lemmons, Pome Citrons, Limes, Figs and Peaches." C47, 74H In 1735, Oglethorpe found orange and peach trees on Santa Marie Island which is now Amelia Island. C39, 883
When the British came into possession of Florida in 1763, 200 years after its original Spanish settlement, they found vast groves of orange trees. At St. Augustine were the "China" and Seville oranges, lemons, limes, citrons, shaddocks, bergamots, figs, peaches, apricots, guavas, plantains and pomegranates. Almost the entire length of the St. Johns River was a "wild" orange grove. Stork, English writer and plantation owner, in his "Account of East Florida, 1766," stated that orange and lemon trees grew "without cultivation, to a large size, and produce better fruit than in Spain or Portugal." He also mentioned the fine orange groves on the west banks of the Halifax and Hillsborough Rivers. C112I1
Jesse, or Jose Fish acquired much land in St. Augustine and elsewhere in Florida during Spanish supremacy and acquired more when Great Britain took
possession of it. In 1763, he had what was called a "world-famous" orange and lemon grove in St. Anastasia Island. During the Revolutionary War many loyal Englishmen from southern states sought refuge in the Florida province. Fish furnished them with fruit from this grove.
William Bartram, the botanist, gives the most complete and authentic account of Florida citrus groves as they were before and after the English destroyed so many of them. Bartram had visited the country in 1759, and again in 1763, shortly after England came into its possession. Ten years later he returned for the third time. His writings, based on what he had actually seen, were responsible for numbers of English people coming to the country to establish homes and plantations. He was rather directly responsible for Dr. Andrew Turnbull making his settlement at New Smyrna in 1768, for he had written a glowing account of that region which Turnbull had read. Again, in 1774, he wrote about the New Smyrna location: "I was there about ten years ago when the surveyor run the lines or precincts of the colony (Turnbull's). When there was neither habitation nor cleared field. It was then a famous orange grove, the upper or south promontory of a ridge, nearly half a mile wide and stretching north about 40 miles to the head of the north branch of the Musquito, to where the Tomoko River unites with it, nearly parallel to the sea coast and not above 2 miles across to the sea beach. All the ridge was then one entire orange grove, with Live Oaks, Palms, Red Bays and others." This vast grove was evidently planted by Franciscan friars at least a hundred years before Bartram first saw it.
On this trip in 1774, Bartram mentioned the plantation of a Mr. Marshall near Cowford (now Jacksonville): "The house was situated on an eminence about 150 yards from the river (St. Johns). On the right hand was the orangery consisting of many hundreds of trees, natives of the place, and left standing when the ground about it was cleared. These trees were large, flourishing and in perfect bloom and loaded with their ripe golden fruit." [23, 761 At this same time he also mentions other numerous wild groves about Cowford. At a point lower down the river he wrote: "We had a pleasant day ... and ran by Mount Hope, so named by my father, John Bartram, when he ascended this river, about fifteen years ago (1759). It was at that time a fine orange grove, but now cleared and converted into a large indigo plantation, the property of an
English gentleman, under the care of an agent. In the evening we arrived at Mount Royal, where we came to, and stayed all night ... From this place we enjoyed a most enchanting prospect of the great Lake George ... At about fifty yards distance from the landing place, stands a magnificent Indian mound. About 15 years ago I visited this place, at which time there were no settlements of white people, but all appeared wild and savage; yet in that uncultivated state, it possessed an almost inexpressible air of grandeur, which was now entirely changed. At that time ... there was also a large Orange grove, together with Palms and Live Oaks, extending from near the Mount, along the banks, downwards, all of which has since been cleared away to make room for planting ground. But what greatly contributed towards completing the magnificence of the scene, was a noble Indian highway, which led from the great mount, on a strait line, three quarters of a mile, first through a point or wing of the Orange grove, and continuing thence through an awful forest of Live Oaks, it was terminated by Palms and Laurel Magnolias, on the verge of an oblong artificial lake, which was on the edge of an extensive green level savanna. This grand highway was about fifty yards wide, sunk a little below the common level, and the earth thrown up on each side, making a bank of about two feet high ... The glittering water pond, plays on the sight, through the dark grove, like a brilliant diamond
But that venerable grove is no more. All has been cleared away and planted with Indigo, Corn and Cotton, but since deserted ... It appeared like a desert, to a great extent, and terminated, on the land side, by frightful thickets, and open Pine forests." This is only one example of the destruction of the vast wild orange groves made by the English between 1763 and 1783.
At this same time Bartram found the deserted plantation of Doctor Stork who in 1766 had written so glowingly of the country. Bartram observed: "Many lovely shrubs and plants in the old fields and orange groves." The next day, not far from Stork's place, he "came to again at an old deserted plantation, the property of a British gentleman but some years since vacated. A very spacious frame building was settling to the ground and mouldering to earth; here are very extensive old fields where were growing the West Indian or perennial cotton and indigo ... and some scattered remains of the ancient orange groves which had been left standing at the draining of the plantation."
Nearly all of the Indian villages along the St. Johns River and west to
the ancient Indian towns of Alachua and Cuscowilla had magnificent orange groves In fact around what is now Ocala, Micanopy, all around Orange Lake and up to Gainesville was more or less one immense wild grove.
The Indians in their village groves cultivated the trees, in some instances actually pruning them. Bartram mentions several such groves. About one he wrote: "There was a large orange grove at the upper end of their village the trees were large, carefully pruned, and the ground under them clean, open and airy."
These wild oranges were sour or bitter sweet. They were greatly appreciated by both the white men and Indians. The fruit was used more as a condiment or seasoning for foods than for eating as a fruit. The Indians were not particular about the condition of meat or fish and were known to cook it when putrid, adding, if convenient, the juice of oranges to kill the offensive taste. Bartram himself had to resort to this at times. Once he had 11 ... one or two barbecued trout; the remains of my last evenings collection in tolerable good order, though the sultry heats of the day had injured them; yet by stewing them up afresh with the lively juice of Oranges, they served well enough for my supper." C23, 1243
When the English took possession of Florida in 1763, many of them secured immense grants of land for the purpose of cultivating the soil. While most of the planters were interested in other crops, and destroyed the wild groves, some of them did allow the orange trees growing on their property to remain. John Moultrie, English governor of the province from 1771-1774, claimed 1,000 acres, "called Lime Kiln or orange Grove. He produced a grant dated 3d Dec? 1770 from Gov? Grant to the Claimant in fee of a 1,000 acres all Hammock about 3 miles south of Penjohn inlet upon the great South Matanza, distant from St. Augustine southerly 20 miles and fronted wholly upon the river and of little depth from the river, which was navigable only for flats."
Robert Bisset, another Englishman had 300 acres called "Mount Plenty" or "Palmerian" on the South "Musketo" or Hillsborough River covered with "a very fine Sower orange grove." He also owned another tract of 1,000 acres on what was called the "Great Swamp" at the head of Indian River. It also had "a very large and fine sower Orange grove on it." C103, 2533
In placing a valuation on his holdings in East Florida at this same time
Thomas Forbes, representing James Grant Forbes, listed "200 acres (of land) with buildings, orange grove, etc., Jt600." Another five acre lot with an orange grove on it he valued at ^20.
In 1827, Williams wrote: "The sweet orange has been successfully cultivated, in and near Pensacola; but the cold season of 1822, killed all the trees; they are again beginning to bear fruit. This is a tender tree, and requires considerable care in the cultivation, especially in sheltering it from violent storms and extreme frosts. They usually bear in 6 to 7 years from the time of planting the seeds. The young trees should be transplanted from the nursery the second or third year; they should be set in good land, about 23 feet apart, in a quincunx form, and kept clear from weeds; when arrived at maturity, they will, on an average, produce 1,000 oranges per year: some trees in St. Augustine have been known to produce 600 in one year. In a good soil they have been known to live a hundred and fifty years. It is well to plant one or two rows of sour orange, on the side of the grove next to the sea, to break the force of the storms. The bitter sweet is a native kind of orange, that grows wild in many parts of the peninsular, especially near the St. Johns River. Of late years it is considerably cultivated; many estimate the wild acid of its fruit, before the sweet orange; the peel alone is bitter. This is the most hardy of the orange trees, and when cultivation shall have brought it to the perfection it is capable of attaining, it may become in all respects the most estimable fruit." [125, 683
Around the Tallahassee area little was known concerning citrus up to 1821. By 1825, settlers began to move in and plant crops. Because of the interest in orange growing many of them hastened to plant groves. However, on April 6, 1828, there came a killing frost and the winters of 1829 and 1830 were so severe that it was "demonstrated to the unwilling inhabitants of the interior of Middle Florida, that, with them, the orange cannot be produced in the open air." [139, 13
South of St. Augustine there was nothing but a wilderness peopled with savages. In 1820, Major Taylor established a home in this region, and called it Enterprise or Old Enterprise. In 1822, a daughter died and it is recorded that on her tombstone was inscribed that Major Taylor's was the only white family then living south of St. Augustine. He remained there until 1870. [143, 11, 313 Taylor's home was surrounded by a grove of orange trees.
In 1830, Florida had many citrus groves around St. Augustine and along the St. Johns River. The groves were at their finest around Orange Lake. There were numbers of them at old Port St. Joe, around the Wewahitahka section, and at, or near, Pensacola. In fact, all through the central interior section around Micanopy, Ocala and the numerous nearby lakes immense wild groves of citrus trees grew.
First Trouble with Insect Pests
Even at that early date the growers had difficulties. Chief Justice Thomas Douglas wrote a comprehensive account of the situation at St. Augustine between 1826 and 1834. He said:
"When I arrived at St. Augustine (in 1826) it was one continued orange grove from the gates at the north end of the city to the barracks at the south end, and from the harbor back nearly to the St. Sebastian River. The trees were said to be the largest in the world, and produced the finest fruit; the lime, lemon, citron, and guavo were also cultivated with great success.
"Very little attention had been paid by the native population to the cultivation of the orange and other fruits; but soon after I settled at St. Augustine it began to attract the attention of strangers, and some of the more enterprising citizens, and property suitable for groves was sought for and rising in value.
"In the year 1834 I purchased a small farm at Macariz, 1,500 Spanish yards from the north line of the city, and a nursery of 1,500 very fine young orange trees. But on the nights of the 7th and 8th of the following month of February (1835) there came a frost 'a killing frost1' which destroyed every orange, lime, and lemon tree in Florida, a circumstance which could not have been forseen, as such a thing had never before occurred, although the orange had been raised in East Florida for several hundred years, and there were trees in St. Augustine more than one hundred years old. This was a severe blow to East Florida, and especially to the 'ancient city,1 the orange culture being one of its principal resources, and one which, with the poorer classes could not be easily supplied. But young trees sprang up from the old roots, grew vigorously, and the groves were rapidly recovering from the effects of frost, when, in 1835, an insect made its appearance upon the grove of Mr. Robinson, at Mandarin, which threatened to destroy it.
"They soon made their appearance in the grove of Gen. Peter S. Smith, in St. Augustine. Mr. Robertson, in the year 1834, procured from China a box of lime trees. These he placed for a while in a greenhouse in New York, and late in that year sent them out by Mr. Calvin Reed to Mandarin, on the St. Johns River. General Smith purchased some of these trees, and had them set out on his lot in St. Augustine, and, from the fact that these insects first made their appearance in the groves of these gentlemen, it has been supposed that they were imported in it.
"They are the Coccus, of the order Hemiplera. Naturalists say there are about fifty species of them. The males have wings, but the females have none and the natural inquiry is how they get from place to place. They have been gradually spreading ever since their first appearance in Florida, and have already destroyed all the groves in St. Augustine and its neighborhood; most of those on St. Johns River as high up as Draytons Island, and are found in most of the wild groves in the interior. By examining these insects with the microscope it will be found that each of them has a light web of silk hanging out of its mouth. The tendency of this is to render them buoyant that they may float in the wind, or be carried about by birds. This peculiarity respecting their operation is everywhere observable, that, wherever they make their appearance, they first attack the leaves and tender twigs of the lower limbs of the trees, and ascend up, which suggests the idea that they may be indigenous, and breed in the ground at the root, or in the root of the tree.
"They commit most of their ravages in the latter part of August and the month of September.
"The orange trees of East Florida, said to be the largest in the world, grew as large as the largest apple trees in New England, and were of much the same shape.
"I found one species of the coccus on the peach trees in St. Augustine when I came there in 1826. These would cover the body and large limbs of the tree, but did not touch the leaves and tender twigs, and were easily controlled. No one, however, seemed to know what they were, or what was the matter with the peach trees, until attention was called to the insect by its appearance on the orange trees, when it was observed that the "shell or husk' was the same as that on the orange trees."
Douglas gives the date of the freeze as February 7 and 8. Other writers give it as February 18 or 25. The fact remains that it was a most disastrous freeze, with the temperature down to 8F. A similar difference of opinion as to when the insect pest, Coccus, which was probably the Purple Scale (Lepidosophes Barkii) or Long Scale (Lepidosophes Gloverii) was introduced is observed. Douglas makes it around 1835 but it appears it was nearer 1840, when the groves began to be ravaged by the insect. By that time the old trees following the freeze, had put out new growth from the roots. The insects spread from Robertson's or Robinson's grove to other nearby groves, though in St. Augustine it took them three years to spread nearly half a mile from their original outbread. Within a few more years they had attacked the cultivated groves on the St. Johns River, and the wild groves as well.
In a United States Patent Report there appears this account of the insect: "Whatever may have been the origin or the means of diffusion of the coccus, it is obvious that, having once appeared, the large number of eggs produced by each female will sufficiently account for the rapidity with which it has extended. As the females do not possess wings, it is quite certain that it cannot spread from tree to tree by their flight. By means of their legs, however, the young are capable of locomotion, and as they emerge from their parent shell, hundreds take refuge in the neighboring trees. In regard to its transmission from one locality to another, there are several modes in which it may be effected. Anyone, for instance, communicating with a tree, or even passing one infested with this insect, is liable to carry with him scores of the minute young, both male and female, unknown to himself, as they are almost imperceptible to the naked eye; probably the same end has also been accomplished by means of large insects, birds, and dogs, as well as by the severed leaves of the trees conveyed by winds. That the spread, therefore, of this pest, in Florida, from east to west, has been caused by the transmission of the young females from place to place, there can be no doubt. Various remedies have been tried to arrest their progress, such as dusting the trees with powdered gypsum, lime, wood ashes, soot, flour of sulphur, and Scotch snuff; covering them with whitewash, soft mud, soap, gas-tar, turpentine, or with gum shellac, paste glue, and other viscid or tenacious substances, mixed with clay, quicklime, salt, etc.; washing or syringing them with sulphur water, gas liquor, spirits of tar, and solutions of Peruvian guano and whale-oil soap; as well as subjecting the trees to the
fumes of tobacco, ammonia, camphor, and sulphuretted hydrogen gas but all partially or entirely failed. The only effectual remedy thus far applied, with the exception of actually destroying the trees, or rubbing or crushing the scales to atoms, is the method adopted by Mr. Gordon, late Superintendent of the Ornamental Department of the London Horticultural Society, by means of hot
water, which, it seems, dissolves them at a temperature of 140 to 160 F, annihilating the mother coccus, and her young, eggs included, and this, too, without injuring the bark of the trees on which they feed. It may be applied by a syringe or sponge, simply by bringing the hot water into contact with the scale. It may be urged that if water, at a temperature of 140, will not injure the bark of the tree, it will its young, tender leaves. Grant it should it kill them, new ones will come out in their place, so that the worst consequence is only a temporary loss. But, notwithstanding the insect may certainly be destroyed by hot water, wherever it can instantly be brought into contact with the scale, yet there is a practical difficulty in the application of this, as well as other remedies, in consequence of the minuteness of the creature and the facility with which it can screen itself in the crevices of the bark, or in the earth at the foot of the tree. This difficulty, however, might be met by the use of steam, of a proper temperature, applied with a suitable apparatus, which would instantly insinuate itself into every cranny of the bark. Another remedy here suggests itself, so far as known by me, never tried; that is, the application of the Persian insect powder, or a decoction of the same plant, (Pyrethrum caucasicum) as described on page 129, in the Agricultural Report of the Patent Office for 1857." [178, 2703
Citrus Groves and Orange Production at St. Augustine and on St. Johns River
Just how many groves or how many citrus trees there were in Florida between 1830 and 1860 is not known. In 1858, it was estimated that prior to 1835, at St. Augustine and on the St. Johns River there were groves with from 1,000 to 1,500 full bearing trees at that time. Many of these trees were more than 40 feet high, with trunks 20 to 27 inches in diameter. Some of them were over a hundred years old. In 1824, there was one tree at St. Augustine reported to be 116 years old, which regularly bore 6,000 oranges a year. [93, 2653
At St. Augustine produced in 1826, 1,200,000 oranges with about 300,000
more from the surrounding vicinity. In 1835, a Mr. Bowden at Mandarin, which was and continued to be for some time famous for its oranges, owned a tree at least 75 years old and that year picked 7,000 oranges from it. A Mrs. Hart on the St. Johns River, not far from Jacksonville, had 72 trees on three-fourths of an acre. In 1834, her crop of oranges sold for $3,000.
In 1834, Zephaniah Kingsley planted what was later known as the Mays Orange Grove at Orange Mills, and the Rembert grove at Drayton Island. Kingsley was a unique character and very wealthy. He settled on Fort George Island at the mouth of the St. Johns River in 1817. He had a fleet of schooners which were believed to be engaged in bringing in negro slaves from Africa and in piracy. The vessels were cleverly disguised with gray moss when hiding at their mooring at the north end of the island. Kingsley married a negress who was an African princess. She had a great retinue of slaves with her when he brought her to the island. They had two daughters who were married to two Englishmen "for a consideration of $20,000 each."
The Mays' grove originally consisted of only 3 or 4 acres planted with fine sweet seedlings and were killed to the ground during the freeze of 1835. There were three kinds of sweet oranges here: a round, fine colored orange not quite so fine a flavor as the Homossassa; a lighter colored orange slightly flattened and not quite so sweet, and a very sweet oblong orange known as "Early Oblong" and "Sweet Seville."
It was rather generally believed that most of the sweet seedling orange trees in Florida until the Civil War came from the old Orange Mills and Drayton Island groves of Kingsley.
In 1843 Kingsley owned more than 6,000 bearing trees on the St. Johns. There were then on the same river more than 100 orange groves which were estimated to contain 20,000 trees. St. Augustine had fully 30,000 trees. Of the latter 4,000 each were owned by J. Douglas and V. Sanchez. J. Drisdale and the widow of Doctor Anderson each owned 1,500 trees. C29, 633
Brown, in 1846, in writing of the oranges of the world stated: "At St. Augustine, in Florida, the fruit is generally of a superior quality, owing to some peculiar influence of the soil and climate. The mean annual temperature of that place in 1842, was 73F, and in 1843, 72. The extreme heats from June to September are usually as high as 92, but they have been known to
reach 97. The extremes of cold generally range from 38 to 40; but some times the mercury has fallen as low as 30 On the 9th of February, 1835, the time that nearly all the orange trees of Florida were cut off by frost, it is
said that the thermometer indicated a temperature of 10 to 15 F. In February, 1823, as well as in the same month in 1839, the trees also suffered in their extreme branches, from the effect of frost. On the morning of the 9th of January, 1765, the thermometer stood at 26, at St. Augustine, and the ground was frozen to the depth of an inch, on the banks of the St. Johns. This extreme cold proved fatal to the orange, and many other trees. The St. Augustine oranges are superior, both in size and quality, to those of Cuba, or the Mediterranean. They resemble those of Havana in flavor, but are much larger and being from 20 to 30 percent more, in the New York and Boston markets. Of the smaller sizes, it requires about 300 fruits to fill a barrel, but of the largest ones, only 100 are necessary."
The planters, living near wild orange groves, would collect the fruit and extract the juice by horse mills. The juice was then shipped to the markets where it was mostly used to make "cooling" drinks. Horses were also fed the fruit which they seemed to like.
Just before the freeze in 1835, St. Augustine was producing between 2,000,000 and 2,500,000 barrels annually. Charleston, Baltimore, New York and Boston were the principal markets. The fruit sold for around $3 per barrel. People who owned 100 good trees relied on an annual income from the fruit of between $2,000 and $4,000.
St. Augustine was an important port during the orange shipping season, from 15 to 20 vessels at a time coming in to load with fruit. C178, 2681]
The Manatee Section
On the western side of the entrance to Safety Harbor in what is now Pinellas County is Phillippi Hammock. Previous to 1840 a man named Phillippi, who was believed to be a Cuban fisherman, planted some sweet orange seed which he got from Cuba in this hammock. This man was very likely the same Phillippi who accompanied Josiah Gates and Miles Price on their exploration trip to the Manatee River section in 1841. Fifty years later Phillippi's Hammock remained but the old grove was little more than a name, the orange trees being all dead
or dying. The grapefruit trees, however, were in a thrifty condition and produced a fine crop in 1891. The reason advanced for the death of the orange trees was that the sweet seedling could not live on shell land while the grapefruit did well in it. [493
The Armed Occupation Action of 1842 was instrumental in bringing numbers of new settlers into the Manatee and Tampa sections.
Along the Manatee River from its first settlementbetween 1842 and 1845 the chief interest was in growing sugarcane and making its juice into sugar. The growing of oranges, probably because so little was known about it by most of the men settling in that region and that both seeds and stock were difficult to get, was of secondary importance. All of the settlers, however, had small groves. Until 1860 the stock used, if wild sour stock, was hauled by wagon from around the Orange Lake section, the journey requiring from six to eight weeks for the round trip which was beset by danger from wild beasts and savages.
Josiah Gates probably took orange trees with him when he moved from Micanopy to Fort Brook in 1841, shortly after which he removed to the Manatee River. He had trees growing on his homestead within a few years which bore much fruit. They were sweet oranges but whether sweet seedlings or not is not known.
The Bradens at "Braden Castle" and Robert Gamble on his great estate on the Manatee River grew oranges. Ezekiel Glazier, William Whitaker, Simon Snell, and John Jacksonthese settlers and probably others who came in around this time established small groves.
Enough groves were established to interest the descendants of the pioneers and the new comers, who steadily moved into the region, so that by 1880 the orange grove took precedent over all other agricultural enterprises in that region.
Origination of Indian River Orange
One of the most famous groves to be established about this time was that of Captain Douglas D. Dummitt whose father had settled near New Smyrna in the early 1800's. Between 1830 and 1840, Captain Dummitt established a grove on the north end of Merritt's Island about two miles south of the canal or Haulover. He obtained bud wood from the old Jones Grove between New Smyrna and Port Orange. Jones' trees were said to have been budded from original Spanish sweet seedling stock brought over during the last Spanish occupation. Dummitt used the wild
sour orange trees growing on the island for stock. The orange he produced was first known as the "Dummitt Orange." As time passed it was called the "Indian River Orange" by which name it continues to be called.
This version of the origination of the Indian River Orange was not accepted by 0. S. Hart, of Hawks Park, Florida, one of the pioneers of the state. In 1890, he wrote the following account which bears the stamp of authenticity: "In 1832 John D. Sheldon and wife came down and settled on the Hillsborough River, about eight miles south of New Smyrna. Mr. Dummitt, the founder of the celebrated grove by that name, was here before him. The Indians brought to these men, at different times, oranges of a remarkably fine quality, but they always refused to disclose the location of the trees which produced them. Finally Mr. Sheldon, being a great hunter and stimulated by curiosity, in the course of his rambles, came upon a grove of wild trees producing oranges of such remarkable sweetness that he was led to believe he had discovered the Seminoles' secret. This proved to be the fact. This original wild sweet grove stood at a place now (1890) called William's Field, about three miles back from Hillsborough River, and half way between New Smyrna and Oak Hill. I have myself seen what few trees still remain in this grove; they have been mostly dug up and removed or destroyed. Mr. Sheldon dug up 600 of these old Seminole Indian trees and planted them out in what is now known as the Rockwood place, located on Indian River North. The ground is rather low and ill drained, and out of the 600 trees then planted only 32 are still living. These 600 sweet seedlings laid the foundation of the famous Dummitt Grove. Mr. Dummitt took seeds and buds from them to start his grove with ... But he did not confine himself wholly to the Sheldon Grove for trees, he brought in also some from the woods which yielded fruit of about the same quality." C151, 6753
This famous grove fronted on what was then called the Hillsborough River but now known as Mosquito Lagoon. It was not directly on the Indian River. Dummitt shipped his fruit down a creek and across the Indian River and to the St. Johns River over a narrow strip of land. The oranges became known as "Indian River Oranges" because they had to be sent across that river to reach the St. Johnsmain artery of transportation in those days. At a later date the fruit was sent on boats through Mosquito Inlet to the ocean and thence to various markets, but it still remained the "Indian River Orange."
This grove played an important part in the development of the Indian River section, as well as to establish an unexcelled reputation for Florida oranges. All the growers eventually locating in that section acquired the same fine oranges.
Some years later, around 1874, the grove was the source of an argument as to whether budded or grafted trees were better than sweet seedlings. Many persons claimed that the seedlings produced more and better oranges than the budded trees in the Dummitt Grove produced. One writer cited the fact that 1,800 budded trees in full bearing in the latter grove had produced one year as their largest combined yield 250,000 oranges while in 1874 the trees averaged only 1,000 oranges each. He stated that the Hart place opposite Palatka with only 400 sweet seedlings on four acres produced 2,000 oranges per tree, the small grove netting the owner each year from $9,000 to $12,000. Many people agreed with him so that for years sweet seedling trees remained popular with many growers.
After the Civil War Captain Dummitt died and this property was sold to George W. Schuyler, of New York. In 1881, Schuyler sold it to Eicole Tamajo, Duke of Castalucci, an Italian nobleman, who built what was for that time and place a magnificent home. The property consisted of 290 acres. He kept the grove in splendid condition until he sold it in the early 90's. It then changed ownership several times until 1901, when it was purchased by E. J. A. Drennen and later passed into the possession of his heirs.
How wild sweet orange trees got in the Turnbull Hammock is not known, although Turnbull could have planted them. This was originally one of the most magnificant wild sour groves in the state, Bartram having seen it in 1759, for the first time. In 1840, the same place was described as: "... densely embowered by a grove of sour orange trees, every branch of which was at this time laden with fruit." Lb_, 433
Indian River Growers
The colony that located on Indian River under the Armed Occupation Act was composed of 40 heads of families from Georgia, Florida, Alabama and South Carolina. One of the men who played a most prominent part in Florida affairs was Captain Burnham. In 1845, he bought the home of Col. Samuel H. Peck who
had settled at Ankona in 1843, and built the most pretentious house erected by the colonists. The colony also boasted Ossian B. Hart who was afterwards to be a governor of the State. The idea back of the Act was to bring energetic settlers who could lay a foundation for others to build to, but Florida had even at that date been hailed as a resort for tubercular or other ailing persons, so that the records show that many of the colonists were not physically fitted to hold a home against the savages or to earn a living from the soil. One of the men who came was an elderly man of powerful build who was reputed to be a splendid physician from Charleston, South Carolina. He was a Doctor Holbrook. He brought his vauable medical library with him and for two years he gave the colonists their only medical attention. He himself was then taken ill and died. The doctor's greatest pleasure was his flute and nearly every day its lilting or sad strains could be heard along Indian River, sweet solace to the player and to his listeners. C99, 11J
The colony's land claims were on both sides of Indian River from Barker's Bluff near Sebastian on the north nearly to Old Fort Jupiter on the south.
In August, 1849, the Indians descended upon the trading post at Barker's Bluff and killed Barker. Barker's brother-in-law, a Major Russell, the leader of the colony, feared that the Indians would massacre them all and immediately ordered the colonists aboard a small boat which in four days reached St. Augustine. Captain Burnham was in St. Augustine at the time. None of these people ever returned. Nearly fifty years later there was a grove of sweet orange trees at the Bluff, evidently from seed planted by the trader.
In 1891, Robert Ranson said he located the site of the old Burnham claim on Ankona Bluff in "a dense thicket of limes."
While this colony contributed little towards the settlement of Florida the colonists played their part in establishing the wild orange groves that later grew along Indian River and its tributaries.
The Burnham Grove
Captain Burnham shortly afterward was engaged by Colonel Marshall to build and manage his sugar mill at Dunlawton. In 1853, he was appointed lighthouse keeper at Cape Canaveral. He held this position until his death in 1886. Burnham and his son-in-law, Henry Wilson, became interested in establishing
a citrus grove. They selected a site four and a half miles from the lighthouse that had some sour orange trees on it. The tract was on Banana River which Burnham had so named early in the 40's because he had found some bananas growing on the banks where the De Soto Grove was located in 1825. Burnham and Wilson budded these trees with buds from a wild sweet orange, which they had accidentally found growing in Happy-Go-Lucky Hammock, 15 miles north. They also used buds from Captain Dummitt's Grove. Again they found a sweet orange washed ashore and planted its seeds which in turn produced more sweet budwood. Before many years they had a splendid 15 acre grove of sweet oranges. Commenting on the splendid weather, Burnham remarked shortly before his death that in 30 years "he had never seen the thermometer over 85 nor below 44." However, in January, 1886, shortly before he died there was a severe cold spell that froze all the fruit on Indian River, although it did not hurt either the fruit or trees at Canaveral.
Burnham was always boastful of his Banana River fruit, believing that it had a finer flavor than the Indian River Orange. He was most careful in preparing it for market. At that time, before 1886, no paper wrappers were used. The fruit was packed in barrels and sent by boats to New Smyrna. Here it was picked up by schooners and taken to New York. It usually arrived, after this long trip, in about as good condition as when it was shipped. Burnham recognized the fine texture of this orange and gave it more careful handling than was ordinarily accorded oranges in those early days.
Shortly before the Civil War, Isaiah Hall and his wife moved from Georgia to Merritt's Island where they settled and lived for a while. Their place was known as Hall's Hammock and was later on bought by Sidney Chase who developed.a fine grove there.
Around 1849, Colonel Marshall established a plantation with an orange grove not far from Port Orange. This was the old plantation originally named "Dunlawton." Not long afterwardsbefore 1860James Vass acquired either all or a part of the orange grove that Marshall and planted. C. C. Sutton also had a grove near by, while B. C. Pacettie had a near Mosquito Inlet. E. K. lowd located near Dummitt on the Hillsborough River and the Estes grove was made on Turkey Creek. C49, 1323
Immediately after the war the Indian River country had many new groves
opened up. Whitfield and his brother, Peter, took up a claim on the highest point of Merritt's Island where they established a fine grove. They named it "Fairyland" because of the magnificant view of both Indian River and Banana River. From middle Florida came the Chanceys and others; from Georgia came the Sanders, the Hardees, the Stewarts and the Sharpes while the Sam and La Roche families came from South Carolina. These people settled on Merritt's Island and on the mainland, from City Point south to and below Rockledge, a distance of some 25 miles. C90, 301
All of these settlers and others who came were inspired by Burnham's success with his orange grove and they looked to him for advice and suggestions as to how to proceed to establish their own groves. The lighthouse at Canaveral became a meeting place for the orange growers, for Burnham, reputedly not desirous of having settlers locate too near him, was always glad to have the opportunity to pass on what he had learned from his own experiments and experiences.
When Burnham died of measles in March, 1886, his wife insisted that he be buried in his orange grove which had been his home for so many years. C92, 323
Beginning of Great Groves
It was natural that the first great groves should be located at or near the source of supply. That, as has already been shown, was around St. Augustine, Mandarin, New Smyrna, on the St. Johns, Indian, Halifax, Oeklawaha, and Withlacoochee Rivers, from Ocala to Micanopy, from Micanopy to Waldo, including old Newnanville, Gainesville, Hawthorne, Citra, and west of the Appalachicola River around the Wewahitchka section and around Pensacola. Most of the lakes in the central part of the state were bordered with these wild groves, Orange Lake in Marion County having the largest and finest in the State. The next largest wild groves were probably these on Lakes Griffin and Harris in Sumter County.
There were three ways of starting a sweet grove. Where a prospective grower had land on which grew wild sour trees he would carefully cut off, with a chopping axe, the entire tree within three or four feet of the ground. In about four weeks these stumps were ready for spring budding or side grafting. One or two buds were placed in each stump. Within the next two or three weeks
the grove was gone over carefully and all sour sprouts or shoots were removed, leaving only the sweet bud to grow. The trees were well cultivated, the groves being kept clear of weeds and bushes. These groves were often badly crowded as some growers allowed the other treesoaks, magnolias and laurelto remain where they were and the orange trees themselves were often closely crowded together. Some of these old groves had ground that seldom saw direct sunlight owing to the dense growth above.
The second way to start a grove was to dig up the sour trees and replant them elsewhere in a grove. The procedure was then the same as to budding or grafting on the original ground with sweet orange. As late as 1869 these wild sour orange trees from the hammocks on the upper St. Johns River were sold in Jacksonville for $50 per hundred. The fruit itself was selling at this time for from $25 to $60 per thousand.
The third way was to secure seeds from good sweet fruit and plant. These became sweet seedlings trees and were conceded by many people to produce the finest and most abundant crops.
In those early daysbefore 1875-one common fault was found in all groves in that the trees were allowed to remain too close together or were deliberately planted too close together.
Madison Sparkman had a big plantation about 15 miles north of the present site of Gainesville, between the Bellamy road that traversed the State from St. Augustine to Tallahassee and the Micanopy road from Micanopy to Jacksonville. This plantation was the nucleus about which Waldo grew. Sparkman sold land nearby to Dr. V. Shelton who planted 20 acres to seedling China Oranges. They bore their first crop in 1855. C30, 1763 That same year the Florida and West India Transit Railway was built through Waldo. Many new settlers came in as a result.
In the 1870's a canal was cut from Waldo to Lake Alto and one from Lake Alto to Lake Santa Fe. This made Waldo a most important shipping point for the interior section. The steamer, the "S. F. Lewis," Captain Bennett, did a thriving business. It hauled oranges to Waldo for shipping to other points,
By this time the lakes were dotted with thriving groves. Elias Earl, after whom Earlton was named, planted extensive groves on both the eastern and western side of Lake Santa Fe. Baron Von Ladisha and numbers of others bought land and planted groves.
Sparkman, to meet a great demand, installed the first orange packing plant in this section of the State. For it he used a part of the building which housed his cotton gin and steam grist mill.
Settlers at Archer, which was founded in 1852 by the Florida Land Company of Fernandina, Florida, had thriving orange groves.
George Payne who was, up until 1850, the only practicing physician located in Alachua Countythe State then had only 29 countieslived at Micanopy and practiced medicine from Newnanville to Ocala and through the surrounding country. There were an abundance of sour and bitter-sweet oranges in that section, but Payne preferred a sweet grove. He secured seed from selected China fruit which when planted grew into fine trees. Local farmers had, for years, hauled wild orange trees from around Micanopy and Orange Lake and peddled them among the plantations and stores at Newnanville, Graball (Hawthorne), Alligator (Lake City) and further north. Dr. Payne distributed his fine sweet oranges through local merchants to such an extent that most of the homes in the territory in which he practiced, and from Lake City to Lake Weir, gradually acquired excellent sweet seedling groves. In 1856, he sold his home and grove at Micanopy to J. J. Barr and moved to Ocala. Barr added to the grove by clearing 18 acres of pine land and planting wild orange stumps, later budding them to the sweet orange. [30, 167D
At High Springs the first settlers were Mary and Fernando Underwood who, in 1847, established their home at Crockett Springs.
Welaka, some distance south of Palatka on the St. Johns River, was a thriving town before the Civil War. Two men, Fenwick and Hale, built a wharf on the St. Johns River and secured a post office for the town. They had a fine orange grove which was bearing splendidly in 1875. Among the first settlers were George P. and H. H. Bryant and their sister, Mr. 0. L. Stephens. They and their father were probably the first people to settle in that particular region. They developed fine groves. [144, 313H
Because of the transportation facilities many people, before 1860, chose Welaka for their homes. Boats from Jacksonville, Savannah and Charleston stopped regularly at the old wharf. One of the boats was called "The Dictator."
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Welaka lost much of the river trade and after cessation of hostilities the importance of Palatka as a shipping and trading point grew to the near-abandonment of Welaka as such.
In 1875, it was estimated that there were about 5,000 orange trees in groves in the Welaka section and plans were being made to plant that winter 10,000 orange and lemon trees. A man by the name of "Mr. Pine Land," who settled there in 1872, had 800 trees in his grove and a small nursery of sweet seedlings, having purchased the seeds from owners of "bearing orange trees."
Mandarin, 15 miles southwest of Jacksonville in a bend of the St. Johns River, in 1875, had around 1,400 bearing trees, 7,500 trees in young groves and about 30,000 trees in nursery rows. The bearing trees were owned by 45 persons; there were only five of the owners who had over 100 trees in a grove. At that time many growers were contemplating increasing the size of their groves. The 1874 crop was a large one of fine bright oranges but the 1875 crop was small with rusty fruit.
Probably one of the most interesting groves at Mandarin was that of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She began to improve it about 1870, or shortly thereafter. She managed it herself and it was not very long before it became a veritable showplace. It is said that upon her arrival at Mandarin she was what a Southerner would expect of the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." But after a score of years spent in the charm and beauty of her orange grove she admitted that it was difficult for her to believe she had not been born a "Cracker," as she felt more like a Southern than a Northern woman. She was said to give scant courtesy to many of the northern people who visited her at her grove.
A man named Stockwell near Pilatka, as Palatka was generally called, cleared a few acres of wild orange trees in 1869, and budded them. In 1874, many of these trees bore over 1,000 oranges. Colonel Martin of Marion County gathered 10,500 oranges from one tree in his grove in 1875. This immense yield was most exceptional. [76, 278D
Palatka was having something of a boom at this time. There were several fine groves there and at nearby Federal Point opposite Palatka. At the latter place the Hart family lived with its famous orange grove of 600 trees. Few families contributed as much as did this family to the success of orange growing in Florida. They established their groves in 1859.
A little to the north of Palatka was the old town of Orange Mills. Mays had a grove thereone of those that was set out by Kingsley about 1824. Mrs. Mays was as interested as her husband in their grove and budded most of the sour stock. There were four or five grapefruit trees on this place but
unfortunately there is no record to show where they came from. Probably Kingsley planted the seed from which they grew. The fruit was considered nothing but a curiosity. In 1875, the Mays had 300 fine sweet orange trees in their grove.
The Speer Grove was established at Sanford, in 1842, and the Starke Grove at Enterprise a little later. All the groves, as well as the Dancy Grove, had sweet oranges similar to the fruit of the old Mays' grove. It appears that crosses of the Mays' round and early oblong oranges may have originated the Homosassa, Parson Brown, Stark's seedless and Dancy's old Vini. C67, 1803 Colonel Dancy had a smaller grove at Orange Mills in 1859. It was conceded to be as fine as any in the State. In 1871, Dancy wrote to the Department of Agriculture, Washington: "My bearing grove consists of forty trees, twenty years old and forty, six years old. From these trees covering but little over one-half acre of ground, I shipped for market 58,250 oranges, which netted me 2 3/4 cents each, or $1,600, after paying for nails and lumber for boxes. My twenty year old trees had not what I call a full crop for trees of their age; some had as many as 2,500 to the trees, others not more than 800 to 1,000, not having fully recovered from the freeze of 1868. My young trees, six years old, had from 200 to 600 and 800 per tree. The above are facts which those who desire to engage in the orange culture in this part of Florida may rely on. If there is profit enough in it to induce any to come and enter into it, I say come one and all, for I have no fear of overstocking the market. We want competition in this as well as in other business." C173, 1693 Dancy was the propagator of the Dancy Orange.
The BurtonHarrison Grove
In 1869 two men named Burton and Harrison, from Alabama, came to Dunn's Lake in Putnam County and purchased 30 acres of hammock land. This property was in what was commonly called the "backwoods." It was so far removed from a source of supplies that the people living in the immediate region found it necessary to club together in sending to Palatka for the actual necessities of food which usually meant bacon, hominy and coffee.
In 1870, these two men transplanted 480 large sour stumps from a nearby wild grove, which they budded in 1871. On December 23, of that year, the cold was intense enough to kill the growing buds and many of the stumps. In the
meantime the owners had cleared several acres of land and were growing corn, cotton, cabbage and potatoes which supported them and paid the wages of one hand.
The freeze of 1871, left them practically where they were in 1869, except for the cleared land. In 1872, they replanted with budded trees from their own nursery.
In 1876, the trees planted, in 1872, bore their first crop which was sold to E. C. Post at Palatka, for $28. In 1877, the crop was sold on the trees to C. R. Griffin of Crescent City, near Palatka, for $150. In 1878, Henry Lilienthal paid $360 for the oranges on the trees. In 1879, they brought $1,200. In 1880, the fruit was sold to T. A. Capwell, and to Cook and Otterson for $1,740. The grove produced the following year 810 boxes of choice fruit which sold for $1,900.46. In 1882, 600 boxes were shipped and the rest sold to Beach and Miller, the whole crop bringing $2,072.75. That year the owners were offered $28,000 for their six acre grove. In 1883, there were 1,265 boxes of fruit which sold for $2,805.38. The next year prices either dropped or the fruit was inferior for 2,264 boxes sold for $2,612.85.
In 1885-1886 came the "great freeze" which injured the fruit so that only $1,000 was realized from it. The trees rapidly recovered for in 1887, they yielded 2,000 boxes.
Muck and compost, applied to the trees, had been made on the place. The stock cost nothing as it was taken from an unclaimed wild grove. There was no labor except one man hired for picking oranges. The other crops grown paid for this labor and all other expenses except the original cost of land. C151, 8563
Nearly all of the pioneer growers used some fertilizer on their trees and kept the ground free of weeds and brush.
The Means Grove
Judge G. W. Means started a fine grove on the west side of Orange Lake about three miles south of Micanopy, in 1866. This was one of the original wild groves. It was injured some by the cold of 1867-1868. In 1869, Means began budding the trees and two years later he gathered 3% barrels of fruit from 20 acres. He was one of the first men in that section to attempt to make a sweet grove from a sour one. In 1872, he got 21 barrels of fruit and in 1873, the crop was 155 barrels.
This grower had very definite ideas as to how a grove should be cultivated and managed. He believed that all young trees should be protected from the cold for a year or so only, as he had never known weather cold enough at his place to kill trees over two years old, and that it was the south side that needed protection. To do this he placed stakes at the south side of his young trees and hung moss over them. Means believed that trees should not be trimmed for the leaves protected the body of the tree from sun and frost. To protect trees from insects he believed the best remedy was good attention and the judicious use of stable manure. The ground around the trees was "scraped" to a shallow depth, after which the manure was spread and covered over. He refused to use cotton seed on an orange tree because he was convinced it would create wood lice as well as make the soil thirsty. CI67, 43 Means was a successful grower for many years.
Shortly after 1870, people from all over the country began to look toward Florida as a place in which to amass a fortune and to renew health. One of the men who was to have much to do in bringing into great prominence the State citrus industry was Putnam P. Bishop. Born in Vermont on March 2, 1823, Bishop, originally a lawyer, and later on a Baptist minister, was destined to come to Florida, in 1868, to seek better health. In 1869, he became a permanent resident acting as General Missionary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society with his home in Jacksonville. He preached in Jacksonville, Palatka, Ocala and Leesburg one Sunday of each month. In 1872, he, with his family, moved to San Mateo. Before long Bishop's health more urgently required an out-of-door life. He had become greatly interested in orange culture and because of his enthusiasm many people called him the "crazy orange preacher." Shortly after 1872, he established a grove at what is now Citra, on Orange Lake which became known as the Bishop, Hoyt and Company Grove. Bishop and some friends had, before this, bought a wild citrus grove on the Ocklawaha River at Orange Bend and had begun improving it. The Citra tract was bought from James A. Harris, 200 acres for $6,000. His partners were a brother, Jesse P. Bishop, and James H. Hoyt, each of whom agreed to contribute $1,500 a year for three years against Bishop's work and time. The freeze of 1876, froze the fruit on the trees before Bishop had shipped any of it. As this was the year
he planned that his partners would end their financial support of the grove he was sorely pressed for money until he succeeded in selling $3,000 worth of budded orange trees to other growers, which carried him over that crisis.
In January, 1874, H. B. Stevens arrived in Jacksonville. One of the first men he met was Bishop, who invited him to visit the Bishop Grove on Orange Lake. This Stevens did. The visit resulted in the latter remaining there "keeping the time" of the workmen while Bishop went to Orange Bend to work on that grove.
Stevens left Florida the latter part of 1874, but, on Bishop's insistence, he returned in 1875 for good and was placed in charge of the Citra grove. This was the beginning of a friendship and a business association that lasted until Bishop's death in 1896. Even thenStevens remained at Citra until 1899.
At the beginning of this association all grove procedure was problematical. One man's opinion was worth about as much as another's. Every step taken was an experiment.
Bishop was transplanting wild trees in his Orange Lake grove and as they had fine root systems and were to be taken up and immediately reset he told Stevens that it would not be necessary to give them much water. It turned out to be a dry Fall that year and out of the 2,000 trees that Stevens had transplanted only about a dozen lived. Not long after this, trees at Orange Bend had to be transplanted. They were reset in very wet, well-drained ground and they all lived.
After this whenever trees were transplanted Stevens gave them plenty of water. In 1879, in order to have it, and as heaps of logs prevented a team from passing through the grove, he built a tram way by which means he hauled barrels of water from a lake to the planting ground. This meant tremendous work but every tree lived as a consequence. Stevens was so delighted with his success in transplanting the wild orange trees thatto use his own words"just to see what could be done, I moved two trees with most of their tops and full of bloom." This was equally successful as the next Fall one tree bore 26 fine oranges and the other one over 50.
This proved the absolute need of water when transplanting citrus trees, so, in 1880, the Bishop Grove at Citra was supplied with a portable force pump. A well was dug in the center of every four acres of groves and supplied with 250 feet of hose. In this way every tree in the entire grove could be easily watered. Out of 1,500 trees planted that year only three were lost.
As a result of this experiment growers learned that large trees could be transplanted and the demand for them grew to the extent that Bishop sold quite large orange trees at the grove for $5 a piece.
It was on this grove that the Pineapple Orange was propagated and it happened this way: One Christmas day, Bishop was visiting at the home of Dr. James 0. Owens about six miles from Citra. The Owens Grove had fine trees and Bishop, who was interested in securing proper bud wood for his sour stumps, arranged to buy the tops of nine trees for which he paid the owner $200. He was to remove the bud wood as he required it for his grove. One of Doctor Owens1 daughters commented on the fact that the fruit from one of the trees had a decided pineapple flavor, and that the family called it their "pineapple" orange. Bishop succeeded in budding about 30 trees of this variety.
Later on Bishop called Stevens attention to some of this fruit. The latter could not detect the flavor but found it a delicious orange. From then on he budded as many trees as possible with that variety. When the trees began to fruit sufficiently well to pack together, he and Bishop agreed that a stencil, with the picture of a pineapple on it, and the grove name, "Bishop, Hoyt & Co.," above it, would help to sell the fine fruit, which it did.
While some of the growers would not admit that this orange was different from theirs, many of them were willing to pay five cents apiece for buds from the trees bearing it, Charles W. White, another Citra grower, paying $50 for 1,000 buds. As more trees were budded, the price of buds decreased until they sold for one half cent each.
Just what variety the original tree was from which the Pineapple Orange was propagated is not definitely known. Somewhere about 1860 this Doctor Owens, a General Owens and Sam Owensthree brotherscame to Florida from South Carolina. In route, the doctor bought some "china" oranges that were said to have been grown on Indian River. At that time nearly all sweet oranges were commonly called "China" oranges. Dr. Owens planted five acres from these seedlings which grew into a splendid grove, perfectly laid out. It was from one of these sweet seedlings that the Pineapple Orange was propagated.
In a letter to the author, dated January 20, 1937, Mr. Stevens commented on the delicious quality of the Pineapple Orange and offered proof that even the animals found it superior to other oranges. He wrote: "We first noticed
that the coons and o'possums would pick out this orange in preference to any-other in the grove; we would find where they had eaten them and scratched them in trying to get them off the trees. If one box of the Pineapple Oranges happened to be shut up over night, in the packing house, next morning the men on coming in, would ask, where are those pineapples (smelling them right away) ." C1883
"One Saturday, we left out a couple hundred field boxes of oranges in our dry-shedin this number were perhaps 10 or 12 boxes of Pineapple Oranges scattered through them. Monday morning when we went to take the fruit into the packing house, we found that the rats had gone into every box of pineapple fruit and had touched none of the others. Mr. J. M. Hoyt and Mr. Bishop were in the office together that morning, and when I came in I said to Mr. Hoyt, We have found another proof of the superiority of the Pineapple Orange,' and related what I have just written to you. Mr. Bishop replied, ; Stevens, be very careful to treasure all such information, as it will help us to ratify our opinion.' Mr. Stevens also stated: 'Mrs. Bishop called our attention to the fact that bud-wood on which was no thorns would produce thornless tops to the trees, thus saving a great deal of injury to the fruit from the thorns.'"
The Bishop-Hoyt Grove shipped its first oranges in 1877. The fruit was cut from the trees with pocket knives, placed in boxes and hauled 12 miles to the Ocklawaha River. From there it went by boat to San Mateo where it was graded, sized by hand, packed again and shipped north.
It was soon learned that the pickers were responsible for numerous culls as a result of pricking the rind of oranges when cutting them off the trees. Both Stevens and Bishop were inventive and this problem they were determined to solve, if possible. Stevens tried soldering a shot to the point of the knife blade but this proved unsatisfactory. Bishop's idea was to invent a circular shears "like two hoops with a leather cup on the back." They were opened and pushed over the orange and were then closed. But the actual cutting was not easily controlled so that most of the stems were cut too long. In packing, the oranges were punctured by the stems, resulting in much damaged fruit. Finally some one invented a pair of clippers that proved satisfactory, but most of the pickers were negroes and they used the clippers to cut their tobacco, which ruined the instruments. After much experimenting the plan was adopted to make the pickers furnish their own clippers, and they were charged
for all the damaged fruit resulting from careless picking. Stevens said this proved a most satisfactory method for protecting the oranges while gathering them.
P. P. Bishop was one of the two men who were responsible for the standard orange crate adopted by Florida growers.
The packing of oranges was a careless matter with most of the Florida growers from the beginning of commercial shipping. Practically anything that would hold the fruit was used. Italy had an orange crate but it was expensive. Besides it was an unwieldy, awkward affair measuring 10" x 14" x 36".
In the Fall of 1876, the Florida Fruit Growers Association met in Jacksonville Bishop and his brother-in-law, E. Bean, were on their way to the meeting. While waiting for their boat, on the dock at San Mateo, they began talking about the need of a standard crate. There was some fruit on the dock so they piled it up and arranged it in various ways. Bean, who had tried for some time to work out a good crate, had previously experimented with crates made in Maine but they were not satisfactory. Now with the fruit on the dock, he and Bishop worked to such excellent purpose that before their boat came the two men had worked out what they believed, and what the majority of other Florida growers accepted, to be a satisfactory crate for oranges. It was 12" x 12" x 27". It became known as the standard crate for Florida oranges although it was many years before all the growers made use of it.
It was at the Bishop-Hoyt Grove that the first complete orange sizer was made and used in Florida. In 1880, the railroad was extended to the grove at Citra so that the fruit was prepared for final shipping there. Stevens was a remarkably fast packer of unsized fruit. He used a table for this purpose moving it about in the grove as needed. It was said of h im that it was difficult to find a man who could nail on the box covers as fast as he could pack the boxes. But he could not size the fruit by eye. He suggested to Bishop that they should have a machine to size the fruit and offered some ideas for making one, which were not practical, according to the latter. Other growers were having the same trouble with sizing the fruit. 0. H. Wade had made a machine, shaped like a V, down which the fruit was passed. Stevens decided to improve this plan and he was successful in his attempt. He described it as follows: "... I made a machine having inclined troughs with parallel sides. One of these sides was fixed and the other adjustable, so that the width of the opening could be
varied at will. The orange would roll down the ever-widening trough until it fell through. To prevent bruising, I fixed a cloth apron like a pocket under each side where the orange should drop. This apron terminated in a stocking with the foot cut off down through which the oranges would fall. Below the stocking, on springs, I set an orange box, so adjusted that the heel of the stocking reached to within the height of the orange, above the bottom of the box. There were two troughs, or runs, so that with two men sorting the oranges and rolling them down, they would fill both ends of the box at once. As the box filled the increased weight compressed the springs, allowing it to sink lower, thus making room for more fruit. When the box was full it was removed and an empty one put in its place.
"Mr. Bishop came into the packing house one day after I had set up my first sizer and packed a few boxes himself. They packed out so nice and uniform that he came to tae and said: 'Stevens, you had better take out a patent on that thing.' This I did, and it was the first complete orange sizer used in Florida."
The only fertilizer used in the Bishop-Hoyt Grove at first was the top soil taken from low hammock land. After a while Bishop and Stevens began to experiment with muck from Orange Lake. It proved effective and arrangements were made to use it exclusively. Quite an elaborate system was provided for the purpose which included a steam dredge to dig the muck from the lake bottom, and the laying of an 18-inch gauge tram track, of 16-pound iron rails on live oak ties. A small locomotive with 12 cars of 1,000 pound capacity each, was used to haul the muck, the train going from the shore to the dredge on the lake on rails laid on pontoons.
Upon being loaded, the train went over the main line in the grove, from where the cars were switched to a turntable, and from there drawn by a mule over temporary tracks, through the portion of the grove to be fertilized. These tracks were easy to move from one part of the grove to another and were made of 2 x 3 inch pine rails laid on lh x 4 inch cross ties. Some growers who did not believe in the advantage of muck as a fertilizer called this scheme "Stevens' folly."
Stevens remarked on the absence of insect pests in the orange grove at that time. Some of the trees had what they called "dead stem." Just below
the orange the stem would die, causing the fruit to drop off. Where muck was applied on the ground at one side of the tree, the stem did not die on that side but would on the untreated side.
But it was not long before the insect pests began to make themselves known. The long scale, later called the purple scale, began to spread itself through the Bishop-Hoyt and other groves. It looked as though they would wreck the industry. But Stevens and Bishop were good at experimenting and so they began trying out various measures. One day Stevens brought up half a bucket of guano to spray an infested tree in his yard and relegated the task to one of his men. The next day he found that the man had used it all and Stevens expected the tree to die. Instead, only the infested leaves dropped off, and this tree was free of scale until the freeze.
Meeting a doctor from North Carolina on a train one day, Stevens was told that "Germicide" would eradicate the scale and eventually Stevens secured some of it. He sprayed a limb, badly infested with soft scale, first to see how it would act. In a few days the limb was dead and the fruit had holes burned in it wherever the spray had touched it. Upon reporting this to the doctor the latter wrote Stevens that the "Germicide" should have been applied with a camel's hair brush instead of being sprayed on. This could scarcely have been done on large trees.
After the freeze of 1886, the rust mite made its appearance, turning the fruit almost black. According to Stevens no one knew at first what was causing it and someone remarked that the "oranges on Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's place near Mandarin probably turned black because she loved the darkies so well." But Mrs. Stowe's grove was not the only one suffering from this alarming change of color. At the Bishop-Hoyt Grove they tried spraying with a peck of lime and ten pounds of sulphur, thoroughly mixed with 50 gallons of water. The clear fluid was syphoned off and sprayed on the trees. The men made a mistake once and drew the sludge into the spraying machine and sprayed four trees, resulting in the entire tree being perfectly whitewashed. Stevens observed within the next few days that these four trees were the worst infested ones in the grove. At the time he did not understand the reason for this, but, later on, learned that the thick whitewash protected the scale from its parasitic fungi, which made it possible for the rust mite to multiply more rapidly.
The next insect pest to trouble the citrus growers was the white fly. In 1866, the Bishop-Hoyt interests started a new grove at Lake Panasoffkee. The following year, when on the way to this place, Stevens stopped at "Tropical Grove," a citrus property managed by J. H. Harris. Stevens commented on some small white insect he observed flying through the grove, for he said he had never seen anything like it take a liking to an orange grove, that did not bring trouble.
In 1888, these same white insects appeared at Citra. The top of the orange leaves turned black, with the under side yellow. Stevens consulted a Mr. McMaster, of McMaster and Miller, insecticide manufacturers, at San Mateo. The latter decided that "the yellow-thing was a fungus feeding on the larvae of the fly ... therefore a friend."
This fly spread everywhere. Stevens and Bishop tried spraying and fumigating. It was difficult to spray for the same reason that it was difficult to haul water through the groveon account of the piles of trees that had been cut and left to rot on the ground.
Finally they arranged a spraying outfit consisting of a small motor, with two barrels, and a can of concentrated stock solution, loaded on a two-wheeled dray, which could be moved through the grove. With rubber hose the entire grove was conveniently sprayed. Stevens said he had often sprayed 300 trees a day with this outfit.
During this time H. J. Webber, of the United States Department of Agriculture, went to Citra to investigate the white fly situation. He made several experiments and used parasitic fungi in an attempt to control the fly, but without success.
In 1894-95, the "big freeze" stopped practically everything being done in the groves. The next year, on December 11, 1896, Bishop died. In 1899, Stevens left the Bishop-Hoyt Company to go to Deland as manager of the John B. Stetson's Grove. George Lincoln Carlton, of Hawthorne, who had worked for Bishop since 1886, became the new manager.
Part of the Bishop-Hoyt Grove was sold some years later to W. J. Crosby and Edward L. Wartmann, of Citra, and part to John Kendig, of Philadelphia. Kendig's part had been a 40-acre lemon grove that was almost completely destroyed by the freeze of 1894-95. Carlton became manager of the Kendig property and continued until the latter's death, in 1922. At that time the fine grove which
had resulted from budding the sour sprouts to tangerine, grapefruit and the pineapple orange, was sold to Gobel and Day, Carlton remaining as the new owner's manager.
Wartmann's father, H. L. Wartmann of West Virginia moved to Citra in 1876. Edward L. Wartmann was an energetic boy and became interested in the orange groves around Citra. H. B. Stevens writes of him: "Professor Wartmann was the father of your Mr. E. L. Wartmann, who was then a mere boy and grew into manhood among us...I will state that Ed Wartmann was not too proud to work, and took his dinner pail and sought work in the orange groves, either with me or Bishop, Hoyt and Company, at the prevailing wages (75 cents a day), and gave us good, honest, faithful work. He grew to manhood among us, honored and beloved by everybody, and is a citizen that any community would rejoice to have."
Crosby and Wartmann formed a warm friendship that resulted in a business partnership. Crosby had at first not been interested in citrus culture. He rented seven acres of ground and grew lettuce. Because of his friendship with Wartmann they became partners in this venture and continued when they acquired the Bishop, Hoyt property.
The pineapple orange had been the principal variety grown by this company, the fruit being famous wherever oranges are sold.
In 1922, a large packing house was built to further facilitate the marketing of the fruit.
James A. Harris Grove
Charles and Bernard M. Byrne were surgeons in the United States Army. They were with the troops in Florida during the early territorial days when the federal government was attempting to subjugate the savages. These two men were entranced with the wild orange groves they saw while in the state. As a result, they laid pre-emption claims on two large tracts containing wild groves. This gave them first chance to buy the land when it was offered for sale shortly afterwards by the government. After buying the land the Byrnes were offered $20 an acre for it, but the owners held it for a higher price. With the Civil War, prices fell, so that in 1869, the Byrnes sold the land for $4 an acre to
William Porter of Brighton, Massachusetts, whose hotel made "Porter House" steak famous.
In 1871, Porter sold it to James A. Harris, whose parents kept the Ocala House, at Ocala, for $10 an acre. The two tracts of land had 500 acres, one of 200 acres and the other of 300 acres. Harris sold 225 acres to P. P. Bishop, in 1872, for $6,000$1,000 more than Harris had paid for the entire 500 acres in 1871. C62, 2093
Harris gives this description of a wild orange grove: "On these tracts (the groves around Orange Lake) the orange trees constituted about all the undergrowth; the hardwood forest trees towered up high above them, as the orange trees grew so thick on the land they could not spread out, but grew up tall and slender with very small tops. Their trunks were generally from two to four inches in diameter and 12 to 30 feet high, without a limb or branch until you got to the small top. The sun never penetrated to the ground, and therefore it was quite damp, but so cool and nice in the hot summer days the flowers would drop early in April, when all the ground beneath the trees would be carpeted with a thick mat of white flowers, and their odor would be most overpowering. There was a great deal more real beauty in the wild orange groves than afterwards when they were converted into sweet groves. The tall forest trees protected the orange trees growing beneath them, from frost as well as from forest fires."
Previous to 1870 it was generally believed that budwood would produce fruit the same as the tree from which the bud was taken for a while, but that before many years the fruit would revert to that of the original stock. As most of the orange trees from which budwood could be secured had sour stumps, it was believed that to use this budwood would mean a crop of sour oranges after a few years. At this time Judge Means was one of the few growers who had any sweet seedlings. In order to secure permanent sweet budwood, Harris traveled 18 or 20 miles to Means' Grove, on the west side of Orange Lake, where he bought one sweet seedling tree, and another at Means' Grove at Micanopy.
By 1876, Harris had 60 acres cleared and budded. The buds had grown from one to three feet long when, on Thanksgiving Day, there came a severe freeze that froze all the fruit on the trees and killed all the buds. The entire 60 acres had to be rebudded. The situation looked hopeless, but Harris persisted and finally brought the grove back.