Sumter County Marriages
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Sumter County, Florida
Sumter County, Florida, originally named Sumpter,
was passed by both Houses and approved by the Governor on January 8, 1853.
The county was named in honor of the Revolutionary War hero, General Thomas
Sumter, who died in Sumter, South Carolina. The area has been the site
for two of the Seminole Wars. The Dade Massacre in 1835 led to the start
of the 2nd Seminole War. The Dade Battlefield Historic Site is a historical
landmark in Sumter County. This Battlefield was named in recognition of
Major Francis Dade, where as he and 106 men in his troop were ambushed by the
Seminole Indians in a fight to protect their land. Less than a year later
on November 21, 1836 the Battle of Wahoo Swamp took place. The death toll
of this battle has yet to have been deciphered, because it still is not
known how many of the Seminoles and their allies were killed. It is known
however, that Major David Moniac, the first minority (and a Creek Indian
who fought on the U.S. Side.) to graduate from West Point, was killed in
this battle. He was laid to rest at the Dade Battlefield, but later reinterred
at the National Cemetery with honors in St. Augustine, Florida with
men who were killed in the Dade Battle. His family has won to have a Memorial
Stone placed at the National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida, because this
was the county of his death. In late 1855, Colonel Harvey Brown, commander
at Fort Myers, dispatched Lt. Hartstuff and some troops to scout the country
SE of Lake Okeechobee. Two weeks into the mission, they were attacked by
several indians and four army solders were killed. This started the 3rd
Seminole War which came to a rapid conclusion.
In 1860, the first census was taken with a population
of 1,429. Early inhabitants were farmers, and many early pioneers were
volunteers in the Southern Indian Wars. In the Secession Convention of
1861, Sumter County Representative, David G. Leigh, voted to leave the
There were a number of boundary modifications in the
county towards the end of the century. In 1871, the boundary between Polk and
Sumter was altered. In 1872, a portion of Sumter was annexed to Orange
County. On May 27, 1887, Lake County took portions of Sumter and Orange
County, leaving Sumter with 574 square miles.
The citrus industry flourished by 1886 with over 100
orange growers in the county. The freeze of 1894-95 almost destroyed the
citrus industry. The cattle industry began to grow quite quickly doubling
the county's population within ten years. The cattle industry became the
most important industry rivaled only by the vegetable industry. The grist
mill was established in 1857 by Granville Bevill near Shady Brook, and
was horse driven.
Earliest families were: (Please note that all dates
are not exact as of yet:)
Caruthers - 1844, Tompkins Mill Creek
William R. Nichols - 1848, NW part of county (Long Hammock)
Enoch Phelps - 1850, SE part of county (Mabel)
John, Elethorne and William Mobley, Center Hill (aka, Mobley
Town,) 1839 to the Early 1920
The Hayes Family of Webster arrived in the early to mid 1850's
in the area known as Webster.
CITY ORIGINS and HISTORY:
Adamsville - Named for John Adams, who was the first citizen
who settled on the Old Telegraph Road.
Alto - One of the many communities that no longer exists in
Sumter County. Located north of Rutland and west of Oxford near the Withlacoochee
River, all that is left is a cemetery. It is believed that the community
was settled around the 1870's.
- Established after construction of a post office
on October 28, 1885. Named in honor of J.W. Bushnell who surveyed the
of Florida Railway & Navigation Co. Railroad. It now serves as the
county seat since the old courthouse shown on the home page burned down
Center Hill - Established in 1842, was once known as the
Green Bean Capital of the World. This little town was settled in the late
1830's to the early 1840's by the Mobley and Beville Families.
Coleman - One of the earliest citizens was Dr. B.F. Coleman
around 1882, he is listed in the Florida Gazette of 1886-7. This nice little
town houses a nice Historical Village at the main turn of Warm Springs
Rd and Hwy 301. This was created by the Caruthers family.
Gant Lake - Located 3 1/2 miles SW of Webster, most of the
new settlers came from Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas. In 1890 a Baptist
Church was organized, listed among the founders are Rev. and Mrs. George
Hayes, Mr. amd Mrs. Dan McCleod(Cloud), Mrs. Tom Wilson and Mrs. Hanritta
Wilson. The land for the church was donated to the community for this purpose
by Mr. J.B. Gant and Mr. George Hayes. Not long after the church was established
a school was soon orgainized. The community was named in honor of Mr. John
B. Gant, one of the earliest settlers of the Gant Lake area.
Indian Hill - Settled around the middle of 19th century,
built its first baptist church which was later abandoned.
Mabel - Small community adjacent to State Road 50, named
after Mrs. Mabel Phelps Page. You may want to check out most of this area
around the Linden area. Mrs Phelps Page, is a member of Enoch Phelps
Family. This area holds an annual picnic called the Linden Cemetery Picnic.
This has been a tradition in the area for a 100 + years.
Panasoffkee, Lake Panasoffkee - Means "valley of water",
settled around 1880.
Orange Home - Possibly settled around 1870, featured beautiful
homes and groves.
Oxford - Established around 1870, called Sandspur for the
first few years but later changed to Oxford. One story of the name origin
is that travelers were forced to employ the help of teams of oxen to cross
the road in the rainy season, giving us "ox-ford"
Royal - One of the oldest communities in Sumter County. The
little community sits South of Oxford off of Hwy 301and around the Hwy 475
area. Even though the community was once called Picketsville, after one
of the earliest families, by 1880 the community was indentified on maps
as the Royal Community. Some of the earlier settlers here were, Holly and
Anderson. Most of the citizens either worked in the Timber Industry (Cummer
Son Cypress Company,) or with the railroad.
Rutland - Located at eastern edge of Citrus County, history
of this community goes back before 1857. It was settled by the Rutland family and
joins the Withlacoochee River.
St. Catherine - known earlier as "Massacre" and as "Dragem
Junction", settled by 1855
Tarrytown - May have been named for Tarrytown, NY There
is an indian mound about 1 1/2 miles south of the crossroads.
- Named for territories between Bushnell and Withlacoochee
River (Also has a 2nd Seminole Indian War Battlefield, known as the
of Wahoo Swamp. Located within it's boundries). You can go to any
search engine on the web and type in the words Wahoo Swamp. You will be
what you will find.
Webster - Records on hand show that the City of Webster was
settled around or before 1855 by the Hayes Famly. By 1869 George F. Hayes
a County Postmaster applied for the name of "Orange Home" as the name of
the town. Due to the fact that Sumter County already had a town by that
name Mr. Hayes was turned down for it and was asked to submit another name
for the town. Legend has it that he was sitting at his desk when he received
the letter. Not knowing what to name the town he reached for the Webster
Dictionary for help. He went no further than that, after he saw the words WEBSTER. He reapplied for that name and he
received it. Parson Brown, the developer of the famous Parson Brown Oranges,
homesteaded in Webster and is buried in the Stewart Chapel Cementery.
Wildwood - One of the largest cities in Sumter
County. This town got it's name (from a story I have been told) because
during the Indian Wars, Sumter County was strong for the military
There was a US Soldier who wanted to go to church, so he asked one of
the settlers where the closest church was. He was told that it
the road in the (Wildwoods). Wildwood also was considered for the new
county seat after the old courthouse in Sumterville burned down in 1909.