Thursday, January 16, 2020

Cowboys & Lawyers - Part 3: Attorney George B. Hodge


Cowboys & Lawyers: Part 3
Central Florida Attorneys of the 19th Century

A series inspired by Pine Castle Historical Society’s book,

Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man

By Richard Lee Cronin

The Honorable George Baird Hodge of #Longwood


Brigadier General, Honorable George Baird Hodge
Photo courtesy Library of Congress

Think of Longwood history and more than likely Edward W. Henck, the Florida town founder, is the first 19th century pioneer who comes to mind. Of central Florida history fans who do know of Seminole County’s town of Longwood, few likely have ever heard of its one-time neighbor, an 1880s place known as #Angledale. The one-time Angledale community is chock full of history and mystery – including a Lake Hodge – named for a Civil War Brigadier General and Attorney.

Angledale got its name from slivers of public lands adjacent to the “angled” border of the 8,133 acres owned by Attorney Daniel Randolph Mitchell (See Part 1). A plat of Angledale, filed at the Orlando Courthouse in 1888, records the alignment of central Florida’s historic “Fort Mellon to Fort Gatlin Trail”, the 1840s military road that became the “Mellonville to Orlando Road” – or the settlers route I dubbed the First Road to Orlando.

The Angledale plat also shows a ‘Ten Mile Lake’. Now little more than a wetland area, Ten Mile Lake was a marker for early pioneers traveling along the old forts trail.


1888 Angledale Subdivision outlined in red on current map
Lake Hodge is right center above green line; Angledale plat 
identifies green line as "Orlando Road".  

Other features found on the 1888 Angledale plat are nearby named lakes, including Lake Hodge. Still known by that name today, the lake was named for a Kentuckian who homesteaded the land in the late 1870s. Featured in Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes, Lake Hodge, with its pleasant lakeside park, has long kept a secret of special interest to Longwood, Florida.


Lake Hodge southeast of Longwood, Florida

Attorney George Baird Hodge, born 1828 at Fleming County, Kentucky, came to Florida around 1878 and homesteaded 160 acres south of Longwood. He gave his occupation as “Lawyer” in the Orange County census of 1885. Identified as family #68, Longwood town founder and neighbor Edward W. Henck was listed as family #70.

Longwood history tells of Henck’s distinguished military career – of enlisting in the Civil War as a teenager, serving as a musician – and of traveling with President Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Train as it transported Lincoln to his final resting place in Illinois. A Union War Veteran, Henck was the neighbor of Brigadier General George Baird Hodge, a Veteran of the Confederate Army.

Central Florida’s amazing 19th century history includes the fact that it served as a healing place for retired warriors – former enemies who settled in Florida’s citrus Belt as neighbors, and in time. Became civic leaders and yes, even friends.

Back home in Kentucky, Attorney George B. Hodge had been active in politics. He graduated in 1845 from the United States Naval Academy and by 1852 had become of member of Kentucky’s Bar. Hodge was elected to Kentucky’s State Legislature in 1859, and Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography tells us he also served as an elector on the Breckinridge Presidential ticket of 1860. Then came the question of Kentucky’s position in the Civil War.

Kentucky wanted to remain neutral in the War, but that stance did not work out well. William Wallace Harney of Louisville and Orange County’s Lake Conway, for example, was an editor at his father’s newspaper - and a staunch Union supporter early in the War. Two brothers of Will Harney served with Union troops.

Not every Kentuckian however supported the Union cause. George B. Hodge was among native Kentuckians who enlisted with the Confederacy. Hodge even represented his Kentucky at the Confederate Congress.

During the War, Hodge was promoted to Major for gallantry at the Battle of Shiloh. In 1864, he served as Inspector General for the Confederacy at Cumberland Gap (the mountain crossing gap where in 1869, Will Wallace Harney – along with his Southern Belle wife – made their journey south to Florida).

Hodge and his calvary brigade were commended for good conduct at Chickamauga, Tennessee in 1863 – a battle where Confederate forces were engaged with Union regiments that included Kentuckians - including one of Harney’s two brothers.

Such was the story of a horrible American Civil War – and such is the history of the healing that took place in Central Florida’s Citrus Belt.

Following the War, General George Baird Hodge reestablished a law practice in Kentucky. In 1872, he was elected to Kentucky’s Senate, serving until 1877. Then, on May 27, 1879, George B. Hodge purchased 124 acres in Orange County (now Seminole County), identified as “Lot 58 of the Mitchell Grant”.

The Mitchell survey of Lot 58 shows a then unnamed Lake Hodge. The plat also shows the First Road to Orlando crossing Hodge’s Lot 58, and a corner of Ten Mile Lake.

Soon after Hodge settled along the old forts trail (First Road to Orlando), railroad track was laid to the west of the Hodge Homestead - along a newer second road to Orlando. That track was laid through Edward W. Henck’s town of Longwood, and the old forts trail, after nearly 40 years of service to central Florida setters, was abandoned in favor of the railroad.

Attorney George Baird Hodge died at Longwood August 1, 1892. Briefly buried in Florida, his remains were later reinterred in the family plot at Campbell County, Kentucky.

Next Friday, Cowboys & Lawyers resumes with the Honorable Judge James G. Speer.

COWBOYS & LAWYERS - INSPIRED BY:

Chapter 6: Cowboys & Lawyers, Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man, by Richard Lee Cronin, and published by Pine Castle Historical Society: “Author Cronin sets the stage for his Harney biography with little known facts about pioneer Florida, where he corrects history and then expands it 100 fold!”

And; Central Florida research of Richard Lee Cronin and his books: First Road to Orlando; Beyond Gatlin, A History of South Orange County; CitrusLAND: Curse of Florida’s Paradise; Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes; The Rutland Mule Matter; CitrusLAND: Ghost Towns & Phantom Trains.

VISIT CroninBooks.COM booth at Pine Castle Pioneer Days, February 22 & 23, 2019.
Books also available at Winter Garden Heritage Foundation Museum and Amazon.com

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for Saturday February 22nd 1-2 PM

A TRIBUTE TO 150 YEARS OF

ORANGE COUNTY EDUCATORS

By Richard Lee Cronin

At the Pine Castle History Tent,
Pine Castle Pioneer Days (Now FREE Admission)


CroninBooks.com 



Thursday, January 9, 2020

Cowboys & Lawyers: Part 2 - Joseph McRobert Baker


Cowboys & Lawyers: Part 2
Central Florida Attorneys of the 19th Century

A CroninBooks.com 2020 Blog Series adapted from

Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man

By Richard Lee Cronin


The Honorable Joseph McRobert Baker of #Gatlin Hill


Honorable Joseph McRobert Baker

To truly appreciate the role Joseph McRobert Baker played in the early development of central Florida one must first realize that: (1) #Orlando did not yet exist when he first arrived in Orange County; (2) That ruins of old Fort Gatlin, 5 miles south of present-day Orlando, were visible on the 40 acres the man purchased; and that (3), Aaron Jernigan’s Orange County Militia of 1856 had only recently assembled at old Fort Gatlin, half of which was on Baker’s property.

Attorney Baker, Jacksonville’s Mayor in 1850, was deeded 40 acres fronting both Lake Jennie Jewel and Lake Gatlin, but neither lake, as I established in my Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes book of (2019), had been named as of the time of Attorney Baker’s acquisition.


Lake Jennie Jewel as seen from old Fort Gatlin
Photo by Stanley J. Morrow (1886)
Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes Exhibit

Also made known to central Florida history in my, Beyond Gatlin: A History of South Orange County, the portrait of James McRobert Baker, shown above, is Exhibit 10 in my book. Stanley J. Morrow snapped this Lake Jennie Jewel photo above in 1886 – taken from old Fort Gatlin.

A Virginian by birth, Joseph McRobert Baker was brought to Georgia by his father, a Baptist Minister. Young Baker attended Mercer University at Macon, married Georgian Anne Paschal (1830-1909), and the family, including Joseph’s father, moved to Florida around 1849. Joseph McRobert Baker became Mayor of Jacksonville in 1850, a position which not only launched a career in politics, but also introduced the young lawyer to the wilderness of central Florida.

Sumter County was carved from Marion County on January 8, 1853, and Attorney Baker was named that new County’s Circuit Judge. Judge Baker’s personal residence remained at Duval County, and he traveled the Sumter County “Circuit” via horseback. #Adamsville, at the time the only semblance of a town in the newly established county, served as its first county seat.

Neighboring Orange County of 1853 lacked a real city as well. Or perhaps I should say Orange of 1854 lacked a real city in 1853! #Enterprise, along the north shore of Lake Monroe, could be considered a town – but Enterprise was about to become part of a newly formed Volusia County in 1854.

Attorney J. McRobert Baker is found representing an Enterprise landowner, on the north shore of Lake Monroe in 1854, in a legal dispute. That same year, Isaiah D. Hart, founder of Jacksonville, was acquiring property at Fort Reid – where his son in law lived. Daughter Julia had become the second wife of Dr. Algernon S. Speer in late 1853, and by 1854, Hart and Speer were attempting to make their town of Fort Reid the Orange County Seat of Government. Was it a coincidence both the founder and ex-Mayor of Jacksonville were dabbling in central Florida development?

Meanwhile, Benjamin F. Whitner, dubbed the ‘The Architect’ in my book, Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man, was working on a plan for Orange County and lands south of Lake Monroe too. Whitner had been the first surveyor to arrive in the area in 1843, and by September 1, 1853, the ex-surveyor had turned grower. He purchased a remote lakefront parcel on what is currently Lake Gatlin.

Whitner expanded his Lake Gatlin landholdings the following March, and again in 1860, when his deeds totaled nearly 300 acres, all within a stone’s throw of old Fort Gatlin. In fact, Benjamin F. Whitner owned all of the land around Lake Gatlin but one corner. Attorney Joseph McRobert Baker “of Sumter County” owned that corner - 40 acres adjoining Whitner’s 300 acres. Fewer than a dozen families however lived within shouting distance of 1860 Fort Gatlin.


Will Wallace Harney wrote of historic Fort Gatlin in 1871. Harney referred to this area as Gatlin Hill (also the title of Chapter 10 of Will Wallace Harney, Orlando’s First Renaissance Man). He rode through the old fort on his “wiry grass-fed pony” while on his way to claim a homestead on Lake Conway. An entire decade later, Harney’s mother in law, Mary Ellen Randolph, purchased “the McBaker lot”, as she referred to the 40 acres in her Will.


1879 Sketch by Civil Engineer E. R. Trafford
Green Square is the parcel owned by Attorney J. McRobert Baker
Red Arrow shows 1860 trail to Fort Gatlin;
Blue arrow shows new 1879 direct railroad route

What happened then to the Honorable Joseph McRobert Baker? And what exactly did he and his neighbor, Ex-Surveyor Whitner, have planned for the site of old Fort Gatlin?

During the 1850s, Baker served three terms in Florida’s Senate representing the 19th District. A district then including Orange County, (you will hear more about the 19th District as this series continues), minutes of a December 22, 1858 Senate session record a motion that was submitted by “Mr. Baker of Sumter County”. The motion was “a bill to be entitled an Act to incorporate a company to be called Alachua & Columbia Railroad Company.

Attorney Baker, like most every 19th century central Floridian, was well-aware of the importance railroads were to have on the success or failure of central Florida settlements. Whitner, for example, began working on plans for an Orange County railroad in the 1850s, when he and Baker first acquired the land at Fort Gatlin.

Years later, as a friend of Will Wallace Harney during the 1870s, Whitner’s railroad plans resurfaced. The idea was for a railroad to run south from Lake Monroe to Tampa Bay. Sound familiar?
The railroad plan was to cross Whitner’s property, but by 1870 the ex-surveyor had recruited another lawyer. (You will meet the ‘other’ attorney in a February post).


America’s Civil War and Reconstruction Period interrupted Ben Whitner’s 1850’s railroad plan, and although he returned in 1870 to try again, the first train would not depart Sanford bound for Orlando until South Florida Railroad finally laid down track in 1880 (#Sunrail now follows the alignment first sketched by the county’s 19th century ‘Architect’. And yes, the railroad track of today crosses over a slice of land once owned by Benjamin F. Whitner).  

As for Attorney Joseph McRobert Baker, his fate was dictated by the Civil War. He enlisted in Pickett’s Florida Calvary at the start of the War and was at first part of a Home Guard unit. In 1864 however, he and too many other young Floridians found themselves at far off Richmond, Virginia. The Confederate Army was struggling to survive there, and Attorney Joseph McRobert Baker died there - January 24, 1864 - of injuries sustained in battle.

At the start of the Civil War, Joseph McRobert Baker’s portrait, shown at the beginning of this blog, hung above the fireplace of the Baker family residence. The Baker home was taken by Union troops during the War, and Baker family history tells us, that as the Union Army departed the home, a soldier stabbed Baker’s portrait with his sword - explaining the tear – easily visible in the vicinity of Joseph McRobert Baker’s heart.

Joseph McRobert Baker – together with whatever dream he had for Fort Gatlin – perished.

Next Friday, Cowboys & Lawyers continues with Attorney George Baird Hodge, the Brigadier General of #Longwood.


COWBOYS & LAWYERS WAS INSPIRED BY:

Chapter 6: Cowboys & Lawyers, Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man, by Richard Lee Cronin, published by Pine Castle Historical Society: “Author Cronin sets the stage for his Harney biography with little known facts about pioneer Florida, where he corrects history and then expands it 100 fold!” Pine Castle’s Pioneer Days, February 22 & 23 of 2020, will be celebrating the arrival – 150 years ago this year – of Will Wallace Harney, Pick up your authors’ signed copy of this book at Pioneer Days (Admission to Pioneer Days will be FREE this year).



And this series was also inspired by the Central Florida research of Richard Lee Cronin and his books: First Road to Orlando; Beyond Gatlin, A History of South Orange County; CitrusLAND: Curse of Florida’s Paradise; Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes; The Rutland Mule Matter; CitrusLAND: Ghost Towns & Phantom Trains.



VISIT CroninBooks.COM booth at Pine Castle Pioneer Days, February 22 & 23, 2019.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Cowboys & Lawyers: Part 1 - D. R. Mitchell


Cowboys & Lawyers: Part 1
Central Florida Attorneys of the 19th Century

A CroninBooks.com 2020 Blog Series adapted from

Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man


The Honorable Daniel Randolph Mitchell of #Tuskawilla

He established, in 1874, the town of Tuskawilla - on Lake Jesup’s southwest shore. Part of Orange County then, Seminole County now, many locals know his planned sprawling community as Mitchell Hammock. At times referred to as the Mitchell Grant, Attorney Daniel Randolph Mitchell, a resident of Rome, Georgia, acquired 8,133 acres of the original Moses Levy Spanish Land Grant at a time when fewer than 1,200 inhabitants called Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties home. Attorney Mitchell bought the land from Attorney Joseph J. Finegan of Fernandina, closing on the massive land acquisition on the 7th of October 1859.


Daniel Randolph Mitchell, (1803-1876)
Courtesy Kay Stafford at Find-A-Grave

Orange County was little more than pastureland in 1859, and horseback was the only means of personal transportation for those few who dared to live in central Florida's wilderness. News-Tribune of Rome, Georgia featured their own 19th century founding Mitchell family in an article dated December 5, 1971, saying of D. R. Mitchell’s Lake Jesup acquisition: “it was the most extensive venture of his life.” (At the time, it was one of the most extensive ventures in Orange County's life as well). The news article went on to say that Mitchell enjoyed the Florida climate and believed in the "county’s future.” But 18 months after closing on the Lake Jesup property, Civil War erupted.

The Mitchell family spent much of the War's duration, said The News-Tribune, in Florida. Federal troops had taken possession of their Georgia home, and used it as a hospital for convalescing Union troops. And even after the War, Daniel and his family lived part of the year at “Tuskawilla”, a post-War town Mitchell founded on Lake Jesup.


Plat of Tuskawilla, Orange County, Florida (1874)
Red Arrows show the Fort Mellon to Fort Gatlin Road, aka,
First Road to Orlando, Red Square is Town of Tuskawilla

Daniel R. Mitchell died at his Orange County home in 1876 at age 73. Two years before his death however, he witnessed his Tuskawilla property being subdivided into “lots ranging in size from five to 125 acres”. James W. Hicks, Mitchell’s son-in-law, surveyed the town in 1874. Planning for the town of Sanford, north of Mitchell’s property, was still in its infancy when Tuskawilla was filed at the Orange County seat in Orlando. Still a tiny village of only four acres, a year later, during the summer of 1875, Orlando would finally be incorporated as a city.

Tuskawilla of 1874 was 8,133 acres in size. Orlando was still only 4 acres, but would grow to be one square mile the following year.

Will Wallace Harney first arrived at Orange County in 1869. On his first journey from Lake Monroe to Orlando – 22 miles on the First Road to Orlando – he wrote of not seeing the first house or store after leaving Lake Monroe. Harney wrote in March of 1871 of a young Kentuckian, Michael McCardle, who died in an accidental shooting at Lake Jesup, while hunting “on the property of Mr. Mitchell".

The pen of Harney wrote again of Mitchell’s Lake Jesup land in February of 1873, recording for history that a young visionary, George C. Brantley, opened “Jessup (sic) Wharf. He gets a dozen miles closer to Orlando,” wrote Harney, “and his improvement there will give the Lake Conway region a port within a day’s travel.” Two years later, Harney wrote of George Brantley’s plan to build a railroad from Lake Jesup’s Tuskawilla to Orlando, a railroad that would then continue on toward the Gulf of Mexico.


Intersection today of Orange Avenue and Tuskawilla Road near Lake Jesup

Following the death of Daniel R. Mitchell in 1876, son in laws James W. Hicks and Dr. John H. Harris tried to continue development at Tuskawilla, but a re-alignment of the road to Orlando so as not to cross over Mitchell land, a Yellow Fever epidemic of 1887, and Florida’s Great Freeze of 1894-95, combined to be too much for even the best of developers. Hicks and Harris however became instrumental in developing Orlando and Sanford.    
    
Daniel R. Mitchell (1803-1876) was but one of dozens of 19th century Attorneys who took a special interest in establishing Florida’s emerging Citrus Belt. Lawyers on horseback – and "Circuit" Judges - were central Florida cowboys of the 1870s and 1880s. These Cowboys and Lawyers affected the lives of each of us who live, work and play in central Florida today.


Abandoned Tuskawilla Road to Lake Jesup Wharf


In the case of Daniel R. Mitchell, thousands who today travel Tuskawilla Road and or Mitchell Hammock Road, journey pathways first traveled via horseback - in 1859 - by a Georgia Attorney who believed in the future of central Florida. He truly was a visionary.

Part Two of ‘Cowboys and Lawyers’ will feature the Honorable Joseph McRoberts Baker of Jacksonville – a mystery Attorney of Orange and Sumter County - and a Gatlin Hill homesteader.


COWBOYS & LAWYERS WAS INSPIRED BY:

Chapter 6: Cowboys & Lawyers, Will Wallace Harney: Orlando’s First Renaissance Man, by Richard Lee Cronin, published by Pine Castle Historical Society: “Author Cronin sets the stage for his Harney biography with little known facts about pioneer Florida, where he corrects history and then expands it 100 fold!” Pine Castle's Pioneer Days, February 22 & 23 of 2020, will be celebrating the arrival - 150 years ago this year - of Will Wallace Harney. Pick up your author's signed copy of this book at Pioneer Days (Admission to Pioneer Days will be FREE this year.) 


And, this series was also inspired by the Central Florida research of Richard Lee Cronin and his books: First Road to Orlando; Beyond Gatlin, A History of South Orange County; CitrusLAND: Curse of Florida’s Paradise; Orlando Lakes: Homesteaders & Namesakes; The Rutland Mule Matter; CitrusLAND: Ghost Towns & Phantom Trains.



VISIT the CroninBooks.COM booth at Pine Castle Pioneer Days, February 22 & 23, 2019.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas


On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

TWELVE unforgettable central Florida frontierswomen;
ELEVEN West Orange County Ghost Towns;
The TEN original Altamonte homesteaders;
An intriguing story of Gatlin’s NINTH Senatorial District;
The EIGHT-Sided Castle plus the builder’s biography;
SEVEN Honorable Floridians;
SIX swans swimming in an Iconic misspelled lake;
FIVE Gold Star book reviews;
A FOUR acres gift that became a major city;
TRIPLET and other namesakes, 1 lake of 303;
SECOND Lake’s history – aka – Lake Monroe to thee;
And ONE Mule in an Orange tree – all by RLC.



Isaphoenia C. (Ellington) Speer owned more Orange County land in 1860 than most every male counterpart of her time. Sarah Jane (Church) Whitner partnered with Mary E. Randolph to open the first-ever free-standing hotel in present-day Orange, Osceola and Seminole County. That year was 1869! “CitrusLAND: Curse of Florida’s Pariadise” tells the history of the struggles of central Florida’s earliest settlers – men and women alike, and each of 12 chapters starts out with a dedication to one of the region’s very special 19th century frontierswomen.
A very special thanks to the Whitner family and Winter Garden Heritage Foundation for sharing the photos of Isaphoenia and Sarah.



Cronin Books are about the origins 
of this amazing place we call HOME

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from CitrusLANDFL

Monday, December 9, 2019

Yes Central Florida, there really is a SANTA CLAUS!




On the night before CHRISTMAS (1871), after crossing the Atlantic and arriving at New York Harbor, John Otto Fries came south to Mellonville, on Lake Monroe’s south shore, a mile east of present-day SANFORD. Early the next morning he joined four others by climbing aboard a buckboard wagon belonging to Mr. George Lewis. Fries described his carriage: “A horse and a mule, harnessed largely with bits of rope, and an old lumber wagon on whose bed several small boxes were nailed down, to furnish seats for his passengers.”

Leaving Lake Monroe at 9 AM on CHRISTMAS morning, his sleigh-ride followed a 30 years old sand rutted military trail, heading southbound. The travelers arrived as the first town – a small village named Orlando, after dark. Along the route, J. O. Fries said he saw only “one house and a little store building at #Maitland.” That would have been the home and store of Christopher Columbus Beasley, founder of Maitland.


Kena Fries, daughter of John Otto Fries
Author: Orlando of Long, Long Ago

A meticulous surveyor, John Otto Fries became witness to the birth of central Florida’s Citrus-Belt firsthand. He was dedicated to his craft, generating an abundance of detailed charts, maps and town plats. The most precious of gifts John Otto Fries left for Central Florida was a comprehensive 1890 Map of Orange County. Records produced by J. O. Fries provide a priceless visual story of the origins of Central Florida.

His likeness IS uncanny - and yes, CitrusLANDfl does believe in SANTA CLAUS!       

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas...


On the 11th day of Christmas, my true book gave to me:
ELEVEN Ghost Towns of 1890s West Orange County;
TEN homesteaders of 1882 Altamonte Springs;
An intriguing history of Gatlin’s NINTH District;
The EIGHT-Sided Castle plus the builder’s biography;
SEVEN Honorable Floridians;
SIX swans swimming in a misspelled Iconic lake;
FIVE Gold Star reviewed books:
A FOUR acres gift that became a city;
TRIPLET and other lake namesakes, a total of 303;
SECOND Lake’s story – aka – Lake Monroe to thee;
And A Mule – Isaac’s Rutland Mule – by RLC.



Orange Belt Railway opened West Orange County to development in the 1880s. Towns sprang up all along the railroad’s route, cities such as Sylvan Lake; Palm Springs; Forest City; Lakeville and others. Then came the freeze of 1894-95. Ride along with Edward T. Stotesbury of Philadelphia, PA soon after the freeze – and meet the real-life homesteaders who had become town builders as well as fruit growers. Most lost everything – including their town! “Citrusland: Ghost Towns & Phantom Trains is available at Winter Garden Heritage Foundation Museum and Amazon.com


Plats of Ghost Towns are included as Exhibits


HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM CITRUSLAND

Sunday, December 8, 2019

On the Tenth Day of Christmas


On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
The TEN homesteaders of 1882 Altamonte Springs;
An intriguing history of Gatlin’s NINTH District;
An EIGHT-Sided Castle plus the builder’s biography;
SEVEN Honorable Floridians;
SIX swans swimming in a misspelled Iconic lake;
FIVE Gold Star reviewed books:
How FOUR acres became a major city;
TRIPLET and other lake namesakes, 1 lake of 303;
SECOND Lake’s story – aka – Lake Monroe to thee;
And ONE Mule – Isaac’s Rutland Mule – by RLC.



After enjoying his 1882 Thanksgiving feast in downtown Orlando, Thomas C. Simpson, of Newburyport, MA, finalized the acquisition of 1,200 acres - buying ten homesteads north of Orlando in then Orange County. As Trustee, Simpson then signed over all ten parcels to the Altamonte Land, Hotel & Navigation Company of Boston, MA. These ten homesteads became the original town of Altamonte – or as known today – Altamonte Springs.



“Altamonte Springs of Florida”, buy it and each of RLC’s central Florida history books at Winter Garden Heritage Foundation’s museum or Amazon.com. For a last-minute rush order of signed books to gift this holiday season, email me at Rick@CroninBooks.com

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM CITRUSLAND