Copyright 1976, 2001, by Kyle S. VanLandingham



The original idea of publishing a book honoring the early families of the Kissimmee River Valley came from Mrs. Edna Pearce Lockett of Fort Basinger, Florida. This book is being published in con function with the Bicentennial Celebration and barbecue at the old Fort Basinger schoolhouse, Dec. 4, 1976. Mrs. Lockett, granddaughter of Capt. John M. Pearce, has graciously sponsored the printing of this book. Without her assistance neither this book nor the barbecue would have been possible.

For providing information on various pioneer families that appear in the book I wish to thank: Mrs. Bobbie LaMartin Wilson for material on the Chandler, LaMartin, Underhill, Raulerson, and Walker families; Mrs. Wanda Hamilton for information on the Hair, Padgett, McLaughlin, and Swain families; Mr. and Mrs. Richard McClelland for information on the McClelland and Waldron families and for showing me the Fort Kissimmee Cemetery; Mrs. Mary Wade Underhill for information on the Montes de Oca family; Mrs. Zetta Durrance Hunt for material on the Durrance family; Mr. W. S. Underhill for in formation on the Addison, Godwin, and Underhill families; and Mr. Frederick William Addison, age 95, for much background source material and information on the Addison and other families.

I wish to thank Mr. Richard Livingston of Fort Ogden, editor of the quarterly magazine "South Florida Pioneers," for his continued assistance in providing material on the pioneer families of this area.

My great-aunt. Mrs. Christine Alderman Durrance has given me a great deal of information on the pioneer days in the Basinger area. Also, my late grandmother, Dollie Parker Alderman, originally prompted my interest in genealogy and the history of this area. Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my parents, Pierre and Ernestine Alderman VanLandingham for their continued help and encouragement of my research.

Kyle S. VanLandingham

September, 1976












In the early part of the nineteenth century the Seminole Indians were the inhabitants of the lower Kissimmee River Valley. During the Second Seminole War, in December, 1837, Col. Zachary Taylor, leading a force of 1100 men, marched east from Fort Brooke (Tampa), and established Fort Gardiner at the north end of Lake Kissimmee. He then headed south on the west side of the Kissimmee River until he arrived at a low sand hill on the bank of the stream. Here, on December 22, 1837, Fort Basinger was established, named in honor of Lt. William E. Basinger of Georgia, who had been among those killed in the Dade Massacre of 1835. A stockade constructed of pine logs was built by Capt. John Munroe’s company. On the northeast and southwest corners a blockhouse and lookout were erected.

Col. Taylor crossed the river on December 24 heading southeast to Lake Okeechobee where, on December 25, the Battle of Okeechobee was fought. After the battle, Taylor returned with his troops to Fort Basinger. The fort remained in operation for several months thereafter but the war dragged on until 1842.

In 1849 another Indian war appeared to be brewing. In the Peas Creek area George Payne and Dempsey Whidden were killed by Indians at Payne’s trading post; while on the east coast, near Fort Pierce, a trader was killed by the Indians. A general war was averted when Billy Bowlegs II turned over to Capt. Casey at Fort Brooke the renegades he said were responsible for the disturbance. At this time, Gen. Twiggs opened the first trail across the state from Fort Brooke to Fort Capron. Along the trail, a number of forts were established, including Fort Arbuckle, Fort Kissimmee, and Fort Drum. Fort Drum was deactivated May 28, 1850. The Third Seminole War erupted in late 1855 and Fort Basinger and Fort Drum were once again garrisoned by troops. Not until 1860 were the forts abandoned for the last time.

At the close of the Third Seminole War, white settlers began to move into the lower Kissimmee River Valley. West of the river was the vast range land known as Kissimmee Island. The "island’ was bounded on the north by Lake Kissimmee, on the east by Kissimmee River, on the south by Lake lstokpoga, and on the west by Lake Arbuckle and Arbuckle Creek. In 1858 William Henry Willingham sold his cattle and land in the Alafia River section and moved to Kissimmee Island, settling near Chloroform Branch, later known as Willingham Branch, near Lake Arbuckle. About the same time, his brother-in-law, Joseph Underhill, and nephew William Underhill, moved into the same area. All were engaged in the cattle business. It was an isolated frontier, the pioneers having to travel as far as Fort Capron, on the east coast, to obtain supplies of salt. At that time, Brevard County included all of the territory lying east of the Kissimmee River. Living in Brevard County in 1860 were William Shiver, Elijah Padgett, and his son James Tippen Padgett.

During the Civil War, cattle were driven through the valley on their way north to the Confederate armies. In the 1860’s Arthur and Thomas Daughtrey, brothers from Tennessee, moved into the Kissimmee River Valley. Thomas Daughtrey had a landing a little north of Fort Basinger on the river during the early 1870’s. In 1882, Thomas was living about five miles south of Fort Basinger on the river. By 1885, Arthur and Thomas Daughtrey had moved from the valley to the Zolfo-Crewsville area.

Thomas Daughtrey

By 1870, the Parker family was grazing cattle in the Kissimmee River Valley. Three brothers, John, Streaty, and Henry Parker ranged their herds as far east as the St. John’s River Marsh. Isaac Mills Lanier, Sr. moved into the Brevard County area, east of the Kissimmee River, about 1870.

In 1874, Noel Rabun Raulerson, Sr. of Bartow moved to Basinger. He was followed there in 1876 by his son, Noel Rabun, Jr. The elder Raulerson returned to Polk County about 1890 but several of his sons remained in the Basinger area.

In 1875, John Mizell Pearce settled on the west side of the Kissimmee River, near the site of the old Fort Basinger. Here he built a log house and operated an extensive cattle business. Pearce served for a number of years as the only law enforcement officer in the area and also operated a ferry across the river.

During the late 1870’s, Shadrach M. Chandler and his son-in-law, William Underhill, moved into the Basinger area. Other settlers living in or near Basinger from 1880 until about 1910 were: Robert LaMartin, Edward Whidden, James Whidden, Eli Morgan, William Alderman, Jeremiah Walker, Hiram James Moody, John Thomas, Uriah Raiford Durrance, William T. Addison, Joseph Henry Peeples, Sr., Arnold Carter, George Mann, John Lofton, Jasper Jernigan, Alfred Campbell, William Hilliard, Thomas Hilliard, Frances E. "Kid Daniels" Daigneau, Jackson Scarborough, James Daughtry, Joseph Guy, James Prescott, and the Sparkman family.

About twenty miles east of Basinger was the Fort Drum settlement. Henry L. Parker permanently settled there about 1881 and opened up a general store and trading post. Other pioneers in the Fort Drum area were: Henry A. Holmes, Rev. Joel Swain, Streaty A. Hair, Sr., John McLaughlin, Asbury Sellers, Tippin Padgett, Bill Beecher, Robert Anderson, David L. Roberts, Robert LaMartin, and Milton Lee.

North of Fort Drum, about twenty-five miles, was the Whittier settlement. Nearby, at Lake Marian, was the community of Lake View, which served as county seat of Brevard County during the late 1870’s. Pioneer settlers in the Whittier-Lake View area were: Hamp Jernigan, Readding Parker, Abner Johnson, Archibald Bass, Abner J. Wright, William Shiver, Albert Arnold, J. H. Tumblin, and John Baisden.

On the Kissimmee River, north of Fort Basinger, was the settlement of Fort Kissimmee. Pioneers in this area were Dock Boney, Joseph McClelland, Lewis Thomas, Finley Collier, the Huckabys, the Rhymes, and the Tomlinsons.

North of Fort Kissimmee, just above the Polk County line lived Aaron Elijah Godwin at Rattlesnake Hammock. Further north, at Grape Hammock, was the home of John Montes de Oca.

The steamboats which plied the Kissimmee River during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s were an important link to the outside world for the pioneers of the Kissimmee River Valley. The most famous of the boat captains was Clay Johnson, who came from New Orleans in 1883. He bought a boat called the Cincinnati and changed its name to Roseada, after his two daughters. Capt. George Steffee, Johnson’s son-in-law, operated the Roseada until 1928 when it was destroyed by a hurricane.



The first of the Addison family to settle in South Florida was John Addison, who brought his family to Hillsborough County in the late 1840’s. They settled in the area that was later to become Manatee County. John’s eldest son was William Henderson Addison, born 1823, in Bladen County, North Carolina. William married Annie Townsend in Leon County, Florida, Jan. 7,1847. William H. Addison served in the Third Seminole War in south Florida, enlisting in the company commanded by his father in 1856.

William Henderson Addison and his wife Annie (Townsend) Addison had seven children. Their eldest son was John Hugh Addison, born Sept. 6,1849. Their second child was William Townsend Addison, born Oct. 12, 1852. Both sons became pioneers in the Kissimmee River Valley.

William H. Addison died in DeSoto County. His wife died in 1903.

John Hugh Addison, son of William H. and Annie (Townsend) Addison, moved to Brevard County when a young man and married Caledonia Hendry, daughter of Archibald and Mary (Clardy) Hendry. Caledonia was born March 30, 1865 in Polk County and had moved with her parents to Brevard County about 1872. John Hugh and Caledonia (Hendry) Addison had the following children:

    1. Frederick William Addison, born Nov. 12, 1880.
    2. Plennie Paul Addison, born 1882.
    3. Thomas Call Addison, born 1888.
    4. John Hugh Addison, Jr., born Jan. 18, 1897.

John Hugh Addison and family first resided near Fort Pierce at the forks of Five and Ten Mile Creeks. Later they moved to the Allapatah Flats area and set up a home, about 15 miles northeast of present-day Okeechobee. The place was known as Addison after Western Union put a line through there but was later changed to Bluefield. Mr. Addison raised cattle and hogs. He became ill while still a young man and traveled north in search of medical help. He died in New York City in 1896.

William Townsend Addison, brother of John Hugh Addison, was married to Harriet (Godwin) Hilliard, Dec. 30, 1877, in Polk County. She was a daughter of Solomon and Mariah Godwin and was born Jan. 20, 1855. Harriet first married William Hilliard on March 16, 1869 but he died Dec. 25, 1872. She then married Joel Collins, Feb. 18, 1873 but soon after divorced him. The children of William Townsend and Harriet (Godwin) Addison were:

    1. Ziba King Addison, born Oct. 1878; died May 15 1927; married Elizabeth Howell, Aug. 18, 1907.
    2. Helen Josephine Addison, born Nov. 1881; died Feb. 1, 1940; married Walter James Pearce.
    3. Annie Addison, born March 27, 1884; died May 9, 1929.
    4. Winnie Pauline Addison, born Aug. 3, 1887; died March 22, 1971.
    5. Blanche Marie Addison, born Oct. 3, 1888; d. Aug. 12, 1939.

William Townsend Addison was a pioneer in the Basinger settlement, moving there in the 1880’s. He died March 20, 1908, and is buried in the Basinger Cemetery. After his death Harriet moved to Fort Meade to live with her daughter Blanche Durrance and died there April 9,1933. She is buried in the Fort Meade Cemetery.



The founder of the Alderman family in the lower Kissimmee River valley was William Alderman. He was born June 25, 1838, in Thomas County, Georgia, son of James and Roxie Ann (Holloway) Alderman. He moved with parents to Hilisborough County about 1850 and settled in the Alafia River section. On Sept. 25, 1860, William Alderman was married to Mary Ann Moody, daughter of Benjamin and Nancy (Hooker) Moody. She died shortly thereafter and there were no children by this marriage.

William then moved to Manatee County where on March 16, 1863, he was married to Martha Jane Hollingsworth, daughter of John Henry and Ann Elizabeth (Hooker) Hollingsworth. She was born February 12, 1847, in Hillsborough County. William and Martha Jane (Hollingsworth) Alderman had the following children:

    1. David Lee Alderman, born June 18, 1864; died Nov. 26, 1932; married 1st —Lula Effie Morgan, Oct. 1, 1884; 2nd —Mrs. Letitia C. Dishong, Dec. 23, 1906; 3rd — Lila Harrison, Jan. 20, 1919.
    2. Robert Henry Alderman, born Nov. 1,1866; died 1932; married 1st —Laura (Pearce) Gillispie, Aug. 19, 1888; 2nd—Bessie Walker, Nov. 16, 1911.
    3. Thomas Francis Alderman, born Nov. 10, 1868; died April 4, 1946; married Frances Louise Seward, Nov. 1,1888.
    4. William Michael Alderman, born April 22, 1871; died Nov. 30, 1956; married Lena Walker, Feb. 20, 1893.
    5. John Edward Alderman, born July 2,1875; died July 19, 1964; married Mary E. Walker, Jan. 12, 1898.
    6. Burgess Elliott "Teet" Alderman, born Aug. 6,1877; died March 15, 1967; married Dollie Lee Parker, March 24, 1901.
    7. Joseph Theodore Alderman, born Feb. 20, 1882; died Dec. 26, 1964; married Martha Lena Walker, March 30, 1913.
    8. Christine Alderman, born April 22, 1885; married James Uriah Durrance, Feb. 20, 1903.

William Alderman became an active and wealthy cattleman in Manatee County. On March 16, 1863 he registered the brands [Brand 0] and [Brand 1]. His wife registered the brand [Brand 2] on Oct. 10, 1863. During the Civil War William Alderman was a member of Capt. John T. Lesley’s Company B, Fla. Special Cavalry, C.S.A. Nevertheless, he was a Union sympathizer and provided cattle and deer to the Union garrison at Fort Myers.

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For a number of years, William and his family resided at Fort Ogden, but prior to 1877 they moved to Pine Level where he opened a ten room hotel. William also planted extensive orange groves and continued his cattle operation. About 1880 he moved his family over to the Basinger area but remained for only a short time, returning to Pine Level. In 1888 William and his family moved to Basinger, this time permanently, settling on the east side of the Kissimmee River at Micco Bluff, about 8 miles north of the Basinger settlement. Osceola County brand records show that William registered the brands [Brand 3], [Brand 4], [Brand 5] and [Brand 11] on July 30, 1889. On March 24, 1890 he registered the W brand, [Brand 12].

During the 1880’s William and Martha Jane Alderman were divorced and he married Mary Thomas. They had three children: Elm Bruce, Beulah Virginia, and James Finis. On January 30, 1893, William Alderman died at Basinger. In 1895, Martha Jane Alderman and her four youngest children moved to Basinger. Martha Jane (Hollingsworth) Alderman died there Dec. 25, 1929.



The founder of the Bass family in the Kissimmee River Valley was Joseph Everett Bass. He was born Feb. 11, 1811, in Sampson County, North Carolina, a son of Everett Bass. J. E. Bass moved to Georgia in 1829, settling in Sumter County. He returned to North Carolina during the late 1830’s where he married Christine Cameron. They then moved back to Georgia and had six children. Mrs. Bass died during the Civil War, and J. E. married Amanda (Johnson) Spikes. Four children were born to this marriage.

Mr. Bass moved in 1848 to Irwin County and in 1859 to Clinch County. In 1872 he moved to Orlando, Florida, and served as Deputy Sheriff of Orange County for four years. About 1880 he moved to Tampa, Fla., where he died Aug. 25, 1897.

Among J. E. Bass’s sons by his first marriage were Archibald C. Bass and Thomas A. Bass. Thomas served as first Sheriff of Osceola County when it was created in 1887.

Archibald C. Bass, son of J. E. and Christine (Cameron) Bass, was born July 6,1843. He married Ann Victoria Brack, daughter of John Brack, on Aug. 29, 1865. She was born Nov. 5,1849. Archibald and Ann Victoria (Brack) Bass had the following children:

    1. Augustine "Gussie" L. Bass, born Sept. 16, 1866; married Minnie Johns, Jan. 25, 1892.
    2. Rosa Bell Bass, born Oct. 15, 1868; married Mose Tindall.
    3. Quinn J. Bass, born Sept. 29, 1870; died July 9,1952; married Callie Ham.
    4. Oliver Rudolph Bass, born May 5,1872; died 1950; married Rebecca Nettles, June 10, 1894.
    5. Oscar J. Bass, born Oct. 27, 1875; died May 21, 1900.
    6. Lee L. Bass, born Dec. 28, 1878; married Lena McClelland.
    7. Alice Bass, born Dec. 24, 1885; married Julian Montesdeoca.
    8. Grant Bass, born Oct. 20, 1887; married Leatie Baisden.
    9. Nat P. Bass, born March 9,1890; died March 12, 1972; married Mattie Baisden.
    10. Iva M. Bass, born April 12, 1894; married Rudy Ashton.

Archibald "Arch" Bass moved to South Florida with his father in 1872 and soon moved to the Whittier settlement in Brevard, now Osceola County. There he was engaged in the cattle business and operated a general store. He died Feb. 21, 1909. Ann Victoria (Brack) Bass died Jan. 14,1941. Both are buried in the Keenansville Cemetery.



David J. W. Boney was born about 1815 in North Carolina. He moved to Hillsborough County, Florida, during the early 1840’s and married Lydia Whidden, daughter of Maxfield and Sophia (Crews) Whidden, Oct. 8,1846. They had only two children: Cornelius and Sophia.

Cornelius M. Boney, son of David J. W. and Lydia (Whidden) Boney, was born about 1849. Cornelius was known as Dock Boney. He married Martha Jane McClelland, daughter of Moses and Sarah (Platt) McClelland, Jan. 7, 1869, in Manatee County. She was born in Hillsborough County about 1851. The children of Cornelius Dock Boney and Martha Jane (McClelland) Boney were:

    1. Jody Boney, born about 1870.
    2. Martha Jane Boney, born Aug. 2, 1871; married James Prescott.
    3. Andrew M. Boney, born about 1872; died Jan. 10, 1964.
    4. David Boney, born about 1874.
    5. George Boney, born March 26, 1877; died Feb. 4,1974.
    6. Cornelius Boney, born about 1879.
    7. Zill Boney
    8. Archie Boney
    9. Joanna Boney, married - - - -Bryan.
    10. Sarah Boney, married Mose Tomlinson.
    11. Effie Boney

Dock Boney was an early settler at Fort Kissimmee. He and his wife are buried in the old cemetery there as are several of their children.



Arnold Carter and his wife Eliza (Ellerbe) Carter settled on the west side of the Kissimmee River near Fort Basinger about 1890. They had the following children:

    1. James Sandlin Carter, married Isabelle
    2. John Marion Carter, born Aug. 16, 1877; died May 19, 1971; married Sarah Jane Lowe. She was born Jan. 20, 1884; died Jan. 30, 1920.

Prior to moving to the Kissimmee River Valley the Carters lived at Tampa, Hillsborough County.



Shadrach Meschack Chandler was born Dec. 23, 1824 in Mississippi. He moved to Louisiana and married Adeline Tucker, daughter of Beza and Mary (Kinchen) Tucker. She was born Dec. 7,1828 in Louisiana.

Shadrach Chandler and his family resided at Livingston Parish, Louisiana, where he worked as a lumber cutter. About 1859 the family left Louisiana and traveled across the Gulf of Mexico on a sailboat to Hillsborough County, Florida, where they settled at Fort Meade. There Shadrach and his family are shown on the 1860 census with Shadrach owning $500 worth of real estate and $350 worth of personal property.

Shadrach Chandler was an experienced ox-team driver in the Peace River area. When the Civil War began he enlisted in Company K, 8th Florida Infantry, joining Sept. 15, 1861 at Tampa. With the war’s end in 1865, he was discharged at Fort Meade. During the late 1870’s, Shadrach Chandler and family moved into the lower Kissimmee River Valley, settling at Basinger. For a number of years he operated a general merchandise store at Basinger.

After the great hurricane of 1878 had swept through the valley, the area was underwater, the river having grown several miles wide. Transportation was impossible except by boat. Albert DeVane told the following story:

Shadrach Chandler had for years been known as one of the greatest ox drivers or bull whackers in Florida. In fact he got so good with the 10-foot handle bull whip that he could "but" a horse fly perched on an oxen’s back and never touch a hair. After a week or more of the flooded condition his groceries began to get low. Looking across the river and prairie he turned and said:

"Son, go get that boat tied to the lot gate, bring it to the front porch. We are going to Fort Ogden and get some groceries." Away they went down the river, edging along the outside until they came to Rainey Slough, up the slough to the switch grass marsh, down the marsh to Myrtle Slough, passing Telegraph Station, on to Shell Creek, down Shell Creek to Peace River, up the river to Judge Ziba King’s general store. After loading his boat with groceries, the return trip began. It took him one week to make the trip.

Shadrach and Adeline (Tucker) Chandler had the following children:

    1. Samantha Chandler, born Feb. 2, 1846; died Dec. 24, 1935; married William Underhill, April 25, 1865.
    2. Licentia Chandler, born Feb. 10, 1848; married Peyton S. Pearce, Feb. 2,1868.
    3. Willis Wells Chandler, born Feb. 13, 1850; died Oct. 17, 1930; married Ada K. Roberts, Oct. 22, 1876.
    4. Caroline Chandler, born Jan. 3, 1854; married J. W. Gant, Dec. 20, 1874.
    5. Horace Chandler, born Jan. 17, 1856; died Nov. 28, 1867.
    6. William S. Chandler, born May 21, 1857; died Aug. 24, 1902; married Ellen Williams, Oct. 1881.
    7. Louisiana Chandler, born March 6,1861; died Nov. 29, 1948; married Peter Raulerson, Oct. 17, 1877.
    8. Allen Luther Chandler, born Nov. 29, 1863; married Maude E. Snell, July 4, 1894.
    9. Charles L. Chandler, born Aug. 3,1866; died Jan. 11, 1922; married Ida Raulerson, Aug. 19, 1891.
    10. Annie Lucy Chandler, born April 5,1869; married Paul Gibson, June 1,1891.

Shadrach M. Chandler died at Basinger, April 16, 1898. Adeline (Tucker) Chandler died there June 29, 1906. Both are buried in the Basinger Cemetery.



Uriah Raiford Durrance, a son of David Jackson and Elizabeth Durrance, was born in Early County, Georgia, Feb. 1, 1838.

As a young man, Raiford Durrance came to south Florida, settling in Hillsborough County, where he married Martha Jane Hancock, a daughter of Jordan and Martha (Baker) Hancock, Oct. 14, 1859.

Uriah Raiford and Martha Jane (Hancock) Durrance had the following children:

    1. Jane Adeline Durrance, born ca. 1861; married Benjamin Jackson Parrish, Dec. 20, 1876.
    2. Mary Frances Durrance, born 1863; married lsiah Williams.
    3. Louisa Durrance, born Jan. 1, 1866; married Hiram Prescott.
    4. Eliza Durrance, born 1868; married Sam Albritton.
    5. Clementine Durrance, born Oct. 12, 1869; died April 16, 1948; married James M. (Rowan) Williams.
    6. Candacy Durrance, born 1871; married Kit L. Mahon.
    7. James Uriah Durrance, born Oct. 3,1873; died Nov. 5,1965; married Christine Alderman, Feb. 20, 1903.
    8. David J. Durrance, married Missouri Hair.
    9. George Washington Durrance, born 1878; married Susan Mahon.
    10. Dock Durrance, married Effie Collier.
    11. Martha Serena Durrance, married Ceylon Joseph Carlton.

During the Civil War, Uriah Raiford Durrance served in Company E, Seventh Florida Infantry, "South Florida Bulldogs," enlisting April 10, 1862.

Upon returning to South Florida after the war, U. R. Durrance constructed the first jail in Polk County 1868.

Martha Jane (Hancock) Durrance died Sept. 1, 1885 and was buried in the Mount Olive Cemetery at Bradley Junction, Polk County.

Uriah Raiford Durrance and family then moved to DeSoto County where he married Lucy (DeVane) Townsend, March 16, 1888. They had the following children:

    1. Marion Francis Durrance, married Caroline Padgett.
    2. Thomas J. Durrance, born Feb. 16, 1891; died Jan. 17, 1917; married Edna Collier.
    3. Raiford M. Durrance, born 1893; died 1972; married Susie Tyson.
    4. Eula Lee Durrance, born 1895; died April 19, 1969; married John B. Storman.
    5. Ruby Durrance, born July 7,1898; died Sept. 27, 1930; married Joseph H. Tripp.

Uriah Raiford Durrance was a cattleman and he grazed his cows throughout the Kissimmee River Valley during the late 1800’s. He moved to Basinger about the turn of the century. U. R. Durrance died in Sebring, Florida, Dec. 1,1917, and was buried there.



The first of the Godwin family in south Florida was Solomon Godwin, born Nov. 30, 1817, who came from Georgia and settled in Hillsborough County during the 1850’s. His wife, Mariah Godwin, was born in Florida, July 18, 1826.

Solomon and Mariah Godwin had the following children: Susan, who married Jesse McClelland; Mary, who married William Raulerson; Aaron Elijah, who married Julia Ann Guy; Thomas J., who married Virginia Collins; Jacob, who married 1st—Ann Jane Waters, 2nd —Sarah E. Williams; Lydia, who married Perry Collins; Harriet, who married 1st—William Hilliard, 2nd—Joel Collins, 3rd—William T. Addison; John E., who married Elizabeth Sullivan; and Lewis, who married Josephine Montes de Oca.

Mariah Godwin died in 1863 and on April 26, 1866, Solomon was married to Mary Ann Hinson. There were several children born to this marriage. Solomon Godwin died in Polk County, July 3,1880 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Meade.

Aaron Elijah Godwin, son of Solomon and Mariah Godwin, was born Feb. 22, 1846. He married, Dec. 9,1865, to Julia Ann Guy, daughter of Benjamin and Mary Polly (Underhill) Guy. She was born Jan. 17, 1842 and moved with her parents to Hillsborough County about 1848.

Aaron Elijah and Julia Ann (Guy) Godwin had the following children:

    1. Mary Godwin, born April 22, 1867; died 1867.
    2. Marion Allen Godwin, born March 2,1869; died Feb. 11, 1934; married Letitia Nevins, Dec. 15, 1895.
    3. Henry Evert Godwin, born Sept. 26, 1871; died July 4, 1954; married Jeane Frazier, Sept. 3, 1893.
    4. William Riley Godwin, born April 26, 1875; died July 6,1943; married Dora Montes de Oca, March 30, 1899.
    5. Claten Godwin, born July 5,1878; died July 10, 1880.
    6. Alpa Benjamin Godwin, born April 19, 1880; died Feb. 20, 1957; married Lessie Lee Hollingsworth, Nov. 8, 1908.
    7. Leola Godwin, born Aug. 25, 1882; died Jan. 27, 1967; married Charles Millard Hart, Dec. 8,1901.
    8. Viola Godwin, born Nov. 20, 1884; died June 27, 1961; married DeWilton Alderman, Dec. 23, 1912.

Aaron Elijah Godwin was an early settler on the Kissimmee River, residing at Rattlesnake Hammock, Polk County. His son, William Riley Godwin, established his home at nearby Camp Hammock. Riley God-win and family later moved to Whittier so his children could attend school. Aaron Elijah Godwin died July 30, 1914. Julia Ann (Guy) Godwin died Aug. 22, 1932. Both are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Fort Meade.

Thomas J. Godwin, son of Solomon and Mariah Godwin, was born about 1849. He married Virginia Collins, Jan. 27, 1870. They had the following children: Dallas; Lawrence; Lewis; Mellie, born 1878, married Finley C. Collier; Jennie; Isbon; and Dillon.

John E. Godwin, son of Solomon and Mariah Godwin, was born about 1859. He married Elizabeth Sullivan, April 3,1887. They had the following children: Rosa, married --- Collins; M. A.; Owen; and Charles.



As early as 1830, William Hair, Sr. was living in Alachua, now Columbia County, Florida. He had several children, including a son, William Calvin Hair, Jr.

William Calvin Hair, Jr. married Sarah Jane Parker in Columbia County about 1835 and they had six children, their fifth child being Streaty Ashford Hair, born Feb. 1847. William Calvin Hair and family moved to Manatee County, Florida during the late 1850’s. During the Civil War, Streaty A. Hair enlisted in the Union army at Fort Myers, May 22, 1864, in Company B of the 2nd Florida U.S. Cavalry. He was mustered out of service at Tallahassee, Nov. 29, 1865.

On Aug. 27, 1866, in Manatee County, Streaty Ashford Hair was married to Lydia Bea Crews, daughter of Dempsey DuBois and Piety (Collier) Crews. She was born March 16, 1849 in Columbia County and moved with her parents to Manatee County about 1858.

Streaty and Lydia (Crews) Hair had the following children:

    1. Piety Virginia Hair, born Sept. 18, 1874; died Jan. 19, 1950; married Thomas Manning Swain, Dec. 23, 1897.
    2. Thomas Guilford Hair, born Oct. 17, 1876; died Nov. 21, 1951; married Montague Adeline Willis, Dec. 23, 1897.
    3. H. Hair, born Nov. 1878; died 1885.
    4. W. Hair, born Dec. 20, 1880; died 1888.
    5. Streaty Ashford Hair, Jr., born Jan. 8,1882; died July, 1968; married Ella Padgett.
    6. 5. A. Hair (female), born Feb. 7,1885; died 1888.
    7. Sophia Hair, born July 16,1887; married John J. McLaughlin, Jr.
    8. General William Hair, born Nov. 22, 1891; died Aug. 9,1968; married Frances Irene Padgett, June, 1925.

Streaty Ashford Hair, Sr. and family moved to Brevard County during the early 1880’s, settling at Fort Drum. Mr. Hair’s uncle, Henry L. Parker, operated a general store there. Streaty Hair was a rancher and farmer and lived in Fort Drum until his death Feb. 23, 1908. Lydia (Crews) Hair died there April 26, 1920. Both are buried in the Fort Drum Cemetery.



Henry Allen Holmes, son of Nathan and Elizabeth Matilda (Brinkley) Holmes, was born in Columbia County, Florida, Nov. 9, 1856. Henry’s father died shortly thereafter and Elizabeth married Henry L. Parker (see Parker family).

About 1870, Henry A. Holmes, along with his mother and stepfather, moved to Brevard County, Florida. On October 24, 1875, Henry Holmes was married to Joanna Josephine Morgan, daughter of Ephraim and Mary (Parker) Morgan. Joanna was a niece of Henry L. Parker. She was born in Levy County, Florida, March 6,1853. Her father died in 1859 and she moved to south Florida with her mother and brothers and sisters, prior to 1870.

Henry Allen and Joanna (Morgan) Holmes had the following children:

    1. Elizabeth Matilda Holmes, born Aug. 23 1876; died 1922; married David L. Roberts.
    2. Harley D. Holmes, born June 26 1878; died March 22, 1954; married 1st— Maude Roper; 2nd — Della Brown.
    3. Redocious Dozier "Doshe" Holmes, born Dec. 2, 1879; died 1958; married Grace Chandler.
    4. Henry C. Holmes, born Oct. 31, 1881.
    5. Mary Eva Holmes, born Nov. 9, 1883; married Edward Hendrix.
    6. Dorah Holmes, born Dec. 2,1885; died Dec. 22, 1887.
    7. Josie Esther Holmes, born Sept. 1888; died June 17, 1936; married Benjamin Alexander Brown.
    8. Nathan Holmes, born Aug. 12, 1891; married Mary Stracke, Jan. 18, 1914.
    9. Minor Stanley Holmes, born Nov. 1, 1893; died June 2, 1957; married Martha Swain.

Henry Allen Holmes was a pioneer at Fort Drum, settling there about 1880, where he was a prominent cattleman. On Feb. 21, 1894, Joanna (Morgan) Holmes died and was buried in the Fort Drum Cemetery.

On May 18, 1895, in Osceola County, Florida, Henry Allen Holmes was married to Caroline Ursula Roberts, daughter of Albert Galeton and Ann (Mizell) Roberts. She was born at Ft. Christmas, Orange County, Feb. 20, 1867. Carrie’s grandfather, David Mizell, was one of the original pioneer settlers of Orange County.

Henry Allen and Caroline "Carrie"(Roberts) Holmes had the following children:

    1. Ada Holmes, born April 28, 1896; died Jan. 26, 1897.
    2. Virgie Holmes, born Oct. 1899; married 1st—Ralph Cain; 2nd
    3. Frank Bradley.
    4. Adeline ‘Addie’ Holmes, born 1901; married Lindsey Ford Emerson, Oct. 2,1921.
    5. Ruth Holmes, born 1903; married 1st— Edward Sumner; 2nd — Victor Reiff.
    6. Hazel Holmes, born 1910; married 1st—Ted Miller; 2nd— Sidney Webb.

In 1908, Henry Holmes and family moved to Fort Pierce. They built a two-story home on the corner of Boston Avenue and 7th Street. Mr. Holmes died Aug. 26, 1927. Carrie (Roberts) Holmes lived to be one hundred years of age, dying Oct. 20, 1967. Both are buried in Fort Drum Cemetery.



Robert LaMartin was born in South Carolina, Sept. 4, 1851. As a young man he moved to South Florida, settling at Basinger during the late 1870’s. On April 7, 1886, Robert LaMartin was married to Mary Evelyn Raulerson, granddaughter of Noel Rabun Raulerson, Sr. She was born July 27, 1869. They had the following children:

    1. Claire LaMartin, born Oct. 6,1886; died Jan. 1969; married Andrew A. Loll.
    2. Embry LaMartin, born April 6,1888; married Katherine Swinkle.
    3. Esther LaMartin, born Dec. 22, 1889; married John Hardy Walker.
    4. John Henry LaMartin, born April 29, 1891; Oct. 11, 1918.
    5. May Ruth LaMartin, born May 26, 1893; died March 30, 1936; married Frank Schmolke.
    6. Olive LaMartin, born July 15, 1894; died Nov. 24, 1918; married 1st — Fred Irvin; 2nd — Claude Pearce.
    7. Dora LaMartin, born April 21, 1895; died 1926/28.
    8. Samuel LaMartin, born Sept. 7,1897; died Sept. 8,1897.
    9. Myra Belle LaMartin, born March 24, 1899; died March 19,1920; married ---- Saunders.
    10. Robert Lee LaMartin, born Feb. 16, 1901; married Wilma Lorena Walker, Feb. 23, 1935.
    11. Leona LaMartin, born June 4, 1902; married 1st—George Smetak; 2nd — Logan Roane.
    12. Elvin LaMartin, born Jan. 16, 1905.

Robert LaMartin was a well educated man who served as school teacher at Fort Drum during the late 1880’s. In 1893 or 1894 he returned to Basinger. During the late 1890’s and early 1900’s he served as a Notary Public in the Basinger area and performed many marriage ceremonies. He also wrote articles for the Kissimmee Valley Gazette.

Robert LaMartin died May 25, 1904 at Kissimmee. Mary (Raulerson) LaMartin married a Mr. McClenithan. She died Nov. 10, 1911 and was buried in the Basinger Cemetery.



Isaac Mills Lanier, a son of Hardy and Melintha (Mills) Lanier, was born in Georgia, Sept. 19, 1811. As a boy he moved with his parents to Alachua County, Florida, settling there prior to 1820. On Aug. 29, 1832, at Paines Prairie he was married to Mary Catherine Watson, who had been born in Georgia, June 3, 1816.

Isaac Mills and Mary Catherine (Watson) Lanier had the following children:

    1. Willoughby H. Lanier, born May 5, 1836; died before 1850.
    2. John Gaines Lanier, born June 1,1838; died April 11, 1880; married Mary Bonita Rushing, Nov. 8,1860.
    3. Eliza Ann Lanier, born Jan. 7,1841.
    4. Clement H. Lanier, born March 6,1843.
    5. Lambert H. Lanier, born May 13, 1845.
    6. Melintha Lanier, born April 8,1847.
    7. James Hodges Lanier, born June 13, 1849; married Mary P.
    8. Tabitha Lanier, born Feb. 8,1851.
    9. Robert Hodges Lanier, born Sept. 28, 1852; married Mary Crete Nettles (1st cousin once removed), Sept. 24, 1882.
    10. Isaac Mills Lanier, Jr., born Sept. 14, 1854; April 3, 1936; married Keziah Elizabeth Mills.
    11. Hardy Mills Lanier, born April 17, 1857; married Elizabeth Bryant.
    12. Mary Catherine Lanier, born Oct. 30, 1859; died Oct. 1950; married Daniel J. Sumner.

Isaac M. Lanier and family resided in Alachua County until about 1849 when they moved to Hernando County. About 1870 the Laniers moved into the Kissimmee River Valley, settling east of the river in Brevard County. Isaac Lanier was a prominent cattleman in the Basinger area as were his sons "Lamb" and Hardy. Hardy Lanier’s son Mose also continued in the cattle business.

Isaac Mills Lanier died May 29, 1892. Besides Isaac, Sr. and Isaac, Jr. there was another Isaac Mills Lanier who lived near Kissimmee. He was a nephew of Isaac M. Lanier, Sr.

Another nephew of Isaac Lanier, Sr. was William Willis Nettles, the son of Isaac’s sister, Nancy (Lanier) Nettles. Mr. Nettles was living in Brevard County in 1880.



The Lykes family has for over a century been among the leaders of the cattle industry in Florida. Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes was born in South Carolina, Aug. 25, 1840, a son of Frederick Lykes. He came with his parents to the community of Spring Hill, located about four miles west of Brooksville in present-day Hernando County in 1851.

Dr. Lykes was married to Almeria Bell McKay, daughter of Capt. James McKay, in 1874. Eight children were born to them: Matilda Mckay, who married Dick King; Frederick Eugene; Howell Tyson, Jr.; James McKay; Lipscomb Goodwin; Thompson Mayo; John Wall; and Joseph Taliaferro.

Dr. Lykes shipped thousands of head of cattle to Cuba during the 1870’s and 1880’s. His two oldest sons, Fred and Howell formed Lykes Brothers, Inc. about 1900. The family business has grown during the years to become the largest cattle producing and meat packing company in Florida.

The main cattle ranch for Lykes, Inc. is located at Brighton, in Okeechobee County.

Mr. Charles Lykes, son of James McKay and Genevieve Perry Parkhill Lykes is currently head of the corporation. For many years,Lykes Brothers has owned cattle and land in the Kissimmee River Valley.



Silas McClelland, founder of the McClelland family in south Florida, was born in North Carolina about 1795. He married Penelope Anderson, who was born in 1805. Silas McClelland and his large family moved to Hillsborough County prior to 1850 where he became a prominent citizen. Silas died in Polk County, April 20, 1862 and his wife died there in 1886.

Jesse McClelland, son of Silas and Penelope (Anderson) McClelland, was born about 1836 in Thomas County, Georgia. He moved to Florida when a child and grew up in Hillsborough County. During the Third Seminole War Jesse served in the volunteer militia company commanded by Capt. F. M. Durrance and later the company commanded by Capt. S. L. Sparkman. On Feb. 2,1860 Jesse McClelIand was married to Susan Godwin, daughter of Solomon and Mariah Godwin. They had the following children:

    1. Joseph McClelland, born Dec. 8, 1861; died 1926; married Florence Tomlinson.
    2. William McClelland, born Feb. 29, 1863.
    3. Elijah McClelland, born Feb. 7,1866.
    4. Jesse McClelland, born Sept. 30, 1867.
    5. Solomon McClelland, born Feb. 20, 1869.
    6. Exaline McClelland, born Feb. 27, 1871.
    7. Adline McClelland, born April 19, 1873.
    8. George McClelland, born 1879.
    9. Elias McClelland, born Dec. 30, 1882.
    10. Susie McClelland, born March 26, 1885.

Jesse McClelland was living in Manatee County in 1880 but later moved to Polk County. He received a pension for his service in the Seminole War and died Nov. 27, 1912 at Frostproof, Fla. Susan (Godwin) McClelland then received a widow’s pension until her death Nov. 27, 1920.

Joseph McClelland, eldest son of Jesse and Susan (Godwin) McClelIand, was a pioneer settler in the Fort Kissimmee settlement on the western side of the Kissimmee River. He and his wife, Florence (Tomlinson) McClelland, are buried in the cemetery there.



John James McLaughlin, Sr. was born in Georgia about 1850. He moved to South Florida about 1870 and was married in Orange County on Jan. 25, 1872 to Mary Ann Hearndon. They had the following children:

    1. Lizzie Oquilla McLaughlin, born Dec. 29, 1872; died Feb. 18, 1948; married Redding Swain, Aug. 21, 1893.
    2. Edward Leroy McLaughlin, born Oct. 1,1873; died Sept. 21, 1960; married Mary Webb.
    3. John James McLaughlin, Jr., born April 25, 1879; died May 10, 1945; married Sophia Hair.
    4. Lewis Henry McLaughlin, born Jan. 16, 1883; died Nov. 12, 1936; married Gertie Barton.
    5. Joanna McLaughlin, born 1883; died 1964; married 1st— Joel Knight; 2nd — Noah Prescott.
    6. Bettie McLaughlin, married James Browning.
    7. Nora McLaughlin, married Ernest Young.
    8. Hettie McLaughlin, married 1st—George Fertic; 2nd—Melvin Messer.
    9. Dan McLaughlin, married Hazel Norton.
    10. Bertha McLaughlin, born Nov. 3, 1896; died 1955; married John Swain.
    11. Lawrence McLaughlin, born Nov. 3,1896; died Jan. 28, 1898.
    12. Robert Elonzo McLaughlin

John J. McLaughlin, Sr. and his wife are buried on their old home place in extreme northwest Indian River County, on the present-day Maxey Ranch. According to another source, John J. McLaughlin was buried in Kissimmee and his wife at Fort Drum.



The first of the Montes de Oca family to come to Florida was Juan Montes de Oca, born 1809 in Cuba. About 1830, he settled at Tampa and soon married a full-blooded Seminole Indian. A daughter, Victoria, was born of this marriage and she eventually married Alfonso DeLaunay, the second mayor of Tampa.

Juan Montes de Oca, Sr. was also the father of several other children: Charles, born 1843, who married Mary Kelly; Manuel, born 1845, who married Matilda Willingham; and John, Jr., born 1848, who married Wealthy Ann Lewis.

John Montes de Oca, Jr. moved from Tampa to Polk County when a young man and was married to Wealthy Ann Lewis, Jan. 26, 1870. She was born in 1857. They had the following children:

    1. Victoria Montes de Oca, born Aug. 13, 1872; died Aug. 31,1938; married William Leander Underhill.
    2. Dora Montes de Oca, born Feb. 1, 18; married William Riley Godwin, March 30, 1889.
    3. Florida Montes de Oca, married Judy Mizell.
    4. Julian Montes de Oca, born May 20, 18; married Alice Bass.
    5. Charley Montes de Oca, born Feb. 24, 1883; died March 14, 1929; married Bertha Taylor.
    6. William Montes de Oca, born Feb. 28, 1882; married Maggie Bowen.
    7. Lou Montes de Oca, married Wes Langford.
    8. Artie Montes de Oca, born April 11, 1887; died Dec. 29, 1964; never married.
    9. Sam "Buddy" Montes de Oca, born April 13, 1889; died Nov. 1, 1925; never married.
    10. Robert Montes de Oca, born March 6, 1894; married several times.
    11. Jenny "Sis" Montes de Oca, married Elias McClelIand.
    12. Hendry Montes de Oca, born April 16, 1898; died March 22, 1931; married Etta McCleIland.
    13. Dewey Montes de Oca, born July 1,1900; died May 24, 1970; married several times.
    14. Ola Montes de Oca, born Aug. 6, 1903; died July 15, 1954; never married.

John Montes de Oca, Jr. homesteaded on Kissimmee Island at Clay Hammock and Grape Hammock. He later moved to Midland, between Ft. Meade and Frostproof. John died Feb. 14, 1913 and was buried in the Eden Cemetery in Polk County. Wealthy Ann (Lewis) Montes de Oca died March 21, 1922.



Eli O. Morgan was born March 16, 1839 in Appling County, Georgia, a son of Solomon and Mercy (Geiger) Morgan. Eli was marrried to Leacy Geiger, his cousin, and in 1860 they were living in Clinch County, Georgia.

Eli O. and Leacy (Geiger) Morgan had the following children:

    1. Henry Crit Morgan, born Feb. 3,1859; died June 5,1897; married Sophia J. Locklear, Jan. 9,1879.
    2. Ida V. Morgan, born May 30, 1861?; died June 11, 1942; married Jetson 0. Carr, Sept. 3,1879.
    3. Jacob C. Morgan, born 1865; married Virginia Pearce.
    4. Dozier Tilman Morgan, born June 10, 1867; died Jan. 17, 1884.
    5. Lula Effie Morgan, born Jan. 15, 1869; died Dec. 25, 1932; married 1st—David Lee Alderman, Oct. 1,1884; 2nd—Keightly B. Raulerson, July 29, 1908.
    6. Mary H. "Polly" Morgan, born 1871; married 1st—Samuel Adams Gilbert, Oct. 22, 1889; 2nd—Frank Roylance, Jan. 20, 1903.
    7. Margaret Carrie Morgan, born 1874; married William H. Hillhard, Jan. 17, 1895.
    8. Emma J. Morgan, born 1878; died 1943; married Fred Fee, Sept. 3,1907.
    9. Virginia Morgan, born Nov. 1879; married Emory L. Lesley, Sept. 17, 1896.

Eli O. Morgan and his family moved to Manatee County, Florida during the mid-1860’s, settling at Pine Level, which became the county seat of Manatee County. Eli Morgan was a prominent citizen of Manatee County and owned thousands of head of beef cattle. At one time he was considered a "cattle king." Morgan also owned and operated a ten room hotel at Pine Level which he sold in the early 1880’s. Prior to 1885, Eli 0. Morgan moved his family and cattle to Brevard County, settling at Basinger. By 1899, he owned over 20,000 head of cattle. Morgan fought hard against cattle rustling during the late 1800’s and was often in danger from bushwhackers.

Col. Morgan, as he was called, later built a home at Bluefields where he lived for a number of years. His wife, Leacy (Geiger) Morgan died April 6,1897. Eli Morgan died April 13, 1914. Both Col. and Mrs. Morgan are buried in the Fort Ogden Cemetery, DeSoto County.



As early as 1860, Elijah Padgett was living in Brevard County. Originally from Georgia, Elijah and his wife Charity Hunter had several children, the oldest son being James Tippen Padgett. Tippen was born Nov. 4, 1837 in Georgia and married Louisa Alvarez, daughter of Joseph and Nancy Alvarez. She was born Feb. 13, 1844 in Alachua County. James Tippen and Louisa (Alvarez) Padgett had the following children:

  1. Mary Padgett, born Jan. 1860.
  2. James J. Padgett, born Sept. 13, 1862; married Sarah V. Rogers, Dec. 25, 1892.
  3. Allen R. Padgett, born Oct. 20, 1865; married Osteen Willis, Aug. 24, 1889.
  4. Lizzie Padgett, born May 17, 1868; died July 1964; married 1st—John P. Owens, April 11, 1886; 2nd—Bill Rogers.
  5. Louisa Lena Padgett, born Feb. 13, 18-4; died Aug. 11, 1899; married James Hearndon.
  6. Nancy Padgett, married Uriah Lee, Feb. 22, 1890.
  7. Perry Padgett, born Feb. 29, 1876; married Sarah (Rogers) Padgett, his brother’s widow.
  8. John Irvin Padgett, born March 8,1879; married Mary Owens.
  9. Rebecca Padgett, married 1st — Allen Gannon; 2nd — Robert Willis.
  10. Frances Padgett, married James Sellers.
  11. Joseph Padgett, born Sept. 28, 1885; died Nov. 8,1932; married ist—Hilda Anderson; 2nd—Gertrude Davis.

Tippen Padgett married second to Vandalia Ella Willis, daughter of John and Frances (Vann) Willis. She was born July 29, 1877 at Lokosee, Florida, her parents having moved to the Kissimmee River valley in 1875 from Early County, Georgia. Children of second marriage:

   12.   Roy Padgett, born Sept. 5,1900.
   13.   Hiram Padgett, born Sept. 18, 1902.
   14.   Frances Irene Padgett, born Sept. 30, 1904; married General William Hair, June 1925.
   15.   Stanley Padgett, born March 29, 1907; died May 8, 1924.
   16.   Ella Vandalia Padgett, married Streaty Ashford Hair, Jr.
   17.   Pearl Padgett, born March 1914.
   18.   Frank Padgett, born Oct. 20, 1917.

James Tippen Padgett died May 14, 1917 and is buried in a cemetery located just inside the northwest boundary of Indian River County. His widow, Vandalia (Willis) Padgett, remarried to a Mr. Boatwright and died Jan. 20, 1961. She is buried at the Fort Drum Cemetery.



Three brothers, John, Streaty, and Henry L. Parker all were pioneer cattlemen in the lower Kissimmee River valley during the 1870’s. John Parker sold 2,000 head of cattle to his brother Streaty in 1872. These cattle roamed on the open range east of the Kissimmee River in Brevard County. At that time, John lived in Polk County but subsequently moved to Manatee County.

Streaty Parker maintained his headquarters in Bartow where he had lived since 1851. His cattle operations extended as far east as Brevard County until his death in 1884. Streaty owned a log house in the Basinger area where he stayed from time to time until he sold it to Noel Rabun Raulerson, Jr. in 1876. Streaty Parker’s oldest son was Readding Blount Parker. Readding was born Feb. 28, 1849, in Columbia County, Florida. He moved with his parents to Hillsborough (now Polk) County in 1851 and grew up in the Fort Blount settlement which later received the name of Bartow. On August 6,1868 Readding B. Parker was married to Ellen Willingham, daughter of William Henry and Annie (Hilliard) Willingham. They had the following children:

    1. Bertha Slagier Parker, born Nov. 28, 1870; died March 4,1939; married James Samuel Walker, June 25, 1885.
    2. Jackson Marion Parker, born June 6,1878; died Nov. 1,1952; never married.
    3. Dollie Lee Parker, born May 19, 1882; died April 6,1975; married Burgess Elliott "Teet" Alderman, March 24, 1901.
    4. Annie Letitia Parker, born Nov. 5, 1885; died May 29, 1972; married James Arthur Daughtry, Nov. 13, 1904.
    5. Readding Blount Parker, Jr., born Feb. 17, 1889; died Dec. 12, 1940; married Kate Hurt.

Readding B. Parker and his family lived in Bartow until about 1879, although he had raised cattle in the Kissimmee valley section since the early 1870’s. He supervised his father’s large herds and built up his own number of stock. In 1873 he registered the brand [Brand 6] in Brevard County. On August 12, 1882 he registered [Brand 7] for himself, [Brand 8] for his son Jack, and [Brand 9] for his daughter Bertha, all in Brevard County. The same day his father Streaty Parker registered the brand [Brand 10] for his cattle.

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Brand 6
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Brand 7
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Brand 8
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Brand 9
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Brand 10

After the great hurricane of 1878, Readding Parker found that most of his cattle were located east of the river, near Lake Marian. There in 1879 he constructed a log house which became known as the "Parker Place." Until his death February 18, 1891, Readding lived at the Parker Place. His last three children were born there. Ellen (Willingham) Parker, widow of Readding, moved with her children to Basinger in 1898 and later moved to Fort Pierce where she died, March 8,1933.

Legend surrounds the old "Parker Place," located near Lake Marian, several miles west of Whittier, now Kenansville. It is said that Readding Parker buried gold there and his spirit haunted the place guarding the treasure. Cowhunters camping near the area would run in fear at any unusual sound.

Henry L. Parker, brother of Streaty and John Parker, was born in Columbia County, Florida, April 15, 1832. He moved with his older brother John to Hilisborough County in 1842 and when a young man served as Sheriff of that county in 1855. He then returned to Columbia County where he married Elizabeth Matilda (Brinkley) Holmes, a widow who had one son by her previous marriage, Henry Allen Holmes. About 1870, Henry Parker, his wife and step-son, moved to Brevard County, where he first built and operated a ferry at Bluff Hammock. Shortly thereafter, he moved down to the Basinger area but later sold his place there to Noel Rabun Raulerson, Sr. in 1874. Two years earlier Parker had been appointed County Judge of Brevard County by Gov. Harrison Reed and at that time was living at Fort Drum.  After leaving Basinger, Henry Parker moved to Lake View which served as county seat of Brevard County during the 1870’s. On August 24, 1876, Elizabeth Parker died and the following year Henry married Rutha Ann Richards. About 1881, Henry Parker and his family returned to Fort Drum, near the site of the abandoned Indian War fort. There he opened up a general store and trading post, providing the neighboring cattlemen with much needed store goods. He also traded with the Cow Creek Seminole Indians.

Henry Parker served on the Brevard County commission for several years during the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. He was elected to the State Legislature, serving in both houses of that body. He was also postmaster at Fort Drum. Henry L. Parker died at Fort Drum, March 13, 1908. His widow, Ruthy, died there July 11, 1911.

Henry Parker had only one child, a daughter named Florah, born of his first marriage. She was born Dec. 1,1872 and died March 6, 1887.



Capt. John Mizell Pearce, founder of the Pearce family in the Kissimmee River Valley, was born Nov. 17, 1834, in Columbia County, Florida, the eldest child of Levi and Mary Jane (Hooker) Pearce.

John M. Pearce came with his parents to Hillsborough County during the 1840’s where they settled in the area that later became Polk County, near Peas Creek. On Feb. 11, 1858, John M. Pearce was married to Martha Ann Lanier, daughter of Luke Pridgen and Mary B. (Williams) Lanier. She was born in Georgia, Sept. 11, 1838. John M. and Martha Ann (Lanier) Pearce had the following children:

    1. Mary Pearce, born 1858.
    2. Dock Pearce, born 1860; died 1926; married Mary Roberts
    3. Laura Pearce, born Sept. 1861; died ca. 1910; married 1st— Finley Gillespie; 2nd—Robert Henry Alderman, Aug. 11, 1888.
    4. Frank Bartow Pearce, born Dec. 7,1863; died June 20, 1928; married Sarah Rebecca Roberts
    5. William Sidney Pearce, born Jan. 3,1866; died Feb. 27, 1944; married Meroba Virginia Hollingsworth, May 13, 1894.
    6. Robert Lee Pearce, born Oct. 20, 1867; died July 26, 1943; married Martha Walker, Nov. 3,1892.
    7. Virginia Pearce, born Dec. 18, 1869; died Jan. 3,1936; married Jacob C. Morgan.
    8. Susan Dollie Pearce, born about 1870; married 1st— John W. Peeples; 2nd — John David Whaley.
    9. Mustow Givens Pearce, born Sept. 5, 1875; married John Wroland Lamb Aug. 20, 1898.
    10. Walter James Pearce, born july 26, 1880; died Jan. 25, 1939; married Helen Josephine Addison, July 21, 1900.

John Mizell Pearce was an active participant in the Third Seminole War, 1855-58, serving in several volunteer companies during that conflict. At one time he served as a scout in the Kissimmee valley area surveying Indian activities.

When the Civil War was underway, Mr. Pearce served the Confederate cause in Capt. F. A. Hendry’s company of special cavalry, a part of Munnerlyn’s Cattle Guard Battalion.

During the years after the Civil War, John Mizell Pearce established a large and prosperous cattle business. He was headquartered at Fort Meade until 1875 when he decided to move his family to the Kissimmee River and settle at Fort Basinger on the western side of the river. There he built a log house and set up a ferry operation to serve travelers going across the river.

Capt. Pearce was the last owner of the steamboat Mary Belle which operated along the Kissimmee River until it was sunk about 1884. John M. Pearce also served as Deputy Sheriff for the eastern part of DeSoto County, and was for a number of years the only law enforcement officer in the lower Kissimmee River Valley. When DeSoto County was established in 1887, Capt. Pearce obtained a license to continue operation of his ferry. It was granted Oct. 3, 1887 and contained the following maximum rates: Footman, $.15 Man and horse, $.25 Horse and Buggy or other single team, $.50 Double team, $.75 One yoke of oxen and cart or wagon, $.40 Two yoke of oxen and cart or wagon, $.60 Each additional yoke, $.15; Each additional animal, $.05.

Capt. Pearce continued his extensive cattle operations until his death on Sept. 28, 1897, at Fort Basinger. His widow then constructed a handsome home overlooking the Kissimmee River which is today occupied by their granddaughter, Mrs. Edna Pearce Lockett. Martha (Mizell) Pearce died Sept. 27, 1911. Both Capt. and Mrs. Pearce are buried in a small cemetery on the Pearce property.

Capt. Pearce’s son, William Sidney Pearce, named for the Southern poet and kinsman Sidney Lanier, continued the family cattle business. He used the P4 brand for his cattle and his daughter Edna continues the use of this brand. W. S. Pearce also was instrumental in the establishment of a school at Fort Basinger. He built the first bridge across the Kissimmee River from Fort Basinger to Basinger in 1916. The bridge which currently spans the river is named for him. William Sidney Pearce died in 1944.

In 1976, in honor of the nation’s bicentennial, Edna Pearce Lockett had an attractive sign placed at the west entrance to Fort Basinger. On the sign are portraits of Zachary Taylor and Billy Bow-legs III. The sign was erected in honor of Captain John Mizell Pearce.

Pearce home, Martha Lanier Pearce on extreme right



Samuel Prescott, a native of Appling County, Georgia, brought his family to Joshua Creek settlement, Manatee County, Florida, in 1866. Becoming dissatisfied with the area, he started to return to south Georgia but was told about a section of northeast Manatee County that might be more to his liking. He moved to the present Sebring area and stayed there until his death in 1897.

Samuel and his wife Lucy (Peterson) Prescott had the following children:

    1. James Prescott, born Sept. 21, 1851; married 1st—Oregon Gillespie; 2nd — Martha Jane Boney.
    2. Mary Prescott, born June 24, 1853; married Andrew Williams.
    3. Narcissus Prescott, born April 22, 1855; married William Parnell.
    4. Sarah Prescott, born Aug. 23, 1857; married Off Williams.
    5. John M. Prescott, born July 21, 1860; married Sophia Augusta Sellers.
    6. Hiram Prescott, born Jan. 6,1863; died June 8,1903; married Louisa Durrance.
    7. Henry Prescott, born May 27, 1865; died single in 1913.
    8. Lemuel Prescott, born Nov. 5, 1867; married Jennie Crews.
    9. Elvira Prescott, born April 2, 1870; married George Budd.

James Prescott, son of Samuel and Lucy (Peterson) Prescott, was a pioneer settler along the Kissimmee River, settling there about 1893. He lived at numerous places in the area, from Basinger to points north. He and his first wife had several children. James and Martha

Jane (Boney) Prescott had the following children: Sophia; Lemuel; Bill; Lucy; Flossie; Henry; Wilford; Roseada; and James, Jr.



Noel Rabun Raulerson, founder of the Raulerson family in the Kissimmee River Valley, was born in Wayne County, Georgia, July 9,1820, the son of Noel and Eleanor (Baggs) West Brannen Raulerson. His parents were married Aug. 3, 1815 in Camden County, Georgia.

Rabun Raulerson moved to Florida with his family in 1829. He served in the Second Seminole War as a private in the company commanded by Capt. Robert Brown in 1837 and later served under Capt. Sanderling in 1838. Rabun was wounded in the right shoulder in a battle with the Indians at Okeefenokee Swamp in 1838 or 1839.

In February, 1839, Rabun Raulerson was married to Tempa "Tempie" Whidden, daughter of James W. and Mary (Altman) Whidden. She was born Dec. 29, 1821 in Appling County, Ga. Noel Rabun and Tempie (Whidden) Raulerson had the following children:

    1. William H. Raulerson, born Jan. 16, 1841; died Jan. 6,1914; married Eliza Ellender Brewer, Dec. 16, 1869.
    2. John R. Raulerson, born June 5,1843; died July 1864.
    3. David Early Raulerson, born July 16, 1846; died 1932; married Sarah Wiggins, April 21, 1870.
    4. Mary Raulerson, born 1847; died May 17, 1887; married Mr. Raulerson.
    5. Noel Rabun Raulerson, Jr., born Sept. 1848; died Aug. 30, 1952; married Amanda Elizabeth King, March 9, 1870.
    6. J. Archibald "Archie" Raulerson, born 1850; died about 1895; married Anne Williams, July 10, 1872.
    7. Emarantha Raulerson, born March 1853; died April 8, 1943; married 1st— George W. Hayes, July 7, 1870; 2nd — Charles Hazellief, Aug. 10, 1873.
    8. Ellender "Ellen" Jane Raulerson, born 1854; died 1934; married 1st— George A. Lee, Dec. 30, 1868; 2nd—Owen Turner, Oct. 11, 1874.
    9. Eliza Ann Raulerson, born 1855?; married Charles T. King, Feb. 6, 1872.
    10. Peter Raulerson, born Sept. 1,1857; died Oct. 8,1947; married Lousiana Chandler, Oct. 17, 1877.
    11. Sarah Raulerson, born May 20, 1861; died May 26, 1942; married 1st— Enoch Watley; 2nd —John Kilpatrick.
    12. Caroline Raulerson, born 1863; died May 19, 1874 from eating too much honey.
    13. Hardy Raulerson, born May 1865; died Aug. 15, 1907; married Laura Hilliard.

From Nov. 1840 until March, 1841, Rabun served in the company of Capt. William Cone. In 1844, Rabun Raulerson, his brother John Baggs Raulerson, William Wiggins (who had married Emarentha, sister of the two Raulersons), and John Thomas (who had married a half-sister of the Raulersons), moved from Columbia County, and headed south to Hillsborough County where they settled in the Ichepucksassa settlement. Rabun Raulerson later moved to the southeast edge of Lake Hancock, and is shown residing there on Ives’ 1856 Military Map of Florida. Noel Rabun Raulerson also had a half-sister, Nancy Raulerson, who married John Futch; a brother William Raulerson, who married Mary Godwin; a brother Jacob Raulerson, who married 1st-Sarah Mercer and 2nd-Mary Raulerson; a half brother, J. M. West; a half-sister Sarah Brannen; a half-brother John M. Brannen; and probably a half-brother named Jackson Raulerson who appears on the 1860 census for Orange County, Florida.

During the Third Seminole War, Rabun Raulerson served in the company commanded by Capt. F. M. Durrance from Dec. 29, 1855 to Dec. 1857.

Noel Rabun Raulerson became a leading cattleman and Polk County tax lists for 1862 show that he owned 2,515 head of cattle.

In 1874, Rabun decided to move his cattle to the Kissimmee River Valley and settled at Basinger. He purchased his land there from Henry L. Parker. In 1876, Rabun was followed by his son Noel R. Raulerson, Jr., who bought land from the State for $1.25 an acre and purchased a log house from Streaty Parker.

Rabun Raulerson and his sons were leading cattlemen in the Basinger area during the 1880’s but about 1892, Rabun left the valley and returned to Polk County where he settled near Bartow. His sons, Noel, Peter, William, and David remained at Basinger.

The following article appeared in the Bartow newspaper, Jan. 11, 1899:

The Fort Bassinger correspondent for the Kissimmee paper had the following interesting item in his last report: Mr. Rabun Raulerson of Bartow vicinity is in town visiting children around Bassinger. The old gentleman holds his own in vitality wonderfully well. He is now the age of 80 years, being one of the old landmarks of the pioneer settlers of South Florida. He was a soldier in the Indian, Osceola War of 1836 to 1842, and was severely wounded in one engagement with the Indians in the Indian campaign. He can tell many anecdotes about the campaign and Chief Osceola, whom he saw on several occasions. He is at present claiming a pension from Uncle Sam’s crib, as a soldier of that war. He has the plural number of 100, or over, of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, counting the living and dead.

Tempie (Whidden) Raulerson died near Bartow, March 22, 1904. Noel Rabun Raulerson died in Polk County, June 16, 1910. Both were buried in the Raulerson family cemetery near Lake Hancock. The graves were later moved by Enoch Watley to the Gandy cemetery near Connersville, east of Bartow.

Rabun’s son, Noel R. Raulerson, Jr. lived to be 104 years of age, dying in 1952. He and his wife raised a family of 17 children, all of whom lived to maturity. Their eldest son, Noel Rabun Raulerson, Ill, who died in 1895, was the first person to be buried in the Basinger Cemetery. After his death, Noel gave the land around where his son was buried to the community to be used as a cemetery.

Another son of Noel Rabun, Sr. was Peter Raulerson, who became the original settler of Tantie, now Okeechobee, settling there in 1896.



The Rev. Joel Wesley Swain, son of Morgan and Elizabeth (Wooten) Swain, was born June 6, 1836 in Lowndes County, Georgia. He moved to South Florida during the late 1860’s, settling in Hills-borough County. While still in Georgia he married Martha Smith, daughter of John and Cassie (Sirmans) Smith. She was born July 9, 1830 in Clinch County, Georgia. Joel W. and Martha (Smith) Swain had the following children:

    1. J. Morgan Swain, born Dec. 20, 1855; died March 11, 1925; married Sarah Ellen Anderson.
    2. Martha Elizabeth Swain, married Moody Knight.
    3. Charlton Swain, married Nettie Tumblin.
    4. Thomas Manning Swain, born June 15, 1866; died July 28, 1949; married Piety Virginia Hair.
    5. Redden W. Swain, born Aug. 21, 1869; died Oct. 24, 1936; married Lizzie 0. McLaughlin.

Joel W. Swain was a Primitive Baptist minister and in 1868 was called to the Mt. Enon Primitive Baptist Church in Plant City where he served as pastor until 1878. He and his family then moved to Brevard County, settling at Fort Drum. Joel Swain built the first church which was located on the north side of the old Fort Drum Cemetery. He also constructed the first schoolhouse in Fort Drum, built across from the church, and was a teacher there. Martha (Smith) Swain died Oct. 4,1895 and Joel Swain died Feb. 3, 1900. Both are buried in the Fort Drum Cemetery.



Joseph Underhill, a son of William and Spicy Underhill, was born in Duplin County, North Carolina, about 1795. He moved to Bulloch County, Georgia, after 1810 and married Nancy Hilliard, daughter of Silas and Abegail (Bulloch) Hilliard, April 13, 1815. Joseph Underhill was a soldier in the War of 1812, having served under Capt. Lemuel Tippins in the Georgia Volunteers. After 1820, Joseph Underhill and family moved to Ware County, Georgia, where they remained until about 1848. This time they moved to Hillsborough County, Florida.

Joseph and Nancy (Hilliard) Underhill had the following children: Mary Polly, who married Benjamin Guy; William, who married Samantha Chandler; John, who married Keziah Tucker; Thomas, who married Rebecca Thompson; Spicy, who married 1st—George Jones, 2nd— Bennett Whidden; Barbary, who married Francis Ivey; Levicy, who married 1st—Jeremiah Underhill, 2nd—Noah Whidden, 3rd— Thomas Sullivan; and Matthew, who married 1st— Elizabeth Catledge, 2nd — Isabella Surrency.

Joseph Underhill and his eldest son, William, who remained a bachelor until he was 45 years of age, moved to the Kissimmee Island area during the late 1850’s. Joseph later moved to Pine Level, in Manatee County, and died after 1880. William served in the Confederate army under Capt. F. A. Hendry, in Munnerlyn’s Battalion. He married Samantha Chandler, daughter of Shadrach and Adeline (Tucker) Chandler, April 25, 1865, at Bartow. She was born Feb. 2, 1846 in Louisiana, and came with her parents to Florida about 1859. William was 25 years her senior, having been born May 20, 1821.

William and Samantha (Chandler) Underhill had the following children:

    1. Annie Cornelia Underhill, born Feb. 9, 1866; died Dec. 11, 1944; married John Thomas, Dec. 11, 1892.
    2. Rachel Fernetta Underhill, born April 6, 1867; died Aug. 4, 1941; married Joseph Milton Walker, Nov. 11, 1888.
    3. Ellen Adeline Underhill, born March 7, 1869; died Sept. 19, 1910; married John Hardy Walker, Dec. 1,1889.
    4. Mary Emma Underhill, born Feb. 27, 1871; died Dec. 18, 1956; married William Frank Walker, March 27, 1892.
    5. Wilford Perry Underhill, born Jan. 19, 1873; died March 1, 1956; married Mabel Alderman, June 27, 1909.
    6. Joseph Shadrach Underhill, born Feb. 8,1875; died Oct. 21, 1957; married Louanna Walker, Oct. 14, 1897.
    7. Charles Alpheus Underhill, born May 17, 1877; died June 25, 1907; never married.
    8. Amy Agnes Underhill, born Nov. 29, 1879; died Feb. 6,1964; married Cuyler W. Hilliard, March 17, 1901.
    9. William Edward Underhill, born Oct. 3, 1882; died Aug. 17, 1935; married Pauline Addison.
    10. Cuthbert Leonora Underhill, born Dec. 30, 1885; died Jan. 28, 1964; married William Hardy Walker, Dec. 15, 1907.

William Underhill and family resided in Polk County until the late 1870’s when they moved to Basinger, in Brevard, now Okeechobee County. William was instrumental in the establishment of the first school in Basinger. He was a leading cattleman in the area, owning over 3,000 head of cattle on the open range. William Underhill died Feb. 13, 1905 at Basinger. Samantha (Chandler) Underhill received a Federal pension for his service in the Seminole Wars and a state pension for his Confederate service. She died at Okeechobee, Florida, Dec. 24, 1935. Both are buried in the Basinger cemetery.


David E. Waldron, Sr., a son of Oliver and Ann (Sylvester) Waldron, was born in Thomas County, Georgia, March 4, 1827. Oliver and Ann Waldron were living in Manatee County, Florida, in 1860, but returned to north Florida where Oliver died in 1867. Ann Waldron then moved back to south Florida with her son, David, Sr., and his family settling in Manatee County about 1868.

David E. Waldron, Sr. was married to Mary Ann Thompson who was born about 1830. They had the following children:

    1. David E. Waldron, Jr., born 1847; married Martha J. Driggers, March 19, 1871.
    2. Francis Marion Waldron, born 1849; married Martha Elizabeth Williams.
    3. James Warren Waldron, born Sept.10, 1851; died Oct.13, 1897; married Matilda Carolina Williams, Dec. 25, 1873.
    4. Oliver Asbury Waldron, born 1852; married Harriet
    5. Mary Delilah Waldron, born 1854; married William H. Hollingsworth, Dec. 25, 1873.
    6. Augustine Sylvester Waldron, born 1858; died 1935; married Mehala T.
    7. Newton Waldron, born 1869.

David E. Waldron, Sr. first set up a camp site in a hammock on Fisheating Creek, in the area then known as Indian Prairie, now Palm-dale. His first home was a palmetto thatched shelter. Eventually, a double-pen log house with detached kitchen was constructed. David Waldron, Sr. died at Fort Basinger, Nov. 8, 1908, and was buried in a small cemetery near present-day Road 98.

The eldest son, David, Jr., set up his homestead in the Venus area, on upper Fisheating Creek. David E. Waldron, Jr. and his wife Martha (Driggers) Waldron had the following children: James Alvey, born 1876, died 1976; Gene; Jesse; Keetly; Washington; Mary; Delilah; Bertha; Viola; and Perry.

In 1888, David Waldron, Jr. and his neighbor George Drawdy, concerned about the need for a school for their children, applied to the county authorities for a teacher. One was provided and taught a three-month term in the Venus community.

Today, numerous descendants of David Waldron, Jr. live in the Kissimmee River Valley.



Jeremiah Walker was born June 20,1838 in Ware County, Georgia, son of Jeremiah and Nancy (Dowling) Walker, Sr. Jeremiah, Jr. grew up in Ware County, but prior to 1858 moved to New River (now Bradford) County where he married, Sept. 22, 1858, to Martha M. Tumblin, daughter of James and Jane Tumblin.

On Oct. 18, 1861, Jeremiah Walker enlisted in Capt. Harvey’s Company, 1st Florida Cavalry, Confederate Army. He served in Tennessee and was discharged Dec. 22, 1864.

During the 1870’s, Jeremiah Walker and his family moved into the Kissimmee River valley. The family was active in the cattle business, moving to Basinger in the mid-1880’s.

Jeremiah and Martha (Tumblin) Walker had the following children:

    1. Nancy Jane Walker, born July 3, 1859; died March 15, 1944; married 1st — John Padgett; 2nd — Glenn Crews, Dec 2, 1900.
    2. Sarah Ann Walker, born Sept. 5,1860; died early 1930’s; married Page Hall.
    3. James Samuel Walker, born April 25, 1862; died Jan. 28, 1940; married Bertha S. Parker, June 25, 1885.
    4. John Hardy Walker, born Jan. 5, 1864; died Oct. 28, 1949; married 1st — Ellen Adeline Underhill; 2nd — Esther LaMartin, July 23, 1911.
    5. Joseph Milton Walker, born April 14,1866; died April 22, 1948; married Rachel Fernetta Underhill, Nov. 11, 1888.
    6. William Frank Walker, born July 26, 1868; died Nov. 29, 1951; married Mary Emma Underhill, March 27, 1892.
    7. George Washington Walker, born Feb. 4,1870; died April 30, 1943; married 1st—Jane Nobles, June 10, 1888; 2nd—Mary Thomas; 3rd — Mrs. Ellen (Williams) Chandler; 4th — Nancy (Thomas) Prescott; 5th — Louise Prescott.
    8. Louis Hampton Walker, born March 31, 1872; died Feb. 12, 1945; married 1st—Mattie Raulerson; 2nd—Mrs. Mary Stevens Fertic, May 3, 1919.
    9. Lena Walker, born Oct. 22, 1874; died July 1, 1963; married William M. Alderman, Feb. 20, 1893.
    10. Martha Manda Walker, born April 7,1877; died Oct. 28, 1963; married Robert Pearce, Nov. 3, 1892.
    11. Mary Ella Walker, born March 12, 1879; died Feb. 11, 1961; married John Edward Alderman, Jan. 12, 1898.
    12. Louanna Walker, born May 21, 1882; died Dec. 17, 1965; married Joseph S. Underhill, Oct. 15, 1897.

Mr. Walker, besides being a cattleman, served as a Justice of the Peace during the 1880’s. He also delivered babies in the Basinger area.

Jeremiah Walker died at Basinger, April 24, 1913. Martha (Tumblin) Walker received a widow’s pension for her husband’s Confederate service until her death Jan. 23, 1924, at the age of 83. Both are buried at the Basinger cemetery.



There are two separate groups of Seminole Indians in Florida, the Muskogee or Cow Creeks and the Mikasukis. The Muskogee-Cow Creeks live today at the Brighton Reservation while the Mikasukis reside at Big Cypress.

We are concerned here with the Cow Creek Seminoles, descendants of the Creek Indians of Georgia and Alabama. During the nineteenth century they were often known as "Tallahassee" Indians because they had originally lived near Tallahassee in north Florida. Gradually, they moved south to the Lake Istokpoga area where they were living at the time of the Third Seminole War, 1855-58. Chipco, leader of the Tallahassee group, opposed the war, but his people were not immune from the white troops who pursued and captured a number of them for deportation to the west. Among those captured was Polly Parker (Ma-de-lo-yee) and 38 others of the Tallahassee band in 1858. Polly and several of her comrades managed to escape and return to the refuge of the Everglades.

About 1860 or 1861, members of the Tallahassee Creeks left the Everglades and moved north to their old hunting grounds. Chipco’s band settled near Catfish Lake in Polk County. Another branch of this tribe moved to the Cow Creek area, northeast of Lake Okeechobee. When Clay MacCauley surveyed the Florida Seminoles in 1880-81, he called the latter group the Cow Creek settlement. Subsequently, members of the Tallahassee band were known as Cow Creek Seminoles.

An interesting item appeared in the Bartow Courier-Informant of Nov. 12, 1881, telling of Chief Chipco’s death:

The news has just reached us of the death of Chief Emathla Chipco, the chief of the remnant of a band of Tallahassee Indians, on the 16th of October last.

This noted Seminole warrior, as near as can be learned, 100 years of age, had, up to a few months back, been able to engage in the hunts and annual festivities of his tribe, but has at last had to succumb to old age.

The usual formalities peculiar to Indian tribes were gone through at his death — 6 fine horses and many fat hogs having been shot and killed at his grave, and his rifle and hunting accoutrements, together with cooking utensils, were buried with him, so that he might have the use of them in the happy hunting grounds.

The remnant of Chipco’s band now numbers but three warriors, with their women, children and Negroes,…...

After Chipco’s death, his nephew Tallahassee became chief of the Cow Creek Seminoles. By the turn of the century members of the Cow Creek band lived along the northern rim of Lake Okeechobee, near Cow Creek, and in the Hungryland and Bluefields area, west of Fort Pierce. Among the members of the Cow Creek tribe during the late 1800’s were Chief Tallahassee and his six sons — Billy Buster, Billy Ham, Mr. Dennis, Old Man, Chipco II, and Tommy Hill; Indian Henry Parker, named for the white settler Henry Parker; Polly Parker, wife of Indian Henry Parker; Jimmie Gopher; Capt. Tom Tiger; and Old Nancy, who was the grandmother of Billy Bowlegs III.

Family names prominent among the Cow Creek Seminoles today are Gopher, Bowers, Johns, Smith, Biglow, and Shore.