1867 - The Lost City of Eva - John Judy

1867 - The Lost City of Eva

   The area known long ago as Eva is unique in that the northern part is in Lake County (originally Sumter County until 1887) and the southern area is in Polk County.
   Returning home to South Carolina, at the end of the War of Northern Agression (Civil War) in 1865, John William Judy, found things in shambles and his wife dead.
   In 1867, wanting to make a fresh start, John headed out by horse and wagon, with his son Jasper, and arrived in Florida. They settled in an area that was called Eva.

The town of Eva was annexed into Sumter County (later split into Lake County in 1887) from Polk County in 1866.

   Eventually, both John and his son would marry local Cherokee women that lived in the area. The union produced a new family for John William Judy.
   One child was a son, named John Irving Judy, born in 1868, who lived in the Eva area to the age of 105, passing away in 1973. Interviewed at age 102, John Irving Judy reminisced of trips to Mascotte in a wagon pulled by the ox that also did the plowing on his farm. He also spoke of those later days when he would come into Groveland on Saturday and sit on street benches conversing with the townspeople.

Eva was returned to Polk County from 1871 to March of 1879. From March 5, 1879 through May 30, 1889 Eva was again annexed into Sumter County, but permanently returned to Polk County the next day.

The Withlacoochee School

   The Withlacoochee School (named after the river that runs through the area, whose headwaters begin in the Green Swamp) once served the educational needs of pioneer families in the community.
   It is known that Joe Judy, born in 1882, attended this school.
   The school closed in 1941 and the students were sent to schools in Groveland.

Other Residents

   Part of Florida's well-known Bronson family would move to this area in the early 1900s. Much of the land in the area is still used for cattle raising.

   Other household names in Eva were:
      and Walker.
   (It is unclear if all these families were there in the 1800s or if they arrived at the turn of the century.)

   A very large turpentine camp was located at Eva.

   Like others in the area, the town of Eva eventually disappeared from maps as it never developed and was overshadowed by the more populous city of Taylorville to the north.
   However, many of the original families still live in the are.

[Contributors: Mary Helen Myers, Jason Brown]

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