1887 - Formation of Lake County

1887 - Formation of Lake County

   Originally, much of what is now Lake County, including modern Groveland, was part of Sumter County.

   During the mid 1800s, pioneers in covered wagons, began arriving and settling in areas which grew into small communities. The cooperation among the settlers, which was essential in that era, and marriages among families brought western South Lake County together as one big family.
   Families lived off the land, raising their own vegetables, livestock, and cotton. Sugar cane provided sugar and syrup, while wild game and fish were plentiful.
   A trip to Leesburg, by wagon, to barter or buy and sell goods took two days. The travellers would camp overnight at Bug Springs, near Okahumpka.
   In the late 1800s, entrepreneurs began arriving to profit from the turpentine in the long-leaf yellow pine trees which covered the area.
   The railroad, which was built through South Lake County during 1887, from Sanford to St. Petersburg, spurred growth and helped the economy.

1886 - Rail Service Map into Sumter (Lake) County

   The people of Yalaha and Tavares helped to form Lake County in July 27, 1887 from portions of east Sumter and west Orange County.

   The land was named simply "Lake County", because of the 1,400 or more clear pristine lakes that covered many of the 1,156 square miles.

   The first County Seat was Bloomfield. It was a small town located near Yalaha. Bloomfield later became a ghost town, after Tavares became the county seat following 3 elections that included political maneuvering and outright corruption.

   The First County Judge was Dalton Huger Yancey. He was also the First Legislator from Lake County when he was elected State Senator in 1889

   The First Marriage License Issued in Lake County was on December 27, 1887 to Elias Disney and Flora Call, who would become the parents of Walt Disney. It was signed by Judge Yancey.

   In 1889, the courthouse, known as the Pioneer Building was dedicated.

   In 1890, the first census was formed and there were 8,034 people in the county.

   Lake County's First Newspaper was The Leesburg Commercial.

   In 1915, contracts were let for the construction of the first hard surface roads in Lake County.
   Prior to that most transportation was on the waterways with special hybrid steam/paddlewheel boats, on the Orange Belt or other railway, or on horseback or wagon along early wagon trails.

   In 1933, Lake County received its first general hospital, the Lake County Medical Center in Umatilla.

   In 1937, during its 50th anniversary, Lake County became the first Florida County to fly its own flag.

[Contributors: Mary Helen Myers, Jason Brown, Richard Helfst]

Next Article: 1887 - Dukes Cemetery