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History Of Flagler Beach, Florida

Much has been written about early European settlements to America that disappeared. Here is a story about a group of Indians who lived in what is now Flagler County, Florida and all of them died. This story is in their memory, to the memory of the Timucuan nation who died to give us or rather to leave us Flagler Beach, Florida.

Flagler Beach is actually a city with six miles of gorgeous beach and an Intercoastal Waterway that gives this city an operating budget of 21 million. The city of Flagler is part of two Florida counties, Flagler County and Volusia County. It is located between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach and has about 6000 full time residents. The city began as a fishing town and has kept its charm from the time it was incorporated as a city in 1925 to the present. The site where the City of Flagler now occupies has a recorded history going as far back as its earliest inhabitants, the native American Indians.

The Timucuan Indians settled in what is now Flagler City before any Europeans ever arrived to Florida. The area where the Timucuan Indians settled is now Tomoka State Park that lies between Cape Canaveral and St. John’s River. The information obtained on the Timucuans is that there was about 14,000 Indians living in the Flagler City limits from 10,000 B.C. to 1513.

Thearrivial of the Spanish in 1567 totally destroyed the Timucuan population. The nation of the Timucuan totally died off because they had no immunity to Spanish diseases. The one recorded massacre of French soldiers occurred in norther Flagler County. The Matanzaz inlet that is south of Anastasia Island is named after the Matanzas massacre.

When the British civilized Florida in 1766, they built the King’s Road from the State of Georgia to Jacksonville and through Flagler County on to New Smyrna. They also built bridges over the Pellicer Creek and the Tomoka River. The British built King’s road is still a main highway through Flagler County presently.

The earliest European settlers of Flagler County were the descendats of Josia Dupont who had received a tract of land from the Spanish King. The Indians living there at the time made it impossible for him to build a plantation and he left. But, his son, Abraham Dupont came back in 1825 and became a resident in Flagler County along with his family.

The earliest working plantation was built by Charles Bulow from a tract of land that he bought from James Russell. The sugar mill was called Bulowville and not only produced sugar cane but rice, cotton and indigo.

James Russell also obtained a large land grant, but sold his interest to Charles Bulow shortly thereafter. The two remaining highways that still run through the earliest Flagler County plantation are the King’s Road and the Dixie Highway. Another early European settler to Flagler County was Captain James Ormond I who settled in what is now Bulow Creek State Park in 1807. Their plantation was destroyed during the Second Seminole war. Flagler County served as host to the famed naturalish t JOhn Audobon in 1831. John Audobon visited St. Augustine and walked to the Bulow Plantation where he stayed for four week before continuing his trip into the center of Florida collecting samples of Floridian fauna and flora.

The wars with the Seminole Indians destroyed much of the growth of Flagler County before 1807 including leaving King’s Road and the bridges over the Tomoka River and the Pellicer Creek completely destroyed. A historian of Flagler County by the name of John Clegg wrote in 1844 that the only way to travel was by boat as all land means of crossing had been destroyed.

With the advent of statehood for Florida, the leading politician in the area was General Joseph M. Hernandex who was made the first delegate to Congress from the region. Also in 1844, George Washington a relative of the president George Washington married General Hernandez’s daughter, Louisa Hernandez. She died quickly and George Washington moved to the Bella Vista estate. For him it was a vacation place that he used to go whenever he wanted to hunt and fish. He later built a home on the Bella Vista lands for George Washinton Jr.,his son. The Bella Vista lands are now the Washington Oaks State Park that is open to visitors,presently.

Following the Civil War and during the Reconstruction of the South between 1861 and 1875, the Mala Compra Plantation which had been used by the Confederates to make salt changed the local economy from making sugar to boiling sea water to make salt. The area later attracted a millionaire industrialist by the name of Henry Cutting, who together with his wife Angela bought the area of the Matanzas massacre and built a vacation lodge in 1866. He had friends who visited with him from such northern areas as New England and Chicago. Their estate in Flagler County still stands.

The Matanzas hunting lodge has a lot of historical color. Following the death of her millionaire husband, Angela Cutting married Russian Prince Boris Sherbatow who lived on the estate during the winter season. The Flagler County local government keeps the property today and it is called Princess Place.

The next historical changing event for Flagler County was the entrance of the rairoad that was built through Windemere to help move the cattle that was being raised there. A local author of the time Zora Neale wrote many books about the inrusion of the railroad and the industries it helped to create.

Finally, in 1885, Henry Flagler bought the railroad that passed through Flagler County and improved its width making it more accessible to the products of central Florida. The county is named after Henry Flagler. In 1917, Flagler became a county and joined with parts of St. John’s County and the top most part of Volusia County. Flagler County had the communities known as Bunnell, Espanola, St. Johns Park, Haw Creek, Dupont, Korona and Ocean City which is now known as Flagler Beach.

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