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Rare Early Map of Marion County, Florida -- With Early Handwritten Annotations -- Hamilton Disston

Fine cadastral map of Marion County, lithographed in Philadelphia by F. Bourquin, which has been annotated by an early owner.

The present map was created during the boom period of the land acquisitions and development plans of Hamilton Disston, who purchased 4 million acres of Florida land in 1881 and made an ambitious attempt to develop and provide infrastructure in central Florida.

This is the second state of the map, lacking the advertising, but adding a red line, quite possibly a canal route or road, which is present on both this copy and the Library of Congress's copy (the only other surviving example).

In addition to the red line, the original owner has added what appears to be a line tracking a road from south of Lake Weir, crossing over the lake and generally trending to the northwest, ending in Ocala. On either side of the road, there are names added in an early hand, including:

  • Montagne
  • Santos
  • Welshton
  • Belleview
  • Candler
  • Ocklawaha
  • East Lake
  • Stanton

These names correspond to the early towns that were then being developed in Marion County.

Includes the stamp of General Land Agent Chas. W. Campbell Junior of Ocala, Florida, February 24, 1886.

Hamilton Disston

Hamilton Disston (1844 - 1896) was an industrialist and real-estate developer who purchased four million acres of Florida land in 1881, and reportedly the most land ever purchased by a single person in world history.

Disston's investment in the infrastructure of Florida spurred growth throughout the state. His related efforts to drain the Everglades triggered the state's first land boom with numerous towns and cities established through the area. Disston's land purchase and investments were directly responsible for creating or fostering the towns of Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Gulfport, Tarpon Springs and the rapid growth of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Although Disston's engineered canals aided water transport and steamboat traffic in Florida, he was ultimately unsuccessful in draining the Kissimmee River floodplain or lowering the surface water around Lake Okeechobee and in the Everglades. He was forced to sell much of his investments at a fraction of their original costs. However, his land purchase primed Florida's economy and allowed railroad magnates Henry Flagler and Henry Plant to build rail lines down the east coast of Florida, and another joining the west coast, which directly led to the tourist and citrus industries in Florida.

Condition Description
A few minor fold tears. Includes the stamp of General Land Agent Chas. W. Campbell Junior of Ocala, Florida, February 24, 1886.