On this adventure I explored an old homestead site that is now part of Goethe State Forest located in Levy County. There is a lot of history here along with a scenic wilderness so I always enjoy visiting. I’ve seen everything from railroad, ranching and turpentine history here. So it seems like there is an always adventure that awaits when I explore this wilderness.
This area was located by a pond and the homestead and pond can be seen on old aerial photos from the 1940’s but not sure how much older than that it may be. When I look at these documents it is amazing to see how the areas have changed over the years compared to modern times. Nature has reclaimed most of these sites. Back then this section was cleared out around the homestead and the pond would have been a good water source. There may have been some livestock on the property as well.
Today the area is popular for equestrians and some of the horse trails go by the site. I found an overgrown path off of the trail that may have been a road to the homestead at one time. So I followed that for a little while until I came into a clearing by the pond, I could see some pieces of wood and metal scattered around. I was by the homestead area and the same pond that I saw on the aerial photo was just through the clearing and surrounding woods.
That is an incredible feeling standing in a place like this and you think of times gone by, who lived here and the memories that were made. It is lost to nature now but you still get a sense of the past in these places. Seeing some of the remnants from those days around the area only adds to that feeling. So as I roamed around I also found what appeared to be a well or cistern used for storing and collecting water. Nearby I saw some old bricks and part of a foundation. I spent a lot of time exploring the woods here and you can’t help but think what else may be out here. That is part of the mystery in exploring these places. Later I went down by the pond along the wooded shoreline and just took in the scenery, thinking “this is the real Florida, the old Florida…”
Below are some photos and a link to my video enjoy and thank you!
This is a fascinating historical site you can see along the Blue Star Memorial Highway near the town of Quincy in Gadsden County. It is known as the Joshua Davis House. Here is some of the history about the house: “In the 1820’s, settlers from Georgia, South Carolina and other states came to the new United States Territory of Florida in search of land to homestead. One such frontiersman was Thomas Dawsey, who by 1824 was residing in the Gadsden County area. In 1827 Dawsey purchased the 160 acres upon which this house stands from the United States Public Land Office, a common practice for homesteaders. Another pioneer in the region was Joshua Davis, who brought his family from Laurens County, South Carolina to a farm two miles west of Quincy ca. 1828. He soon moved to the North Mosquito Creek community located about a mile northeast of this site. Between 1830 and 1849, Joshua Davis acquired the Dawsey property and moved with his wife and five children into what would be their permanent home. By 1830, a road had been built through this area from Quincy to the Apalachicola River crossing at Chattahoochee. Stage-coaches carrying mail and passengers through this fertile and well-populated farming region traveled over what was known as “the upper road.” Some evidence suggests the Joshua Davis House served as a stage-coach stop and perhaps as a horse-changing station.
This house was the focal point of a cotton, tobacco, and corn plantation which by 1859 consisted of 1440 acres of land on which Joshua Davis had as many as 33 slaves, 6 horses, and 135 cattle. A map of 1857 designated this general locality as “Davis.” After the death of Joshua Davis in 1859 and of his wife Esther in 1876, the house was occupied by their grand-daughter Esther and her husband Lieut. Mortimer B. Bates, C.S.A. This house has been used as a frontier home, tenant house, and storage facility. It was originally built as a one room, 18′ by 27′ dressed timber structure with a front porch and a heating-cooking fireplace at the west end. Early alterations included a rear porch, attic sleeping loft, and east room. Joshua Davis enclosed the rear porch into shed rooms opening onto a breezeway, refurbished the interior and exterior with hand-beaded siding, and is thought to have added a separated kitchen in the rear. The additions include several architectural elements not commonly found in Florida. This house, which was still the property of descendants of Joshua Davis at the time of its restoration in 1974, is included on the National Register of Historic Places.”
There is a historical marker at the location which describes this history. It originally stood right on the highway but they moved it during the restoration. It now sits back a little ways from the highway on a hunting preserve. Events are hosted at the house from time to time. This is just one of the amazing historical sites you can see in this part of Florida. Check out the links below for more information on this place and how to find it.