Over the years I have explored many areas of The Green Swamp Preserve located in central, Florida. It is a scenic and vast place that spans 4 counties so there is a lot to explore. The area is rich in history as well so I enjoy learning about and tracking down of that kind of stuff in this wilderness. It took a very long time to begin finding some of this history out here but I find that with dedication and just getting out there as much as possible in the more you begin to find and experience. There was logging, turpentine and ranching history in this place well over a hundred years ago. Even longer before that dating back thousands of years Native American Indians found this area to be a refuge and also a place with abundant resources.
One of the sites I have explored is this abandoned homestead site. During the 1800’s and into the early 1900’s some families lived in these areas. They built ranches, had orange groves and lived an old Florida lifestyle. This particular site seems to date back to at least the 1930’s according to some aerial maps I have. The area is mostly being reclaimed by nature so it looks a lot different than it did in the early days of this place. There was a homestead, a place for livestock and orange groves close by as well. Some of the orange trees still grow out here. There was a railroad line that was close by as well and many folks lived along them when trains were one of the main sources for transportation. I could see some of the old roads throughout the area which is all woods now and the roads have become trails. It makes for a very scenic exploration and there are many areas to venture into here. Around the area I could observe some old vehicles, foundations and other remnants from the homestead.
Being out here transports you back in time to another era and it is one of the sites where you can just feel the history. I truly enjoy these types of places and I’m very thankful to still be able to experience them in modern times.
Many historical sites and wilderness areas in Florida are being developed so it is important that we cherish and take care of these places while we still have them. I feel this way every time I visit these places and it’s part of the reason why I like to document them as much as I can so that in someway they can be remembered when they are gone.
Check out my video and photos below. If you visit this site or others like it please be respectful and leave everything as you see it, thank you and enjoy!
This is an interesting gravesite I found in Ocala National Forest, a man name Jeremiah M. Brewer is buried here. He lived from 1844 to 1877, some of the history I found on him describes him serving in the Civil War as a Union Soldier. I find it interesting that there are both Confederate and Union Soldiers buried in this forest. As I approached the site which sits in the middle of the woods you can’t help but feel a sense of mystery here. Why was he buried here? Did he have a homestead or family nearby? So many questions come to mind. It is part of what drives me to explore the history. I try to imagine what the area looked like back then and you begin to put yourself in that moment. It is easy to get lost in the history out here but I rather enjoy it…
Here is some information I was able to find: The records indicate that he died in Paisley Florida which was established sometime in the late 1800’s. He was born in Clinton County, Ohio. He was the son of Jeremiah and Ann Matthews Brewer. Brother of Isaiah, Josiah, William B., and Mary Jane. This Jeremiah is listed in the 1870 Census in Greene Township, Clinton County, Ohio, Post Office: Sabina as a Druggist. Jeremiah served in Company D, Ohio 188th Infantry Regiment during 1865 and was mustered out in Nashville, TN on September 21, 1865. The property this grave is located on changed hands several times in the 1880’s until the United States Forest Service purchased it. Prior to 1882, the land cannot be found to have been claimed by any one person.
The grave seems to be maintained to some degree perhaps by the forest service or surviving family members could also help take care of it. I enjoy visiting the site and learning what I can about the history. It is very peaceful here in the woods and a nice resting place. Hopefully the grave remains undisturbed and can be a reminder of history for those who pass by.
After learning about the ghost town of “Acron” in Lake County I went out to the area to try to find the townsite and see what could possibly remain. According to some maps I found that the location is just north of Paisley in the Ocala National Forest area. It was challenging trying to narrow down an area to cover since it is a large area, I didn’t really know where to begin.
Thinking back on the research and knowing that the town had a sawmill the site would’ve been close to water or a transportation line of some kind. So I looked for old roads, railroad lines or water areas to explore around. Another part of the research also indicates that the town had several spellings for its name. One of them was “Akron” and with this clue I narrowed down my search to around Lake Akron which was nearby. There are a maze of dirt roads in the woods there I picked one that lead me to the lake.
Along the way I managed to find some possible evidence from the townsite. In one of the clearings I saw a lot of old bottles and glass scattered about. I followed the area further in where I saw bits of ceramics, metal, wood and even and old license plate on the ground. It was obvious that I found a site related to the town just not sure what it was. I didn’t see any structural remains or bricks like I have at similar sites but I still have more to explore here.
Here is more history on the town: John C. Campbell was the first postmaster when the post office was established in 1877. Acron originally had a population of 30 but grew in time to 300 residents. The Acron School was established in 1875 with Sara Campbell as its first teacher, Flora Call was the second. Flora was the mother of Walt Disney. This two-story log school also served as a church house and local Mason meetings. Campbell housed the post office in his home which for a time was also used as the local hotel. The original Campbell home was demolished in 1910. The community has since disappeared. Pioneer family names consist of Campbell, Lever, Perkins, Blecha, and the Rev. Charles Jarvis Clark.