Live Oak Plantation, Florida


Live Oak Plantation, Florida

Live Oak Plantation was originally a small cotton plantation of convert|1560|acre|km2 located in central Leon County, Florida, USA established by John Branch who arrived in Florida in 1832 and served as Florida Territorial Governor while living at Live Oak for 15 years.

Location

Live Oak was located in north central Leon County extending from the east shore of Lake Jackson to the western edge of Lafayette Township.

1860s

1860 Plantation specifics

The Leon County Florida 1860 Agricultural Census shows that Live Oak Plantation had the following:
* Improved Land: convert|820|acre|km2
* Unimproved Land: convert|260|acre|km2
* Cash value of plantation: $4000
* Cash value of farm implements/machinery: $300
* Cash value of farm animals: $2390 [ [http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/fl/leon/census/1860agri.txt Rootsweb Plantations Rootsweb Plantations] ]
* Number of slaves: 68
* Bushels of corn: 2000
* Bales of cotton: 73

1870s-1900s

On June 9, 1870 John Branch's heirs sold Live Oak, now at only convert|1250|acre|km2, to Howard S. Case of Columbia, Pennsylvania. This was historically noted as the last large purchase of Leon County plantation property to a northerner. [Paisley, Clifton, "From Cotton To Quail: An Agricultural Chronicle of Leon County, Florida, 1860-1967", University of Florida Press, 1968. p. 72. ISBN 13: 978-0-8130-0718-2]

In 1887 the Case family sold the plantation to Edmund H. Ronalds of Edinburgh, Scotland. Ronalds wintered at Live Oak and married Lisa Williams, daughter of Joseph John Williams of La Grange Plantation on November 21, 1891. In 1892 Lisa Williams Ronalds contracted and died from tuberculosis while in Scotland. Edmund died on March 17, 1895.

Live Oak Plantation was now larger and its borders extended eastward to Lake Hall, Lake Overstreet, and Lake Elizabeth. Edmund Ronalds' brother, Dr. Tennent Ronalds, gained ownership of Live Oak upon his brothers death. Though he did not practice medicine, Tennent attended the University of Edinburgh and University of Bonn. He spent his years as a sportsman enjoying hunting, fishing, and golf.

By 1903 Live Oak boasted a private golf course with a flock of sheep for maintenance of greens and fairways. Live Oak was also extended to 3226 acres (13 km²) and had the first tung tree orchard in Florida. In 1903 an additional convert|2246|acre|km2 were leased from Ellen Call Long's Orchard Pond Plantation for use in hunting. In 1915 and 1916 Tennent Ronalds purchased Orchard Pond from the Long and Call families. Ronalds also purchased the James Kirksey Plantation. Tennent Ronalds committed suicide on February 24, 1924. [C. Paisley, unknown pages]

In 1925, Live Oak was only convert|2915|acre|km2. That year, it was purchased by Herman C. Fleitman of Stamford, Connecticut. In 1934, it was sold again to Leon T. Cheek of Jacksonville, Florida. Cheeks was a member of a well-to-do family from Nashville, Tennessee owning Cheek and Neal Coffee which became Maxwell House. [ [http://tourtimeinc.com/new_package.html Tour Time, Inc. Tours of Jacksonville] ]

In 1948, Live Oak was sold to A. M. Middlebrooks. The plantation is no longer, having become the neighborhoods in and around Live Oak Plantation Road and including Middlebrooks Circle.

References


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