Waldo in Alachua County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Dickison and His Men / Jefferson Davis' Baggage
Dickison and His Men
John Jackson Dickison (1816-1902), Florida's famous Civil War guerrilla leader, bivouacked at Camp Baker, south of here, during the closing weeks of the conflict. Dickison and his men became legendary figures. As Company H, Second Florida Cavalry, they engaged in skirmishes, raids, battles, scouting expeditions, and forced marches from the time of organization at Flotard's Pond, Marion County, in 1862, until the force was mustered out at Waldo on May 20, 1865.
Jefferson Davis' Baggage
On June 5, 1865 a detachment of Union soldiers under Captain O.E.Bryant seized personal baggage belonging to President Jefferson Davis and some of the Confederate government's records in a house near this site. The trunks and papers were hidden first at Senator David Levy Yulee's Plantation, "Cottonwood" between Archer and Gainesville. The baggage was moved to Waldo and placed in care of the railroad agent.
Erected 1965 by Florida Board of Parks and Historical Memorials in Cooperation with Seaboard Air Line Railway Co. (Marker Number F-127.)
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Waldo FL 32694, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Waldo (here, next to this marker); For All Who Served (within shouting distance of this marker); Earleton, Florida (approx. 5.2 miles away); Turpentine Industry Community and Family (approx. 6.8 miles away); Melrose United Methodist Church (approx. 9 miles away); Melrose Woman's Club (approx. 9.1 miles away); Melrose High School (approx. 9.3 miles away); Melrose Cemetery (approx. 9.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waldo.
More about this marker. Along the route of Florida’s Bellamy Road lay a plantation village named Bellamy Station, which is now called Waldo, one of Alachua County’s oldest towns founded in 1820. Once a thriving railroad center, Waldo was named for Dr. Benjamin Waldo of Ocala, a physician and friend of the railroad’s founder. The town’s train depot throughout history saw Civil War troops, new settlers looking for good soil and a mild climate, as well as tourists looking for “a winter playground”, all which could be found in beautiful Waldo.
Waldo in its glory days once boasted several resort hotels, two theaters and an opera house. The railroad brought people from all around the country to a land that was excellent for hunting, fishing and boating. Land investors built homes and helped Waldo’s population to become prosperous and diversified. The town had a number of thriving businesses: an ice factory and cold storage plant, a grist mill, a cotton gin, a saw mill, a wagon factory, and a broom manufacturer. It was even the home of El Toney cigar factory, a large employer of the community during its operation. Some of the original buildings remain today.
A series of disastrous freezes in 1899 laid havoc on Waldo’s horticultural assets of citrus groves and other crops developed by Waldo’s farmers and growers. Waldo was once a major shipping point for agricultural products with the construction of the Santa Fe Canal that connected Waldo to Melrose through Lake Alto and Lake Santa Fe. The canal helped carry oranges as well as other fruits, vegetables, turpentine and passengers to and from Waldo to Melrose. When two inches of snow covered the ground and the freezing temperatures lasted for four straight days, Waldo’s reputation for a mild climate for farming and leisure was soon lost.
With the depression which began in Florida in the late 1920’s and the decision to move Railroad operations out of town, Waldo had a dwindling number of people who could support themselves or the town. Many homes and businesses were abandoned and fell into disrepair. With some economic growth in the 1940’s revived the town after the building of an Army Training base in nearby Starke, Waldo was able to recover from the hard times which came before.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Categories. • Railroads & Streetcars • War, US Civil •
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Credits. This page was last revised on July 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 18, 2007, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 3,840 times since then and 67 times this year. Last updated on February 16, 2011, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 21, 2011, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on December 18, 2007, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 10. submitted on July 16, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.