“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Orange in Volusia County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)


Working Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 31, 2011
1. Working Marker
Inscription. The Dunlawton Plantation was no leisure spot. As a frontier agricultural and processing site, it demanded hard, physical, un-glamorous work. Without the labor of African-American slaves and hired free workers, this nineteenth-century venture would not have been possible.

In 1850 John Marshall reportedly had 25 slaves producing sugar, and he could have borrowed others from a relative during busy times. Elsewhere, house slaves probably helped Mrs. Marshall at the family home near the Halifax River. Yet most of Dunlawton's enslaved people labored outdoors and in the sugar factory. They cleared the stubborn land, plowed and planted cane fields, and cut and processed the crop - a continual job once the harvest began.

Even so, Dunlawton's needs went beyond cane handling, and slaves helped keep the plantation running in many ways. John Marshall also owned a sawmill, for which black workers would have cut timber, rafted logs, and more. To restart the sugar factory, he brought in free craftsmen - but also another planter's skilled slave. "I have no white carpenter," Marshall wrote in 1849, "but Mr. Sanchez' man John is a fine framer & works well." Labor of all kinds was a constant here.

Even Dunlawton's fields left footprints for many decades. Historian Harold Cardwell (who grew up near the ruins) recalls finding old cane
Marker close-up: Farming photo image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, August 13, 2010
2. Marker close-up: Farming photo
furrows well into the twentieth century.

[ Photo ]
Florida farming in the nineteenth century. Clearing land and managing cane fields were basic to the life of a sugar plantation.

Photo courtesy of the Florida Photographic Collection/State Archives.

[ Image ]
At work in the Florida woods, John Marshall reported rafting logs from Spruce Creed for his sawmill near the Halifax River.

Detail from a print in the Picturesque America, 1872.
Erected by Volusia County and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission.
Location. 29° 8.478′ N, 81° 0.338′ W. Marker is in Port Orange, Florida, in Volusia County. Marker can be reached from Old Sugar Mill Road east of Herbert Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. The marker is on the grounds of the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens, mounted along the boardwalk at the sugar mill ruins. Marker is at or near this postal address: 950 Old Sugar Mill Road, Port Orange FL 32129, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Roof (here, next to this marker); Telling Dunlawton's Stories (a few steps
Working Marker image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, August 13, 2010
3. Working Marker
from this marker); From the Boardwalk (a few steps from this marker); The Most Dangerous Chieftain (a few steps from this marker); Living on the Edge (a few steps from this marker); Sugar Making (a few steps from this marker); Dunlawton's Building Blocks (a few steps from this marker); The Dunlawton Sugar Factory (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Orange.
More about this marker. The marker features the logos of Volusia County and the Florida Heritage program.
Regarding Working. The site was listed with the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 under the name Dunlawton Plantation--Sugar Mill Ruins (# 73000606).
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the story of the Dunlawton Plantation and Sugar Mill Ruins, study each marker in the order shown.
Categories. African AmericansAgricultureIndustry & Commerce
Dunlawton Sugar Cane Crusher image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, July 31, 2011
4. Dunlawton Sugar Cane Crusher
The back of the historic marker is seen in the lower left.
Sugar Cane Stalks image. Click for full size.
By AGS Media, August 14, 2010
5. Sugar Cane Stalks
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 26, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. This page has been viewed 440 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 26, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 27, 2011, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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