“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Gainesville in Alachua County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Serenola Plantation

Serenola Plantation Marker (side 1) image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, February 3, 2013
1. Serenola Plantation Marker (side 1)
Inscription.  (side 1)
In 1857, David Rogerson Williams II (1822-1907) of Darlington Co., SC, purchased 1,000 acres, including this site bordering Paynes Prarie, and developed them as a plantation known as "Serenola." The 1860 census shows 120 slaves lived in 24 houses on the plantation, where cotton, sugar cane, and corn were grown. By 1870, the plantation's land and tenements were owned by Capt. Garth W. James (1845-1883), a Union veteran of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Colored Infantry, and William R. Robeson (1845-1922), an attorney from Boston, MA. In 1875, Robeson began selling some of his Serenola land. Among the grantees in 1880 was industrialist Andrew Carnegie. More remarkable were the 250 acres that Robeson sold from 1875 through 1885 to five black families, most of whom had once served as slaves of Williams, the original owner of the plantation. The freedmen and their families included: Harrison Lynch (1835-1916), with his wife Hannah and their four children; Mack Williams (1825-1898), with his wife Sally and their four children; minister Washington West (1853-1942),with his wife Nelly and their two children; Jerry Gregg (1845-1920),
Serenola Plantation Marker (side 2) image. Click for full size.
By Tim Fillmon, February 3, 2013
2. Serenola Plantation Marker (side 2)
with his wife Jane and their five children; and Bina Gregg, a widow (1805-1896).
(Continued on other side)
(side 2)
(Continued from other side)
At that time, farming was the mainstay of Alachua County. Between 1872 and 1892, the location of the former plantation near the Paynes Prarie waterways gave the farmers easy access to ship produce north by steamboat. By 1891, the Gainesville, Rocky Point & Micanopy Railroad ran through the property, providing further access to markets. Serenola had a lasting impact on Alachua County's economy until the 1950s, when farming declined as the farmers passed away. The last of the former Serenola slaves who farmed the land died in 1942. The main house and the slave quarters no longer exist, but the surroundings remain much as they appeared in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A dirt road once known as Rocky Point Road, with its canopy of oak trees, still runs through what was the plantation. It became a public highway in 1889, and is now SW 17th Terrace. During the early 1900s, West family members established Minnie Hill Baptist Church, located on the old road. After Washington West retired as pastor of Serenola Baptist Church, which he helped found in 1885, he attended the Minnie Hill Baptist Church until his death. That church was renamed Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in 1992.
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Erected 2010 by The Serenola Community Cemetery, Inc. and the Florida Department of State. (Marker Number F-705.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansAgricultureIndustry & Commerce.
Location. 29° 36.794′ N, 82° 20.605′ W. Marker is in Gainesville, Florida, in Alachua County. Marker can be reached from SW Williston Road (State Road 331) 0.1 miles west of SW 13th Street (U.S. 441). Located in Squirrel Ridge Park near parking area. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1603 SW Williston Road, Gainesville FL 32608, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. George T. Harrell (approx. 1.9 miles away); Health Professions Pioneer (approx. 2 miles away); Jesse Johnson Finley (approx. 2 miles away); Evergreen Cemetery (approx. 2.2 miles away); Boulware Springs Water Works Building (approx. 2.2 miles away); Gainesville’s Only Artesian Spring (approx. 2.2 miles away); Florida Museum (approx. 2.2 miles away); Shady Grove Primitive Baptist Church and Porters Quarters (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gainesville.
Also see . . .  David Rogerson Williams at (Submitted on September 18, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 15, 2013, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 807 times since then and 42 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 15, 2013, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 19, 2020