Providence in Union County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Village Of Providence
Providence is believed to be the second oldest Florida settlement next to St. Augustine. The Lonnie Summers Family found this statement written on the wall of the Old Odem House they purchased in 1936: "St. Augustine was founded in 1565. Shortly thereafter a small band of soldiers settled in Providence." Hernando De Soto's army passed near this village on its trip to west Florida in 1539. A Spanish mission, Catalina De Ajomica, located four miles southeast of Providence, was built by Franciscan missionaries in the early 1600's to evangelize Timucuan Indians. It was destroyed by English soldiers and their Indian allies in 1702. Daniel Stewart had a plantation here in 1790 where he grew Sea Island cotton. Orange groves produced abundantly. Families from Georgia and South Carolina settled here before 1830, but the greatest influx of settlers was between 1850 and 1860. Descendants of these pioneers who still live in Providence are: Bielling, Bivins, Brooks, Brown, Clyatt, Crawford, Croft, Dees, Douglas, Edenfield, Fralick, Gay, Harden, Holmes, Keith, Nes Smith, Newsom, Odom, O'Steen, Parrish, Perry, Renfroe, Roberts, Sasser, Shaller, Smith, Summers, Thomas, Ward, Weeks, Williams and York. Settlers were attacked by Indians during the Seminole Indian Wars (1835-42), and sought refuge at strategically placed forts within a four-mile radius
Providence - - Ft. Call on Santa Fe River. Ft. Ward on Olustee Creek, and Ft. No. 15 - East Florida on Swift Creek. Eleven known Indian War veterans and forty-six Civil War veterans are buried in area cemeteries. Providence was a prosperous, thriving community pre and post Civil War. It was the first county seat of all land now comprising Columbia, Bradford and Union counties. A post office opened in 1854 and operated intermittently until 1906 with James L. Turner as postmaster and John D. Harden and Willie Thomas as mail carriers. Physicians practicing here were: Doctors Coon, Davis, Lamb, Maines, Newsom, Powell, Tison, Wachope, and Witt. There were two drugstores owned by Dr. Newsom and Dr. Powell. L. G. Ware was a druggist. William W. Willis was a lawyer and judge. Providence had a bank, photographer - Jeremiah Mobley, butcher - R.D. Kierce, barber V.J. Valentine, Odom cotton gin and Shelley & Ware sawmill. John Fralick operated a gist mill. J.H. Walters had a private school. General Mercantile stores were operated by S.D. Hodges, James L. Turner, Odom & Weeks, and Lonnie Driggers. Gen. Charles P. Summerall, an early resident, assumed command of the U.S. Army as Chief of Staff when Gen. John J. Pershing retired in 1924. Summerall later became President of The Citadel. Old Providence Baptist Church, two miles northwest of Providence,
Erected by Providence Pioneer and Friends in Cooperation with the Union County Historical Society, Inc.
Location. 30° 0.237′ N, 82° 32.825′ W. Marker is in Providence, Florida, in Union County. Marker is on County Road 238, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Located between SW 44th Avenue and SW 45 Court. Marker is in this post office area: Lake Butler FL 32054, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Santa Fe de Toloca (approx. 6 miles away); Bellamy Road (approx. 6½ miles away); Town of Leno (approx. 6½ miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 6½ miles away); "CCC Boy" Statue (approx. 6½ miles away); Bland Community and Ogden School / Odgen School (approx. 7.1 miles away); 1824 - The Bellamy Road - 1952 (approx. 9.2 miles away); Bethel United Methodist Church (approx. 9.6 miles away).
Categories. • Notable Places •
Credits. This page was last revised on July 22, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 30, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 692 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 30, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.