Okeechobee County, 

Florida 

A Pictorial History--Page 1A

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Okeechobee Military Map 1846.JPG (44660 bytes)In October 1896, Peter and Louisiana (Chandler) Raulerson with their children, left the Ft. Bassinger settlement and moved southeast to the unsettled wilderness along Taylor Creek, a few miles north  of Lake Okeechobee. A three yoke ox-team with covered wagon and a horse and buggy carried the family and household effects to their new home at  "The Bend" an area which  is now Okeechobee City.

 

 

     

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noel_rabun_raulerson.jpg (34484 bytes)Peter Raulerson, son of Noel Rabun Raulerson, Sr., was born September 1, 1857, in Hillsborough (now Polk) County. He came with his parents to                  Ft. Bassinger at the age of seventeen and in 1877 married Louisiana Chandler. 

peter_and_louisiana_raulerson.jpg (41356 bytes) Peter was a cattleman and during the 1890ís stretched thirty miles of fence from Taylor Creek to the Kissimmee River, enclosing what was then known as   "The Bend", because of the bend of land bordered by the river and the creek.

 

    

Pete_Raulerson_log_house.JPG (70108 bytes)When they reached their destination the first task was to build a barn shelter in which the family lived for three years. In 1899 the Raulerson's decided to build a larger, more substantial structure. Friends from Bassinger and Fort Drum came down and stayed for three days to help erect the log house. At the log-raising they also fenced in two and a half acres with cabbage logs to provide an area for the raising of vegetables.  This log house is still standing today enclosed in a more modern dwelling.

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Palmetto_Shack.jpg (59626 bytes)A cabbage palmetto shack was built in 1898 and served as the first school at "The Bend". The building had a good floor and slabs of split timber, called puncheons, were used for seats. Six children were required to start a school so the Yates children from Plattís Bluff were "borrowed" in order to have the necessary number. Dr. George M. Hubbard, a Connecticut Yankee who had recently moved to the area, served as school teacher for the first term. The Raulerson family provided room and board for the extra children and the teacher. During the following term, which lasted only four months, Mrs. Mary Steffee of Kissimmee, Fl  taught school in a barn.

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Taylor_Creek_1891.jpg (35514 bytes)About 1898 W. A. "Buster" Farrell built a house a quarter mile west of Taylor Creek. He came originally as a hunter but he also set out an orange grove near his house. Farrell is generally considered the first person to fish commercially in Taylor Creek.

Boats_Taylor_Creek.jpg (80991 bytes)Samuel L. Gray, a sixteen year old boy from the Hudson River valley of New York State, left his home in December 1899, filled with the spirit of adventure. He and a friend took a coastal steamer out of New York City and arrived in Jacksonville after a four day trip. They came up the St. Johnís River to Sanford, moved on to Kissimmee, Fl  and then paddled down the Kissimmee River on a row boat to Lake Okeechobee, camping out along the way. Grayís friend returned home after a short while but Sam remained in the new country. A few years later his brother, Walter N. Gray, moved to Florida.  

Sam_Grays_Camp.JPG (87717 bytes)Sam worked as a commercial fisherman for a short time but soon started hunting and trapping, living in tents or palmetto huts he built himself. Among his partners were several Seminole Indians, including Desoto Tiger and Sam Jones. Grayís hunting area extended throughout the Everglades and around the south end of Lake Okeechobee. Eventually, he gave up hunting and opened a boatyard at Okeechobee.

 

 

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