Myers Park Neighborhood
(and surrounding areas)
STATEHOOD AND WAR BETWEEN THE STATES:
After passing through a number of hands between 1836 and 1853, most of Duval's land came to the Houston family in 1853 via a tax deed sold by the county sheriff, to Edward Houston. (NOTE: The family name is often spelled Houstoun, including on the grave stones in the St. Johns Episcopal Church Cemetery.) Edward Houston was born in Georgia and had come to Tallahassee from Savannah in 1838 or 1839. At one time he served as the president of the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad (which by 1860 controlled the Tallahassee Railroad to St. Marks and the railroad from Tallahassee to Jacksonville). In 1839, Leon County tax rolls listed 560 acres of land and 26 slaves in his name. By 1850 he held 1,280 acres and owned 41 slaves. In 1853, he owned 1,046 acres and 51 slaves. The 156 acres that included Duval's land, that he bought in 1853, adjoined land that he had already owned for some time. The Houston home, Lakeland (photo from Florida State Archives), was situated on the east side of what is now Capital City Country Club and in the Woodland Hills neighborhood. The name of the plantation may have come from several small sinkhole ponds near it. Two of these ponds were formerly called Duval First and Duval Second, and later called Houston's First and Houston's Second. Presumably one of these is now what is officially named Chapman Pond and is referred to by many local residents as "The Duck Pond". There is also reference to a pond in Myers Park which was used as Tallahassee's first water reservoir. Presumably, that also is the Duck Pond.
Members of the Houston family and others at the first City of Tallahassee reservoir near Myers Park. Left to right (as identified on the photo): Harold Keen, James S. Keen, Mrs. Keen, Mrs. Patrick Houston, Mr. Perot, Sr., General Patrick Houston, Mrs. Wood, Mr. Perot, Jr., Mrs. Perot, Dr. James P. S. Houston (photo from the Florida State Archives).
Houston (photo on right from Florida State Archives), Edward Houston's
son, was born in Savannah, Georgia, on September 30, 1837 and was brought
by his parents to Tallahassee in 1838 or 1839. He served as as a
lieutenant in Gamble's Florida Light Artillery and in the Florida Kilcrease
Light Artillery, and finished the war as a captain in command of the Florida
Kilcrease Light Artillery. During the war he had constructed what
is now known as the "Old Fort" on the Houston plantation... in a location
now just east of Capitol City Country Club. From this location, Houston's
guns could command movement on the "Old Plank Road" (then new) to Newport.
The Plank Road was a commercial venture built along the general course
of what is now Country Club Drive. It was one of five such roads
authorized by the Florida legislature in 1850, and the only one of these
that was built. Daniel
Ladd of Wakulla County (photo on left from Florida State Archives)
and John Denham, Joseph Chaires and Green Chaires of Jefferson County were
granted a charter for the Georgia-Florida Plank Road Company. The
original plan was for the road to run from Newport to Georgia near Thomasville.
Spurs to Tallahassee, Monticello and Quincy were planned. The Plank
Road was completed to Old St. Augustine Road by 1852 and the spur to Tallahassee
was completed by 1855. The Plank Road intersected Old St. Augustine
Road and it was near that intersection that during the Civil War Captain
Houston built the small "Old Fort" earthworks still to be seen in a small
city park in Woodland Hills subdivision. The Plank Road was used
into the 1890s, but eventually became disused. Although the "Old
Fort" or Fort Houston was built during the Civil War and is associated
with the Battle of Natural Bridge, Captain Houston and his artillery were
nowhere near there during that battle. Rather his artillery was positioned
near the center of the Confederate line at the Battle of Natural Bridge.
The web site of the Battle of Natural Bridge can be found here.
This page was created on 5 December
Most recent revision 16 February 2000.