West Gadsden Historical Society

Dedicated to saving the History of Gadsden County Florida

P.O. Drawer D
Greensboro, Florida 32330
Telephone Number: 850-442-6434
E-mail: GadsdenHistory.org@gmail.com

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The Shape of the County

In 1822, the Florida Territory consisted of 2 counties --- Escambia, which encompassed all the land from the Alabama line west of Pensacola to the east as far as the Suwannee River, and St. Johns from the Suwannee River to the St. Augustine area. In just months, Jackson County was formed out of Escambia County from the Choctawhatchee River east to the Suwannee River. On June 24, 1823, all the land from the Apalachicola River to the Suwannee River was then cut out of Jackson County to form Gadsden County. At the time of the formation of Gadsden County, it included Tallahassee and all the coastal land from the mouth of the Apalachicola River to the mouth of the Suwannee River. However, on December 29, 1824, Gadsden County was reformed to include the lands only from the Apalachicola River to the Ochlocknee River. In 1832, Franklin County was formed out of Gadsden County and in 1855 Liberty County was formed from Gadsden, establishing the county size that we are all so familiar with today. 

Since we are all about History, please review this list of Gadsden County sites that are currently part of  the National Register of Historic Places.

Century Pioneer Family Farms  of Gadsden County

The Century Pioneer Family Farm Program was initiated in 1985 by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and honors families who have maintained at least 100 years of continuous family farm ownership. The program acknowledges the benefit that family farms and ranches provide to the state of Florida, and recognizes these pioneers as the original stewards of the land for preserving environmental resources and for helping foster the state’s agricultural industry which provides an important economic base for Florida.

Gadsden County Century Pioneer Family Farms

  • Annette S. Bradley
  • Woodrow Chester
  • Nelson and Karen Clark
  • John Cooksey
  • Willie M. Cox
  • Forrest Davis Jr.
  • H. Newton Edwards
  • Claude Embry Edwards
  • Clara F. Fletcher
  • Evelyn Glenn
  • William and Leslie Johnson
  • Evelyn M. Leonard
  • Don May Jr.
  • Farris Parramore
  • M.D. Peavy Jr.
  • Lynne L. Poucher
  • Jimmy Franklin Rowan Sr.
  • R.G. Suber
  • Patricia E. Townsend
  • Hal E. VanLandingham
  • J. Thad White
  • Thomas C. White
  • Dr. Pat Munroe Woodward
John Kenzie McLane
Historic Publications and Articles of Interest


McLane Family Massacre

At the age of 20, John Kenzie McLane fought off a band of Creek Indians at his family's homestead.  Now known as the McLane Family Massacre, this event took place April 23, 1840 about 5 miles south west of present day Greensboro.  While John's mother and three siblings were killed that day, John killed one of the Indians that was later identified as the son of an older Creek Indian Chief.  In the late 1800s, John K. McLane was interviewed by a traveling preacher about this historical happening. 



1903 Soil Survey of Gadsden County

Printed in 1904, the Soil Survey of Gadsden County, Florida was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Soils in 1903.  It is a unique manuscript describing the history, climate and geology of Gadsden County.

When you think of Gadsden County, you think of shade tobacco, Fuller's Earth and Coca Cola.


Anyone that is now over the age of 55, that once lived in Gadsden County, worked in Shade tobacco.  The School year ended in early May, and all students worked the fields and barns to grow, harvest and dry our "Florida Gold". It was a hot and dirty job, but many remember it as being riddled with singing, end of harvest fish fries and developing a camaraderie that we have shared throughout our lives.  The yield of the yearly Shade tobacco crop, determined the livelihood of families throughout the County.  Tobacco was brought to Gadsden County in the 1820's, but it was later discovered that is was only one of the two places in the United States that were suitable for the growth of the "Wrapper Leaf", the outer leaf used to wrap cigars. The "Georgia-Florida Shade Tobacco District" comprised of Gadsden and Madison counties in Florida and Grady and Decatur counties in Georgia.  The Connecticut River valley also produced the outer leaf.  The tobacco industry flourished into the 1970's in Gadsden County.


Fullers Earth

Fuller's Earth was accidentally discovered in 1893 on the property of the Owl Cigar Company, just north of Quincy. In digging a water well, the workmen noticed unusual clay, which was latter determined to be Fuller's Earth.  Testing of the clay revealed it to be of a wonderful quality and purity and further research in the area revealed millions of tons of the clay.  Early mining was primitive. The clay was lifted to the surface, loaded on mule carts, taken to large platforms and allowed to bleach in the sun. Modern technology has broadened its primitive use for cleaning and bleaching cloth to bleaching and refining petroleum products and much more. We still think it's fun that "kitty litter" was discovered in Gadsden County!


Coca-Cola or as we say in Gadsden County


The bottling of Coca-Cola was begun in the county at the turn of the 20th century but its real value to the area came through the purchase of Coca-Cola stock. Many legends circulate about the personal fortunes gained from Coca-Cola investments. Miss Julia Munroe Woodward, daughter of banker M. W. "Pat" Munroe says, "Daddy liked the taste and he figured folks would always have a nickel for a coke." Prices have gone up but "Mr. Pat" encouraged family and friends to invest in the stock before the beverage attained its world wide prestige. The increase in value resulted in a good many "Coca-Cola millionaires" residing in the county. One estimate says that there were 67 of them and another says that at one time, more Coca-Cola stock was held in Gadsden County than throughout the rest of the country. Whether that is legend or fact, Coca-Cola is the drink of choice of many families in Gadsden County.


(excerpts from the Gadsden County Chamber of Commerce)


History Of Gadsden County