History of Baker County

History of Baker County

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WPA

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HISTORY OF BAKER COUNTY

On February 8, 1861, Baker County, one of the smaller counties in northeastern Florida was formed from part of New River County. Baker was the thirty-eighth county formed in the State and was named for James M. Baker, former Judge of the Fourth Judiciary District.

Sanderson, Fl., a small village twelve miles West of Macclenny was the county seat of Baker County until the Court House was destroyed by fire in 1877. After the fire the county seat was made Darbyville, now known as Macclenny, and a new Court House built. In 1900 the frame building used as a Court House in Darbyville burned. All county records except one Justice Docket were destroyed by the fire. The present Court House in Macclenny was built in 1900. 

Macclenny was known as Darbyville until 1899, when the name was changed to Macclenny, in honor of Carr B. Macclenny, a sawmill and lumber man who settled here.

Baker County borders on the Georgia Line and is advantageously located for the ready marketing of truck and fruit crops as well as dairy and poultry products. One of the smaller counties of this section, it has a total area of 353,064 acres, only 37,453 of which are in actual cultivation. The county has resources which are of much potential value and proper development will prove their economic worth.

Corn and peanuts are the leading general farm crops, and the acreage of cotton has been increased in recent years. Large plantings of pecans have been made, some of which are already bearing commercially, and satsumas, peaches, pears, and plums are also grown in many sections of the county.

Lumber and naval stores products have long been a source of much revenue and the turpentine and rosin industries are still operated on a considerable scale.

Many new homes have been built in Macclenny within the past three years. Near Macclenny are two of the largest nurseries in Florida—Glen St. Mary's and the Southern States Nurseries—which are among the leading nurseries of the South. 

The Florida Forest Service has begun organized work in this county. This unit has three 100-foot steel observation towers, forty-one miles of telephone, three lookout men, five registered fire crews and a number of emergency helpers. 

 

Source

State Library of Florida, WPA - Historical Records Survey, County Histories

Description

Brief history of Baker County, Florida collected by the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey.

Note to Researchers: Though the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, it should be noted that these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.