History of Gilchrist County

History of Gilchrist County


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Everett, and Elijah Sapp. The first official meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was on January 7, 1926, in an old school building in Trentor. (p. 1, Commissioners Minutes 1)
The county has one of the lowest millage rates in the state. There is no indebtedness with the exception of $40,000.00 in school bonds which were issued to construct new buildings. With the present income from local taxation, and from state taxes such as those in gasoline and race tracks, the county can continue its present low millage and be able to construct all necessary roads without placing an additional burden on the taxpayers. The percentage of court cases in the county is very low, and its session of court are the shortest in Florida. 3
5. County Seat. Trenton was selected as the temporary site for the court house, the [Commissioners] first renting the old two-story frame school building on Main Street. On May 7, 1926, an election was called for the purpose of selecting a permanent county site. PP. 5-7, Com. Min. 1) This election was held on October 4, 1926. After a bitterly contested campaign--which almost resulted in bloodshed over voting of negroes--Trentor won over Bell by a small majority. (p. 19, Com. Min. 1)
The permanent site for the court house was purchased from the Colson Estate. $3,446.00 was paid for this and the site for the jail.
Soon after the election, the Commissioners purchased the wooden building and lot which were being used as a court house and court yard. On the night of November 18, 1932, this building was destroyed by fire. All records were lost with the exception of those from the office of Clerk of Circuit Court, and a few from the Tax Collector's office which were in an iron safe. This serious loss occasioned quite a bit of labor and trouble to county officials, and they immediately sought to replace such records as might be restored. Fortunately, the County Judge was able to obtain from the Vital Statistics Bureau, Jacksonville, copies of records such as births, deaths, and marriages; and the Tax Assessor was able to secure copies of reports previously made to the State Comptroller in Tallahassee. 4
Smith, Holborn and Dozier, Engineers and Architects, of Jacksonville, were given a contract to direct construction of the permanent court house, their remuneration being 5% of the cost of construction. (p. 461, Com. Min. 1) Contract for construction of the new court house was awarded to H. McN. Wade, for $18, 162.00, on March 29, 1933. (476-77, Com. Min. 1) The new court house was begun in the spring of 1933 and was completed on August 2, 1933, at a cost of about $20,000.00. This was accopmplished without any additional levy of taxes. (p. 461, Com. Min. 1) This handsome, modern building is of brick construction. On April 3, 1934, work was begun on new concrete sidewalks around the court house and materials and plants were furnished by the county, while the labor was furnished and directed through FERA project. (p. 543, Com. Min. 1)
Trenton is situated in the southern part of the county, eight miles east of the Suwannee River, and beautiful Fannin Springs which is just over the line in Levy County. The town has grown steadily since 1908. It was incorporated as the "Town of Trenton" on December 12, 1908, with the following officers elected: H. F. Brooker, Mayor; O. N. Sanders, C. C. Doke, C. J. Fletcher, W. W. Smith, W. A. Lindsey, Aldermen; B. F. Williams, Clerk; L. Yauncy, Marshall. (Original manuscript of Minutes in office of Clerk Circuit Court, Trenton, Fla.) In 1911 Congress passed an Act which abolished the municipal government of the Town of Trenton in the County of Alachua, and established a municipality designed as the "City of Trenton". (Chap. 6408, Special Acts of 1911; A. F. Driskell, Mayor, Trenton, Fla.)


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


Brief history of Gilchrist 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.