Historical Sketch of Hendry County

Historical Sketch of Hendry County


(First entry, pg. 24)
Historical Sketch
It was early hoped that drainage operations would make available large tracts of land suitable for sugarcane, but not until the 1920’s was there an effort to produce this crop on a large scale. The United States Sugar Corporation controls thousands of acres of muck land south of Lake Okeechobee, on which has been made possible, by the execution of a scientifically planned drainage-irrigation water control program, the cultivation of sugarcane of a high quality. There has been erected at Clewiston a plant for the conversion of cane into raw sugar that is said to be the largest single-unit cane sugar factory in the continental United States.
The organization of the government of Hendry county was provided for by the act that created the county (Ch. 9360, Acts, 1923). The county was made a part of the first congressional district, of the twenty-fourth state senatorial district, and of the twelfth judicial circuit, and was given one representative in the legislature. The first meeting of the board of county commissioners, composed of M. E. Forrey, E. E. Goodno, J. J. O’Brien, M. F. Borsclair, and J. L. Taylor, was held July 10, 1923. Mr. Forrey was made chairman and Carl E. Reyer was elected clerk of the board.
The original boundaries of the county are described as follows: “Beginning where the north line of township forty-three, south intersects the range line between twenty-seven and twenty-eight, east at the line between Charlotte and Glades counties, run thence south along said range line to the north line of township forty-six south; run thence east to the east line of range thirty, east; run thence south along said east line of range thirty, east, to the north line of township forty-nine, south; run thence east along the north line of township forty-nine, south to the east line of range thirty-four, east and the boundary of Broward county; run thence north along the boundaries of Broward and Palm Beach counties to the waters of Lake Okeechobee; run thence north westerly along the waters of said lake to the Glades county line; run thence west along the southern boundary of Glades county to the point of beginning (sec. 72, C. G. L.). Two changes have been made since 1923, but no single description of the present legal boundaries is found in the statutes. In 1925 that portion of township forty-three, south, range thirty-four, east, lying in Lake Okeechobee was transferred from Palm Beach to Hendry county (ibid., sec. 73), and in 1937 an act to transfer the east one-half of section thirty-one and all of section thirty-two, township forty-two, south, range twenty-nine, east, from Glades to Hendry county (Ch. 18568, Acts, 1937) was ratified by a majority vote of the qualified electors voting in the territory affected and in Hendry county.
The population of Hendry county was 1,111 in 1925. Its population in 1935 was 3,711 of whom 952 were Negroes. The total acreage of the county is 765,872, of which 52,052 acres are state lands, 24,021 Federal lands. Most of the Federal lands are comprised in the Seminole Indian reservation, a portion of which lies in the southeast corner of the county. The total assessed value of real estate in 1936 was $906,274,


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


Brief history of Hendry 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.