Original returned to [Jarrah?]
This is a copy-
A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE CREATION AND HISTORY OF HIGHLANDS COUNTY
A County Division Committee, composed of George E. Sebring, Sebring, A. G. Smith and Charles Carlton, Wauchula, W. M. Reck, Avon Park, Chester Blount, Punta Gorda, D. W. Stephenson and Jack Taylor of Moore Haven and others was selected by residents of old DeSoto County to create interest, determine [boundary] lines and prepare bills to be introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate, dividing DeSoto County into five (5) Counties, namely: DeSoto, Charlotte, Hardee, Glades and Highlands.
These bills were introduced in the Senate by the late Honorable Frank M. Cooper, Senator of the 27th. Senatorial District and by Doctor E. J. Etheredge, Representative from DeSoto County and passed by both houses on the same day. The bills were signed by the Honorable Carey A. Hardee, Governor of Florida on the 21st. day of April, 1921, creating Highlands County.
On the 23rd. day of April, 1921, the Governor appointed the following county officials to serve until the next general election, which was held in November, 1922; D. V. Rouse, County Judge; C. F. Saunders, Clerk of the Circuit Court; W. M. Griffin, Sheriff; D. F. Canfield, Tax Collector; Cyril Baldwin, Tax Assessor; I. C. M. Ellenberger, Superintendent of Public Instruction of L. L. Henderson, Supervisor of Registration. The newly created county was divided into five (5) commissioners districts and the following commissioners were appointed by the Governor; Wm. King; John E. Graham, Perry
Etheredge, A. M. McAuley and W. W. Williams.
The County Officials presented their commissions and bonds to the Board of County Commissioners on the 23rd day of May, 1921 and were accepted; temproary quarters were rented, records books were ordered and the County began functioning from that date. No records pertinent to Highlands County except plat books were transcribed from the records of old DeSoto County.
Highlands County is in Congressional District #1; Senatorial District #27; Judicial District #19 and has one (1) representative in the State Legislature.
Six (6) voting precincts were designated in the County as follows; Avon Park, Sebring, DeSoto City, Bassenger, Lake Stearns, Venus, and Hicoria, since that time the following precincts have been added; one (1) each at Avon Park, Sebring, Sunniland and Brighton. The name of Lake Stearns has since been changed to Lake Placid.
The country now comprising Highlands County was up until about 1900 used chiefly as a cattle range, a colony of English settled Avon Park about 1890 and started the Citrus Industry which was greatly developed and has made Highlands County one of the leading citrus producing counties in Florida. The late Geo. E. Sebring founded the city of Sebring about 1911 and the late Dr. Melvill Dewey of Lake Placid, N. Y. purchased large holdings at Lake Stearns and founded the present city of Lake Placid.
Highlands County had developed by leaps and bounds, its population has more than tripled since its creation in 1921.
Highlands County is attracting more tourists each year, [owing] to its clear water lakes and beautiful rolling woodlands.
The most outstanding attraction in Highlands County at this time is Highlands Hammock (a State Park) containing about 1000 acres and is noted for its semi-tropical jungle beauty, [immense] live oak trees, native wild animals and birds including deer and turkey. This place of beauty was made possible by the generosity of the late Margaret Shippen Robeling, who purchased the land, financed its development and donated it to the State as a park.