John Tucker's Oklawaha River Tract

Just south (upriver) from Catherwood's and Lauren's idle tracts, a rice and indigo plantation on a 20,000-acre estate situated on the north shore of the Oklawaha River was established for wealthy London merchant John Tucker. In 1766 Gideon DuPont, a South Carolina man recommended by Henry Laurens, located the 20,000-acre property along with two other 500-acre tracts on the east of the St. Johns across from the Oklawaha juncture. An overseer who saw the tract in 1768 said it was so wet in the swamps that rice could not be cultivated there without installing major drains and dams and recommended that Tucker trade it for land east of the St. Johns. Tucker disagreed, saying he wanted to cultivate rice west of the river and that he would send a man from Lincolnshire or Bedfordshire who understood drainage systems. The success of development efforts at this tract is not known. Tucker seems to have concentrated on his tracts east of the St. Johns.

Apparently no plantations south of Tucker were developed on the western shore between the Oklawaha River and Lake George. None were developed on the west shore of Lake George, although settlement there was permissable under the terms of the 1765 Picolata Treaty agreed to by Governor Grant and the Creek chiefs. However, Europeans were barred from settling on the west of the St. Johns upriver from (south of) Lake George. Under terms of the treaty, everything south of Lake George on the west coast of the St. Johns River was considered Indian land. Europeans could settle east of the St. River and west as far as the ocean tides flowed. Lake George was believed to be the furthest upriver point the tides reached. The Creeks and Seminoles agreed to one important exception: the Spalding Upper Indian Trade Store. And that exception was permitted to facilitate trade.

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Upriver from Stephens Point, nearly opposite Beecher Point, the Oklawaha River leaves the Ocala Forest and merges with the St. Johns. John Tucker was granted 20,000 acres on the north shore of the Oklawaha which he intended to use for rice cultivation. It is not clear if the property was developed during the British years.

Bibliographic Information

A Note On Sources

T77/17/4-Tucker. Tucker to Grant: April 16, Dec. 12, 1768 , March 3, April 10, 1769 , in James Grant Papers.