Spalding's Upper Store
The last European settlement west of the St. Johns was the Spalding Upper Indian Trade Store, located above (south of) Lake George at today's village of Astor. The Upper Store was located sixty miles above the Lower Store (now Stokes Landing) at a location convenient for trade with the Creek Indians, soon to be known as Seminoles, who lived in villages to the west. Numerous storehouses were constructed for the firm's trade goods and the skins they purchased, along with multiple dwellings to lodge the traders and stables for their horses. Traders with pack horses laden with trade goods departed from the store for the Indian villages of the interior, returning with deer skins which were shipped to company headquarters in Savannah and Charleston. Seminoles frequently visited the store and camped nearby, sometimes staying for days at a time to sell their deer skins and purchase shot, powder and other European goods.
William Bartram lodged for several weeks at the Upper Store when he returned to East Florida in 1774. Occasionally, Bartram accompanied the traders during excursions to the Indian villages. His friend and companion on several St. Johns River journeys, Job Wiggens, was the chief trader at the store for many years.Small provisions fields were cultivated at the upper store to provide food for the traders, but it was never considered a plantation. European settlements were banned from the west of the river south of Lake George under terms of the 1765 treaty negotiated at Fort Picolata. Spalding's Upper Store existed by permission of the Creek Indians as a convenient location for trade with the British merchants.
The towns of Astor lines the west shore of the St. Johns River at the location that was once the site of the Spalding Upper Trading Store. As the canals and docks shown here indicate, sport fishing has replaced trade for deer skins.
Somewhere in the vicinity of the bridge that joins Astor and Volusia today, the Spalding Upper Trading Store was located on the west shore. In January 1766, traders at the store took John and William Bartram across to the east shore to shoot wild geese.
Papers of the East Florida Claims Commission, the Memorial of William Panton and John Forbes. William Bartram, Travels.