Historic Markers Across Florida

John H. Sams homestead

Marker ID: FLHM F-575
Location: On N Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, FL
County: Brevard
Coordinates: N 28° 28.338    W 080° 43.037
  28.4723    -80.71728333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM9JN6


John H. Sams Homestead

The Sams family came to Brevard County from South Carolina in 1875 to take advantage of the 1860 Homestead Act. The family consisted of John Hanahan Sams, his wife Sarah, their five children, Johns brother William Sams, and his sister, Catherine DeVeaux Sams. The Sams Homestead consists of two buildings. The first, a single story home, was originally constructed in Eau Gallie on property homesteaded by John H. Sams in 1875. The family decided to move nearer to other relatives on North Merritt Island and the house was rafted up the Indian River in 1878 to the present site. It is the oldest dated structure on Merritt Island and a prime example of Florida vernacular construction. In 1884 Sams was granted a homestead deed for 156 acres and by 1888, built the second two-story home adjoining the older house on the property. Sams served as Superintendent of Schools for the county from 1880-1920, while growing citrus and pineapples. John H. Sams died in 1923 and the homes were occupied by his descendants until 1995. Archaeological excavations at the site discovered a prehistoric Native American occupation site that dates from approximately 5,000 BC to 1250 AD, and also a late Pleistocene fossil site.

F-575 A Florida Heritage Site
The Brevard County Historical Commission
and the Florida Department of State


City: Merritt Island, FL