Historic Markers Across Florida

Smith Family Homestead

Marker ID: FLHM F-641
Location: Old Florida Trail at FL A1A, Melbourne Beach, FL
County: Brevard
Coordinates: N 27° 56.318    W 080° 29.547
  27.93863333    -80.49245
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMN9TV


Under the United States Government Homestead Act of 1862, brothers Robert Toombs Smith and Charley Smith laid claim to 158.79 acres on mullet creek in 1887. They discovered the property while searching the Indian River Lagoon shoreline by sailboat for land to homestead. They improved the land by clearing it by hand, building a permanent structure made of palmetto cabbage logs with thatched roof, and planted crops. In 1889, a two-story Florida Cracker “I" house with a wrap around porch on three sides was built on the site. The house, made from heart pine, featuring lapboard siding and tongue and groove floors, rests on coquina pilings. A separate kitchen structure was attached. More than 15 years later on March 17 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the deed to their homestead. Today the property is known as Honest John's Fish Camp. Honest John Smith was the son of R.T. Smith and their decedents currently own the homestead. Also located on the site is a sugar cane mill, barn net house and railroad depot used as a packing house for citrus grown on the property. Access to these areas is restricted.

The Brevard County Historical Commission, The Brevard County Tourist
Development Council and the Florida Department of State