Historic Markers Across Florida

Village of Providence (Unincorporated) Union County

Marker ID: FLHM 
Location: On SW 44th Ave. south of route 238, Lake Butler, FL
County: Union
Coordinates: N 30° 00.217    W 082° 32.846
  30.00361666    -82.54743333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMH252


Village of Providence
(Unincorporated) Union County

Side 1:
Providence is believed to be the second oldest Florida settlement next to St. Augustine. The Lonnie Summers Family found this statement written on the wall of the Old Odom House they purchased in 1936: "St. Augustine was founded in 1565. Shortly thereafter a small band of soldiers settled in Providence." Hernando De Soto's army passed near this village on its trip to west Florida in 1539. A Spanish mission, Catalina De Ajomica, located four miles southeast of Providence, was built by Franciscan missionaries in the early 1600's to evangelize Timucuan Indians. It was destroyed by English soldiers and their Indian allies in 1702. Daniel Stewart had a plantation here in 1790 where he grew Sea Island cotton. Orange groves produced abundantly. Families from Georgia and South Carolina settled here before 1830, but the greatest influx of settlers was between 1850 and 1860. Descendants of these pioneers who still live in Providence are: Bielling, Bivins, Brooks, Brown, Clyatt, Crawford, Croft, Dees, Douglas, Edenfield, Fralick, Gay, Harden, Holmes, Keith, Nes Smith, Newsom, Odom, O'Steen, Parrish, Perry, Renfroe, Roberts, Sasser, Shaller, Smith, Summers, Thomas, Ward, Weeks, Williams and York. Settlers were attacked by Indians during the Seminole Indian Wars (1835-42), and sought refuge at strategically placed forts within a four-mile radius of

Side 2:
Providence--Ft. Call on Santa Fe River. Ft. Ward on Olustee Creek, and Ft.No.15-East Florida on Swift Creek. Eleven known Indian War veterans and forty-six Civil War veterans are buried in area cemeteries. Providence was a prosperous, thriving community pre and post Civil War. It was the first county seat of all land now comprising Columbia, Bradford and Union counties. A post office opened in 1854 and operated intermittently until 1906 with James L. Turner as postmaster and John D. Harden and Willie Thomas as mail carriers. Physicians practicing here were: Doctors Coon, Davis, Lamb, Maines, Newsom, Powell, Tison, Wachope, and Witt. There were two drugstores owned by Dr. Newsom and Dr. Powell. L. G. Ware was a druggist. William W. Willis was a lawyer and judge. Providence had a bank, photographer-Jeremiah Mobley, butcher-R.D. Kierce, barber-Draiton Witt, blacksmiths-Raymond Roberts, C.F. Fralick, and V.J. Valentine, Odom cotton gin and Shelley & Ware sawmill. John Fralick operated a grist mill. J.H. Walters had a private school. General mercantile stores were owned by S.D. Hodges, James L. Turner, Odom & Weeks, and Lonnie Driggers. Gen. Charles P. Summerall, an early resident, assumed command of the U.S. Army as Chief of Staff when Gen. John J. Pershing retired in 1924. Summerall later became President of The Citadel. Old Providence Baptist Church, two miles northwest of Providence, was founded in 1833 making it the oldest Baptist church in Union County and one of the oldest Baptist churches in Florida.

Providence Pioneer Descendants and Friends in cooperation with the Union County Historical Society, Inc.


City: Lake Butler, FL