from bibb to brevard

The Field family left Bibb County, Ga. in 1867/68 to make a new life in Florida. They took advantage of the Homestead Act of 1862. A true pioneer, JR Field 'homesteaded' twice for a total of 320 acres at $1.25/acre. His brother, Sam, had 160 acres, and together they founded Indianola on Merritt Island. Many generations enjoyed life in the groves, the river, and the sense of community. And through its preservation, Field Manor will continue to tell the story of early pioneer life in Florida.

Diary of Samuel Joseph Field (1842-1920), Excerpts:

‘…and in the winter of 1867 he started for the Indian River with my bro Charles, by private conveyance…having no horses left he wonded his way across river and swamps to reach the Indian River. Having meandered through by ways of palmetto scrub…he procured a flat boat and crossed over to Merritts Island.’

 

‘In new unsettled country pulling hard against father my mother and Brother John R. Field and wife Eliza.  And our bros George and Edward with myself left Ga. about the 1st of March 1868 landing at Enterprise.’

 

 ‘…landed on Merritts Island on the 21st of March.  It was not very inviting not a house to shelter us from the weather except a small tent which my father and mother and younger brother occupied while my bro& wife slept in…’

 

‘It rained near thirty days and nights at intervals.  It was not encouraging.  We toiled hard and build [sic] us a house.  We cut pine trees and put them down endways making a stockade house.  We were sole possessors of the whole Island as there was not a living family upon it outside of our place.’

 

 ‘Soon after the death of my brother my father and mother returned to Ga. leaving bro John and his wife and myself to battle it along with mosquitoes and other annoyances…we had to boil the river water to make salt to salt our food…When we did not have hominy we had sweet potatoes and pumpkins.  We could not catch fish everyday heavy winds.’

 

 ‘Since our first settlement we have watched the growth of the river year by year with the greatest of pleasure, having divided up my land.  I have given the means of having a thriving little village on the bank of the Indian River known as Indianola.  Having our church and school and one club house with public roads and public docks.’       

 

September 1, 1895             Indianola Postmaster (1889-1920)