Town of Glen St. Mary 

Florida's Outstanding Rural Community of the Year-2004

Town History

Even though it was founded as a township in 1881, Glen St. Mary's rich history dates back to its earliest known inhabitants, the Timucuan Indians.  They inhabited this area until the early 1700's when they were replaced by the Creeks and Seminoles, who drifted into this area and settled.  At the end of the Second Spanish Period, a different settler moved in - - American pioneers.  Relentlessly, this new pioneer slowly, but ever so surely, eased in and crowded the Indians out.
Considered the first permanent white settlers in Glen, Daniel John Mann and his wife, LeVicy, arrived in 1829.  They set up housekeeping among the Native Americans and began to work the land.  In the same year, another pioneer by the name of John Barber settled here.  He was killed before the end of the year in a pre-dawn Indian attack.  Many other pioneers closely followed - - some digging in to stay a while, others eventually moving on.
By 1850, this area was known as the Cotton Field, becoming even more populated because of the vital crop.   After the Civil War, however, there was a great shifting of the population, and those once-productive fields were largely abandoned.  They were picked up for taxes by a new influx of Northerners and displaced Southerners from the Old Dominion and the Carolina's.
Charly W. Turner, a native of New York arrived in May of 1869.  He constructed a small sawmill lumber house on the present site of the Glen Nurseries.  Most of the land in the area at that time was controlled by a Mr. James Barnett, a lumber and naval stores operator.
After the re-discovery of Florida during the post-Civil War boom, a young Chicago stockbroker came to Florida in 1881 on the advice of his physician.  Touring the countryside, he fell in love with the area.   He purchased a tract of land off the St. Mary's River and began to plant an orchard.  Becoming interested in the plant industry, he formed a partnership with Thomas Beath in 1882 and began the Glen St. Mary Nursery Company, starting out with 1,600 acres of abandoned cotton fields.  Soon after Mr. Beath left the business, the company began to grow.  George Taber became a charter member of the Florida State Horticulture Society and served as its president.
Since 1881, the Glen St. Mary area had grown to such proportions that by 1885 the Board of County Commissioners set up a committee composed of Charles Eiserman, W.H. Congleton, H.L. Reed, and George Taber to divide the area of land separating Sanderson from Darbyville.  This new district would become officially known as Glen St. Mary, District No. 5.  Local historians credit Mr. Taber for having actually named the township.
After a disastrous freeze in the late 1890's, Taber refused to move his business to warmer climates.  He encouraged other growers to stay in north Florida - determined more than ever to develop cold tolerant plants and learn new ways to protect plants from the cold.  As a result of his dedication and hard work, thousands of acres in Florida had their beginning at the Glen St. Mary Nursery.  The nursery expanded its operation into south Florida allowing it to supply plants throughout the southeastern United States, Central and South America, China, India, Spain, and Russia.  The Rio Grande Valley of Texas began growing citrus with Glen stock.  The Satsuma Orange, Temple Orange, Kumquat, Weaver Dogwood, and the Magnolia St. Mary all originated at the Glen St. Mary Nursery.  One of our proudest symbols is the George L. Taber Azalea.
While vacationing in north Florida, Ohio resident Alverdo Geitgey was so impressed with the community that he eventually invested in 12,700 acres of Baker County land making him the first real estate developer.  Plotting out the town, he named the streets after U.S. presidents and some of Glen's horticultural products.  His real estate pamphlets, many being sent north by the Taber family's influence, lured buyers from all over, directly affecting the economic surge of growth to the community.
At the turn of the century, Glen St. Mary was a thriving little town.  Within the township limits were at least three boarding houses, two general stores, a doctor's office with pharmacy, a train depot, an ice-cream parlor, a livery stable, a cotton and lumber mill, a large strawberry farm, a boom citrus and lumber industry, a non-alcoholic billiard hall, various churches and their crowning glory, the Glen St. Mary Nursery.  All of this industry took place south of Highway 90, then just a dirt road.
It was a time when businesses, professional offices and families peacefully co-existed and prospered within Glen St. Mary.  The townspeople worked hard, played hard and were proud of where they lived.  Even in its heyday, it was still quite homey, with large oak trees lining our main street, planted by one of the most successful pioneering families, the Tabers.
This is the official site of the Town of Glen St. Mary, FL