flowerLake County, Florida

           Towns of Yesteryear                           Compiled by                              Rick Reed


We’ll begin alphabetically with the communities that would make up Lake County in the 1886-87 Gazetteer, starting with Acron, which was a part of Orange County.


You won’t find Acron if you went looking for it on a map – unless the map was published somewhere around 1875 to 1890. Today, the community is known as Paisley.  But when it was founded back in the 1860s, it was known as Lightwood, according to William Kennedy’s History of Lake County, which was published in 1929.

When Lake County’s 23 election districts were selected and numbered, Acron was number 3, according to Kennedy’s history. The rest listed are as follows: Astor was No. 1, Altoona – No. 2 Crow’s Bluff – No. 4, Cassia – No. 5, Seneca – No. 6, Umatilla – No. 7, Higley – No. 8, Fort Mason – No. 9, Leesburg – No. 10, Lady Lake – No. 11, Okahumpka – No. 12, Eustis – No. 13, Sorrento No. 14, Tavares – No. 15, Lane Park – No. 16, Yalaha – No. 17, Mascotte – No. 18, Astatula – No. 19, Victoria – No. 20, Mascotte No. 21, Minneola and Clermont – No. 22 and Mount Dora – No. 23.

It’s very likely that one of the two Mascotte districts, 18 and 21, most likely 21, should have been Groveland because when Kennedy’s book was published there were 25 districts with Groveland as 23 and Mascotte as 14.

By the way, in 1929 District 3 was Paisley and not Acron.

Let’s get back to what the Florida State Gazetteer said about Acron, which was the second community listed in the more than 400 pages of counties, cities, towns and villages alphabetically listed.

The Gazetteer gave “a brief descriptive sketch of each, with an alphabetical and classified directory of the business and professional citizens; together with separate lists of the orange growers, vegetable raisers, farmers and cotton planters and banana and coconut growers throughout the entire State of Florida.”

Just in case you’re wondering, Abe’s Spring in Calhoun County was the first community listed. Calhoun County was established in the Florida Panhandle in 1838. And in 1886-87, it was primarily cotton country.

Acron, on the other hand had orange and vegetable growers, 22 of them. And if you scan the names you’ll find Elias Disney, who had five acres. Disney was the father of Walt Disney. Brother Roy was born in Florida. But the family moved to Chicago before Walt was born.

Nonetheless, Roy and Walt made several return trips to the Paisley area to visit their aunt and hunt in the Ocala Forest.

According to the Gazetteer, Acron had a booming population of 30. So, almost all must have been farmers or grove owners.

The postmaster was John H. Campbell and the post office was opened in his home about 1875, according to Kennedy’s history. Around this same time, a two-story log structure was built where the community school stood in 1929. It served as an all-purpose building for Acron and was used as a church, Sunday school, public school, Masonic hall and voting precinct.

Postmaster Campbell’s wife taught in the Acron log schoolhouse.

Acron was listed in the Gazetteer as a country settlement about 45 miles from Orlando, which was and remains the Orange County seat. It was nine miles from Crow’s Bluff, which was the nearest shipping point on the St. John’s River. The closest bank was in Eustis, which also was the closest express and telegraph point.

Acron had Presbyterian and Methodist churches, a steam saw and grist mill, a planing and saw mill, one store and a school.  Oranges, lemons and vegetables were the principal shipped produce and the “main pursuit of the citizens.”   Land ranged in price from $10 to $500 per acre.

By the way, John H. Campbell, the postmaster, also owned the saw, grist and planing mill and the boarding house as well.

The local store was Gardiner & Hethcox, general merchandise built in 1886 by Jennie Gardiner and J.C. Hethcox, who was a member of the Lake County School Board for six years.  He was never absent or late for a single meeting, according to Kennedy’s history. That was quite a feat because Yalaha was a distance from Tavares, the county seat where the school board meetings were held.   Hethcox was also a county commissioner for 16 years and he “kept his record untarnished there, as well,” wrote Kennedy.

The Rev. J.A. Kimmons was pastor of the Presbyterian church and Rev. Charles J. Clark was the pastor of the Methodist church. Jacob Driggers was the justice of peace and J. R. Campbell was the local carpenter.

Acron also had a second saw and grist mill, owned by Hazlett & Campbell. And A.W. Murphy was the harness maker.

Links for Acron

Post Office

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This page last updated  April 15, 2012
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