Leesburg History

The Florida GenWeb Project


Leesburg became the county seat of Sumter County when it was created on January 8, 1853. A courthouse was built on Main Street.
Evander Lee and his wife Susan are among the founders of the present-day Leesburg. The Lees brought their eight children to the area in 1857 after they bought 320 acres between Lakes Harris and Griffin for $3,200 from James C. Fussell.
In 1866, Evander Lee and his younger brother, Calvin, had opened a store on Main Street. Getting goods for the store involved bringing them into Silver Springs by boat and the Leesburg by oxcart from there. Calvin had to tell his suppliers whre to send his groceries, and said "Send them to Leesburg" thus giving the town a name.
In 1886, fifty-six new homes and businesses were built. The population increased to 1,650. Leesburg was the only town south of Jacksonville to have a hard surfaced street. It was built of red clay by citizens.
In 1887 when Lake County was formed out of Orange and Sumter counties, Leesburg officials aassumed that because the city was the oldest and largest town in the new county and already had a courthouse, it would be named as county seat, but Lees-burg lost out to Tavares.

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This page last updated  December 4, 2008
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