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John and Eliza Webb

Florida homesteaders

In 1867, John and Eliza Webb left their home in Utica, N.Y., to build a life in the warm climate of Florida. It was thought that the weather would benefit Eliza Webb's asthma. The Webbs set sail in February with their five children, Eliza Webb's sister, and her father. They eventually settled near present-day Sarasota, called Spanish Point. A Cuban fisherman whom they had met in Key West had described the area to them. There they established and ran a sugar mill and refinery. Later, as the area became more popular with tourists, they built Webb's Winter Resort, made up of guest cottages.


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