Hillsborough County, Florida


1845 - 1925

Albert Carlton was born May 9, 1845, Marion County, Florida. He was a son of Daniel Wilson and Sallie Ann (Murphy) Carlton and a grandson of Alderman and Martha Maria (Alderman) Carlton. With his parents he moved to Hillsborough County, Florida where he was recorded with them in the Alafia Settlement in the 1850 Hillsborough County Census. In the 1850's the family resettled in the Fort Hartsuff area where they were listed in the 1860 Manatee County, Florida Census.

On June 15, 1864 at Fort Myers, Florida, Albert Carlton enlisted as a private in Company B, Second Florida Cavalry, United States Army. He later stated that during the Civil War he participated only in skirmishes. Company muster rolls described him as being: 5 feet 10 inches, of fair complexion, with grey eyes and light hair, and a farmer by occupation. He was mustered out with his company on November 29, 1865, Tallahassee, Florida.

On October 11, 1868, he married Martha W. McEwen, born February 10, 1851, Washington County, Georgia, daughter of Rev. William Penn and Ruth (Shepherd) McEwen. They had the following children:

1. Ella Carlton, born September 15, 1869; died February 17, 1958, Wauchula, Florida; married on June 26, 1894, William A. Southerland (born March 15, 1865; died May 30, 1930).

2. Charles Jesse Carlton, born May 10, 1871; died November 14, 1963, Wauchula; married on March 8, 1905, Martha Ann Skipper (born January 23, 1883; died May 31, 1967).

3. Thomas Newton Carlton, born December 27, 1872; died December 8, 1948, Wauchula; married 1st, Ada Altman; 2nd, Mrs. Alice Mobley Thornhill.

4. William Albert Carlton (known as Ab. W. Carlton), born January 17, 1875; died December 10, 1925, Wauchula; married 1st, Cornelia Strickland; 2nd, Mrs. Louise Barkley.

5. Alton Hudson Carlton, born February 9, 1877; died January 13, 1967, Wauchula; married on April 14, 1898, Mary Vashti Whidden (born March 8, 1883; died January 16, 1968).

6. Carl Simeon Carlton, born September 3, 1880; died December 21, 1932, Wauchula, Florida; married 1st on October 19, 1904, Daisy Platt (born July 16, 1881; died April 12, 1913); 2nd, Emma Edwards (born August 22, 1893; died June 8, 1933).

7. Gettis Stephen Carlton, born September 2, 1882; died February 18, 1971, Wauchula; married 1st, Margaret Kate Rainey; 2nd Mrs. Bertie M. Head.

8. Doyle Elam Carlton, born July 6, 1885; died October 1972, Tampa, Florida; married on August 30, 1912, Nell Ray (born January 27, 1891; died February, 1982).

9. Leland Francis Carlton, born January 23, 1888; died June 5, 1950; married Margaret Brown.

10. Leffie Mahon Carlton, born February 9, 1897; died March 8, 1983, Wauchula; married Odell Ratliff (born July 21, 1897; died August 13, 1980).

Albert and Martha homesteaded about five miles west of present day Wauchula in what later became known as Oak Grove. A cattleman, his mark and brand was A. C. He originally had 120 acres, which he eventually increased to 340 acres, 80 acres of which were planted with oranges with the balance being pasture. Additionally, he grazed his cattle on the open range. In October 1903, a seedless orange was found in a seedling in a grove of 950 others in his grove west of Wauchula. The orange, classed as "Fancy Golden Bright" and the fruit of which was sweet and of exquisitive flavor, was widely distributed by a nursery and became well known.

Albert and his son, Charles J. Carlton, had in 1902 opened the Wauchula Hardware Company, and in this store, located at the southwest corner of Main Street and Fifth Avenue, Wauchula, on March 15, 1904, the first banking institution in what is now Hardee County was opened for business as Carlton & Carlton Bankers. Albert Carlton was president; Charles J. Carlton was cashier; Charles A. Roe was assistant cashier. On February 15, 1915, the bank was incorporated as Carlton National Bank with Albert Carlton as president, which position he held until his death. (The bank failed during the Great Depression.)

The Fort Hartsuff section had about 1874 become known as English after Eli English who had opened a store about a mile south of what in 1886 was renamed Wauchula from the Mikasuki word meaning "the call of the sandhill crane". (Eli English was an uncle of Albert's as he married Priscilla Carlton, daughter of Alderman.) On September 29, 1902, an election was held at the Carlton store, which resulted in the incorporation of the Town of Wauchula and the election of town officers. Those elected were: Thomas G. Wilkinson, mayor; A. G. Smith, W. A. Southerland, A. B. Townsend, F. B. Rainey, J. M. Beeson and Charles J. Carlton, alderman; George M. Goolsby, clerk; A. L. Turner, marshal. In 1903, Albert and Martha moved from Oak Grove to 302 East Bay Street, Wauchula where they had built a new house. (Their frame house in Oak Grove, which was built in 1885 to replace their original log house, was in 1979 donated by the T. Mabry Carlton family to the Florida State Fair Authority and moved to Tampa where it became part of Cracker Country.)

Albert Carlton and family were early advocates of county division of DeSoto County. On March 13, 1907, Albert Carlton, Charles J. Carlton, and five others were selected in a mass meeting held in the operal house in Wauchula to push county division before the coming legislature. The committee, chaired by A. G. Smith, collected data and presented it to the legislature. The candidate favoring county division, however, was defeated in the May 19, 1908 election. Not until April 23, 1921 was DeSoto County divided to form the counties of DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Glades, and Charlotte. Wauchula, which had been named the temporary county seat, was in an election held on December 30, 1921 chosen as permanent county seat of the newly created Hardee County.

Albert Carlton was a member of New Zion Baptist Church, which was originally located north of present day Fort Green Baptist Church, but was in 1873 relocated by its pastor, Rev. John W. Hendry to about seven miles west of present day Ona. In 1876 Fort Hartsuff Baptist Church was organized with Rev. John W. Hendry as pastor and charter members: Albert Carlton, Lewis Carlton, Edward F. Bostick, Zachariah F. McEwen, Lodusky McEwen (Mrs. Milton McEwen), and Mr. and Mrs. D. M. Cason. Albert Carlton was chosen as church clerk. Martha Carlton was also an early member. As Rev. Hendry, a circuit rider, was often away, the pulpit was frequently filled by Rev. William Penn McEwen, a circuit riding Methodist minister. According to Tommy Underwood, church historian, the church's name was changed in 1887 to Harmony Baptist Church, however, in the Fifth Annual Session of the Manatee Missionary Baptist Association, convened at Mount Moriah Church on November 12, 1880, Harmony Baptist Church, post office Fort Green, sent a delegation, which had as its clerk, Albert Carlton. The church in 1889 became the First Baptist Church of Wauchula. Albert and Martha were members until their deaths. Albert Carlton died September 1, 1925. Martha Carlton died August 6, 1944, Wauchula. They are buried in Wauchula Cemetery.

SOURCES: Family records of T. Mabry Carlton, Mrs. Herbie Kay, Mrs. Iva Monies, Mrs. Mattie Saunders; Milton D. Wilson, "Pioneer Families of Polk County and South Florida", Polk County Historical Commision, Bartow; Richard Livingston, "Alderman Carlton", South Florida Pioneers, #8, April 1976; 1850 Hillsborough County and 1860 Manatee County censuses; Co. B military record of Albert Carlton; D. B. McKay, editor, Pioneer Florida, Volume 3; Margaret Stringer, Watch Wauchul Win; Gene Plowden, History of Hardee County; Tommy Underwood, "A Brief History of the First Baptist Church of Wauchula", 1976; "Manatee Missionary Baptist Association, 1880", South Florida Pioneers, #15/16; Wauchula Cemetery.

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