Hillsborough County, Florida


1816 - 1893

Benjamin Guy was born in Georgia, September 22, 1816. On November 17, 1836, on the Altamaha River in Georgia, he was married to Mary "Polly" Underhill, daughter of Joseph and Nancy (Hilliard) Underhill. She was born in Bulloch County, Georgia, April 10 1816. Benjamin and Mary "Polly" (Underhill) Guy had the following children:

1. William Guy, born ca. 1837.

2. Nancy Guy, born ca. 1840; died young.

3. Julia Ann Guy, born January 17, 1842; died August 22, 1932; married Aaron Elijah Godwin, December 9, 1865.

4. Joseph R. Guy, born January 7, 1845; died February 4, 1915; married Lula Hicks, December 1, 1887.

During the months of November and December, 1839, Benjamin Guy served in the company commanded by Captain James A. Sweat, Georgia volunteers in the Second Seminole War.

During the 1840's, Benjamin Guy and family moved to south Florida and settled in Hillsborough County. On the 1850 census for Hillsborough County they are shown residing near the families of William and James Whidden.

Prior to the beginning of the Third Seminole War in 1855, Benjamin Guy had established his homestead at Thirty Mile Run, near present day Keysville where he engaged in raising hogs.

On February 18, 1852, he applied for bounty land under the act of September 28, 1850 for his service in the Second Seminold War. He received 40 acres under warrant No. 61,868. On April 2, 1855, he applied for additional bounty land under the act of March 3, 1855 and received 120 acres under warrant No. 25,466.

During the Third Seminole War, Benjamin and his eldest son, William, served in the volunteer militia company commanded by Captain William B. Hooker which remained in service from January until August 1856.

In 1858, after the cessation of hostilities, Benjamin Guy moved to "Morgan Hole" at Kissimmee Island. He had heard about the excellent stock range in the Kissimmee Island section but did not care for the area and in 1859 he established a homestead near the south end of Crooked Lake, about 12 miles east of Fort Meade. The following story appeared in the Fort Meade Leader on January 20, 1916:

About four miles almost due east of Fort Meade, near the east side of the deadening known formerly as Fairview Highlands, lies a natural sink, almost a perfect hemisphere in contour. . . .
Since (Benjamin Guy lived) quite a ways from the settlements, he escaped most of the requistions for cattle during the Civil War, and so he became prosperous. "Uncle Ben's" farm was poor and he had to buy most of his horse feed. That was before the days of the railroad and the nearest supply of grain was in Tampa, then in connection with the outside world only by boat. Tampa at that time was not as big as Fort Meade is today (1916).

To get his needed supply of corn "Uncle Ben" had recourse to ox-teams. It took over a week to make the round trip of some 140 miles. Once when on the way back from Tampa, his wagons heavily laden with grain, the teams were stopped for rest near the sink before mentioned, and "Uncle Ben", heaving a weary sigh, was heard to remark: "I wish I had that hollow full of corn." Thereafter, the sink became known as "Guy's Hollow".

The above incident occurred during the period that Benjamin Guy lived at the Crooked Lake homestead. The first entry in Manatee County's ancient shipping log book reads as follows:

Shipped on board the Schooner Eliza Catharine Jno Alder master by Benjamin Guy. 27 steers shipped from Hooker's Cowpen's North Manitee. March 6th, 1856. Edmund Lee, C. C. C. Manitee.

Benjamin Guy is shown on Polk County's first tax list which was compiled in 1861. Subsequent tax lists for Polk and Manatee Counties show that Benjamin Guy was a wealthy, largescale cattle owner during the 1860's,'70's, and '80's. The 1863 Polk County tax list shows him as owning 2935 head. Polk County llists for 1875 show 2000 head and the 1878 list reveals that he paid taxes on 3000 head. In Manatee County he owned 1000 head in 1877 and 1500 head in 1880.

Benjamin Guy died at his home near Midland in Polk County, May 16, 1893. In the 1900 census for DeSoto County, Mary "Polly" (Underhill) Guy is shown residing with her son, Joseph Guy at Fort Basinger.

On August 14, 1902, Mrs. Guy applied for a widow's pension based on her husband's Seminole Indian War service. She stated that at the time of her husband's military service he was 5 feet, 9 inches in height, had blue eyes, black hair, light complextion, and was a farmer. She stated that Benjamin's birthplace was Chatham County, Georgia. In the application she gave her address as Ute post office, Polk County, Florida.

Mary "Polly" (Underhill) Guy died April 7, 1904. She was buried beside her husband in the old Fort Meade Cemetery.

SOURCES: 1850 census, Hillsborough County, Florida; 1900 census, DeSoto County, Florida; 1861, 1863, 1875, 1878 tax lists, Polk County; 1878, 1880 tax lists, Manatee County; Bounty land application of Benjamin Guy; Widow's pension application file of Mary (Underhill) Guy; old Manatee County cattle shipment logs; Aaron Elijah Godwin family bible; Info from W. S. Underhill; "The Story of Guy's Hollow", Ft. Meade Leader, January 20, 1916; "Mistake in History Corrected", Ft. Meade Leader, February 4, 1916.

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