Hillsborough County, Florida


1805 - 1865

Maxfield Whidden was born May 1, 1805 in Georgia, probably in Montgomery County, son of James Whidden, Sr. He grew up in Camden and Ware Counties, Georgia. On May 28, 1828 at the Suwannee River, Maxfield Whidden and Sophia P. Crews were married by Rev. David Bryan. She was born in Colleton District, South Carolina on March 27, 1805, daughter of Alexander Crews. Children of Maxfield & Sophia P. (Crews) Whidden:

1. Eli (Eley) Perry Whidden, born July 10, 1829; married in Hillsborough County on February 4, 1847, Lavenia Platt, daughter of Peter Platt.

2. Lydian A. Whidden ( some records give her name as Elizabeth), born September 27, 1831; married 1st, David J. W. Boney on October 8, 1846; married 2nd, Mr. Russell.

3. Sophia Whidden, born May 13, 1833.

4. Maxfield Whidden, Jr., born July 9, 1835.

5. Charity Whidden, born January 3, 1837.

6. Susan Whidden, born March 1, 1840 according to her mother's pension application (tombstone shows March 5th); married 1st, in Hillsborough County, on January 1, 1852, David Brannon; married 2nd, in Fort Myers in 1863, her first cousin, Jesse Whidden, son of Willoughby Whidden (due to poor record keeping during the Civil war, they were remarried on November 3, 1874).

7. Edward Whidden, born January 13, 1842; died January 19, 1910; married on July 14, 1860, Mary Ann (Williams) Mathis, daughter of Rowland and Nancy Ann (Sweat) Williams and first wife of James W. Mathis.

8. Willoughby Whidden, born July 18, 1844.

Maxfield Whidden settled in Alachua County, Florida, probably in that section which was made into Columbia County in 1832. The 1830 Alachua County, Florida census lists Maxey F. Whitton as a resident.

Maxfield Whidden served several enlistments during the Florida Seminole Indian uprisings. He enlisted at or near Fort Gilmore, Georgia, on December 28, 1835 as a Private in Captain William North's Company in the Regiment commanded by Col. Brown. His description at this time was 6' 3", black eyes, fair complexion and auburn hair. He was a Private in Captain William B. North's Company in the 2nd Regiment of East Florida Mounted Volunteers commanded by Col. W. J. Mills. He was mustered in at Camp North on June 16, 1837 and honorably discharged at Newnansville on December, 1837. His brother-in-law, Dempsey Dubois Crews, Sr., was a Sergeant in this company. Maxfield was also a Private in Captain W. B. North's Company which was attached to General Charles Floyd's command in the Okefenokee Division of the Army. He volunteered at Fort Gilmore on July 12, 1838 and was discharged at Fort Gilmore on January 12, 1839. Dempsey D. Crews, Sr. was also a member of this company.

In 1840, Maxfield Whidden was living in Ware County, Georgia along with Dempsey D. Crews, Alexander Crews, Willoughby Whidden, James Whidden and other relatives.

Maxfield moved back into Florida in March of 1843, along with his brother Willoughby, settling in south Florida in the Hillsborough County area. In May of 1843, he applied for 160 acres of unappropriated public land under the Armed Occupation Act. This act was to provide for the armed occupation and settlement of the unsettled part of the Peninsula of East Florida. His property was described as follows: A tract of unsurveyed land lying in a hammock about 6 miles south of Robert Williams settlement and about 5 miles east of the bridge at the Little Withlacoochee commencing at a stake in the pine woods running 40 chains south thence 40 chains east thence 40 chains north thence 40 chains west to the place of beginning. His brother, Willoughby Whidden, received 160 acres adjacent to Maxfield's settlement, at the same time.

In the 1850 Hillsborough County census, Maxfield Whidden was living in the Thonotosassa-Itchepuckesassa area along with Peter Platt, David J. W. Boney, Rabun Raulerson, Jacob Summerlin, Charles Scott and Joseph Howell.

Maxfield and Sophia Whidden were members of Salem Baptist Church at Itchepuckesassa. Several meetings of the Church were held at their home. They were baptized by Elder Newton on March 19, 1851. D. J. W. Boney and Willoughby Whidden were also members of this Church.

On February 4, 1851, Maxfield applied for bounty land based on his service in Captain William B. North's companies. He received a warrant for 160 acres.

On April 12, 1852, Maxfield registered the following mark and brand at the Hillsborough County courthouse: swallowfork and underbit in one ear, swallowfork in the other, brand.

Maxfield Whidden was a member of Captain William B. Hooker's company during the Third Seminole War. He was mustered in on January 3, 1856. Also serving in this company were Maxfield Whidden, Jr., Edward Whidden, Jesse Whidden, David Brannon, Willoughby Whidden and other relatives.

Prior to 1856, the Whiddens settled in the Fort Hartsuff area in Manatee (present day Hardee) County. Maxfield's grandson, Eley P. Brannon was born there in 1856. Maxfield & family were enumerated in that area in the 1860 Manatee County census along with Willoughby Whidden, Henry Langford, Lewis Jenkins, Dempsey D. Crews & others.

In the early 1860's, Maxfield and Sophia Whidden moved to the military post at Fort Myers which had come under the protection of the U. S. Army in the latter years of the Civil War. Their son, Edward and sons-in-law; David J. W. Boney and Jesse Whidden, were members of the Second Florida Cavalry of the U. S. Army which was stationed there. Maxfield Whidden died at Fort Myers on January 5, 1865, and was buried there in the cemetery adjoining the military post. The graves were later moved to Pensacola, Florida in 1888.

Sophia Whidden lived with her daughter in the Popash-Zolfo Springs area. On September 13, 1890, she appliled for a widow's pension which she received until her death on September 28, 1894. She was buried in the New Hope Cemetery in DeSoto (present day Hardee) County.

SOURCES: Maxfield Whidden bounty land appllication; Sophia P. Whidden's pension application; Hillsborough County marriages & marks and brands; Jesse Whidden & Edward Whidden pension applications; Census - 1830 Alachua County, Florida, 1840 Ware County, Georgia, 1850 Hillsborough County, Florida, 1860 Manatee County, Florida; Armed Occupation Act permit application; Salem Baptist Church minutes; Soldiers of Florida; Joshua Creek, New Hope, United Methodist Church of Venus cemeteries; Manatee County Marriages;

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