Polk County, Florida


1833 - 1913

Berrien Platt was born in Lowndes County, Georgia February 13, 1833 to Peter and Harriet Matilda (Hokes) Platt. Berrien's name was pronounced as "Berryan", and incidentally this is the way it is spelled in the 1880 Hillsborough County, Florida. The Peter Platt family moved to Hillsborough County, Florida about 1846; and were living in Hichepocksassa Settlement in 1850 according to the U. S. census and listed in the household of Peter Platt were: Berrien, age 17 years; Elizabeth, 13 years; America, 12 years; George, 9 years and Haeber, 7 years. Several neighbors listed in said census were John Skipper, D. J. W. Boney, Rebon Robinson (Raulerson), Silas McLendon (McClelland) and Moses & Sarah (Platt) McLendon (McClelland).

During the Seminole Indian disturbance of 1849 Berrien Platt enlisted as a private in Captain S. M. Sparkman's Company, Florida Volunteers on June 25, 1849 and was discharged October 23, 1849. Later during the Third Seminole Indian War he enlisted as a private in Captain F. M. Durrane's Company, Florida Mounted Volunteers, at Fort Meade, Florida on February 21, 1856 and was discharged August 22, 1856. He reenlisted in the same company as a corporal August 22, 1856 at Fort Frazier (between Bartow and Lakeland) and was discharged December 21, 1856. He reenlisted again in the same company, as a sergeant, at Fort Brooker (Tampa), Florida December 21, 1856 and was discharged June 22, 1857.

Before he enlisted in the Third Seminole Indian War, Berrien Platt and Dora Ann McClelland were married, December 7, 1854 in Hillsborough County, Florida. She was born in Georgia, probably in Irwin County about 1830, to Silas and Penelope (Anderson) McClelland. Her name is spelled in census and other places several ways, "Dora Ann", "Dorian" or "Doriann", which may be due to the phonetic spelling at that time. Since her brother and Berrien's sister, Moses A. and Sarah (Platt) McClelland had a child named Dora Ann, and for other reasons the compiler believes her name to be spelled Dora Ann.

To Berrien and Dora Ann Platt were born the following children:

1. Georgiana Platt, born September 18, 1855; married 1st, William J. Allen, January 9, 1876 in Hillsborough County; married 2nd, Dr. Aubudon Gullett, July 30, 1879 in Hillsborough County—he died December 3, 1906 and was buried in the Bethlehem Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Hillsborough County, Florida; and then she married 3rd, T. Holloway on November 17, 1907, Polk County, Florida. She died October 22, 1934 and was buried in Mount Enon Cemetery, Plant City, Florida.

2. Isabelle G. "Monk" Platt, born July 31, 1858; married John Roberson July 6, 1877 in Hillsborough County; he was born March 15, 1847 in South Carolina and died January 28, 1911. She died July 6, 1943 and both were buried in Mount Enon Cemetery, Plant City, Florida.

3. Richard Reese Platt, born October 28, 1860; married Sarah Virginia "Sally" Bridges January 28, 1903 in Polk County by Rev. Jimmy Martin; he died October 18, 1945. She was born April 3, 1882 and died February 9, 1963. Both are buried in Mount Enon Cemetery, Plant City.

4. Damores Priscilla "Dolly" Platt, born April 19, 1863; married William C. Thrasher February 16, 1882 in Hillsborough County; died November 26, 1898. He was born March 16, 1857 and died June 16, 1911. Both are buried in Mount Enon Cemetery.

5. Azaline Platt, born February 16, 1865; married James S. Lanier October 28, 1888 in Hillsborough County.

6. Artie A. "Art" Platt, born July 13, 1867; married William P. Farr May 7, 1893 and married second time to F. Carey Lanier, May 29, 1903. Both marriages were in Hillsborough County, Florida.

7. Harriet Eugenia Platt, born July 7, 1871 (tombstone shows 1870); married April 5, 1891 in Hillsborough County, John Milledge Keen, son of Jesse Keen and Eliza Elizabeth Brannen; she died October 18, 1898 & both were buried in Mount Enon Cemetery, Plant City, Florida.

8. Ruby Estelle Platt, born February 9, 1873; married Nathan L. Turner December 7, 1890 in Hillsborough County; died January 24, 1893; buried in Shiloh Cemetery, Plant City, Florida. He was remarried June 14, 1894 to Mary E. Bullock in Polk County, Florida.

They had another daughter who died as a child and whose name is unknown. Berrien Platt was listed on tax rolls of Polk County, Florida for the years, 1861, 1862, 1866 and 1869 with 160 acres of land. In 1862, he listed 1,013 head of cattle. The Florida Gazateer, 1886-87 for Polk County, shows Berrien Platt as farming 100 acres of grain, 50 acres of citrus and as a stock grower. About 1889 Berrien Platt sold half interest in his cattle and real estate to Jacob Summerlin, one of Florida's early cattle barons, according to Albert DeVane, a well-known South Florida historian. Berrien was one of the first citrus growers in the Plant City area and the old Platt homesite was located between Plant City and Mount Enon Church which is north of present Interstate I-4 near the Hillsborough-Polk County line.

Berrien's father, Peter Platt, was a prosperous cattleman and a farmer who shipped cattle from the port of Tampa. Also, Peter was a commissioner for Hillsborough County during the mid-1850's. According to family tradition, the Platt Street Bridge in Tampa was named for Peter Platt; and also that Berrien did not get along with his father & was left out of his will.

During the Civil War between the States, Berrien enlisted in 1863 in Captain John T. Leslie's Company, Munnerlyn's Battalion, CSA and was discharged in 1865. There is not a record of his service in the state of Florida Archives or the Nation Archives as he secured an affidavit from Captain Leslie as to his services for his pension application July 18, 1907. On his footstone is the inscription, "1st Lt. Fla Mt. Vol. Conf. States Army". His father, Peter Platt, served in the same company.

Berrien made an application for bounty land on January 20, 1874 based on his service in the Indian Disturbance of 1849 in Captain Sparkman's Company. A guestion existed as to whether the application was signed by Berrien Platt, although John C. White and Rabin Raulerson swore they served with Berrien in said war and both signed as witnesses before W. H. Kendrick, a Notary Public. Later a bounty land wattant, #113 742, for 160 acres was issued to Lincoln and Willard, attorneys for the applicant. Since a question about his signature existed, the government sent John Lee Benton, a special agent, to investigate the authenticity of said application. On April 4, 1879 he secured a sworn statement from Dorian Penelope in which she stated her husband, Berrien Platt, was absent on business in the lower part of the state and would not return until about the 20th of the month. She further stated, "That she is acquainted with Captain W. H. Kendrick, but does not remember of having ever heard her said husband say anything as to having applied for a land warrant before or through the said Kendrick, or anyone else." The witness to her mark for signature was Richard R. Platt; and at the time this statement was made, they were living six miles east of Cork (Old Dover) in Hillsborough County, Florida. Berrien Platt assigned the said warrant to a John Metter of Yankton, Hutchingson County, Territory of South Dakota, in Dade County, Florida on April 10, 1875 before W. H. Gleason, Clerk of the Circuit Court for Dade County.

According to family tradition, Berrien and Dora Ann had marital difficulties. So during the summer of 1884, Dora Ann in the company of her son, Richard, went to visit her daughter in Crawfordville, Florida. Berrien threatened, "if she left, not to come back."

Dora Ann Platt, while visiting her daughter, Mrs. Georgiann Gullett in Crawfordville, Wakulla County, Florida died on September 1, 1884. Although Berrien sent money to have her body returned home, because of a break down in railroad communications, it did not arrive until after her funeral and burial in Crawfordville. A few years after her death, Berrien Platt was married to Mrs. Rosa J. Turner on February 10, 1886 at Plant City, Florida by E. S. Tyner. She was a widow, but her former husband is unknown. Rosa was born September 2, 1843 and died April 19, 1890; and was buried in Mount Enon Cemetery. No children were born from the second marriage.

Berrien Platt joined Mount Enon Primitive Baptist Church in 1898. From old Church records, Berrien was an active member and leader serving as a "runner" which was a messenger between Churches in that area. A problem and a division of the Church over doctrine occurred in 1908 and Berrien was one of a group who were excommunicated. This group formed another Church nearby.

On August 29, 1902 Berrien Platt applied for a pension based on his Seminole Indian War service. Signing supporting affidavits were two comrades in service, Isaac Shepherd and Henry Sistrunk. In a supporting statement, he listed his living children as Georgia Gullett, Isabelle Robertson, Richard R. Platt, Asalean Lanier and Artie Farr. On May 27, 1903, he was awarded a pension of $8 per month on cerificate #4365.

In his pension application, he is described as being five feet, seven or eight inches in height, light complexion, with blue eyes, brown hair and weight of 145 pounds at the time of his enlistment. On July 18, 1907 he applied for a pension from the State of Florida, based on his service in the Confederate States Army. It was approved on August 12, 1907 for $100 per year on certificate #6383.

On July 30, 1909 he applied again for a bounty land warrant based on his service in Captain Sparkman's Company during the Indian disturbance of 1849. Witnesses were Herbert S. Phillips and C. W. Stevens, residents of Tampa, Florida who had known the applicant 18 and 12 years respectively. There is no record in the BLW file of the warrant being issued or the application being denied.

Berrien, after having his vault made, was riding in a buggy, when the horse which he was driving was frightened by a car and ran away throwing him out. He was carried to Rev. Ed DeVane's residence in Plant City where he died a few days later, May 14, 1913, from injuried resulting from this accident. He was buried in Mount Enon Cemetery next to his second wife.

Since his only son, Richard, had difficulty getting along with his father, Berrien did not make a will and name him as executor, according to a family source. Since he died intestate, his heirs petitioned the Court of Hillsborough County, Florida on May 19, 1913 to appoint R. (Richard) R. Platt as administrator, as recorded in Probate Court File #3395. In the final return payments were made in amounts of $135.60 and $15.65 to J. S. Lanier, Artie Lanier, Isabel Robertson, B. H. Thrasher, J. M. Keen, Georgia Holloway and R. R. Platt.

SOURCES: Census: 1850, 1870, 1880 Hillsborough County, Florida; Mount Enon Cemetery, Plant City, Florida; Dwight DeVane, Polk City, Florida; Berrien Platt's bounty land applications and pension applications, National Archives; Hillsborough County marriage records; Polk County marriages & tax rolls; DeVane's Early Florida History, Sebring Historical Society, Sebring, Florida, 1978; Plant City: It's Origin and History, Quintilla G. Bruton & David E. Bailey, Jr., p. 57, 1979; Berrien Platt's Confederate pension application; John M. Keen family Bible; Mount Enon Primitive Baptist Church records, Dwight DeVane, Polk City, Florida; Hillsborough County Probate Court file #3399.


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