Thursday, March 1, 2018

Jane (MURRAY) Sheldon of New Smyrna, FL


Jane MURRAY and her mother were among the first female settlers in central Florida. In 1840 Mosquito County, they were two of three women and 70 men counted. Born 1812 at Philadelphia, Jane Murray relocated to Florida as a young girl after the death of her father. She was 17 then, and with her mom, they homesteaded a 600 acre Spanish Land Grant. 

One day in 1835, alone with her infant children, Indians attacked, and Jane escaped by raising a sunken boat along the river’s shore, caulking its holes with rags, and then hiding her family in nearby mangroves. She served too as an early New Smyrna Postmaster, while then still part of Orange County. 

On the 26th of July, 1863, she watched helplessly as Union Gunboats appeared, and without warning, began firing on her residence. Once again Jane ushered her family, this time including grandchildren, to safety.

I can think of no finer representative than Jane (Murray) Sheldon, central Florida’s bravest of brave frontierswomen, to commence our month long celebration of Women’s History Month. Throughout March, CitrusLAND will be honoring 31 amazing central Floridians. 

Jane (Murray) Sheldon is also featured in CitrusLAND: Curse of Florida’s Paradise. #cflParadise

Tomorrow: Jennie A. Cornwall

Central Florida History by Richard Lee Cronin

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