This lecture includes stories of the pioneer families that settled these three areas after the Civil War and the Southern Homestead Act of 1866. Many families moved south for 180 acres of free land through the Homestead Act as the United States tried to increase the population of Florida. In Collier County now, it was Lee County then, and south Florida outside of a few towns were generally unpopulated. These pioneer families were rugged people to hack out a living in the area.
The Rookery Bay-Henderson Creek area had several pioneering homestead families spread out from Henderson Creek to Little Marco Island from 1865 into the 1920s and 30s. Two schools were located on Henderson Creek and families would row their children to school by boat from the surrounding islands. Hear about the fascinating stories of some of these hardy pioneer farming/fishing families living in the Rookery Bay area, including their hardships, hunting adventures, and fishing trips. Their weekend recreation was rowing a light skiff and meeting some friends from Marco Island along the way, then proceeding to the Naples Beach Club for the Saturday night dance. They would spend the night and row their skiff back home to Henderson Creek or Marco Island the following morning.