Siesta Key HOME - William Henry Whitaker First Sarasota Florida Settler

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William Henry Whitaker

William Whitaker, first recorded Sarasota settler, settles at Yellow Bluffs on Sarasota Bay (just north of the present day Eleventh Street) at a time when the Armed Occupation Act opened land for settlement south of Tampa Bay. He sold dried fish and roe to Cuban traders working the coast.

In 1847 William Whitaker buys his first stock of cattle northeast of Ft. Brooke and begins using his brand "47."

In 1848 a Hurricane splits Palm Island into Longboat and Lido Keys, creating New Pass. According to Whitaker family, William named the pass "New Pass."

William Whitaker and Mary Jane Wyatt celebrate the first recorded marriage in the Sarasota region. (June 10, 1851) William and Mary made their home at Yellow Bluffs in the house that William had already built.

Nancy Catherine Stuart Whitaker born to William and Mary Jane Wyatt Whitaker, in their home on Yellow Bluffs. This is the first pioneer child born in what is now Sarasota County. (April 19, 1852).

Furmen C. Whitaker was born to William and Mary Jane while they were taking refuge from Billy Bowlegs during 3rd Seminole War in Branch Fort, on the Manatee River. (March 4, 1856).

William and Mary Jane Whitaker went on to raise a total of eleven children.

Photo Credit: Sarasota County Historical Resources. A.K. Whitaker Collection

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