Florida Historical Markers Programs - Marker: Seminole

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DR. SETH FRENCH (1824-1896)
Location:1700 French Avenue on grounds of Sanford Middle School
County: Seminole
City: Sanford
Description: Born in Potsdam, New York on May 2, 1824, French served as a Surgeon with the 21st and 35th New York Regiments, New York Volunteers during the early years of the Civil War. In 1863 he moved to Eau Clair, Wisconsin but susceptibility to rheumatism caused him to seek a warmer climate. French arrived in Sanford in the early 1870's coming up the St. Johns River on the steamship, Darlington. Soon thereafter, he bought 20 acres of land and built his house which stood on this land from 1872 until 1954. Part of the land was later donated by his son for a school on this site and the State Farmers Market. The street on which both are located has been known as French Avenue for many years. In 1876, Dr. French moved to Orange City in Volusia County and became involved in promoting the early settlement of the community. He served as a member of the Florida Senate in 1879 representing Volusia County and was appointed Florida's first Commissioner of Immigration for the years 1879 and 1880. About 1881, he moved back to his house in Sanford. He was a Mason, and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and owned citrus groves and property throughout Central Florida. Dr. French died in Sanford on January 29, 1896.
Sponsors: The Seminole County Historical Commission in Cooperation with the Florida Department of State
Location:520 East First St. In front of the Sanford Museum,
County: Seminole
City: Sanford
Description: In this vicinity, Henry Shelton Sanford, pioneer citrus grower, established the St. Gertrude grove in 1871. There, and at his Belair grove and experimental gardens, he advanced the industry through development of some 140 types of citrus. The Sanford gardens experimented with other tropical fruits, planting 30,000 exotic trees from South America and Africa. Much of the labor in the groves was performed by Swedish immigrants who settled at nearby New Upsala.