This research uses GIS methods to contextualize a Florida Cracker community in the Ocala National Forest. My case study is drawn from two seasons of fieldwork and supporting desktop surveys associated with Pat's Island, the home of multiple Cracker families. Cracker culture is historically categorized by its efforts to avoid modernization and prevent the commercialization of traditional lifeways in the quickly shifting society of late-19th and early 20th-century Florida. The geospatial expressions of these Cracker values are an emphasis on semi-remote living, adaptations to a unique environmental context, and the development of a semi-self-sufficient community. This research evaluates how GIS can be used in conjunction with limited datasets to draw meaningful conclusions. In other words, how can geospatial approaches to sparse historical datasets reveal useful insights about the past? Specifically, how the combination of General Land Office patents, census records, and Florida Master Site records combine with archaeological data to conduct better understand community formation, development, and dissolution. The resultant study shows the efficacy with which these datasets, when combined and analyzed using GIS can add clarity to otherwise disparate and scarce data. Furthermore, Pat's Island has received relatively little attention. This research thus hopes to begin the process of creating a foundation by which the history of Florida homesteaders can be contextualized and understood. Using a spatial approach, the space which homesteaders inhabited, altered, and experienced can be understood. Furthermore, this research will explore the efficacy of a digital anthropological approach to analyzing and exploring anthropological questions.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Kopp, Nicholas, "Using GIS to Better Understand The Cracker Community of Pat's Island in the Ocala National Forest, Florida" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1594.