In the summer of 1833 Dr. John Durkee, for more than ten years a practicing physician in Meredith Bridge (now a part of Laconia), New Hampshire, traveled to East Florida for the benefit of his health.1 Settling in Jacksonville, a village of fewer than 250 people and about twenty houses and stores, he soon recuperated sufficiently to lead an active life.2 He rode horseback into the hinterland of Duval County, hunted, fished, and because of his scientific background interested himself primarily in such subjects as alligators, snakes, deer, birds, trees, cattle, soils, and Indian archeology. Meantime, he kept abreast of the commercial affairs of the frontier community and studied the peculiarities of its people. Unless plantation owners are “interdicted by legislative enactments” to control their wasteful depletion of the land, he observed, Florida would “at length become depopulated and at least much retarded in its increase and prosperity.“
Hoole, W. Stanley
"East Florida in 1834: Letters of Dr. John Durkee,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 52:
3, Article 7.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol52/iss3/7