Dupont Center
by Sisco Deen

Remember Utley James White?

After his 26,000 acre tract in Hastings had been developed to a large extent, Mr. White disposed of his interests there and again engaged in the lumber trade, buying thirty-two thousand acres in the Haw Creek country, which mostly stood in pine and cypress.

Here, he built mills at Dupont to manufacture his lumber and built eighteen miles of timber railroad, twelve miles of which was narrow gauge first-class road. Cutting down the timber, he developed the Haw Creek lands, twenty thousand acres of which were rich black soil-as good as the best black soil of Illinois or any other state of the middle-west. It was fertile and suitable for practically all purposes and everything could be grown upon it.

His 30 year-old daughter, Lilla Maude White took charge of four hundred acres of the tract, which she developed and improved, bringing the same to a high state of cultivation. To insure better drainage of the country, Mr. White first had dug two large canals, greatly improving the value of the land.

In Nov 1911, a land company located in Scranton, Pennsylvania purchased the Dupont holdings entire and Mr. White retired from active business, moving with his family to St. Augustine. The White’s built a palatial home on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine which is still standing today. 

The land company put its main office at Dupont where they owned 720 acres of non-agriculture land. The hub for rail transportation – the hotel, saw mill, planing mill, stave mill, residences and school sat on this particular plot.

The DuPont Railroad and Land Company, like ITT of later years, offered prospective land buyers a place to stay while they traveled to present-day Flagler County to take a look at the land. Granted it wasn’t a Sheraton Hotel on the ocean, but rather the company’s sixteen-room (some equipped with private baths) hotel, the Tippecanoe Inn, overlooking the railroad tracks in Dupont. Since there were no major roads leading to present-day Flagler County, most prospective land buyers arrived by train on Henry Morrison Flagler’s Florida East Coast (FEC) Railroad.

One of the marketing tools used by the company was a glossy-for-the-time, multipage, booklet entitled “Florida’s Call to the Farmer.” It had a color cover, a photo on just about every page that showcased “bona fide views of the property” and much copy telling of the virtues of the “delightful” climate here which allowed for farming year around.

It was very similar to “The Bunnell Home Builder” published by the Bunnell Development Company with its many photos and testimonials.

It was also very similar to the “Palm Coaster” magazine, a glossy quarterly produced by ITT Community Development Corporation in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s that kept lot owners updated on community progress, and as always the ‘delightful’ climate.

Like more modern day developers, the Bunnell Development Company and the DuPont Land Company may have stretched the truth just a bit.

The DuPont Land Company also published a house organ for their hotel in Dupont. This small newspaper was also mailed to their land owners and prospective land owners. You can view “Florida’s Call to the Farmer,” The Bunnell Home Builder and a copy of The Tippecanoe Council Fire” at the Flagler County Historical Society’s Holden House Museum in Bunnell (open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday).

The former site of the once thriving community of Dupont is some six miles south of Bunnell on U.S. 1. As with St Johns Park, the original commercial buildings that were once the hub of the community are long gone. This once thriving community is now represented by two large junk yards, a truss plant and a scattering of single family homes.

FLAGLER COUNTY HISTORY - Daytona News Journal

Utley James White pioneered Dupont development

Near the turn of the century, Utley James White moved from Hastings, Florida, to Dupont. He had come from Illinois to Hastings and had built the White Towers Plantation there. He was the first man to raise Irish potatoes on a commercial basis in that area.

At Dupont, White went into the logging and lumber business. He built a large sawmill, as well as a planning mill and stave mill, according to an early history of Flagler County written by Sisco Deen, archivist with the Flagler County Historical Society.

Dupont became a beehive of activity. White built homes for many white people employed there and the "quarters" housed more than 250 blacks. His own dwelling, The Mansion House, was a show place. He had a large commissary, which Walter Cody operated for him from 1903 until he sold his holdings. There were two boarding houses, one on either side of the railroad tracks.

Some of the families living at Dupont at that time were the Lawrence S. Cody’s, the Austin V. Wickline’s and Dr. David Benton Brown and his family. Dale Brown, Sr. helped out at the commissary some of the time.

A one-room school house was built. Minnie Burnett was the first teacher and Ruth Trissell Cody the second. When the building burned, the children were transported by train to the school in Haw Creek.

The Dupont Land Company of Scranton, Pennsylvania, bought out White's interests in 1912.

 Compiled by Aaron London - courtesy Daytona News Journal

The following photo appeared with today’s column with the cutline: “The commissary at Dupont, in the foreground, and the Utley White mansion were part of the early development of Flagler County.”
 
FLAGLER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY PHOTO - Sisco Deen collection.


The Tippicanoe Inn housed visitors and prospective land buyers during their stay in Dupont:

In 1886, prior to developing Dupont, Utley White built the St. Johns and Halifax Railroad in which ran from Hastings through present-day Flagler County stopping at the Tomoka River across from the present day River Grille. He sold this railroad to Henry Morrison Flagler in 1890 with good advantage., The early engineers on this railroad often stopped the train, pulled by the new locomotive named "Bulow" (in honor of the once famous sugar mill), for his passengers to shoot turkey and deer.:

Dupont Plantation - Indian attack (location on Matanzas north in present day Flagler)

Translation from Florida Herald Issue May 11 1836 (Wednesday) by Bill Ryan
(pages faded and difficult to read) (Sunday would be May 8, 1836)


More Indian Murder and depredations -- Mr. Abraham Dupont, who resides at Matanzas about 25 miles south of this city, arrived on Sunday morning about 7 o’clock, having travelled on foot all night with his two little sons, whence he was obliged to flee for safety. Mr. Dupont states that about 10 o’clock on Saturday night he was alarmed by some of his negroes, who told him that the Indians were at the negro houses. Mr. Joseph Long who have come over from the opposite side of the River for the purpose of hunting cattle the next day, lodged at Mr. D’s house, was roused, and also his children. Mr. Long on arising up, proposed going to the stable to get his horse, and jumped out of the window and proceeded towards the stable when he was shot down about 40 yards from the house. Mr. Dupont had four guns loaded in his house, three of which he fired in the direction of the place where Mr. Long was shot, which had the effect of making the Indians retreat farther off, when they commenced firing at the house and yelling. He was thus enabled to come out of his house by the back door, and fearing his retreat to his boats were cut off, he fled across his field through the thickets to the public road.

Mr. Dupont met some of his negroes, from whom he procured a blanket and wrapped round one of his children, who had been forced to come away without his clothes.

A negro man belonging to Mr. Dupont, who had been taken by the Indians was with them about six hours, arrived here in the afternoon, states that he went around among the negro houses, and found them all deserted, with the exception of one old negro and a small negro child, and as the Indians showed no disposition to molest the negroes he left the child in charge of the old negro. They had ransacked Mr. Dupont’s house and loaded his horses with plunder, one of which the negro brought off with him when he made his escape. They distributed Mr. Dupont’s guns among the negroes and told them to kill every white man they saw. They had previously visited Gen. Hernandez’s plantation and secured their negroes, whom they carried off. The rest of the negroes escaped to town, as slaves all of Mr. Dupont’s.

On Sunday morning, upon the receipt of the above information, Gen. Scott sent Capt Dunson’s Company of U.S. Artillery, unmounted accompanied by 10 volunteers in each of them. After riding until sunset the came upon a party of Indians, 7 to 10 in number, who were driving off a large body of cattle. The volunteers were in advance and charged upon them and fired wounding two of them. The Indians returned the fire and killed Mr. Dupont’s horse under him, and wounded Capt Dimick’s. The remainder of the Indians fled into the Hammock near by, and were pursued by the troops who poured in a heavy fire. One of the regulars was killed and four wounded two of them severely - - night coming on they were compelled to retire in the open woods; where they encamped and remained a few hours but as there was no water for horses or men, they retired to St. Josephs.

The whole number might have been taken had daylight lasted. Capt. Dimick reports 4 Indians killed and probably as many wounded. The man who was killed, they buried, and returning to the ground the next day, they found him dug up and scalped. They were well supplied with ammunition and had considerable plunder with them.
A silver spoon, with the initials of R.D.J. was taken from the packs of one of them. They had tobacco, fishing lines, and a great number of small articles with them.
________________________________________________________________________
other dates and information:
Trinity Parrish St. Augustine Burial Records Sunday May 8 1836 Bulow - Rev. Parker Adams (no place of burial given) John Jacob Bulow buried in St. Augustine.

 A death notice was placed by his uncle in the Charleston Observer, issue of 21 May 1836 giving the date of death as Saturday night May 7 1836. I have not viewed this actual article which is said to be on microfilm at the Charleston library.

It is not known how or why John Jacob Bulow died as thus reported on Saturday 7 May in St. Augustine. Obviously there was great alarm about prospective Indian attacks, and this was re-enforced by the arrival of Mr. Dupont Sunday morning with his two small children and subsequent sortie of an army group against the Indians.
(another account had mentioned a Black housekeeper, but there is no mention in this story). Many later writers had Bulow returning to Paris and his death there.

I have no idea where they obtained this information.

Bill Ryan Palm Coast September 2012

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