|by Edward E. Baptist|
Copyright (c) 2002 by the University of North Carolina Press. All rights reserved.
The Peculiar Benefits of Florida
Stories about Florida sugar aroused potential migrants' economic calculations to fantasies of the Caribbean model of planter power, wealth, and ease. Jamaica planters were still among the richest men in the British Empire, and in the previous century they had symbolized colonial power. Thus, like Virginian Francis Eppes, many men moving to Middle Florida planned to "begin life anew as a sugar planter." Leon County's Thomas Brown sunk $20,000 in his sugar works, while Jackson County settlers also invested heavily in the dream of sweetness and power. In the fall of 1829, Latimus and Marcus Armistead, Virginians who operated a merchant house at Aspalaga on the lower Chattahoochee River, sold sugar boilers to planters Richard Holmes, Peter W. Gautier Sr., T. Watson, and Sextus Camp.