Martin County History

Martin County rocks and here’s why

Recently, hand-painted rocks have been discovered all around Martin County, with the words “MC Rocks” or “Martin County Rocks” written on them. What’s the deal? The community-building movement has been inspired by other counties, and folks love it so much that they started doing it here. You can read about who got it going in Martin County by clicking here.

Here are just a few of the “Martin Rocks” that have been found in or around Peter & Julie Cummings Library in Palm City.

When I was at the Battle of Okeechobee re-enactment, which you can read about here on Looking Back, I spoke with Mary Lou and John Missall, authors of the book The Seminole Wars: America’s Longest Indian Conflict. Together, we looked at a map showing the battles of the Seminole Wars.

“Wow, it skipped right over you,” Mary Lou said. No Seminole War battles in Martin County, though certainly soldiers marched through.

Martin County is relatively small and has a rich history all its own, even with quirky characters such as one gentleman I was reading about last week: Freddy the Beachcomber.

When my friend Will was still here on earth, he would tell me lots of fascinating little stories about Florida, among them facts about Martin County.

Here’re just a few of the highlights…

The Mount Elizabeth Archaeological Site is a prehistoric midden in Jensen Beach (evidence people once lived there). My friend Will worked on this site. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island is the last one still standing, and was built in 1876.

Hutchinson Island is named for James A. Hutchinson, who was a farmer from Georgia. In 1803, he requested 2,000 acres from the Spanish Governor of Florida. In 1807, he petitioned to move to a different location because he was supposedly having problems with the Natives who lived there, and the second location became Hutchinson Island.

Port Salerno was very empty before 1910, but there were a few fishermen who resided in the area.

Stuart was dubbed County Seat on May 29, 1925, but the man considered to be the first settler was Hubert Wilbur Bessey, who arrived from Ohio in 1880.

Between 1880 and 1920, what is now Martin County soon consisted of Indiantown, Hobe Sound, Stuart, Palm City, Jensen Beach, Salerno, Rio, and finally Port Mayaca.

There are so many reasons why Martin County rocks, so I’ll have to write about this in further posts on the topic. In the meantime, go out and look for some rocks! Or paint some of your own and hide them around the County…

Have fun!



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