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A Guide to the Fred L. Williamson Papers

Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
March 2005

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Williamson, Fred L.
Title: Fred L. Williamson Papers
Dates: 1923-1944
Abstract: Diaries, correspondence, news clippings, hearings, engineering reports and other material related to South Florida, particularly in the Clewiston area. The collection also contains the records of the New River, Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee Navigation Association.
Extent: 1 Linear feet. 3 Boxes.
Identification: Ms 183
Language(s): English
Access: Researchers should consult with Special Collections staff before using the collection because there are access restrictions. See the Access note for more information.
Online Content Items from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Fred L. Williamson was a director and vice president of the Southern Sugar Company in Clewiston, Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, he was a director of the Fidelity National Bank and Trust Company, Kansas City, Missouri. The Southern Sugar Company was organized in 1925 as part of the B. G. Dahlberg Sugar Cane Industries, which also owned the Celotex Company. Southern Sugar owned 125,000 acres of reclaimed land on the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee, built extensive canals and levees in the Everglades areas, and operated sugar mills in Clewiston and Canal Point.

Scope and Content

Diaries, correspondence, newspaper clippings, congressional hearings and engineering reports. The papers document the efforts of business and individuals to control water in South Florida in the late 1920s. The collection contains the records of the New River, Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee Navigation Association. Mr. Williamson was the President of the Association whose goal was to obtain government support for flood control, navigation, land reclamation, drainage and irrigation. Some of the issues discussed in the materials include levees on Lake Okeechobee after the 1928 hurricane, the Cross State Waterway between Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers and improvements to Port Everglades and Hollywood Harbor. Other organizations mentioned in the records include the Florida Navigation and Flood Control Association, Florida Everglades Drainage District and the Florida Flood Control Association.

The Williamson diaries cover a significant period in the history of Clewiston and Lake Okeechobee. Williamson was closely involved in the development and sale of mucklands for agriculture, especially for the planting of sugar cane. He lived through and described many major events affecting South Florida, including the 1926 and 1928 hurricanes and their aftermaths, the effects of the stock market crash of 1929, and the impact of World War II. Entries frequently mention business partners and early residents of the Clewiston area. In addition to the diaries, there is one desk calendar from 1926 and a pocket notebook from 1927.

The collection contains three folders contributed by Dr. R.V. Allison, which include materials created or collected by Williamson pertaining to flood control in Florida. This collection also has been known as the Robert V. Allison Papers.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research, but the diaries have been placed under restricted access due to the fragile nature of the materials. In order to examine the diaries, contact the Curator of Florida History for permission.

Related or Separated Material

The P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History also holds photographs of the devastation caused by the hurricane of 1928.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Fred L. Williamson Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Processing Notes

The Williamson Papers and the Williamson Diaries were processed separately and housed as part of the Florida History Miscellaneous Manuscripts and Diaries collections. In 2005, the materials were combined to form the current collection.

Contents List

1 Allison, Dr. R.V. Flood Control in Florida. Lake Okeechobee, New River Canal, and Caloosahatchee River.
1 Allison, Dr. R.V. Flood Control in Florida.
1 Allison, Dr. R.V. Flood Control in Florida.
1 Carr and McFadden, Inc., Civil Engineers and Surveyors, West Palm Beach, Florida: Report to the Florida Flood Control Association (2 folders). April 6, 1929
1 Pictorial brochure describing the effects of a hurricane Sept. 16-17, 1928 upon Palm Beach/Lake Okeechobee (manuscript copy with original photographs). Circa 1928
1 Remarks introducing Dr. Fons A. Hathaway, chairman, State Road Dept. of Florida. July 21, 1929
1 Clippings and notes relative to Clewiston (Fla.) and sugarcane processing operations. 1925-1940
1 Papers and correspondence (especially pertaining to the Florida Flood Control Association). 1925-1929
1 Everglade Experiment Station 1923 - a booklet of 12 original photographs with captions. October 23-25, 1923
1 Statement relative to Everglades Flood Control Matters - a speech given in West Palm Beach for the Florida Flood Control Association, for which Williamson was president. Nov. 5, 1929
1 Letter and note sent to Julien Chandler Yonge regarding the Williamson diaries. 1948
2 Diary. 1924
2 Desk Calendar. 1926
2 Notebook. 1927
3 Diary. 1928
3 Diary. 1929
3 Diary (Part A). 1930
3 Diary (Part B). 1930
3 Diary. 1930-1935
3 Diary. 1935-1939
3 Diary. 1936-1940
3 Diary. 1940-1944

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Agriculture -- Florida.
Allison, R. V. (Robert Verrill), b. 1896.
Businessmen -- Diaries.
Caloosahatchee River (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Clewiston (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Drainage -- Florida.
Everglades (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Everglades Drainage District (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Flood control -- Florida.
Florida Flood Control Association.
Florida Navigation and Flood Control Association.
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Fort Myers (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Hollywood Harbor (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Hurricanes -- Florida.
Irrigation -- Florida.
Levees -- Florida -- Okeechobee, Lake.
New River (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
New River, Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee Navigation Association.
Okeechobee Waterway (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Okeechobee, Lake (Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) -- History -- 20th century.
Reclamation of land -- Florida.
Stock Market Crash, 1929.
Sugarcane industry -- Florida.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Florida.

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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