Forgotten Florida Frontier House

Crum-Beville House | Sumter County, FL | c. 1800s

Harmon Crum and his wife Rhoda married in Lowndes County, GA in 1824 and although they began their family there, a few years later they would move to Florida. First settling in Marion County and then moving just south to present-day Sumter County, Harmon is regarded by many as the first white settler to this area, building a homestead here sometime before 1830.

We can only imagine what life was like for the Crum family on the Florida frontier, but we do know that the children of the family spoke a Seminole dialect due to their proximity to a settlement laid out under the Treaty of Moultrie (1823).

Illustration of Seminoles attacking a fort, possibly on the Withlacoochee River, in December 1835 during the Second Seminole War. Courtesy of Library of Congress.

This relationship would change just a few years later as a Seminole attack on U.S. troops broke out just a few miles south of their homestead. The attack in December of 1835 at what became known as Dade Battlefield, began the 2nd Seminole Indian War and was surely a new period of tension between the natives and Florida’s new settlers. Just six years later, Mr. Crum had applied for the Armed Occupation Act which granted him 359 acres of land in exchange for ‘holding the land’ from native attack.

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Photo courtesy of Tanya Venditto @southern_girl_dreaming on Instagram.

But one war would turn into the next and before long, the Civil War had gripped our young nation. Two of the Crum sons, Harmon III and Thomas Lafayette, would join the 10th Florida Regiment for the Confederate States. Upon returning from the Civil War, Thomas and his family would build this home which still stands today, and pictured here are his children Mattie, Charlie, Thomas H., and son-in-law T. Sutton Beville.

With most abandoned homesites, it is hard to imagine what it looked like in its prime because the framework is there, but the life is gone. While researching this family and their long history in this area, I stumbled upon this photo of the same house I found myself photographing in 2013. As they stand there proudly in front of their home, I look at their faces and wonder which of them might have been born within these walls. I feel fortunate to be able to attach faces to this beautiful old piece of Florida history and to see it as they saw it all those years ago.

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Photo courtesy of Tanya Venditto @southern_girl_dreaming on Instagram.

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13 thoughts on “Forgotten Florida Frontier House”


    Enjoyed this story. I wish i knew how to find the history like this. My great grandparents home is still standing. Would love to the history.

  2. I wish I had more knowledge and information of my ancestors to look up their old homes and neighborhoods.

  3. My parents live close to a major road in Daytona Beach called Beville Road. I wonder if there is a connection. It is not that common a name.

    1. It is indeed the same family! My maternal grandmother was a Beville, and some of her family moved from Sumter County over to Daytona.

  4. I’m a photographer as well. I absolutely LOVE your website. Detail-oriented, beautiful photos, awesome research, and you make it fun. A great storyteller. And everyone loves a story! Thank you for sharing your amazing talent and gift.

  5. In reference to The Beville-Crum House. I know exactly where this is and drive by it off and on.
    My late Father-In-Law worked for the Bevilles in Sumter County and lived in a small house under a big oak tree for a while. No running water and no electricity. The property is across the road from the Beville-Crum House. So very interesting to be able to see this story. Thank You for your posts and Thank You for putting this online so anyone can see.

  6. Susan Scarpelli

    Someone has purchased this property and in currently in the process of rebuilding the home. It is nice to know that someone is preserving this home.

  7. Bergman Bethel Crum was my great Grandfather, he moved to Fulford, (North Miami) Miami where my Grandfather was born.

  8. Harmon and Rhoda are my 4th great grand-parents. I love reading about the history of the state and area where they lived.

  9. I wonder how you find these homes? Rather than watch them rot away and if no one wants them I’d love to purchase and old home like that and reuse the wood on a new home. I hate to see the old houses just torn down and turned into a pile of trash.

  10. I am also interested in being able to purchase any of these homes and if you could send information about a purchase.. so the homes could be restored.

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