Massive Home was Moved by Logs to Florida Springs Location

Morgan-Townsend House | Marion County, FL | c. 1890s

Situated on a rise above Salt Spring, this impressive home is known as the Morgan-Townsend House, which was built in the late 1800s. But the settlement of this area began long before this house stood here.

Natives had relied upon the fertile banks of the springs and rivers here to hunt and fish for thousands of years.

When the Spanish took control of this area, the area around the spring was originally granted by the King of Spain to a loyalist family named the Hernandezes.

They were not interested in settling here so it remained undeveloped until the late 1800s.

Aerial view of Salt Springs run leading out to the St. Johns River. Photo from Georgia Drone Pros.

Turpentine Industry Comes to the Area

It was around this time that businessmen and brothers, Walter and Columbus Townsend, saw an opportunity to expand their turpentine business. They would use Salt Springs to run turpentine up the St. Johns River to the Naval Station in Jacksonville.

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This would attract other businessmen including Daniel Morgan, who moved to the area from Alabama. Born in 1845, at age 18, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and went off to war.

Daniel Lewis Morgan in 1863 on the day he left for war
Daniel Lewis Morgan and his wife, Ida Riddle

The Daniel Morgan Family Comes to Florida

Daniel Lewis Morgan would return home from the war and in 1872, he married Ida Riddle. In 1885, they had relocated to Putnam County, FL where Daniel quickly left a mark on his community. He began buying timberland and started a turpentine business. 

By the 1890s, his family had moved to nearby Marion County, where he began to build this large home on the south side of Lake Kerr. Constructed of heart pine and cypress, the grand home had ten rooms with a detached kitchen and dining room.

But tragedy would strike on March 18, 1901. While working one of his timber tracts, Daniel was killed in a logging accident.

The Townsend Family

A few years later, the Townsend Family, who had originally settled this area, purchased the home to use as a family vacation destination. But the location on Lake Kerr didn’t suit them, so they opted to move the massive structure across the road.

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According to a Townsend Family descendant, they felled large pine trees laying them in front of the house as rollers. The house was then loaded on and pulled by teams of oxen and cattle.

It took nearly the full year of 1918 to complete the job of relocating the home to the picturesque rise above the spring where it still stands today. The spring can be seen from the upper floors.

William (with hat in hand) and brother Columbus Townsend, early settlers to this area and owners of this home after the death of Daniel Morgan

The home would pass through a handful of Marion County Families over the years. During that time it was used as a clubhouse, a private residence, and a hunting clubhouse. It sold again in 2012 to a local family who has hopes of turning it into a Bed & Breakfast.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

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21 thoughts on “Massive Home was Moved by Logs to Florida Springs Location”


    1. It was beautiful. I hope it is preserved so that people can see the history. My family was on vacation vacation in Alabama and my brother inlaw and my sister took use to see some old house’s that were moved to an area for people to tour. It was Amazing Amazing I would go back again. I love to see how people feel lived back in the day.

  2. sally stewart bailey

    I am so amazed of the photos and the stories. I think of my grandmother’s home in Biscoe NC. It looks like some of the old homes I think it may still be standing. I live in Hope Mills NC rich with history and a few old homes. Love the stories and pictures.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your travels, knowledge and history with us. Your posts on Facebook and emails are amazing ! I love the old homes whether they are occupied or abandoned, they hold so much history. Stay well and safe !!

  4. Wow! A whole year to move it. I can’t imagine!
    The two mule barns in Pavo were moved by rolling them on logs but only had to cross the road. According to a family member prisoners rolled the two barns across the road in the early 1900s. They are in failing shape today but still a favorite with photographers.
    I saw where a two story house with a wrap around porch was moved recently in Bainbridge.
    Locally we have Mark Vonier who owns Vonier House Movers (his dad started it and he is now passing it on to his son. They do a great job.
    I am in awe when I see a huge house moved!

  5. I love stories like this, we live in a 1875 Built house that’s also on the National Register. It’s encouraging that old homes like this are being preserved.

  6. William T Beavers

    Amazing! Our way of life is gone–gone with the wind…That would make a great title for a book—oops–Do you think somebody beat me to it??LOL

  7. Cindy Borden Mercer

    Your stories and photo are fascinating. Although, I hate seeing beautiful structures neglected and falling apart – wish I could save them all. 🙂

  8. I like old houses better than new ones seems like they are built better than the ones they build today much more roomy..

  9. I find these old houses and the history and story s behind them and many years ago families so fascinating I can almost picture it all I would love to visit these places

  10. Bonnie Grubb Sweigart

    As a kid, we lived in a plantation house in Churchhill, Tennessee. The owner was still living but in a nursing home (back when women could not inherit but could live in the house until death). Behind the house was an entire community of slave descendants who helped us “city folk” with the gardening, ironing and cleaning. There was still a barn, stable, etc. Best memories ever!!!! Later, I would go by the place to see what was left. Finally, I could not find any trace – the govt had an interstate through the property. So sad, but an experience I still draw on…
    Love this website. Wish I could ride with you…

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