The Village of Florida
The Village of Florida, N.Y., had its beginnings 300 plus years ago in a highly fertile, ancient lake basin.
In a grant of land, called the Wawayanda Patent of 1703, a large area was called the Florida Tract.
A hamlet located at the intersection of two free-flowing streams in the early 1700s was originally named Brookland.
The name of Florida was officially given to this populated, industrial area in the 1760s. Florida, in Latin, Floridius Aetas, means land covered with red flowers.
The second earliest Presbyterian Church in Orange County was established in 1741. During the Revolutionary War, Florida became an important corridor for troop and supply movement from Newburgh to Philadelphia and beyond.
As social, commercial and industrial entities flourished, Florida became a thriving 18th and 19th century community. Among the diligent farm-working families came prominent doctors, lawyers, merchants, craftsmen, etc.
Most noteworthy was William Henry Seward, Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He is most noted for negotiating the treaty to purchase Alaska from Russia. His father, Samuel Sweezy Seward, established Seward Institute in 1848, and it still thrives today as a public school.
In 1946, Florida became an incorporated village. Florida in the 21st century is a vibrant, growing, productive community.
Florida Historical Society - New York
Other TFHS Events and Activities
ONE ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE: Our work continues on creating a one room schoolhouse in the former formal dining room at the Green on the lower level of the Green Homestead. TFHS will be requesting another grant to continue this project.
The 2023 Seward Day Parade
On Saturday, May 13th, starting 10:00 am, join the Village of Florida in celebrating the 222nd birthday of William Henry Seward; a New York Senator, Governor, U.S. Senator, Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, and the driving force behind the purchase of Alaska. He was born in Florida on May 16, 1801 and went to school in Goshen.
His wife, Frances Seward, was a civil rights activist who is finally getting the recognition she deserves. The Village's 2nd Annual Seward Day Parade will be fun for the whole family! For more information about next Saturday's celebration and New York State's truly exceptional couple visit: the Florida Historical Society Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FHS10921 or the Seward Homestead website:
Gary and Kathy Randall Honored
On July 21, 2022, Dr. Richard Hull, of the Florida Historical Society, presented Gary Randall with a framed Certificate of Appreciation for the numberous years of dedication to the history of Florida, Warwick and the surrounding area.
Gary and Kathy moved to Florida in the 80's after an uncle told Gary about his ancestors who settled here early on, prospered, and left important history in "Randallville." Gary took enormous interest in his ancestors and presented significant research and writing about the Randall's impact on Florida history. Mr. Randall was the village historian for many years. Gary preserved pieces of history from restoration work at many houses and barns that would have otherwise been discarded. He began to teach people of all ages about the history he discovered.
Gary created "Seward Day", held every May for William Henry Seward's birthday to educate others about the man who was Secretary of State for Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Randall invited speakers to talk on numerous topics and made videos of over 30 of Dr. Hull's lectures. Gary and Kathy Randall have provided even more knowledge through their books.
The Florida Historical Society was created in 1991 by Gary and Kathy Randall, John Kimiecik and a small group of interested people. Early members also included Raymond Green.
Kathy Randall was also recognized as an historian and for her dedication, research, writing, art, refinishing of furniture, The Florida Historical Society and the Village of Florida are grateful to Kathy and Gary Randall for their incredible work to preserve the Village history.