Oak Hill, Florida

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Oak Hill is a city in Volusia County, Florida, United States. The population was 1,378 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 1,454.[1]

Contents

History

The City of Oak Hill is the southernmost city in Southeast Volusia County. The location is rich in early Florida history. It was the site of an Indian village called Surruque el Viejo near el Baradero de Suroc, which was seen on LeMoyne’s map of 1564. Several English settlers were in the area during the later 18th century. Seminole Wars chased away northern timber cutters who named their camp Oak Hill. Arad Sheldon, a resident of that time 1856, took the four bodies massacred just to the north by wagon to New Smyrna Beach.

Following the Territorial Days of Florida, permanent settlers began moving into the area. Statehood seemed to provide stability for organized communities. By the Civil War Years, Oak Hill was changing: a salt works was operating, part-time stores were open, and Mitchell had planted the first orange grove. Following the war, settlers began arriving in the area from many places. The local cemetery has eleven Civil War veteran burials – five unions and six confederates.

Hotels, stores, a post office, and a school operated by Rev. Wicks in the Congregational Church served a few white students in the morning and several black students in the afternoon. A public school for white students was constructed in the early 1890s and a prominent black freedman, Bill Williams provided instruction and space for black students in 1901. A public school for black students was constructed in 1927. Business wise weather was a crucial factor in area economics as most people were either citrus growers or commercial fisherman. Circumstances have had a tremendous impact on these occupations in recent years. Very few citizens are involved with these jobs now. Most gladly commute north or south to earn their livelihood and return to the home of their choice between New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, and the Canaveral National Seashore and Kennedy Space Center.

The City of Oak Hill was first chartered in 1927. Local government was based on a Mayor Commission with each commissioner functioning as head of a municipal department. The city was later disbanded in 1930. The country was in a depression and the city petitioned the government to inactivate the charter, which was granted. The city later petitioned the government in 1962 to reactivate the charter. Clarence Goodrich was the city's mayor from 1963 to 1989, Mayor Goodrich's term as Mayor spanned 26 years as the longest term any mayor has held in the State of Florida. Bobby Greatrex became Mayor from 1989 to 1990. Bruce Burch became Mayor from 1990 to 1994. Toreatha Wood became the city's first African-American Mayor, first female mayor, and first African-American female mayor, from 1999 to 2000. Darry Evans also was the first African American male mayor. Lorna Travis became mayor from 2000 to 2001. Susan Cook was Mayor from 2001 to 2002. Bob Jackson was Mayor in 2002. The current Mayor is Darla Lauer.

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