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History of Osceola County

Brief History of Osceola County

Osceola County is a county rich in history and life.

Created in 1887, Osceola County is a 1,506 square mile area that serves as the south/central boundary of the Central Florida greater metropolitan area.

The city of Kissimmee, the county seat, is 18 miles due south of Orlando. Osceola's other incorporated city, St. Cloud, is 9 miles east of Kissimmee and approximately 45 miles west of the city of Melbourne on the Atlantic coast.


Early Central Florida History

On July 21, 1821, there were two counties formed in Florida - Escambia to the west and St Johns to the east.  From these two counties were formed over sixty counties.

In 1824, the area to the south of St Johns County became Mosquito County, and Enterprise was named the County Seat. The name was changed to Orange County in 1845 when Florida became a state.

Osceola, Seminole Warrior Leader

Osceola County derives its name from Billy Powell, son of British trader William Powell and his Creek wife Polly Copinger. Born in Alabama in 1804, Powell adopted the name Osceola, which means "black drink crier", at a tribal ceremony around 1820. After leading several small but successful raids against the Army over the next decade, Osceola was captured on Dec. 31, 1837 and died one month later at Fort Moultrie in South Carolina.

Osceola County Flag

J. Luann Griffin designed the official county flag shortly after the county logo was created.  She used several elements from it, including the lettering, the oval the date banner and the radiating lines.

The History of Kissimmee

Formerly known as Allendale, Kissimmee was incorporated in 1883 by a vote of 33 to 3, four years before the creation of Osceola County as we know it today.  Kissimmee was first settled by former confederate major J. H. Allen, who was a riverboat captain. His steamboat, the Mary Belle, was the first cargo steamboat on the Kissimmee River.  Visit the link above to learn more.

Makinson Hardware – Oldest in the State of Florida

Makinson Hardware, located in the heart of downtown Kissimmee, is the oldest retail hardware store still in operation in the state of Florida. Founded just one year after arriving in Kissimmee and in 1884 by W.B. Makinson, the first store was a hardware and grocery partnership with friend J.M. Katz.

The History of Osceola County

Formed on May 12th, 1887 from portions of Orange County and Brevard County, Osceola County became Florida's 40th county. Named after the famed Seminole leader, this area was a transportation hub in the late nineteenth century for riverboats and railroad. It readily began a cattle, sugar, and lumber-based economy.

The History of St. Cloud

St. Cloud is one of two incorporated cities in Osceola County (the other being Kissimmee). Founded on the former St. Cloud Sugar Plantation on East Lake Tohopekaliga in 1909, St. Cloud was named after a French suburb and was an early home to the largest concentration of Union Army veterans in the South.  Visit the link above to learn more.

Florida Crackers - Cowboys on the Range

You'd be hard pressed to hear one now, but starting in the 1860s the cracking sound of cowboys' whips filled the air as they drove herds of lean cattle through the scrub brush of Osceola's open ranges. Heartier Brahma cattle introduced in the 1930s improved on our beef.  Visit the link above to find out more.

Osceola County Logo

Osceola County's logo was designed in 1987 by Barni McIntire, a local artist and long-time resident, as part of the county's centennial celebration.  Commissioned by the Osceola County Centennial Committee, it was to represent the county's beginning, and highlighted our beautiful weather, economy and heritage.  Osceola County paid $170 in 1986 for the Centennial logo, which was trademarked in 2003. The logo as we know it today was approved by Commissioners in 1993.