“One Nation Under Mosquitos,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

Mosquito County was formed from St Johns County in 1824; this was the era of the Indian Wars. Florida became a state in 1845. (Florida Works Progress Administration, courtesy of historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Mosquito County was formed from St Johns County in 1824; this was the era of the Indian Wars. Florida became a state in 1845. (Florida Works Progress Administration, courtesy of historian, Sandra Henderson Thurlow)
Mosquito County early map.
Mosquito County ca. 1827. All maps here and below are from University of South Florida’s map website.
Mosquito County early map
Mosquito County early map. USF.
Mosquito County early map
Mosquito County early map. USF.

Since the Lost Summer of 2013 and the super bloom of 2011-2013, the counties from the south and to the north along the Indian River Lagoon have been “coming together.” The more unified we are, the better we can protect, improve, and negotiate with our legislature  for our waters.  The revamped National Estuary Program of the Indian River Lagoon, under the leadership of Martin County Commissioner Ed Fielding, is proof of this and a great hope for a better future. (http://itsyourlagoon.com)

Of course the irony of it all is that the counties along the Indian River were once “one,” under the flag of “Mosquito County…”

Misquito--Mosquito---Musquito----
–Mosquito—Musquito—-

Such a fitting name….Too bad they exterminated the name for tourism. I like it.

I remember mosquitoes well. As I have written about before, one of our great joys as kids growing up in Stuart in the 1960s and 70s was riding our bikes behind the mosquito spray truck as it drove by just about every evening…. 🙂

Mosquito truck Hillsborough County archives.
Mosquito truck Hillsborough County archives.

Mosquito County was formed in 1824 and compromised most of east Florida including Volusia, Brevard, Indian River, St Lucie, Martin,  Seminole, Osceola, Orange, Lake, and  Polk counties.

Apparently from 1500 until 1844 the east coast of Florida was known as “Los Musquitos…”

I think it is important to remember we all have been connected for a long, long, time and that we are still connected today through our waterways, the St Lucie, the Indian River Lagoon,  and really also the St Johns– if its headwaters had not been directed south through C-25…We must also recall that although during rainy times the native peoples and pioneers documented traveling through the St Johns into the Indian River —our waterways were never naturally connected to Lake Okeechobee…

Full counties evolution map
Full counties evolution map, florida Works Progress Administration, courtesy Sandra Henderson Thurlow.

______________________________________________________

 

USF Maps: (http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/maps/pages/4100/f4176/f4176.htm)

Mosquito County history: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito_County,_Florida)

Canals in Stuart, C-23, C-24, C-25 built in the 50s and 60s. C-44 connected to Lake Okeechobee constructed in the 1920s.
Canal C-25 at the top of this image is where the headwaters of the St John’s River– originally west of Vero and Sebastian– were redirected to go south through C-25 into the IRL and connecting canals that exit into the North Fork of the St Lucie River.

6 thoughts on ““One Nation Under Mosquitos,” St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. I also remember when the big DC 3’s flew back and forth, spraying, over the county, and the airboat spraying along the shore line. And the bloody legs of our children when playing outside.

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  2. Now that was funny about riding bikes behind the mosquito spraying! I did this myself as a young one. Can you imagine the shock and outrage if kids were doing this today? Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jacqui ~ You made me smile…I thought we were the only ones who ran behind the mosquito truck in the ’60s. My family lived outside of Chicago. I loved the smell – it brings back memories. But oh, the thought today makes my skin crawl! Thanks for the history!

    Liked by 1 person

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