Born near Lake City, Columbia County, Florida on August 8, 1868, Thomas Maximus Rivers was the fourth of nine children born to Susan Amanda Walston and Lewis William Rivers. After a general education, he attended the Medical College of South Carolina and graduated in the class of 1900. While attending medical school, Thomas and Rosalie Clare Godfrey married on September 4, 1895 in Lake Park, Georgia. Thomas began his medical profession in Lake Park where he and Rosalie had three sons, but by 1902 only their third son remained. It appears Thomas and Rosalie’s marriage ended shortly afterwards and Thomas married Roberta Peterson about 1903. They added two daughters to the family and in January of 1906 the family arrived in Kissimmee, Florida where Thomas embarked on a thirty-seven year practice.
William B. “Dick” Makinson was an ardent sportsman who felt that the Kissimmee River and lake system, although some of the most productive bass fishing waters in Florida, was not utilized by sportsmen. The route through these waters was treacherous with many canals and hundreds of acres of marsh and sawgrass. Makinson felt that there would be safety in numbers if enough boats went through as a caravan. If enough boatmen went often, they would become familiar with the route and dispel the fear that kept many away from one of the least explored areas of Florida.
The tie between Osceola County and the Seminole Indians goes deeper than our county merely being named for Seminole Indian Chief, Osceola. Billy Bowlegs III, his sister Lucy Pearce, Martha and Tim Tiger and others were frequent visitors to Kissimmee. We are reminded of the connection when we see and hear the names of extinct communities in Osceola County or current cities, towns; lakes and waterways.
In December 1865, the eldest of six children, Mary Crawford Bryan was born to Jasper Newton Bryan St. and Amanda Fitzpatrick in Marshallville, Macon County, Georgia. She decided to stay and teach school in Kissimmee while visiting two of her brothers, Nathan Colbert “Bert” and Conrad in about 1890.
The September 23, 1909 edition of the “St. Cloud Tribune” announced completion of the Hotel St. Cloud, as it was originally named. It was built from material salvaged from the Disston Sugar Mill. Two weeks later the newspaper reported it had been filled to capacity since opening; with many sleeping on cots in the hotel parlor and other available places.