The British Invasion…
Common signs and sights in our area such as Fells Lane, Fells Point, Fells Landing and Fells Cove give testimony today to the beginnings of Narcoossee.
Arthur Fell, a New Zealand born Englishman and solicitor in London, England, became interested in investment opportunities in Florida. On March 17, 1883, he purchased 12,640 acres of raw Florida frontier in what was then east Orange County, Florida. (Osceola County was not established until 1887.)
Arthur appointed his younger brother, Edward Nelson Fell, as his agent with the assignment to establish a colony on these lands. Arthur rose in stature to become a member of the British Parliament holding the Great Yarmouth seat from 1909-1921 and was knighted by the King George V of England in 1918.
Younger brother Nelson was born in Nelson, New Zealand, on August 27, 1857, and was educated in England and trained as an engineer. He was 27 years old and working as a mining engineer in Colorado when he answered his brother’s call to move to Florida and establish the colony. Forming a partnership with his friend, Walter Bruce Murdock Davidson, 2,000 of the purchased acres on East Lake Tohopekaliga were surveyed, platted, and named Narcoosseein September 1884. Fell & Davidson promoted and sold these small farms for citrus and other crops to prospective British settlers and other buyers.
Other Cool Narcoossee Facts…
- The Narcoossee schoolhouse built in 1886 is older than Osceola County itself, established in 1887.
- Early resident, Rev. George W. Garrett, invented the world’s first mechanically propelled submarine in England.
- Runnymede was named after the English location, where, in 1215, feudal barons forced King John to grant civil and political liberties in the famous Magna Carta document.
- Resident Frederick W. Hill, who arrived in Narcoossee in the late 1880s, spent his teen years as a sailor on the famous Cutty Sark tea clipper as an apprentice to John Willis, the Cutty Sark’s owner.
- Anne Palmer Fell, the wife of founder Nelson Fell, was a close friend and correspondent of U.S. President John Quincy Adams’ grandson, Henry Adams and his wife Marian “Clover” Adams.
- Nelson Fell’s daughter, Marian, was named after Marian “Clover” Adams. Marian Fell was the first person to translate the literary works of Russian author and playwright Anton Chekov into English.
Join our Narcoossee History Chapter to learn much more and to help our efforts to preserve and share our rich local history.