Today there stands a stone tablet on the southwest corner of the Norton Art Gallery Grounds on Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach. Engraved on each side of the tablet are 42 names of pioneers, one group having arrived on the shores or lake Worth between 1873 and 1885, and the other between 1886 and 1893. There are no first cc middle names, just initials and the last names. The idea for this book came about when the authors determined to find at least one given name for each of these pioneers. In the process, they found out much more about many of them.
In 1890, the entire population of Dade County was 257. Dade County reached north to the St. Lucie River and south to Cape Florida. About 200 of the county’s residents lived on the shores
of Lake Worth. There was no one living between Biscayne Bay and Lake Worth.
In May 1893, Henry Morrison Flagler began building the Royal Poinciana Hotel on what is now Palm Beach. It was to be the largest wooden hotel in the world at that time. Meanwhile, Flagler was extending his railroad southward to the shores of Lake Worth to bring in hotel guests.
Late in 1893, the area’s settlers, realizing things would never be the same, decided to form the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association, limited to those already living on the lake. Eighty-four heads of families signed up, the ones whose
names are on the stone tablet. This by no means represented the total pioneers as some declined
to join, and many had wives and children.
In hunting for these pioneers’ given names, the authors found much more: names of spouses and children, as well as articles about their lives in early publications. An exciting “find” was a scrapbook, kept by Ella Dimick, with many obituaries of the pioneers and some marriage notices.
Much effort was made to be as accurate as possible but some errors are bound to occur. The sources did not always agree requiring very thorough research. Mary Linehan had the use of many local sources and interviewed descendants. Pioneer family members have shared information and illustrations.
This, then, is a collection of biographies of as many of the original pioneers as information was found for, and also includes some local history of their day.