Caroline and <br/>Samuel Johnson

Caroline and Samuel Johnson

Sunday just before church.
<br/>Planter, Fla. 11/15/07

Sunday just before church.  Planter, Fla. 11/15/07

Planter Post Office

Planter Post Office

The family most closely associated with Planter would be that of Samuel Simon Johnson.

Born in Great Harbor, Bahamas, Johnson left for Key West at the age of 18. It was while in Key West he met Caroline Tedder whom he would marry on June 26, 1861. According to the U.S. Census, at some date between the 1870 and 1880 Johnson and his wife moved north to Key Largo and settled along the Atlantic shoreline in the general area of Mile Marker 93.

Johnson homesteaded 143 acres and between Johnson, his wife, and seven children (six of whom were boys), they would create seven Johnson family farms. Pineapples were the principal crop. The community seemed to thrive in the 1880s and 1890s with the first permanent Upper Keys church established in Planter on November 25, 1887. The church would be followed by a school and a one-room post office that opened for business December 31, 1891. Samuel’s oldest son, John Wesley Johnson, served as postmaster.

Because of the shallow nature of the Planter harbor, mail ships traveling between Key West and Miami drew too deep a draft to accommodate Planter’s long piers. Postmaster John Wesley took a skiff to deeper water and drove a wooden piling into the substrate where he hammered a hanger into each side of the piling. One hanger accommodated bags of incoming mail and the other outgoing mail. In addition to the church and post office, there was a grocery store connected to the post office building.

<i>Standing on a Planter dock and looking <br>ashore. Post office attached to building <br>at end of dock.</i>
Standing on a Planter dock and looking
ashore. Post office attached to building
at end of dock.
<i>Pace Johnson and Newton <br>Pinder standing; Charity Johnson <br>and family sitting</i>
Pace Johnson and Newton
Pinder standing; Charity Johnson
and family sitting