FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
BROWN, Vet L.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
II, page 306, 1923.
BROWN, VET L. has been prominently identified with the development of Polk County and
adjacent sections of Florida. He has influenced the settlement of hundreds of families
in the state and consequently the investment of many thousands of dollars in land here.
Mr. BROWN is vice president and manager of the Lake Garfield Nursery Company at Bartow.
He was born in Summit Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, three miles from Linesville
and three miles from Conneaut Lake, on May 9, 1869, second of the three sons of W. BARRETT
and ELIZA JANE (SHOTWELL) BROWN. His parents were also natives of Crawford County and are
Mr. BROWN spent his boyhood days in Crawford County, attended school there, and at the age
of fifteen began selling nursery stock. His experience in the nursery business covers a
long period of years. About 1900 he engaged in the real estate business at Pittsburgh, and
for five years, while still maintaining his headquarters at Pittsburgh, made periodic trips
to Florida bringing prospective settlers and investors. His organization was the means of
bringing over three thousand people to Bartow, a large part of whom became either investors
or permanent settlers. One result of this was the development of 6,000 acres, mostly planted
to citrus fruit.
Mr. BROWN in May, 1915, organized the Lake Garfield Nursery Company, and this company not
only conducts a nursery for the propagation of citrus and other fruits, but has 1,000 acres
planted to groves. Through Mr. BROWN's personal efforts a total of over four hundred people
have bought more than 14,000 acres, largely in Polk County, and thus Mr. BROWN has been a
most useful factor in developing this section of country during the past twelve years. He
has had his home at Bartow since 1916.
May 18, 1907, he married Miss JUNE RANKIN, of Linesville, Pennsylvania. He is a member of
the Polk County Citrus and Agricultural Growers Protective Association, is a member of the
Kiwanis Club, president of the Bartow Chamber of Commerce, and is thoroughly public spirited
in his attitude toward all civic and material improvements in this section of Florida.
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