David Yulee & James Archer
David Levy Yulee James T. Archer
In the 1840's through the 1850's the town now known as Archer was called Deer Hammock, and later Darden's Hammock. Early settlers lived in small cabins and grew fruits and vegetables and hunted for their food. Their drinking water was supplied from a sinkhole in the area.
David Levy Yulee and Thomas Haile owned plantations in the area. It was Yulee who changed the name of the town to Archer, in honor of his recently deceased friend James T. Archer, Florida's first Secretary of State. Yulee was the owner of the railroad and was responsible for bringing it to Archer. The town's businesses grew up around the depot, which was then located on McDowell Street.
New settlers and businesses continued to arrive in Archer. According to Rance Braley's book Nineteenth Century Archer (available for purchase at the depot), by 1844, Archer had nine general stores, a sawmill, three saloons, a hotel, and many other businesses. In the mid 1890's, Henry Plant built a rail line through Archer to Tampa.
After the Civil War, the Confederate governments documents and treasury were bought to Archer by a group of men hoping to join up with Jefferson Davis and rebuild the Confederacy in Texas. Upon learning of Jefferson's capture in Georgia they decided to give Mrs. Davis a portion of the gold and divide the rest among themselves. Rumor has it that one man buried his share somewhere in Archer!
There are still a number of lovely historic homes here in Archer which date back to 1890 and earlier. Every year, around the first Saturday in June, Archer celebrates Yulee Railroad Days in honor of David Levy Yulee, who named our town and bought the first trains here.