The Doukhobours or Dukhobors are a Spiritual Christian religious group of Russian origin. They are one of many non-Orthodox ethno-confessional faiths in Russia categorized as "folk-Protestants", Spiritual Christians, and/or heretics, they are distinguished as pacifists who lived in their own villages, rejected personal materialism, worked together, developed a tradition of oral history and memorizing and singing hymns and verses. Before 1886, they had a series of single leaders; the ancient origin of the Doukhobors is uncertain. The first written records of them are from the 1700s, some scholars suspect earlier origins, they rejected the Russian Orthodox priesthood, the use of icons, all associated church ritual. They came to believe that the Bible alone, as a supreme source, was not enough to reach divine revelation, that doctrinal conflicts can interfere with their faith, their goal was to internalize the living spirit of God so that God's spirit would be revealed within each individual. Bible teachings are evident in some published Doukhobor psalms and beliefs.
They draw on the characteristics of God, as portrayed by Jesus Christ, to guide their faith as God's peaceful ambassadors. In the 17th- and 18th-century Russian Empire, believing in God's presence in every human being, these people concluded that clergy and formal rituals were unnecessary, they rejected the secular government, the Russian Orthodox priests and all church ritual, holding that the Bible was the supreme source of divine revelation. They believed in the divinity of Jesus, their practices and emphasis on individual interpretation as well as opposition to the government and church, provoked antagonism from the government and the established Russian Orthodox church. In 1734 the government issued an edict against ikonobortsy condemning them as iconoclasts. Siluan Kolesnikov was the first known Doukhobor leader, active from 1755 to 1775, he came from the village of Nikolskoye in Yekaterinoslav Governorate in what is today south-central Ukraine. He was thought to be a well-read person, familiar with the works of Western mystics such as Karl von Eckartshausen and Louis Claude de Saint-Martin.
The early Doukhobors called themselves "God's People" or "Christians." Their modern name, first in the form Doukhobortsy is thought to have been first used in 1785 or 1786 by Ambrosius, the Archbishop of Yekaterinoslav or his predecessor, Nikifor. The archbishop's intent was to mock them as heretics fighting against the Holy Spirit; as pacifists, the Doukhobors ardently rejected the institutions of militarism and wars. For these reasons, the Doukhobors were harshly oppressed in Imperial Russia. Both the tsarist state and church authorities were involved in the persecution of these dissidents, as well as taking away their normal freedoms; the first known use of the spelling Doukhobor is attested in a government edict of 1799, exiling 90 of them to Finland for their anti-war propaganda. In 1802, the Emperor Alexander I encouraged resettlement of religious minorities to the so-called "Milky Waters": the region around the Molochnaya River; this was motivated by the desire both to populate the rich steppe lands on the north shore of the Black and Azov Seas, to prevent the "heretics" from contaminating the population of the heartland with their ideas.
Many Doukhobors, as well as Mennonites from Prussia, accepted the Emperor's offer, coming to the Molochnaya from various provinces of the Empire over the next 20 years. As Nicholas I replaced Alexander, he issued a decree, intending to force assimilation of the Doukhobors by means of military conscription, prohibiting their meetings, encouraging conversions to the established church. On October 20, 1830, another decree followed, specifying that all able-bodied members of dissenting religious groups engaged in propaganda against the established church should be conscripted and sent to the Russian army in the Caucasus, while those not capable of military service, as well as their women and children, should be resettled in Russia's acquired Transcaucasian provinces, it is reported that, among other dissenters, some 5,000 Doukhobors were resettled to Georgia between 1841 and 1845. The Akhalkalaki uyezd of the Tiflis Governorate was chosen as the main place of their settlement. Doukhobor villages with Russian names appeared there: Gorelovka, Yefremovka, Spasskoye and Bogdanovka.
On, other groups of Doukhobors—resettled by the government, or migrating to Transcaucasia by their own accord—settled in other neighboring areas, including the Borchaly uyezd of Tiflis Governorate and the Kedabek uyezd of Elisabethpol Governorate. After Russia's conquest of Kars and the Treaty of San Stefano of 1878, some Dukhobors from Tiflis and Elisabethpol Governorates moved to the Zarushat and Shuragel uyezds of the newly created Kars Oblast; the leader of the main group of Doukhobors that arrived in Transcaucasia from Ukraine in 1841 was one Illarion Kalmykov. He died in the same year, was succeeded as the community leader b
Valle de Guadalupe
The Valle de Guadalupe is an area of Ensenada Municipality, Baja California, Mexico, an popular tourist destination for wine and Baja Med cuisine. It is located 20 kilometres north of the City of Ensenada and 113 kilometres southeast of the border crossing from San Diego to Tijuana, it includes communities such as Ejido El Porvenir, Francisco Zarco and San Antonio De las Minas, had 2,664 inhabitants. The community was founded in 1834 by Dominican missionary Félix Caballero as Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe del Norte, making it the last mission established in the Californias. Caballero had to abandon the mission in 1840, under attacks from the indigenous peoples. From 1905-1910, a mixture of Spiritual Christian faiths from South Russia Pryguny, settled in 4 farming colonies near Ensenada, Baja California Norte Territory, Mexico. Guadalupe was the main colony of about 20+ square miles purchased in 1905. Most owned or rented land communally. Not all were ethnic Russians, were of various faiths, but non-Orthodox.
They rented as much as 50 square miles from about 10 nearby ranches. A few other immigrants from Russia lived in Ensenada city. Most moved to California during World War II to join more prosperous relatives and work in the war industries. Most of who remained and live in Ensenada and Tijuana; when the valley economy shifted to wine-making, the Baja government funded a museum, to preserve the history of the former settlers from Old Russia and enhance wine tourism. Soon two private museums opened, one with a cafe across the street from the state museum, to provide Russian-Mexican dishes for tourists and groups. Roads are improved with asphalt paving to accommodate wine-tour buses. Since the 1990s the association of winemakers of Baja California holds the Grape Harvest Fiestas in the Valley of Guadalupe and the town of Ensenada every year in August; the celebration includes wine tasting sessions and soirées, samplings of regional cuisine and Mexican wines. Wine tasting is available year-round, several of the wineries have built up-market restaurant/tasting establishments aimed at tourists from the United States.
A winery tour is included on cruise ships that stop at Ensenada. Diego Hernández heads up Corazón de Tierra, rated by William Reed Business Media as one of Latin America's 50 best restaurants, while chef Javier Plascencia is present with his Finca de Altozano, Drew Deckman with Deckman's en el Mogor; the area is a center of Baja Med cuisine. Hotels of note include chef Javier Plascencia's Finca la Divina, Bruma, a 200-acre eco-luxury resort including a working winery, 15 villas, a 40-room hotel, Encuentro Guadalupe, whose 20 eco-friendly rooms blend in with the landscape. 2010 census tables: INEGISpecific History of the Valley of Guadalupe and other wine-producing villages. Pryguny in Baja California, Mexico, by Andrei Conovaloff, Updated: 30 July 2016
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, United States; as of the 2015 census estimate, the population was 257,083, making it the fifth-most populous city in Florida and the largest in the state, not a county seat. St. Petersburg is the second-largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, after Tampa. Together with Clearwater, these cities comprise the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, the second-largest in Florida with a population of around 2.8 million. St. Petersburg is located on the Pinellas peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, is connected to mainland Florida to the north. St. Petersburg was founded in 1888 by John C. Williams, who purchased the land, by Peter Demens, who brought the railroad industry into the area; as a part of a coin toss bet, the winner, Peter Demens, named the land after Saint Petersburg, while Williams opted to name the first hotel built, named the Detroit Hotel, both named after their home towns respectively. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1892 and re-incorporated as a city on June 6, 1903.
The city is referred to by locals as St. Pete. Neighboring St. Pete Beach formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents. St. Petersburg is governed by a city council. With an average of some 361 days of sunshine each year, a Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine, it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City". Due to its good weather and low cost of living, the city has long been a popular retirement destination, although in recent years the population has moved in a much more youthful direction. American Style magazine ranked St. Petersburg its top mid-size city in 2011, citing its "vibrant" arts scene; the city was co-founded by John C. Williams of Detroit, who purchased the land in 1875, by Peter Demens, instrumental in bringing the terminus of the Orange Belt Railway there in 1888; the first major newspaper to debut in Tampa Bay was the St. Petersburg Times which established in 1884. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a town on February 29, 1892, when it had a population of only some 300 people.
A local legend says that John C. Williams and Peter Demens flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of naming the city; when Demens won the coin toss the city was named after Saint Petersburg, where Peter Demens had spent half of his youth, while John C. Williams named the first hotel after his birthplace, Detroit; the Detroit Hotel still has been turned into a condominium. The oldest running hotels are the historic Pier Hotel, built in 1921, formally Hotel Cordova and The Heritage Hotel, built in 1926. Philadelphia publisher F. A. Davis turned on St. Petersburg's first electrical service in 1897; the city's first major industry was born in 1899 when Henry W. Hibbs, a native of Newport, North Carolina, established his wholesale fish business at the end of the railroad pier, which extended out to the shipping channel. Within a year, Hibbs Fish Company was shipping more than 1,000 pounds of fish each day. St. Petersburg was incorporated as a city in June 1903. With this transition, the development of the downtown waterfront had dredging of a deeper shipping channel from 1906 to 1908 which opened St. Petersburg to larger shipping.
Further dredging improved the port facilities through the 1910s. By the city's population had quadrupled to a population of 4,127 citizens. F. A. Davis was instrumental to bringing the first trolley service in 1904. In 1914, the Tampa Bay area was one of the first Floridian cities that fell in love with baseball tracing its roots from Tampa and St. Petersburg; the former mayor of St. Petersburg, Al Lang, had invited the St. Louis Browns to move their spring training into the city. St. Petersburg's first library opened on December 1, 1915 which still operates till this day as the Mirror Lake Library. In 1914 an airplane service across Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa and back was initiated considered the first scheduled commercial airline flight; the company name was the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the pilot was Tony Jannus, flying a Benoist XIV flying boat; the Tony Jannus Award is presented annually for outstanding achievement in the airline industry. The 1920s in St. Petersburg was big due to its major growth brought by tourists.
Tourists came from all over by automobile and railroad. Travel time from across the bay was cut due to the Gandy Bridge's opening in 1924, helping St. Petersburg increase in tourist numbers and helped grow it into the largest city in Pinellas County; the city adopted the Mediterranean-style architecture brought by Snell Isles founder Perry Snell. An attraction that brought on a great number of tourists and citizens was the Million Dollar Pier, built in 1926. Tourism declined by early 1930s due to the Great Depression; the city recovered in the 1930s with the help of the Public Works Administration, including a $10 million investment plan in 1939 which helped build the St. Petersburg City Hall. By the 1940s the city received a large population growth due to World War II. St. Petersburg was a training ground area for the U. S. Coast Guard which had a training base and used the city's Bayboro Harbor, for the Army Air Force, selected by the War Department to use the city as their technical service training station.
With both stations occupying the city, more than 100,000 troops occupied all hotels in St. Petersburg. After the war, most troops who were stationed in St. Petersburg returned as tourists. In the 1950s, St. Petersburg experienced another population increase with residen
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church, alternatively known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The Primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus'; the ROC, as well as the primate thereof ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of precedence below the four ancient patriarchates of the Greek Orthodox Church, those of Constantinople, Alexandria and Jerusalem. Since 15 October 2018, the ROC is not in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, having unilaterally severed ties in reaction to the establishment of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, finalised by the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 5 January 2019; the Christianization of Kievan Rus' seen as the birth of the ROC, is believed to have occurred in 988 through the baptism of the Kievan prince Vladimir and his people by the clergy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, whose constituent part the ROC remained for the next six centuries, while the Kievan see remained in the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate until 1686.
The ROC claims its exclusive jurisdiction over the Orthodox Christians, irrespective of their ethnic background, who reside in the former member republics of the Soviet Union, excluding Georgia and Armenia, although this claim is disputed in such countries as Estonia and Ukraine and parallel canonical Orthodox jurisdictions exist in those: the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church, the Metropolis of Bessarabia, the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, respectively. It exercises ecclesiastical jurisdiction over the autonomous Church of Japan and the Orthodox Christians resident in the People's Republic of China; the ROC branches in Belarus, Latvia and Ukraine since the 1990s enjoy various degrees of self-government, albeit short of the status of formal ecclesiastical autonomy. The ROC should not be confused with the Orthodox Church in America, another autocephalous Orthodox church, that traces its existence in North America to the time of the Russian missionaries in Alaska in the late 18th century; the ROC should not be confused with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia, headquartered in the United States.
The ROCOR was instituted in the 1920s by Russian communities outside Communist Russia, which refused to recognize the authority of the Moscow Patriarchate de facto headed by Metropolitan Sergius Stragorodsky. The two churches reconciled on May 17, 2007; the Christian community that developed into what is now known as the Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the legends, Andrew reached the future location of Kiev and foretold the foundation of a great Christian city; the spot where he erected a cross is now marked by St. Andrew's Cathedral. By the end of the first millennium AD, eastern Slavic lands started to come under the cultural influence of the Eastern Roman Empire. In 863–69, the Byzantine monks Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius, both from the region of Macedonia in the Eastern Roman Empire translated parts of the Bible into the Old Church Slavonic language for the first time, paving the way for the Christianization of the Slavs and Slavicized peoples of Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Southern Russia.
There is evidence that the first Christian bishop was sent to Novgorod from Constantinople either by Patriarch Photius or Patriarch Ignatios, c. 866–867. By the mid-10th century, there was a Christian community among Kievan nobility, under the leadership of Bulgarian and Byzantine priests, although paganism remained the dominant religion. Princess Olga of Kiev was the first ruler of Kievan Rus′, born a Christian, her grandson, Vladimir of Kiev, made Rus' a Christian state. The official Christianization of Kievan Rus' is believed to have occurred in 988 AD, when Prince Vladimir was baptised himself and ordered his people to be baptised by the priests from the Eastern Roman Empire; the Kievan church was a junior metropolitanate of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Ecumenical Patriarch appointed the metropolitan, a Greek, who governed the Church of Rus'. The Kiev Metropolitan's residence was located in Kiev itself, the capital of the medieval Rus' state; as Kiev was losing its political and economical significance due to the Mongol invasion, Metropolitan Maximus moved to Vladimir in 1299.
Following the tribulations of the Mongol invasion, the Russian Church was pivotal in the survival and life of the Russian state. Despite the politically motivated murders of Mikhail of Chernigov and Mikhail of Tver, the Mongols were tolerant and granted tax exemption to the church; such holy figures as Sergius of Radonezh and Metropolitan Alexis helped the country to withstand years of Mongol rule, to expand both economically and spiritually. The Trinity monastery founded by Sergius of Radonezh became the setting for the flourishing of spiritual art, exemplified by the work of Andrey Rublev, among others; the followers of Sergius founded four hundred monasteries, thus extending the geographical extent of the Grand Duchy of Moscow. In 1439, at t
Transcaucasia, or the South Caucasus, is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Transcaucasia corresponds to modern Georgia and Azerbaijan. Total area of these countries is about 186,100 square kilometres. Transcaucasia and Ciscaucasia together comprise the larger Caucasus geographical region that divides Eurasia. Transcaucasia spans the southern portion of the Caucasus Mountains and their lowlands, straddling the border between the continents of Europe and Asia, extending southwards from the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range of southwestern Russia to the Turkish and Armenian borders, from the Black Sea in the west to the Caspian Sea coast of Iran in the east; the area includes the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the entire Lesser Caucasus mountain range, the Colchis Lowlands, the Kura-Aras Lowlands, the Talysh Mountains, the Lenkoran Lowlands and the eastern portion of the Armenian Highland.
All of present-day Armenia is in Transcaucasia. Parts of Iran and Turkey are included within the region of Transcaucasia. Goods produced in the region include oil, manganese ore, citrus fruits, wine, it remains one of the most politically tense regions in the post-Soviet area, contains three disputed areas: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno-Karabakh. Between 1878 and 1917 the Russian-controlled province of Kars Oblast was incorporated into the Transcaucasus. Transcaucasia is a Latin rendering of the Russian-language word Zakavkazie, meaning "the area beyond the Caucasus Mountains"; this implies a Russian vantage point, is analogous to similar terms such as Transnistria and Transleithania. Other, rarer forms of this word include Trans-Caucasus and Transcaucasus.. The region is referred to as Southern Caucasia and the South Caucasus. Herodotus, Greek historian, known as'the Father of History' and Strabo, Greek geographer and historian spoke about autochthonous peoples of the Caucasus in their books.
In the Middle Ages various peoples, including Scythians, Huns, Arabs, Seljuq Turks, Mongols settled in Caucasia. These invasions influenced on the culture of the peoples of Transcaucasia. In parallel Middle Eastern influence disseminated the Iranian languages and Islamic religion in Caucasus. Located on the peripheries of Iran and Turkey, the region has been an arena for political, military and cultural rivalries and expansionism for centuries. Throughout its history, the region has come under control of various empires, including the Achaemenid, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, successive Iranian, Russian Empires, all of which introduced their faiths and cultures. Throughout history, Transcaucasia was under the direct rule of the various in-Iran based empires and part of the Iranian world. In the course of the 19th century, Qajar Iran had to irrevocably cede the region as a result of the two Russo-Persian Wars of that century to Imperial Russia. Ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia and Iberia, among others.
These kingdoms were incorporated into various Iranian empires, including the Achaemenid Empire, the Parthian Empire, the Sassanid Empire, during which Zoroastrianism became the dominant religion in the region. However, after the rise of Christianity and conversion of Caucasian kingdoms to the new religion, Zoroastrianism lost its prevalence and only survived because of Persian power and influence still lingering in the region. Thus, Transcaucasia became the area of not only military, but religious convergence, which led to bitter conflicts with successive Persian empires on the one side and the Roman Empire on the other side; the Iranian Parthians established and installed several eponymous branches in Transcaucasia, namely the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia, the Arsacid dynasty of Iberia, the Arsacid Dynasty of Caucasian Albania. In the middle of the 8th century, with the capture of Derbend by the Umayyad armies during the Arab–Khazar wars, most of Transcaucasia became part of the Caliphate and Islam spread throughout the region.
The Orthodox Christian Kingdom of Georgia dominated most of Transcaucasia. The region was conquered by the Seljuk, Turkic, Ottoman and Qajar dynasties. After two wars in the first half of the 19th century, namely the Russo-Persian War and the Russo-Persian War, the Russian Empire conquered most of Transcaucasia from the Iranian Qajar dynasty, severing historic regional ties with Iran. By the Treaty of Gulistan that followed after the 1804-1813 war, Iran was forced to cede modern-day Dagestan, Eastern Georgia, most of the Azerbaijan Republic to Russia. By the Treaty of Turkmenchay that followed after the 1826-1828 war, Iran lost all of what is modern-day Armenia and the remainder of the contemporary Azerbaijani Republic that remained in Iranian hands. After the 1828-1829 war, the Ottomans ceded Western Georgia, to the Russians. In 1844, what comprises present-day Georgia and the Azerbaijan Republic were combined into a single czarist government-general, termed a vice-royalty in 184
Teetotalism is the practice or promotion of complete personal abstinence from alcoholic beverages. A person who practices teetotalism is called a teetotaler or is said to be teetotal; the teetotalism movement was first started in England, in the early 19th century. The Preston Temperance Society was founded in 1833 by Joseph Livesey, to become a leader of the temperance movement and the author of The Pledge: "We agree to abstain from all liquors of an intoxicating quality whether ale, wine or ardent spirits, except as medicine." There is some dispute over the origin of the word "teetotaler." One anecdote attributes the origin of the word to a meeting of the Preston Temperance Society in 1833. The story attributes the word to Richard Turner, a member of the society, who in a speech said "I'll be reet down out-and-out t-t-total for and ever." Walter William Skeat noted that the Turner anecdote had been recorded by temperance advocate Joseph Livesey, posited that the term may have been inspired by the teetotum.
Greenough stated that "nobody thought teetotum and teetotaler were etymologically connected."A variation on the above account is found on the pages of The Charleston Observer: An alternative explanation is that teetotal is a reduplication of the first "T" in total. It is said that as early as 1827 in some Temperance Societies signing a "T" after one's name signified one's pledge for total abstinence. In England in the 1830s, when the word first entered the lexicon, it was used in other contexts as an emphasized form of total. According to historian Daniel Walker Howe the term was derived from the practice of American preacher and temperance advocate Lyman Beecher, he would take names at his meetings of people who pledged alcoholic temperance and noted those who pledged total abstinence with a T. Such persons became known as Teetotallers; some common reasons for choosing teetotalism are psychological, health, familial, social, past alcoholism, or sometimes it is a matter of taste or preference.
When at drinking establishments, teetotalers either abstain from drinking or consume non-alcoholic beverages such as water, tea, non-alcoholic soft drinks, virgin drinks and alcohol-free beer. Most teetotaler organizations demand from their members that they do not promote or produce alcoholic intoxicants. Abstention from alcohol is a tenet of a number of religious faiths, including Hinduism, such as the Swaminarayans. "Khamr" is the term for all intoxicants. Drinking intoxicants is a crime according to Islamic criminal law, the offender should be whipped. One of the five precepts of Buddhism is abstaining from intoxicating substances that disturb the peace and self-control of the mind, but it is formulated as a training rule to be assumed voluntarily rather than as a commandment. A number of Christian denominations forbid the consumption of alcohol, including the Amish, Seventh-day Adventists, Church of the Brethren members, Christian Scientists. Many Christian groups, such as Methodists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Quakers, are associated with teetotalism due to their traditionally strong support for temperance movements and prohibition.
However, tenets forbidding the consumption of alcohol are variably practiced. For example, Church of the Nazarene, an offshoot of Methodism does teach abstinence from alcohol. In many Christian denominations, abstinence is not a religious requirement, but the tradition is strong enough to make ritual and recreational alcohol consumption a controversial issue among members. Members of the Salvation Army make a promise on joining the movement to observe lifelong abstinence from alcohol; the Catholic Church, Orthodox churches, Anglicanism all require wine in their central religious rite of the eucharist, while many Protestant churches allow grape juice or alcohol-free wine in their communion services, only a few Protestants require a non-alcoholic beverage as official policy. Many members of these religious groups are required to refrain from selling such products. A translation of the New Testament, the Purified Translation of the Bible, translates in a way that promotes teetotalism; some Christians choose to practice teetotalism throughout the Lent season, thus giving up alcoholic beverages as their Lenten sacrifice.
Dominic Conroy and Richard de Visser published research in Psychology and Health which studied strategies used by college students who would like to resist peer pressure to drink alcohol in social settings. The research hinted that students are less to give in to peer pressure if they have strong friendships and make a decision not to drink before social interactions. Caroline H. McClave published a comparison of three studies entitled Asexuality as a Spectrum: A National Probability Sample Comparison to the Sexual Community in the UK which found that asexuals and gray-asexuals drank less and were more to abstain from drinking than the people not of those sexual orientations. A 2015 study by the Office for National Statistics showed that young Britons were more to be teetotalers than their parents. In one study, increased teetotalism within a family was associated with a lower level of alcoholism and v
Hamilton Disston, was an industrialist and real-estate developer who purchased four million acres of Florida land in 1881, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, the most land purchased by a single person in world history. Disston was the son of Pennsylvania-based industrialist Henry Disston who formed Disston & Sons Saw Works, which Hamilton ran and, one of the largest saw manufacturing companies in the world. Hamilton Disston's investment in the infrastructure of Florida spurred growth throughout the state, his related efforts to drain the Everglades triggered the state's first land boom with numerous towns and cities established through the area. Disston's land purchase and investments were directly responsible for creating or fostering the towns of Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Tarpon Springs, indirectly aided the rapid growth of St. Petersburg, Florida, he furthermore oversaw the successful cultivation of sugarcane near the Kissimmee area. Although Disston's engineered canals aided water transport and steamboat traffic in Florida, he was unsuccessful in draining the Kissimmee River floodplain or lowering the surface water around Lake Okeechobee and in the Everglades.
He was forced to sell much of his investments at a fraction of their original costs. However, his land purchase primed Florida's economy and allowed railroad magnates Henry Flagler and Henry Plant to build rail lines down the east coast of Florida, another joining the west coast, which directly led to the domination of the tourist and citrus industries in Florida. Disston's immediate impact was in the Philadelphia area, where he was active in Republican politics and a philanthropist, but his legacy is associated with the draining and development of Florida. Hamilton Disston was born in Philadelphia, the eldest son of nine children born to Mary Steelman and Henry Disston, an English immigrant and descendant of French nobility. Disston's father was a successful industrialist who rose from being orphaned just days after arriving in the United States to running the Keystone Saw Works when Hamilton was a child. Henry Disston was responsible for multiple machining and saw patents, in the spirit of Victorian-era paternalism and engineered a community around his steel factory in Tacony, Pennsylvania.
After attending public school, Hamilton left at 15 years old, opting for an apprenticeship at the saw factory which, by that time, was a $500,000-per-year international venture. His father threatened to fire him for leaving the factory to work for a volunteer fire department. Hamilton twice joined the Union Army only to have Henry purchase his release, but Hamilton organized a Company of saw factory employees during the Gettysburg Campaign. Henry agreed to support the "Disston Volunteers" financially. After the American Civil War, Disston returned to work in his father's factory as an executive. In 1878, following the death of Henry Disston and his brothers Horace and Jacob inherited the company, renamed to Henry Disston & Sons. Hamilton became the controlling member of the 2,000-employee company and expanded production to 1.4 million hacksaws and three million files per year. Only a month after Henry's death, Hamilton gave President Rutherford B. Hayes a tour of the factory where an unshaped piece of steel was manufactured into a 26-inch hand saw in only 42 minutes, was presented to the president at the end of the tour—etched with his name.
While the saw manufacturing business continued growing, Disston branched out, investing in a chemical firm, a Chinese railroad, real estate in Atlantic City, New Jersey and mining in the western United States. In the 1840s and 1850s, the sparsely populated state of Florida came to own 15,000,000 acres of swamp land, granted by the U. S. Congress to states with wetlands for the purpose of reclaiming the land under water by constructing canals and levees. In Florida, consolidated grants for the purpose of building rail infrastructure and reclaiming wetlands were placed in a trust called the Internal Improvement Fund of the State of Florida; the trust fund was managed by the Governor of four state officials. The fund pledged land to railroad companies and guaranteed bonds issued by the railroad companies on the land; when the high costs associated with the American Civil War and Reconstruction caused railroad companies to default on the bonds, the fund became liable and sank into debt and into Federal Court receivership.
By the time Governor George Franklin Drew took office in 1877, the fund was nearly $1 million in debt. The state constitution forbade issuing bonds to repay it. In 1877, diplomat Henry Shelton Sanford invited Disston, an avid sport fisherman, on a fishing trip through Florida. During the trip, Disston realized the possibility that enormous tracts of land could be reclaimed for agriculture by using canals to drain Florida's Lake Okeechobee. An application for foreclosure of the IIF and its land was filed in federal court in 1880. Negotiations to relieve the debt were held with various potential investors, including Sanford and Alexander St. Clair-Abrams, but did not come to fruition. Disston and five associates, entered into a land reclamation contract with the Internal Improvement Fund in January 1881; the contract stipulated that Disston and associates would be deeded half of whatever land his Atlantic and Gulf Coast Canal and Okeechobee Land Company reclaimed around Lake Okeechobee, the Kissimmee and Miami Rivers.
Congressman and Disston family friend, William