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"This book explores the common stories about the naming of Orlando. Then, it presents a new version incorporating a genealogy of America's forefathers. This includes roots to Jamestown and descendants of Thomas Jefferson. An extensive bibliography is provided."


Available in EBook OR in Print as Part 3 of

Samuel S. Griffin, a resident of Orlando 40 years by 1923, addressed a Lady’s Club on the subject of their town’s history, including how Orlando had been named.

Griffin told the ladies that Mr. Fries told him, “the story of the Indian killing on the banks of one of their beautiful lakes”. A young soldier, standing guard while others slept, had been attacked and killed by Indians. John O. Fries, a Swedish immigrant, arrived in Orlando Christmas Day, 1871. The city of Orlando was 14 years old at the time. Over the years, John Otto Fries became a prominent County Surveyor.

Next, Griffin told the membership S. A. Robinson had given him a different version, stating Robinson claimed his version came from Arthur Speer, the son of Judge James G. Speer. “A man named Orlando became very ill here and was taken into Judge Speer’s home, and cared for.” Having become friends, as this naming of Orlando version goes, Judge Speer named the town for that fellow. Samuel A. Robinson was likewise a prominent County Surveyor, and he had drawn the survey of what 1857 Village of Orlando originally looked like, sketching that plat in 1880.

But then, Samuel S. Griffin told a third version, one told him by B. M. Robinson, and that he “Most emphatically declared that Judge Speer was a great lover of Shakespeare”, so Judge Speer named the town for a character in the play, “AS YOU LIKE IT.” Benjamin M. Robinson had been a resident of Orange County since 1872, a three-term Orlando Mayor, yet another beloved citizen. Robinson Street, in downtown Orlando, was even named for the man.

Concluding his story of three differing versions, Samuel S. Griffin smiled at his 1923 attentive audience and declared, “I dared not ask another how Orlando got its name!”

Other versions surfaced, including that the town was named by its first Postmaster, John R. Worthington; or for a Volusia County plantation owner, Orlando Savage Rees, who once owned Spring Garden, present day De Leon Springs State Park.

ORLANDO FLORIDA ORIGINS delves into each and every version, and even one not previously shared, not until CitrusLAND happened along – Orlando’s 1857 Farrier, Thomas H. Harris.

We provide you the facts so you can decide which of these versions is the truth. And then, I invite you to share your thoughts by sending me an email: [email protected]

Includes portions of Rick's popular Blogs: Debunking Orlando Reeves and Orlando Florida Origins.



Have a question about 19th Century Central Florida history? Please feel free to email me;