Brief History Of Sumter County FL
One of the earliest towns established in Sumter County was Adamsville. Official county business was conducted in Leesburg (then a part of the county), but Adamsville played an important role in the area's commerce because of its proximity to the railroad, stage lines and the telegraph road through the area.
In 1860, the county's first census showed a population of 1,429. Early inhabitants were farmers and citrus growers. In the Secession Convention of 1861, Sumter County Representative David G. Leigh voted to leave the union.
After the state Legislature took a portion of Sumter and Orange counties to form Lake County, an election in 1881 established Sumterville as the new county seat.
The city of Bushnell was established in 1884, named after railway surveyor John W. Bushnell.
By 1886 there were more than 100 orange growers in the county. The freeze of 1894-95 practically destroyed the citrus industry. Many of the farmers converted to cattle ranching. The success of that new industry brought more people to the county, and its population nearly doubled within ten years. The cattle industry became the most important industry rivaled only by the vegetable industry.