Skip to main content

Fred L. Williamson Papers

Identifier: Ms 183

Scope and Content

Diaries, correspondence, newspaper clippings, congressional hearings and engineering reports. The papers document the efforts of business and individuals to control water in South Florida in the late 1920s. The collection contains the records of the New River, Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee Navigation Association. Mr. Williamson was the President of the Association whose goal was to obtain government support for flood control, navigation, land reclamation, drainage and irrigation. Some of the issues discussed in the materials include levees on Lake Okeechobee after the 1928 hurricane, the Cross State Waterway between Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers and improvements to Port Everglades and Hollywood Harbor. Other organizations mentioned in the records include the Florida Navigation and Flood Control Association, Florida Everglades Drainage District and the Florida Flood Control Association.

The Williamson diaries cover a significant period in the history of Clewiston and Lake Okeechobee. Williamson was closely involved in the development and sale of mucklands for agriculture, especially for the planting of sugar cane. He lived through and described many major events affecting South Florida, including the 1926 and 1928 hurricanes and their aftermaths, the effects of the stock market crash of 1929, and the impact of World War II. Entries frequently mention business partners and early residents of the Clewiston area. In addition to the diaries, there is one desk calendar from 1926 and a pocket notebook from 1927.

The collection contains three folders contributed by Dr. R.V. Allison, which include materials created or collected by Williamson pertaining to flood control in Florida. This collection also has been known as the Robert V. Allison Papers.


  • 1923-1944



The collection is open for research, but the diaries have been placed under restricted access due to the fragile nature of the materials. In order to examine the diaries, contact the Curator of Florida History for permission.

Biographical/Historical Note

Fred L. Williamson was a director and vice president of the Southern Sugar Company in Clewiston, Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, he was a director of the Fidelity National Bank and Trust Company, Kansas City, Missouri. The Southern Sugar Company was organized in 1925 as part of the B. G. Dahlberg Sugar Cane Industries, which also owned the Celotex Company. Southern Sugar owned 125,000 acres of reclaimed land on the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee, built extensive canals and levees in the Everglades areas, and operated sugar mills in Clewiston and Canal Point.


1 Linear feet (3 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Diaries, correspondence, news clippings, hearings, engineering reports and other material related to South Florida, particularly in the Clewiston area. The collection also contains the records of the New River, Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee Navigation Association.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of items in this collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

The P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History also holds photographs of the devastation caused by the hurricane of 1928.

Processing Notes

The Williamson Papers and the Williamson Diaries were processed separately and housed as part of the Florida History Miscellaneous Manuscripts and Diaries collections. In 2005, the materials were combined to form the current collection.

A Guide to the Fred L. Williamson Papers
Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers
March 2005
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America