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Records of the Wilson Cypress Company

Identifier: MS 240

Scope and Content

The Records of the Wilson Cypress Company date from 1882 to 1971, with the majority of the records dating from 1910 to 1940. The records contain correspondence, legal documents, financial records, and personal papers. The majority of the financial and legal documents contain information regarding the ownership of lands, as well as deeds, balance sheets, checks, dividend orders, land estimates, and monthly reports. The H. S. Wilson personal papers include: certificates for stocks and bonds, deeds, insurance documents, trial balances from the Estate of H.S. Wilson, documents relating to the genealogy of the Wilson family, and historical information about the Wilson Cypress Company.

The collection also includes 42 ledgers and other books of the Wilson Cypress Company and the Seldon Cypress Door and Sash Company. The majority of the ledgers are journals and general ledgers that contain financial information regarding daily activities from 1892 to the mid 1940s. There are several miscellaneous volumes, including certificates of land, records of expenses of lands, lists of employees, retail records and customer orders. The ledgers are dated 1912 to 1924 and include a general ledger, journals, cashbooks, a vouchers payable register and a check register.


  • Creation: 1882-1971
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1910-1940



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Around 1889, Henry S. Wilson and A. E. Wilson, brothers from Saginaw, Michigan, visited the Tilghman Cypress Company mill in Palatka, Florida, while touring the Ocklawaha River. The Wilson brothers subsequently purchased the Tilghman Cypress Company in 1891 from Noah J. Tilghman and Sons. The Wilson Cypress Company began operations in the Palatka area in 1893. In 1898, the Wilson Cypress Company mill was built in Palatka. By the turn of the century, the company became the second largest cypress mill in the world. In 1926, the company's employees numbered over 600 and the company had extensive land holdings in North Florida. The company ceased mill operations on December 5, 1944. The company was formally dissolved in 1983.

The founders of the Wilson Cypress Company included several men from Saginaw, Michigan: C. A. Rust, H.S. and A.E. Wilson, J.G. McPherson, and P. Corcoran, as well as John F. Rust of Cleveland, Ohio, and D.W. Rust of Detroit, Michigan. On October 19, 1891, Henry S. Wilson, Wm. G. Tilghman and John Q. Tilghman were elected the first directors of the Wilson Cypress Company. Henry S. Wilson was elected the President, Noah J. Tilghman the Vice President, and John Q. Tilghman the Secretary-Treasurer.

The collection also includes the records of Seldon's Cypress Door and Sash Company, a subsidiary company of Wilson Cypress Company. Howard Lane Gardner, Fount H. Rion, Charles M. Tanner, Jr., and George B. Seldon, of Rome, New York, organized the company in 1895 in Palatka. In the 1890s, the company manufactured moldings, doorframes, and building components. At the time, the company was the largest sash and door plant in the South. Seldon Cypress Door Company was operated in 1928 by Fred Herbert Wilson, president and treasurer; George E. Welch, vice-president; and Howard L. Gardner, secretary.

Source: The Putnam County Archives holds biographical and historical information on the Wilson Cypress Company, the Wilson family, and other individuals related to the company. Also see: The River Flows North: A History of Putnam County, by Brian Michaels (Palatka: Putnam County Archives and History Commission, 1967).


18.5 Linear feet (7 boxes and 42 volumes)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, legal documents, and financial records concerning the Wilson Cypress Company's operations, as well as the personal papers of owner H.S Wilson.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by the Putnam County Archives in Florida.

Processing Notes

The collection was partially processed by staff of the Putnam County Archives prior to transfer to the University of Florida. Materials were rearranged according to content and date. Various maps (Related to Field Notes/Land Surveys) were unfolded and rehoused in an oversized folder.

A Guide to the Records of the Wilson Cypress Company
Finding aid created by Katie Kashmiry
April 2008
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