By Spessard Stone
Henry Langford, a pioneer settler of Fort Hartsuff and Joshua Creek, Florida, was a cattleman and civic leader.
Henry Langford was born December 7, 1826 in Georgia. By August 1850, he was living in Hillsborough County, Florida. There he married in June 1852 Jane Whidden, born April 23, 1835, daughter of Willoughby and Eliza (Pennington) Whidden. The couple first lived in the Simmons Hammock settlement, but, probably in late 1854, they resettled with other family members in the area which in 1856 became Fort Hartsuff.
During the Third Seminole War, Henry served as a private in Capt. William B. Hooker's Company from February to August 1856.
Henry was active in county politics. In October 1857, Henry, John Platt, James Williams, and Nathaniel P. Hunter were elected for two-year terms to the Manatee County Commission. In April 1859 Henry, along with Maxfield Whidden and Willoughby Whidden, were appointed trustees of Manatee County School District no. 4. On November 9, 1863, Henry, along with Jesse Alderman of Fort Green, John H. Hollingsworth of the Horse Creek area, and Levin P. Johnson of Manatee, was elected as a Manatee County commissioner. Henry qualified as a commissioner on February 8, 1864, but he and Jesse Alderman afterwards deserted and supported the Union. Joel J. Addison, sheriff of Manatee County, in July of 1864 related, "there is over half the Tax payers of this County gone to the Yankees and left no agent behind...one of our County Commissioners has gone to the Yankees two of the authers taken and Prisiners and disqualified from doing any business.." Hollingsworth was believed to have been captured but later managed to resume his office. Eastern Manatee County (now Hardee County) was inordinately pro-Union after 1864.
Henry does not appear on the muster rolls of any Confederate company in Florida, but reportedly served in the First Florida Cow Cavalry. After the war, he was a member of United Confederate Camp, DeSoto County.
In the early 1870s, the Langford family moved to Joshua Creek, Manatee (now DeSoto) County where he was a farmer and stockman. On August 19, 1850, in Hillsborough County, Henry had registered: swallowfork & underbit in one ear, two underbits in the other. In Manatee County on April 2, 1866, he had registered an additional brand and on October 18, 1869 seven more brands, six of which were for his children. In 1872, he was taxed on 375 cattle and 40 hogs. The 1885 Manatee Agricultural Schedule
listed H. Langford with 434 acres of wooded and pasture land, with a value of $1,000; $25 in farm implements; 6 horses and 217 cattle, worth $1,300.
Henry and Jane were of the Baptist faith. Henry was baptized at Salem in Hillsborough County by Rev. J. M. Hayman on July 18, 1852. Henry and Jane were two of twenty charter members of Mt. Ephraim Baptist Church of Owens, organized August 9, 1884. On April 11, 1885, Henry, Owen H. Dishong, O. S. Harris, William C. Hayman, M. F. Lanier, and Wiles Hanchey were appointed to the building committee of the church.
Jane Whidden Langford died September 29, 1891 and was buried in Joshua Creek Cemetery, Arcadia, Florida.
On March 15, 1893, Henry married (2) Florida Judith Hendry Whidden, born June 16, 1848, Lowndes County, Georgia, daughter of John Hendry, Jr.
and Clarissa (Maulden) Hendry. She was the widow of Maxwell Whidden, son of Willoughby and Eliza (Pennington) Whidden, whom
she had married at Fort Green on April 19, 1866. Maxwell, born April 18, 1833, died April 27, 1887. DeSoto County Chancery Book
records show that Henry filed for divorce against Florida J. Langford on August 28, 1896. Judith Langford died on September 4, 1899 and was buried beside Maxwell Whidden in Joshua Creek Cemetery.
Henry married (3) Eliza A. Platt on June 12, 1900 in DeSoto County. The Henry Langford family was enumerated in the
Owens precinct of DeSoto County, Florida as follows:
Langford, Henry, Head, WM, Dec. 1826, 73, M, O?, GA, GA, GA, Farmer
Langford, Eliza, Wife, WF, Feb. 1857, 43, M, O?, 6, 5, FL, GA, FL
Platt, William, S-Son, WM, Jan. 1882, 16, 18, S, FL, GA, FL, Farm Hand
Platt, Lorie?, S-Son, WM, Mar. 1884, 16, S, FL, GA, FL, Farm Hand
Platt, Mannie, S-Son, WM, Nov. 1887, 13, S, FL, GA, FL, Farm Hand
Platt, Mary, S-Dau, WF, Aug. 1890, 9, S, FL, GA, GA
Platt, Thomas, S-Son, May. 1895, 5, S, FL, GA, GA
Chancery Book records show that Eliza A. Langford filed for a divorce from Henry Langford on March 2, 1901.
Henry Langford died July 20, 1901 and was buried beside his first wife, Jane, in Joshua Creek Cemetery.
Issue of Henry and Jane (Whidden) Langford:
1. Columbus Langford, born ca. 1855.
2. William Washington Langford, born June 1858; married on January 8, 1880 Martha Dyess.
3. Eliza Jane Langford, born May 17, 1860; died September 4, 1923; married on August 31, 1876 Jeremiah M. Carlton, son of Daniel Wilson Carlton and Sallie Ann (Murphy) Carlton
4. Mahala Clementine Langford, born August 26, 1862; died January 19, 1947; married on September 28, 1881 William Henry Hooker, son of Stephen Poleman Hooker and Sallie (Carlton) Hooker. (1863-1946 also is given as her life span.)
5. Mary Priscilla Langford, born ca. 1864; married on September 28, 1881 William H. Simmons.
6. James Henry Langford, born April 6, 1867; died June 1, 1953; married on January 17, 1891 Carrie Viola Lastinger.
7. Missouri J. Langford, born June 9, 1869; died August 9, 1929; married on September 9, 1886 William S. Worley.
References: Soldiers of Florida,1903; Roster Of State And County Officers Commissioned By The Governor of Florida 1845-1868 (Jacksonville, Fla., 1941); Addison to Gwynn July 1864, Florida Archives; miscel. records in South Florida Pioneers; 1900 DeSoto County, Florida Census.
This profile is adapted from my profiles in South Florida Pioneers 47/48 (Jan./Apr. 1986) and The Herald-Advocate of March 16, 1989.
February 13, 2001, May 10, 2009