Orlando was known as Fort Gatlin and it was established in 1838 under the command of Alexander C.W. Fanning, while the construction of fortified encampments was happening during the Second Seminole war. The site of construction for Fort Gatlin was likely chosen because of its defensible position with water between three lakes. King Phillip and Coacoochee visited this area and the tree was the place where the previous 1835 ambush took place and where over 100 soldiers were killed. The U.S. military abandoned the fort in 1839 and the surrounding community was built by settlers.
Orlando was known once as Jernigan, in honor of Issac and Aaron Jernigan, cattlemen who acquired land northwest along the Lake Holden in 1843. Aaron Jernigan became the first representative of Orange County in 1845. Fort Gatlin was reoccupied by the military in 1849 and a militia was left to defend the settlement. According to Aaron Jernigan's daughter on a letter written years later, about 80 settlers were forced to shelter for a year in a stockade that he built on the Northside of Lake Conway. That situation led Aaron Jernigan to organize a local volunteer militia during 1852
A post office opened at Jernigan in 1850 and Jernigan became part of Florida's map in 1855. The post office was removed and opened under the name of Orlando on a new location that is situated where downtown is. It closed during the American Civil Wark but it reopened in 1866. The move is believed to be sparked by Aaron Jernigan's fall. In 1859, Jernigan and his sons were accused of committing a murder at the post office. They were taken to Ocala but they escaped. There are at least five stories that talk about how Orlando got its name. The most popular stories tell that the name Orlando was created from the tale of a man who died in 1835 during an attack by Native Americans in the area during the Second Seminole War. However, there are several ones that talk about the history of the marker for a person named Orlando who died and was buried in a marked grave.
Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash