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Persons > General Edmund Pendleton
Edmund Pendleton Gaines
General Edmund Gaines won fame as a U.S. Army Commander in Florida during the Second Seminole War and as the captor of traitor Aaron Burr. In 1836 he led a 1,000-man army into the wilds of Florida along the banks of the Withlacoochee River in an attempt to wipe out Indian threats to Alachua County settlers. When his army ran seriously short of rations and was close to starving, the settlers that he had come to rescue went to rescue him instead--driving cattle through rain and darkness, through Indian forces, carrying what supplies they could. Gaines was one of the few army generals to endear himself to the frontier settlers, and eighteen years later, in 1854, when a new Alachua County seat was chosen, he was the man who gave his name to the town. This portrait was made by famed-photographer Mathew Brady and copied through the courtesy of Mrs. Helen Ellerbe.
Actually, there is controversy about the naming of Gainesville. The decision about a name was made at a gathering at Boulware Springs in 1854, and there are conflicting reports because the records are not clear. Most people accept the story that the town was named for Gen. Gaines. But another story says that the town was named "Gainsville" because "the eastern part of the county had gained the vote in the election." The word was spelled "Gainsville" consistently in the County Commission minutes until 1859, and the spelling without the "e" did not completely disappear until 1861.
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