Tall pine trees covered the area now called Groveland when 10-year-old L. Day Edge and his family moved to Lake County around 1901. Edge was called “One of the most prominent men of Lake County” by William Kennedy, who published “The History of Lake County” around 1927. Edge had the distinction of being the youngest man ever elected to the Florida State Legislature, according to Kennedy. He was just 21 when he was first elected and was also the youngest man to become the speaker of the house two years later. He later was elected into the Florida Senate.


While the Nazis were taking over Europe in 1939, U.S. Senator Charles O. Andrews told members of the Clermont Kiwanis club that “we will never engage in war on foreign soil.” Obviously, Andrews was wrong. On Sept. 8, 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a limited national emergency. On Oct. 16, 1940, less than a year after Roosevelt’s declaration, all the U.S. male citizens between 21 and 36 were ordered to register for the draft. A total of 3,447 men from Lake County registered. Two weeks after they registered, Board members shuffled the registration cards by pitching them at random into a box. On Dec. 6, 1940, the first four draftees were selected and marched from the Historic Courthouse in Tavares to the nearby bus depot. Their destination was Camp Blanding. The men weee Edgar Howell Cox and Sam Johnson Stephens of Leesburg, Jasper Jobe Goff of Cassia and Percy Bradford of Mascotte. They were led to the bus depot by Lt. Col. Thomas H. Cooley, commander of the Lake County Guard, and Dr. W.L. Ashton, a Lt. Commander of the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville.