Thursday, August 11, 2016


Wellborn (pronounced well-bern), is a tiny community located in the northeastern corner of Suwannee County, first settled in 1830 by plantation owner George E. McClellan. He initially named the settlement Little River, and the name 'Wellborn' didn't appear until roughly thirty years later. In the late 1850s, the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad Line, which connected Jacksonville and Tallahassee was constructed. It ran east-west across north Florida, and passed directly through the area of Little River. Louis Wellborn DuBois, a civil engineer who was involved in the construction of the rail line, purchased 240 acres comprising Little River, which he surveyed, platted, named Wellborn, and began to sell. Given its location along the rail line, the plats sold rapidly, and the town began to grow. 

Wellborn's first post office was opened in 1860. Within forty years, the population of Wellborn and the surrounding area had burgeoned to approximately 250 families. While farming was the major industry of the community, the town at one point also boasted "grist mills, cotton gins, general merchandise stores, board houses, saloons, physicians and drug stores, blacksmiths, coopers, shoemakers, livery stables, sawmills, and a millinery" (source). Trains from nearby White Springs brought lumber to market via a spur which connected to the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad Line at Wellborn; livestock, cotton, and vegetables from the Wellborn area utilized the railroad to reach a wide range of markets. Wellborn was also the first town in Suwannee County to have streets paved with bricks.

McLeran Store, 1884 (source)

Downtown Wellborn, 1965 (source)

Wellborn, Florida 1965 (source)

Inside the Cash Mercantile Store ca. 1900 (source)

Dave McDonald Garage, 1915 (source)

But, as with many communities which thrived at the turn of the twentieth century, Wellborn, too, fell into decline. When residents of Suwannee County chose their county seat, they chose the town of Live Oak. Wellborn was bypassed by the major highways and interstates of north Florida, and travel and shipping via the rail network decreased. Today, Wellborn is a sleepy, desolate rural crossroads.

McLeran Store and Cash Mercantile Store

McLeran Store and Cash Mercantile Store

Old McLeran family house

McLeran Store and Cash Mercantile Store

Fisher Cabinets is now located in the former Dave McDonald garage
along the old brick road

The first brick road in Suwannee County

I wish I knew the history behind this amazing house (which is for sale by the way)

Side view of the above house from the listing

While not in Wellborn proper, this house is located not far to the northeast of the town.

For more information on Wellborn:


  1. Well, believe it or not we used to live in Wellborn. The house that is for sale is where, (when about 2 or 3 years old, I was eating a donut and a rooster came running up and snatched it out of my hand). Some things are never forgotten. The house we lived in has since fallen down.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time for this portion of your journey as well as all of the other overlooked, overgrown, forgotten, crumbling, in-need-of-rediscovery, sweet, important, historic, memory-filled, foundational pieces to this beautiful place a lot of us still call home.

    Kelley (formerly Copeland) Durden

  3. Thanks for this, I have many memories of Wellborn

  4. With such unforgiving weather, not only should roof covering in the area be good enough to withstand rain, it must also be sturdy enough in the face of powerful winds. Jacksonville small business news

  5. Any Brannons live in Wellborn? If so, James Brannon is looking for his family. He is clean, and doing much better. Call 941 210 8216 to talk with him.

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