San Mateo Putnam County, Florida Florida East Coast Railway
San Mateo was settled in 1867 by people from the North with Rev. Mr. Stanton, a Baptist missionary. The village was located one mile east of the St. Johns River and five miles distant from Palatka. The 1885 population was around three hundred persons with three churches, the San Mateo Institute and two public schools. Prominent orange groves were owned by Maxwell and Anderson, S. H. Bacon, N. Bailey, H. Bailey, Hon. P. OP. Bishop, G & H. Lyle, and Rev. W. E. Stanton. Other 1885 residents were Dr. DeWitt, Col Chester, Dr. Douglass, B. Crosby, Barrelle, E. Bailey, and A. Bailey with the postmaster of Nelson Bailey.
A writer who lived in San Mateo was a northern Baptist clergyman named Putnam Peter Bishop (1823-1896). He wrote a novel called The Psychologist (1888) said to have been based on the characters he knew in Florida.
In 1895 San Mateo was described as "a delightful little city of 800 inhabitants on the Jacksonville, St. Augustine and Indian River Railway about four miles from Palatka. There were two churches, schools, stores, express, a newspaper named the San Mateo Item, and two miles of good shell road.
Mr. H. M. Flagler Becomes an Orange Grower at San Mateo (The Florida Times-Union, Dec 7, 1891) Mr. Henry M. Flagler is now the fortunate owner of the famous S. H. Bacon 16 acre orange grove at San Mateo which, with the 12 acre grove that he purchased recently in that charming burg, gives him an interest which will work much to the benefit of the place. Mr. Henry J. Ritchie of this city who is a grove owner at San Mateo where, by the way, he wooed and won his estimable wife, made the sale for the parties and has been placed in charge of Mr. Flagler's grove property there....The 16 acre grove will yield this season over 4,000 boxes of the luscious fruit. The consideration is not positively known, but it looks like $30,000 in cash. [note: could be $20,000; copy difficult to read]
Tobacco Farm The experimental farm that Flagler established and subsidized from 1897 to 1899 was a tobacco farm. The San Mateo cigar factor began using San Mateo tobacco instead of Cuban. It cost $465 to produce and sold for $750.
Ad in The Homeseeker May 1906 Wanted at San Mateo, Florida, 28 miles south of Jacksonville on the St. Johns river and the Florida East Coast Railway, a physician. Good location, good opening. Also a good hotel man to build a 416,000 hotel. The right man can get substantial aid from the citizens of San Mateo. Address J. A. Crosby, San Mateo, Florida.
San Mateo (A Guide to Florida, 1912) East Palatka to San Mateo (3 m). The small village is pleasantly situated on a ninety-foot bluff overlooking the St. John's river. It lies among pine woods interspersed with orange and grape-fruit groves. Here extensive and successful experiments have been made by the San Mateo Fruit Company in growing orange trees under sheds to protect them from the danger of frost. Their groves and packing houses are open to visitors.
Where to Stay 1912 Byrlyn Place, J. A. Crosby; capacity, 10; rates - per day, $2.00, per week, $8.00 to $10.00.
Idlewild, Dr. J. E. Cochrane; capacity, 10; rates - per day, $2.00, per week, $8.00 to $12.00
The Palms, Mrs. F. A. Bailey; capacity, 10, rates - per day, $2.00 per week, $8.00 to $10.00.