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Hendry County was formed from Lee County on May 11, 1923. It was named for Captain Francis Asbury Hendry, an early settler and "the cattle king of South Florida." From A.D. 800 into the seventeenth century, the Calusa Indians inhabited the the Spirit-of-the-Wild/Hendry County area. The coastal regions of southwest Florida along with its interior wetlands associated with Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River where their source for hunting and fishing.

After the period of 800 A.D. other visitors such as soldiers of the Seminole Wars, cattlemen, hunters, trappers and traders inhabited the area. By the 1880s, settlements such as LaBelle, northwest of Spirit-of-the-Wild, sprang up where forts had been built. In the 19th century, agriculture and cattle ranching operations flourished. Today, agriculture is the base of Hendry County’s economy. Sugar cane and citrus, followed by cattle and tomato farming are the county’s most important commodities. Parts of Spirit-of-the-Wild have been managed in the past for quail hunting, winter crop production and cattle ranching. Cattle will remain on the property until the lease expires.


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