According to an article written by Randall Research Center Director Dr. Bill Marquardt, only about three dozen people lived on Pine Island at the beginning of the 20th century.
Due to the “Great Freeze of 1894-1895,” which devastated citrus trees in north Florida, many individuals established new grooves in south Florida, including on Pine Island. One of those individuals who lost his grove to the freeze was Thomas Moore Stafford, a Civil War veteran who moved to the island to start a grove. He was the father of Minta Martin.
Marquardt also wrote in the article that Minta Martin established the Pineland name and the community’s first post office in 1902, after she and her husband, Henry, bought 19 acres from the Glover family in 1900 for $100.
Regina Poppell, who became the postmaster of the Pineland Post Office in 1996, said St. James City acquired a post office before Pineland opened its first one in 1902.
Poppell said due to Pine Island not having a lot of roads early on, the post offices were located near the water so a boat could run the mail and the supplies to its destination.
Poppell said Martin was the postmaster until 1905 when Stafford took over the position.
She said the original post office was apparently located by the water until sometime in the 1920s when it moved to its very close location of where it is now.
Ruby Vance Gill, 35 in 1922, moved to Pineland with her husband, Percy, and became the postmaster.
They built a two-story home and bought several acres of orange groves along Pineland Road. Ruby eventually built a new post office next to her home.
Poppell said the post office is still the original building with some added square footage. She said the old combination boxes are still located within the building as well.
“I’m just really happy that I am here and I plan to stay here,” she said. “I have a really nice community to work with, you know everyone who comes through the door.” Credit Pine Island-Eagle.com