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HISTORY 61 to serve in the House of Representatives from 1893- 1895. He was defeated in the 1897 election but would go on to serve as the governor of the state of Florida and would become instrumental in the development of Gasparilla Island. In fact, Gilchrist Avenue is named after him. The islands within Charlotte Harbor had been largely reserved for military use until 1885, when several islands were released for sale and homesteading. The larger islands of Pine, Gasparilla, LaCosta, Sanibel and Captiva had supposedly been surveyed in the early 1870s by Horatio Jenkins, a carpetbag politician who prospered as part of a political cabal in Duval County. Gilchrist thought very little of Jenkins' ability as a surveyor, by the way. Modern surveyors up and down the west coast of Florida have frequently denounced the poor quality of Jenkins’ work, which has proved to be largely inaccurate and in some cases, downright fraudulent. In 1897, Gilchrist was contracted to correctly survey the islands in Jenkins' wake. Frustrated by the uselessness of Jenkins' surveys, Gilchrist at one point recommended to the surveyor general that the survey be stopped at Blind Pass at the north end of Sanibel and not be continued north to Captiva, LaCosta and Gasparilla. Some lines were off by as much as three-quarters of a mile. The only positive outcome arising from the survey so far, he said, was the discovery of an “abundance” of sea grapes which he thought would make a fine wine. After months of backtracking and reworking of survey lines because of Jenkins' inaccuracies, Gilchrist put in a bill of $568.83 for his work, but that sum was determined to be excessive. To add insult to injury, the surveyor general at the time, R.L. Scarlett, dragged his feet on paying for the work already completed. Trying to acquaint Scarlett with the conditions he worked under while completing the survey in order to justify his bill and finally get paid, Gilchrist described the situation in a letter. “Being far off from communication and knowing the survey had to be finished up, I completed the work at my own risk. Besides, in the summertime with rains, myriads of mosquitoes and sand flies, mud 10 to 12 inches deep, then was the time to get them … while I was hardened to it. Instead of diminishing the amount, if there is any way of estimating what a hell the foregoing combination will make, I hope the estimate will be increased by the addition of the 'connecting lines' heretofore mentioned for which no estimate is submitted.” In 1897 Gilchrist was finally paid for his work, and in March of 1901 he received the extra money he had requested from Scarlett in December of 1897. Gilchrist passed away on May 16, 1926, the same year a major Boca Grande land auction was held by the same Boca Grande Land Company he had helped found more than a decade earlier to expedite the development of Gasparilla Island. His name would go down in Gasparilla Island history for the pivotal role he played in the island's growth. BOCA GRANDE


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