Meet Some of Osceola’s Founding Families: Bronson, Overstreet and Partin
You might be familiar with Kissimmee’s roots in agriculture, but do you know about Osceola County’s pioneer families that helped put Kissimmee on the map? With much of Kissimmee’s history found in shared stories from old friends and family members, it’s important to us that those stories don’t become lost in time. That’s why, in this blog, we’ll introduce you to some of Osceola’s founding families who you’ll soon realize had a part in setting the foundation for Kissimmee along with the Silver Spurs Rodeo.
Meet the Bronsons
As one of the earliest pioneer families in Osceola County, the Bronsons founded a cattle empire that helped shaped the county into what many of you know today. Originally from South Carolina, George W. Bronson and his family settled down in Columbia County Florida in the 1847. George would then move to Osceola County in 1867 with his parents and siblings to join two of his brothers who got arrived earlier in 1859. Together, they would help start the cattle empire that Kissimmee would soon be known for. George’s son, Irlo Overstreet Bronson, would eventually become a member of the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, director of the Kissimmee Livestock Market and a distinguished member of the Florida legislature. (He also helped pave the way to bring Walt Disney World to Osceola County!)
Meet the Overstreets
In the summer of 1855, Henry Overstreet and his wife Mary left Georgia and moved to Florida, settling in Orlando. After three years, they decided to travel to Tampa, but when they stopped just west of Kissimmee due to flooding, they fell in love with the area. They bought some land on the south side of what is now U.S. 192, just east of Disney, and started the next generation of Overstreet farmers and cattlemen. A grandson of Henry’s, Malcolm “Mack” Overstreet certainly carried on the family heritage of working with cattle throughout his life, earning Osceola County’s Outstanding Farm Family in 1972. Not only was Mack a rancher, he was also an Osceola County Commissioner for more than 20 years, a charter member of the Osceola County Cattlemen’s Association and served as director of the Florida State Cattlemen’s Association for several years.
Meet the Partins
Does this name sound familiar? It should, considering there’s a road or two in town with his name on it! Clay Partin and his wife Temperance moved to Kissimmee from Georgia in the late 1870s with their children – Lawrence, Daisy, Nancy, Clay, and Henry – settling down in St. Cloud. While growing up and working the ranch with his family, Henry became the first Florida cattleman to show a Brahman cow at a state fair exhibition in the 1930s. After establishing the Heart Bar Ranch, he would gain international fame from his Brahman bull “Emperor” who won championship honors at the state fair as a yearling. By 1951, Heart Bar cattle were among the most sought after in the industry!
While these three families did have huge influences on Osceola County’s upbringing and Florida’s cattle industry, they aren’t the only families who influenced industry in Osceola County’s early years. In upcoming blogs, we’ll highlight other Osceola County founding families; but in the meantime, you can learn more at the Osceola County Historical Society’s Welcome Center and History Museum.
*The information in this blog was provided by the Osceola County centennial published in 1986.