Founded in 1882, Reddick, Florida is a sleepy little town nestled in the northwest corner of Marion County’s horse country . Majestic oaks line quiet streets where there is little traffic and where the community lives and works together, caring about each other as they have always done. The mayor and five councilmen take care of the town’s business and are proud that Reddick is one of three municipalities in the State of Florida that is debt free. The Council meets the first Thursday of each month at 7:30 PM. in the Reddick Community Center.
Ulric and Sarah Mills Reddick came to Marion County from South Carolina with their three sons: Samuel, John and George sometime between 1850 and 1860. Samuel was born in 1837, John in 1843, and George in 1848. (Census 1850, 1860).
After serving in the military during the Civil War, Samuel became a river captain and owned the “Yulee” (FL Historical Quarterly, Vol. 45: 278, 279, 284). John Reddick purchased several tracts in the Reddick area, as well as an 80-acre parcel which would later become the original town of Reddick. He enjoyed a successful life and became involved in timber. (Marion Co. records). His younger brother, George married Callie Cottrell and they would together become a prominent and driving force in the development of Reddick.
During Post War Reconstruction, citrus and farming became major industries in Marion County, but getting the fruit and vegetables overland to steamboats for northern markets took too long, allowing fruit and produce to spoil The railroad made quick transportation possible and also allowed for the cargo to be put under ice. John Reddick deeded a 120-foot right-of-way and the timber needed for crossties to the Florida Southern Railway Co. for the sum of $1.00, with the provision that the railroad would construct and operate the line. During the winter of 1881-1882, the railroad connected Gainesville to Ocala, with Reddick being one of the stops. (Marion Co. records).
On June 8, 1882, the Plat for the Town of Reddick was drawn and filed with Marion County Courthouse . Predicting the filing, John Reddick applied to the Post Office Dept. for a post office in Reddick, appointing himself as Postmaster.
In 1884 George and Callie Reddick built a general merchandise store and home on land conveyed to them by John. George’s home would become a meeting place for the beginning of the Presbyterian Church and his store would be used as a school. In 1892, Callie Reddick was deeded and purchased lots from the railroad and she and George built a hotel on this property which they operated for many years.
The black community worked for the farmers and after the war they continued to do so as sharecroppers. They were usually given a portion of land to grow their own produce, which they could sell at the market. For $1.00, John Reddick deeded a lot to the Mount Cello Baptist Church in 1883. The black community had been meeting there since 1862 and soon built a log cabin to shelter their meetings. The church is no longer standing, but the graveyard surrounding the church is still there.
Reddick was prospering with rail service, stores, schools, churches, and the population soon reached 300. The railroad dubbed the Gainesville-Ocala line as the Orange Belt Route of Florida and the citrus industry was thriving, as well as fresh produce. During the winter of 1894/95, disaster struck in the form of a “big freeze”, wiping out all the crops. Though the vegetable crops survived by replanting, the citrus trees were gone.
In the early 1900’s , the first ordinances in the Town of Reddick were filed with the State and Reddick was incorporated in 1905. The Council continued to pass ordinances and civic awareness grew.
Today, Reddick has seven elected officials: 5 councilmen, a Mayor, and a Town Clerk. The Mayor and Council President share the leadership and are supported by four more councilmen. Reddick is proud that it has no municipal taxes and is one of only three municipalities in the State of Florida that is debt free. The Town is a community of people living and working together and caring for one another. And we hope it will always be.