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Elbridge Gale

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Rev. and Mrs. Elbridge Gale

Elbridge Gale (1824-1907) was born in Vermont and is believed to have graduated from the Theological School of New Hampton Institute, a Free Will Baptist school in New Hampshire. He served churches in Vermont—where he married Elizabeth Carpenter (1830-1893) in 1853—in Illinois, and in Kansas, where he also farmed. In each of the states, a child was born into the Gale family: George A., Ella, and Hattie Louise.

 

Gale was professor of horticulture at Kansas State Agricultural College, now Kansas State University, from which he retired in 1884 and came to Lake Worth for his health. His son George, a carpenter, followed shortly afterward with his own family and helped his father build the first log cabin on the west side of Lake Worth, working with logs salvaged from the shoreline. The house, at what is now Poinsettia Avenue and Twenty-Ninth Street in Northwood Hills, was moved to 401 Twenty-Ninth Street about 1900 when the streets were platted, and later became part of a larger house there. Gale’s homestead of 160 acres was on the ridge between Lake Worth and the lake to the west, which he named Mangonia after his mango grove. Former student Dr. David Fairchild, founder of Miami’s Fairchild Gardens, gave him several mango trees from India in 1889, including the Mulgoba, from which he produced the improved Haden variety.

The Gale’s elder daughter, Ella, married and did not move to Florida. His wife Elizabeth was able to join her husband on Lake Worth only during the summers while Hattie finished school in Kansas. In 1886 Hattie became the first public school teacher in then-Dade County, in Palm Beach at the “little red schoolhouse,” now located at Phipps Ocean Park. When Hattie returned to Kansas, where she graduated from Kansas State Agricultural College in 1890, she met and soon married Will H. Sanders. (see Sanders)

Gale supervised the Mangonia School and became the first superintendent of the school district, from St. Lucie Inlet to Biscayne Bay, but without a boat to cover the territory, he served just one term. He was the first president of the Christian Union, the lake’s first religious non-sectarian group. Gale pastored Mangonia Community Church and was state superintendent for the Congregational Missionary Society.

George A. Gale (1854-1922) filed a homestead around 1890 and raised poultry, as well as tropical fruit trees like his father. He was superintendent of the Lake Worth and Jacksonville Transportation Company, the second postmaster of the Lake Worth Post Office, and established the Mangonia Post Office in 1894 in his Lake Worth General Store across the lake. Later he owned a car dealership on Banyan Street.

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