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Hernando de Soto and his army passed through Gainesville in August towards the beginning of their four-year exploration of what is now the southeastern United Statesthe third village where they stayed, Utinamocharra, having been in the dense cluster east of Moon Lake  at the northwestern edge of present-day Gainesville. Phosphate mining and lumbering became important parts of the local economy.
It is claimed that Gainesville was originally named Hogtown; however, Hogtown was actually an early 19th-century settlement in and around what is now Westside Park in the northeast corner of the intersection of NW 8th Avenue and 34th Street where a historical marker    notes Hogtown's location at that site.
Two more railro had reached Gainesville by the s, and citrus and vegetables had become important local crops. With military control asserted over Florida in as part of Reconstructionthe reconstituted Florida legislature required all cities to re-incorporate, and Gainesville did so in Blacks had largely been disenfranchised by the s, dating a native Gainesville FL. Although La Chua was destroyed by the above-mentioned raiders from Carolina, the ranch nevertheless gave its name to the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe who settled in the region in the 18th century under the leadership of the great chief Ahaya the Cowkeeper.
The Union troops resisted the Confederate advance for an hour and a half, but were finally driven from Gainesville with heavy casualties. White residents of Gainesville were opposed to education for blacks and treated the teachers at the school badly, including incidents of boys throwing "missiles" into the classrooms.
Half of the white residents in Gainesville had been born in South Carolina where secessionist sentiments were very strongor had parents who had been born in that state. Among the spots where camps from this later period have been found is around Paynes Prairievery close to Gainesville. Residents of Newnansville, disgruntled at losing the county seat, called the site chosen for the new town "Hog Wallow", because of its location between Hogtown and Paynes Prairie.
Spanish colonists began cattle ranching in the Paynes Prairie area using Timucua labor,  and the largest hacienda ranch became known as La Chua which combines the Spanish definite article La with the Timucuan word Chuameaning " sinkhole " . A small home guard of 30 to 40 old men and boys attacked the Union camp, and were easily driven off. A church built in by the Presbyterians was shared by itinerant preachers of several denominations until The Methodist mission to Gainesville lapsed during the Civil War, and a church they had built was used by a black congregation after the war.
By that time, there were eight or nine stores and three hotels surrounding the courthouse square. The raiding party was associated with a larger Union invasion of Florida that was defeated at the Battle of Olustee five days later.
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Blacks, mostly slaves, were a majority of the population in Alachua County although there were few in Gainesville itself. The Union troops then broke ranks and started looting the town. For several months following the Civil War, the 3rd United States Colored Troops were stationed in Gainesville, which encouraged freed men to settle there. Whites and blacks commonly carried firearms, and gunshots were often heard at night.
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Aside from a few foreign-born residents, the other whites in town had also been born in Florida or other Southern states. Eventually more complex social organization and agricultural practices emerged into what archaeologists classify as the Deptford culture — BC. A Deptford culture campsite has been excavated beneath the subsequent Alachua culture "Law School Burial Mound" on the grounds of the University of Florida.
About 12, years ago Paleo-Indians lived in Florida,  but fewer than sites have been found. At the same time black farm laborers were recruited from Georgia and South Carolina to help harvest what was expected to be a very large cotton crop, but heavy rain ruined the cotton, and the recently arrived blacks were left without work. Between and what is now Gainesville fell within the jurisdiction of the colony of British East Florida. Young Mens Democratic Clubs usually a cover name for the Ku Klux Klanformed in the late s to fight political domination by Republican northerners and blacks, reportedly burned the homes of many Republicans and killed nineteen people, including five blacks.
Hogtown is the eponymous village of the adjacent Hogtown Creekwhich flows 5.
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The Union troops did not seize or destroy any property on this raid, but did distribute food stores to the residents, who were suffering from shortages. A jail was built inand a well was dug and a pump for public use installed the same year. Several white Protestant denominations organized congregations and built churches in the s. Fighting on a small scale reached Gainesville twice. Elements of the Second Florida Cavalry attempted to drive the Union force from the town but were defeated in a street battle. White residents d political life in Florida immediately after the end of the Civil War.
Gainesville incorporated as a city inbut the city government was weak and the council did not maintain a regular schedule of meetings. The railroad from Fernandina reached Gainesville inand connected to Cedar Key the next year. Catholicswho had been holding services in private homes for 25 years, built a church in Although a Jewish cemetery was established inthere was no synagogue in Gainesville until Gainesville was a rough town after the Civil War and into the early 20th century.
The county school board also provided some funds for upkeep of the Union Academy. Another factor was fear of blacks. The first school for blacks in Gainesville, the Union Academywas established in by the Freedmen's Bureau to educate freed slaves. Two residents of Hogtown played a prominent role in establishing Gainesville. A black man was taken from the jail and lynched in In the 7th century the Deptford people were displaced by migrants thought to be from the Ocmulgee culture of the river valleys of southern Georgiadubbed the Alachua culture since most of their villages have been found in present-day Alachua County.
In the recorded period, the region was home to the Potanoa Timucua chiefdom descended from Alachua culture people the town of Potano was in what is now the San Felasco Hammock northwest of Gainesville.
County residents decided to move the county seat from Newnansville and chose the name Gainesville inas the proposed railroad would bypass Newnansville. By the school served students, and it continued in operation until Even after a public school system had been established in Alachua County, most white children who went to school did so at private schools, and the Union Academy was in session for a larger part of the year, and its teachers were better paid, than was the case for the public schools.
A manufacturing area grew up south of downtown, near the railro. William Lewis, who owned a plantation in Hogtown, delivered 20 votes pledged to him to create a new town on the expected route of the railroad, in an attempt to have the new town named Lewisville.
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The school year for public schools was as short as three months for some years. Paleo-Indians then required fewer moves between water spots and more populous camps inhabited for longer periods of time emerged. A site on Black Oak Ridge where the railroad was expected to cross it was selected in It is generally accepted that the new settlement was named for General Edmund P. Gaines commander of U. Army troops in Florida early in the Second Seminole War. The railroad was completed from Fernandina to Gainesville inpassing six blocks south of the courthouse.
There was no dedicated church building in Gainesville in the first years of its existence. Killings and serious injuries were frequent. The troops stopped just east of town to prepare breakfast and care for their horses. The Native Americanshaving little resistance to diseases introduced from Europe, declined ificantly in after the arrival of Europeans, and Spanish suppression of native revolts further reduced the population. Florida produced more Sea Island Cotton in the s than any other state, and Gainesville was the leading shipping point for cotton in Florida.
Property values rose quickly. Some of the violence was racial. While the Union troops were scattered throughout the town a large of Confederate troops were spotted approaching.
A small post on the east side of Gainesville called Fort Lee was an induction point for men entering the Confederate States Army. Public education remained underfunded into the s, classes having to meet in abandoned houses or rented rooms. Black residents soon outed whites in Gainesville, which had had white residents in Vagrancy and theft became major problems in Gainesville, and large s of blacks were arrested by federal troops. Following the Civil War, the city prospered as an important cotton shipping facility.
The first public school building was built in The Gainesville Graded and High School, with twelve classrooms and an auditorium, opened inand most of the private schools closed soon after. John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry in frightened the whites in Gainesville, leading them to organize a militia company called the Gainesville Minutemen.
Alachua culture villages budded off to form clusters connected by a series of forest trails, many of which are still in use as paved ro;  among these clusters are some in the present city limits of Gainesville near the Devil's Millhopper and near Moon Lake the eastern shore of which is 0. Tillman Ingram, who also owned a plantation and a sawmill in Hogtown, helped swing the vote to move the county seat to the new town by offering to build a new courthouse at a low price.
On February 15,a small Union raiding party occupied Gainesville. The former site of Hogtown was annexed by the City of Gainesville in A town site of The County Commission ordered the public sale of lots in the town site inbut no deeds were recorded until A courthouse was constructed in Gainesville inand the county seat was then officially moved from Newnansville.
The remaining Timucua were converted to Roman Catholicism and organized into missions overseen by Franciscan priests. During the war Gainesville served as a depot for food requisitioned by the Confederate government from the surrounding area. Dating a native Gainesville FL the s secessionist sentiment was strong in Gainesville.