Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase (February 24, 1928)


Dublin Core


Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase (February 24, 1928)

Alternative Title

Chase Correspondence (February 24, 1928)


Windermere (Fla.)
Chase, Sydney Octavius, 1860-1941
Chase, Joshua Coffin, 1858-1948
Citrus fruit industry--Florida
Chase and Company (Sanford, Fla.)


An original letter of correspondence between brothers and business partners Joshua Coffin Chase and Sydney Octavius Chase. Topics discussed in the letter include how to supervise white and black laborers at Isleworth Grove and Joshua's suggestion to divide property into sections under the supervision of Mr. "Crowl" (likely C. M. Crowell) and his assistants.

Chase & Company was established by brothers Sydney Octavius Chase and Joshua Coffin Chase in 1884. The company sold insurance and later invested in storage facilities and fertilizer sales. Chase & Company was known mainly for its agricultural interests and maintained a series of citrus groves throughout Central Florida. The company was based out of Sanford and became one of the city's largest employers into the early twentieth century. By 1886, the Chase brothers purchased several citrus groves to expand their business, including Isleworth Grove in Windermere, Florida. Isleworth Grove covered a total of 1,300 acres along the Butler Chain of Lakes. Between 1894 and 1895, Central Florida was hit by several freezes and most of the citrus crop was destroyed. Chase & Company did not grow citrus crops again until 1904 when Joshua came back from an extended stay in California. Between 1894 and 1900, different types of pesticide equipment was created, including equipment driven by steam, machines, and horses.Randall Chase joined in the family business soon after his brother, Sydney Chase, Jr., did in 1922. Randall became the president of Chase & Company from 1948-1965. The Isleworth property stayed in the Chase family until 1984 when Franklin Chase, the son of Sydney Chase, sold the property to famed golfer Arnold Palmer.


Chase, Joshua Coffin


Original letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase, February 24, 1928: box 49, folder 20.84, Chase Collection (MS 14), Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Date Created


Is Format Of

Digital reproduction of original letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase, February 24, 1928.

Is Part Of

Chase Collection (MS 14), box 49, folder 20.84, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Isleworth Collection, Citrus Collection, Chase Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.

Is Referenced By

Folder referenced in Chase Collection finding guide, http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/pkyonge/chase.htm.




188 KB


1-page typewritten letter






Isleworth Grove, Windermere, Florida
Chase & Company Office, Sanford, Florida

Accrual Method



History Teacher
Economics Teacher
Geography Teacher


Entire Chase Collection is comprised of four separate accessions from various donors, including Cecilia Johnson, the granddaughter of Joshua Coffin Chase, and the children of Randall Chase.

Rights Holder

The displayed collection item is housed at Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Rights to this item belong to the said institution, and therefore inquiries about the item should be directed there. RICHES of Central Florida has obtained permission from Special and Area Studies Collections at the University of Florida to display this item for educational purposes only.

Contributing Project

Digital Collections (UFDC), University of Florida


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

Source Repository

External Reference

Warner, S.C. "Development of Marketing Citrus Fruits in Florida." Florida State Horticultural Society vol. 36 (1923): 198-200.
Hopkins, James T. Fifty Years of Citrus, the Florida Citrus Exchange: 1909-1959. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press: 1960.
"Joshua Coffin Chase (1858-1948)." Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Copyright 2012. http://floridacitrushalloffame.com/index.php/inductees/inductee-name/?ref_cID=89&bID=0&dd_asId=960.
"Sydney Chase Sr. (1860-1941)." Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Copyright 2012. http://floridacitrushalloffame.com/index.php/inductees/inductee-name/?ref_cID=89&bID=0&dd_asId=600.


February 24, 1928.

Mr. S. O. Chase,
Chase & Company,
Sanford, Florida.

Dear Syd,

ISLEWORTH - When the acreage under cultivation was much less than it is now it was possible to give all parts of its inspection and supervision. Now that the acreage under production and also the new acreage coming in is so extensive, it may be necessary to make some changes in the way it is handled. It is too large for any one man to keep all of the labor under constant supervision. We have two kinds of labor, white and black. Some are more efficient than others, but it is a characteristic of labor that unless working under the eye of the boss they are not apt to over-exert. We have so much labor scattered over the grove engaged in various undertakings that it is impossible for Mr. Crowl to be at all places at all times. He does the best he can, and when he is with the labor he gets good work out of the,. When he is not around the results are not so good.

It occurred to me that it might be advisable to divide the property up into sections all under Crowl, and have him select assistants whose duty it would be to push the work that they are looking after. Noah Fry in a talk yesterday expressed without any solicitation about the same ideas. He made the statement that there were a good many men on the grove living in the houses who thought more of the pay at the end of the week or month than they did of doing a good honest day's work.

There is so much idle labor available that the quicker Crowl can weed out the inefficient labor and replace them with good workers, the better it is going to be.

This is only a thought and you do not have to pay any attention to it if you do not think it worthy of consideration. Yours sincerely,


Document Item Type Metadata

Original Format

1-page typewritten letter


Chase, Joshua Coffin, “Letter from Joshua Coffin Chase to Sydney Octavius Chase (February 24, 1928),” RICHES, accessed March 3, 2024, https://richesmi.cah.ucf.edu/omeka/items/show/2714.