Laurel Hill Florida, Okaloosa County - est. 1905


History of Laurel Hill
by Mark Curenton

The Laurel Hill area attracted some of the earliest settlers once Florida became part of the United States in 1821. Two years later an Army captain surveying the route for a road across Florida mentioned the “Scotch Settlement” on the Yellow Water River. In 1827 John Lee Williams, in describing the Yellow Water River, stated, “There is a very good settlement of industrious farmers on this river, forty miles above the bay.” 

Cemetery Record Records
with over 2,000 headstone photographs

James A. Wood has carefully surveyed Almarante Cemetery (Laurel Hill) and Magnolia Cemetery (South of Laurel Hill) and has graciously allowed us to publish the records and photographs here for relatives, historians and genealogists.

Almarante Cemetery Archive
Records are listed alphabetically:


History of Almarante Cemetery by Tracey Curenton

Magnolia Cemetery Record Archive

A Brief History of Okaloosa County

Okaloosa County was created from portions of Santa Rosa County and Walton County in 1915, establishing it as Florida’s 52nd county. A young state representative from Walton County, William Henry Mapoles, was to become known as the “father of Okaloosa County” for the role he played in the formation of the County.

Mapoles introduced a bill during the 1913 legislative session proposing the creation of a new county. This bill passed the House, but died in the Senate. The bill was re-introduced and was passed on June 3, 1915 subject to referendum by the voters in the districts affected. A special election was held on September 7, 1915 and the measure was passed by voter margins of 4 to 1 in Walton County and 2 to 1 in Santa Rosa County.

The first suggested name for the new county was Yellow River County, but was later changed to Wilson County, most likely because Woodrow Wilson was President at that time. The name finally agreed upon is said to be derived from the Native American words “oka” and “lusa” which loosely translates into “blackwater.”

Milligan was established as the temporary county seat, however, this was not a popular choice due to the town’s proximity to the Yellow River in an area known to flood. An election was held on March 6, 1917 to determine whether Laurel Hill, Baker, or Crestview would become the county seat. A runoff election was required between Crestview and Baker which was held on April 3, 1917 resulting in Crestview becoming the permanent county seat.

Daniel Campbell & Effie McLean

Descendants and Other Connections

Excerpts from  the November 1982 booklet by Mayme Tyner and Mayme Pearl Tyner,  Laurel Hill, FL 32567-8236

Copy of booklet contributed by James A. Wood

Booklet Index
 Forward - by Mayme Tyner   
 Campbell Family History and article on Daniel Campbell from the Pensacola Gazette of December 10, 1842
As told by Will Barnhill, Baker Florida to Mayme Tyner
 Daniel Campbell of Skye Isle, Scotland  - from newspaper clipping
A little history in connection to Laurel, Hill Florida - some sections written by Ferrin C. Campbell  
 Josephine Baggett & Honest John Campbell  - a quiet, small man in stature with large or prominent ears and wore a beard stained with tobacco juice...
 Country Living in the early 1900s  - Mack and Effie Tyner lived on what could well have been called "The Back Forty." Our music, particularly at night, was...
 James Campbell - born November 26, 1890, married Pauline Polly Spears...


 About Pearl Tyner


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