Sumter County is Florida’s 29th county, created by an act of the Legislative Council of Florida on January 8, 1853 (Chap. 548, Laws). Sumter County name is from Thomas Sumter (1736-1832), a prominent general of southern campaigns during the Revolutionary War. Pursuant to Chap. 548, Laws the County’s name was spelled Sumpter. It was formed from the southern portion of Marion County. Several changes were made to Sumter County’s boundaries after it was created. In 1861, when Polk County was created, Sumter County’s boundary was extended south. In 1872, an eastern portion of Sumter was annexed to Orange County. In 1887, the eastern half was used for the creation of Lake County.
The City of Adamsville was the original county-seat of Sumter County. Adamsville was named after John Adams the first citizen who settled on the Old Telegraph Road, which is now County Road 468, located in close proximity near the Village of Fenney in the Villages, Florida. Sumter County’s Judge of Probate was Wilson C. Williams in Adamsville. The first court house was a little one-room log cabin in Adamsville in 1839.
Later, another Courthouse was constructed in Sumterville in 1858 which relocated the county-seat. The court house at Sumterville was burned in 1909 and by a vote of the people the county seat was moved to Bushnell and the present court house was built. Then, in 1880 the City of Leesburg (present Lake County), then in 1883 the city of Sumterville location of the first courthouse (Florida Memory image: Pen and Ink drawing of the Sumter County, Image Number PR02151), then to the City of Bushnell served as county seat in Sumter County.
The City of Bushnell is named in honor of the young chief engineer, John W. Bushnell, (Florida Memory image: John W. Bushnell, Image Number NO38352) who worked for the Florida Railway and Navigation Company survey crew that laid the right-of-way for the railroad from Lake Panasoffkee to Bushnell.
The first railroad of Sumter County was from Jacksonville to Wildwood in 1850.
This road was extended to Tampa in 1884.