Letter from Philip Stewart, 6 Sabal Ct., Sewall's Pt., Stuart, Florida states he was born in Willow Tree, NY and that his brother Inglis cared for their mother in Roseneath, NY. I find no trace of these towns but there are towns "Willow" and "Rosendale" in Ulster County. Inglis Stuart book confirms Willow Tree and Roseneath, and Severance also mentions Willow Tree. For some time he was in southern Florida and a town on the east coast was named "Stuart" because he was instrumental in having the East Coast Line Railroad built through there. Since 1890 he has lived in Philadelphia where he is a General Manager of the Philadelphia House of the Fairbanks Co., a concern of extensive interests having its origin in St. Johnsbury, Vt. (Severance, B. Frank. Genealogy and biography of the descendants of Walter Stewart of Scotland and of John Stewart who came to America in 1718 and settled in Londonderry, N.H. Greenfield, Mass. : T. Morey & Son, 1905, pg. 69, 142-143).
Homer prepared for the Chandler Scientific Dept. at a private school in New York City. He was a member of the Vitruvian fraternity, later Beta Theta Pi. At the end of his junior year he took a position in New York City with a concern manufacturing cream of tartar. He became general manager and had charge of the factory. In 1883 he visited Florida, and had a plantation on the St. Lucie River, about 250 miles south of Jacksonville. In 1893 the place was named Stuart by the Florida East Railway Company, and is now a town of some note. In 1890 he settled in Philadelphia and was manager for the Philadelphia Branch of the Fairbanks Company, scale manufacturers. He remained there until 1910, when he retired from business and purchased a place at Fishkill Landing, N.Y., now the city of Beacon, where he made his home for the rest of his life.
He was appointed a member of the school board by the mayor in 1913, and became president of the board. During his presidency the present admirable high school building was erected and during the work he visited it every day, and it is worthy of note that it was completed within the appropriation. He declined reappointment to the school board. When the selective service (military) was brought into action, he was chosen to act as register for the Fourth Ward of Beacon. This was the last public position held by him. He continued, however,as a member of the board of trustees of the local savings bank, and was active in committee work for the bank until he went south for the winter. He was a Republican in politics, but resolutely declined to be a candidate for any political office. (Stuart, Inglis. Mayflower ancestry of Elizabeth Ely Goodrich and her descendants. Rhinebeck, NY : Rhinebeck Gazette Press, 1932).
The fact that Stuart, Florida was named after Homer is confirmed by correspondence between Homer and his brother Inglis, Florida East Coast Railway material in the archives at Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, land records and newspaper articles published when the Stuart name referred to the settlement on the north side of the St. Lucie River. Homer built a bungalow on the north side of the St. Lucie River and commenced to grow pineapples as everyone else in the area was doing. Letters he wrote to his future wife Margaret from November 1886 to May 1887 have been preserved and donated to the Historical Society of Martin County. Homer Sr. died in 1885 and his widow came to visit Homer Jr. in Florida the following fall. It was during and immediately following his mother's visit that the surviving letters were written. They reveal a son's love and admiration for his mother's spunk, and tell of the trials and tribulations of pioneer life, especially in regard to getting mail from the outside world. A great deal is said about the pioneer bill of fare. When his mother arrived she was greeted with gifts of pineapples, oranges, lemons and a green turtle. Later they dined on such things as dove, sand hill crane, and opossum. Homer's fiancee declined his invitation to come to Florida and soon Homer gave up pioneering and returned north. After marrying they moved to Philadelphia where ha managed a division of the Fairbanks Company, a scale manufacturer. After retiring in 1910, the Stuarts lived in Beacon, N.Y. where Homer served as a trustee for a local savings bank and was president of the school board. http://cityofstuart.com/History/stuartsname.html - accessed June 10, 2002; as taken from Thurlow, Sandra. Stuart on the St. Lucie.
Homer built a bungalow n the north side of the St. Lucie River and commenced to grow pineapples (Thurlow, Sandra Hender[son. Stuart on the St. Lucie : a pictorial history. [Stuart, Florida] : Sewall's Point Co., 2001, pg. 11-12).
The settlers, looking for a new name for their settlements, decided on that of Homer T. Stuart (sic) who purportedly was the black sheep of a prominent New England family and a specialist in fishing and drinking. Some said his name was chosen because he had a sign on his store that would easily transfer to the train station (McGown, William E. Southesat Florida pioneers : the Palm and Treasure coasts). (Note: these negative comments concerning Homer were strongly denied by members of the Stuart family).
Homer may have come to Florida in search of adventure, arriving about 1885 with his friend George Townsend Gosling, the son of his uncle's lawyer. He built a bungalow on the north side of the St. Lucie River, naming it "Gator's Nest." Eventually he was granted certificate no. 11618, awarding him title to 169 acres encompassing the peninsula that juts into th St. Lucie River where the highway and railway bridges now cross the waterway [ [Hutchinson, Janet. History of Martin County. -- Stuart, Fl. : Historical Society of Martin County, c1975.]