HOLIDAY 2021: 41
Melbourne produces. Field Manor
was never a fancy showpiece, but
it was always about the essence of
home and family, particularly around
The Florida vernacular wood-frame
home, constructed from sturdy
Merritt Island pine, once sat among
the 471 acres the Field family
accumulated with the help of the
Homestead Act, which President
Lincoln had signed to grant farmers
acreage at $1.25 an acre with the
stipulation that they must grow
crops to sustain them.
Years and development have shrunk
the acreage to its current 45, still a
significant amount of land, particularly
considering Field Manor’s prime
location overlooking the Indian River.
The house was always well-loved by
the family that built it.
“What makes Field Manor unique
is the continued occupation of the
property from 1868 to 2013,” executive
director Korinn Braden said.
Family patriarch John Moss Field
first came to Florida during the
Second Seminole War. As many have
after him, he fell in love with the
charms of the place and dreamed of
returning with his family, a dream
that became reality when he decided
to transplant his brood from Macon,
Georgia, and try his hand at homesteading
in the Merritt Island area.
Unfortunately, life proved difficult for
the Fields, who lost their 8-year-old
son the first year, prompting the entire
clan’s return to Georgia, with the
exception of older brothers John Robert
and Samuel Joseph, who decided
to stick with their Florida adventure.
Three generations of Fields have
lived on the homestead, beginning
with John and his wife, Eliza. Joseph,
their son, and his family became the
STEVEN R. HICKS PHOTOS
Korinn Braden, executive director at Field Manor, says the
farmstead is unique because it was continuously occupied
by one family and its descendants.