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  • Nosakhere Kamau

Quincy, Florida.

Formerly known as The Shade-Grown Tobacco Capital of America, and “Named after John Quincy Adams (6th President of the United States),white settlers established Quincy, FL. as the county seat of Gadsden County, Florida in 1828.“

(Above: Tobacco growers stand with newly planted crop under slat-shade house Quincy,Florida ca. 1900)

“Located about twenty miles west of Tallahassee, atop some of Florida’s most fertile soil, Quincy’s economic history was rooted in agricultural production. Shade tobacco, used to wrap cigars, grew exceptionally well in the region’s humid climate and would eventually become the county’s most profitable industry. Prior to the Civil War, plantation owners in the area relied on enslaved labor to cultivate large quantities of not only tobacco, but also cotton, sugarcane, and corn. In the uncertain post-war economy, shade tobacco emerged as Quincy’s staple crop and the town soon became known as the “shade-grown leaf-tobacco capital of America”.

(Above: Farmers tie up shade crop - Quincy, Florida ca. 1960)

Shade-grown tobacco is produced for cigar wrappers. Tying up, shown here, provided cord support for these rapidly growing, big-leafed plants as they grew to the top of the shade. Gadsden County, Florida, was the major shade-producing area – out of only two – in the United States.


Cigar factories appeared in numerous Florida cities during the late 1800s, such as in Jacksonville and the Wanish Factory in Tallahassee. Tobacco remained an important agricultural product in north Florida, particularly in Gadsden County, where tobacco was a chief agricultural product for more than 150 years.


Quincy in Gadsden County was the American center for shade tobacco production. Factories produced cigars and cigarettes in Havana, FL. (named after the Cuban capital) and Quincy, Florida.

(Above: Alexander McGriff carrying shade-grown tobacco to be dried - Havana, Florida)


Article Courtesy of: Floridamemory.com


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Plumeberg Media Inc. 2019

by Nosakhere Kamau


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