John Addison first acquired the land, now known as the Addison Blockhouse Historic State Park, in 1807 from John Moultrie and named the plantation “Carrickfergus” after his birthplace in Ireland. An 1816 map held in the State Library and Archives of Florida shows that the plantation covered 1,414 acres from the west bank of the Tomoka River to Kings Road. Addison grew cotton and other field crops in the area, which is shown as “cleared land” on the 1816 map. The labor for clearing, planting, picking and ginning cotton was provided by 63 enslaved workers. John Addison died in 1825 and was buried on his plantation by his brother, Thomas Addison. The plantation was sold two years later to Duncan and Kenneth McCrae. The McCraes built a large steam-powered sugar mill in 1832 that operated for four years.
In 1836, Seminole warriors King Philip and Wildcat led a raid on Carrickfergus, destroying the sugar mill and other plantation buildings. After the Seminole raids, the plantation was abandoned and the Addison gravesite disappeared until 1911 when the Daytona Gazette-News reported that an unknown grave had been found in the woods along the Tomoka River. The identity of the grave was later revealed when the broken headstone was found nearby in the woods with the inscription, “Sacred to the Memory of John Addison.” The headstone was repaired and placed at the Recreation Hall at Tomoka State Park where it is now protected from vandalism and natural decay. Today all that stands is what is believed to be the outdoor kitchen of the Addison plantation and partial walls and foundations of the McCrae sugar mill.
For questions about Addison Blockhouse Historic State Park, please contact Tomoka State Park at 386-676-4075.