ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Raney House in Apalachicola, Florida
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - The Raney House in Apalachicola, Florida
The Raney House
Completed for the family of David G. Raney in 1838,
the beautiful home is now a museum maintained by
the Apalachicola Historical Society.
The Raney House
A striking antebellum home,
the historic Raney House
looks out over the docks of
Apalachicola, Florida.
Reminder of the Cotton Trade
David G. Raney, who built the
home was a prosperous
cotton trader in Apalachicola.
The Raney House - Apalachicola, Florida
Boom Times in Apalachicola
Historical Marker
The home is listed on the
National Register of Historic
Places and a state marker on
the grounds details its history.
Copyright 2010 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
A beautiful old Southern home, the historic
Raney House in
Apalachicola hearkens back
to the days when the Florida city was the third
busiest port on the Gulf of Mexico.

David G. Raney and his wife, Harriett, were
Virginians who came to Apalachicola in
1834. The city was just then experiencing a
remarkable book thanks to its prime location
where the
Apalachicola River flowed into
Apalachicola Bay. Paddlewheel riverboats
coming downriver met here with ocean-going
sloops and schooners , making the port a
busy place.

Raney quickly established himself as a
cotton trader. It was an ideal profession as
King Cotton was then on the rise and the
lands along the Apalachicola and its
tributaries, the Chattahoochee and Flint,
were prime for growing cotton.

Steamboats brought thousands of bales
downstream where they were taken on
commission by cotton traders like Raney and
then sold to textile mills in Europe and New
England. The riverboats then returned
upstream, carrying manufactured goods
brought to Apalachicola by the sea-going
vessels.

A sign of Raney's rapid prosperity, in just four
years after his arrival in Apalachicola, the two-
story house rose on the bluff along Market
Street. From here he could look out over the
wharves and warehouses, where the boats
from upriver nudged up to the waterfront with
their cargoes of cotton, turpentine, lumber
and even gopher tortoises.

The house is a composite of two styles then
popular in the South, Federal and Greek
Revival. At the time it was built in 1838,
fourteen steamboats were calling at
Apalachicola and in that year alone the city
shipped out more than 50,000 bales of
cotton. The Apalachicola
Gazette reported
that the city's population had tripled in just
three years

In such boom times, it was possible for men
like Raney to build quick fortunes. He gave
back to the community by offering his time as
a public servant, serving two terms as the
mayor of Apalachicola.

Among the children who grew up in the
Raney house was David G. Raney, who bore
his father's name. The younger Raney
achieved fame during the Civil War.

Enlisting first as a corporal in the First Florida
Infantry, Raney was commissioned as a 2nd
Lieutenant in Company A of the Confederate
Marine Corps on April 22, 1861. He served in
the Pensacola and Savannah areas, fighting
in the Battle of Port Royal, South Carolina, on
November 7, 1861.
Transferred to Company D of the C.S. Marine
Corps in November of 1862, he commanded
detachments of Marines on vessels in the
Mobile Bay area. It was there, on March 1,
1864, that he was assigned to command the
Marine force aboard the famed Southern
ironclad,
C.S.S. Tennessee.

Raney and his men fought heroically during
the
Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5, 1864,
when the
Tennessee took on the entire Union
fleet virtually alone. At one point the ironclad
fought seven Federal warships, refusing to
surrender until its steering chains had been
shot away and the massive guns of the
enemy ships had punched holes through its
iron armor.

David Raney and the other marines were
among those taken prisoner and held in a
cotton warehouse in New Orleans. He was
able to escape, however, and returned to duty
at Mobile until the end of the war. By the time
he made his way home to Apalachicola, he
was one of the conflict's Southern heroes.

The Raney family continued to live in the
house until 1914. The city purchased it in
1973 and today it serves as a museum.

Located at 128 Market Street just north of
U.S. 98 in Apalachicola, the house is open
on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 9
a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission is free.