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Past News Briefs



Polk County Tax Collector Hosts Historical Group

BARTOW, Florida/PR Free/May 6, 2005

It turns out the history of tax collection in Polk County is a darn good story, according to recently compiled historical information now available through the Polk County Tax Collector?s website. In fact, it is a fascinating look back through the early records of Polk County, complete with depictions of the colorful characters that helped shape our pioneering days and establish its ?Imperial? moniker.

Tuesday night, May 10th, the Polk County Historical Association will hold their monthly meeting at the Tax Collector main office in Bartow, where Tom Sailer, a member of the group and part-time employee with The Polk County Tax Collector?s office, will present a program highlighting his research on the tax office.

?Tom has been instrumental in helping us gather historical data on the office,? stated Joe Tedder, Polk County Tax Collector. ?We are happy to host this group and to formally thank Tom for his hard work.?

?Since I?ve never published, I cannot say that I am a historian? states Sailer, a self-professed ?historian wantabee?. Others might differ with that definition. His work is, in fact, now published on the tax collector?s website, where anyone can go and read about everything from the origin of the name ?Imperial Polk County? to the chronological history of the tax office, its early officers, some with familiar Polk County surnames dating as far back as 1861, and what is now believed to be one of the earliest vehicle tags issued in Polk County.

The work of pulling historical information together can be exhausting. Sailer spent countless hours in the Polk County Historical & Genealogical Library, combing through local newspapers and census reports available on microfilm, as well as hardback copies of family histories. ?Newspaper research is far and away the hardest research to do because it is not indexed,? states Sailer. ?But I received a lot of help from Joe Spann and his staff?. The Historical Library is located in the old County Courthouse in downtown Bartow, and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday. Joe Spann is the library manager and has been on staff since 1993.

?Sailer?s love for the history of this county is apparent to anyone who engages in conversation with him,? adds Dr. Edward Etheredge, current president of the association. ?Tom Sailer served for several years as a member of our Board of Directors and participated actively in all of our functions. The quality of his work is remarkable and he has contributed greatly to our knowledge of early Polk County.?

The meeting will be held at the Bartow tax office, 430 E. Main Street, beginning at 7:00 PM. It is open to the public.


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