In 1842, as the Second Seminole War drew to a conclusion, Major Robert Gamble, Jr. established a sugar cane plantation along the banks of the Manatee River, as did others including Hector and Joseph Braden, William Craig and William Wyatt. By 1850 Major Gamble's plantation included over 3,000 acres of land, one hundred slaves, and a sugar mill that housed the best sugar processing machinery then available in the South. During the 1840's and early 1850's, Gamble was the leading producer of sugar and molasses in Florida. Falling prices and steadily mounting debts finally forced Major Gamble to sell the plantation to two Louisiana planters in 1858. With the outbreak of the Civil War, these men terminated their operation, and after selling most of the slaves and machinery, they abandoned the plantation. In 1873, the Mansion and approximately 3,000 acres of land were purchased at public auction by George Patten but the sugar mill was not restored to operation at this or any subsequent time.