Connecting the dots: How William F. “Rick” Crary II’s delving into history uncovered the story behind Martin County

/ / Law Blog


STUART, Florida– William F. “Rick” Crary II, partner in the Crary Buchanan law firm and a resident of Martin County for more than half a century, has had a lifelong interest in history. But it wasn’t until the historic home of his Crary grandparents was moved by the city of Stuart early in 2010 that his attention was directed locally. ”Local historian Sandy Thurlow asked me to give a talk to Stuart Heritage members about the history of Crary House in the fall of 2010, prompting me to finally go through all the boxes of my grandfather’s papers,” says Crary. Crary’s late grandfather, Evans Crary, Sr., served in the Florida legislature for 18 years. He became Speaker of the House in 1945.

As Crary researched his grandfather’s contributions to the community, he realized he didn’t know enough about Governor Martin or the formation of Martin County. This spurred him to embark on an archeological journey of sorts that included delving into the archives of the Stuart News and the Jacksonville Times-Union. He found Governor Martin’s home, office and grave site in Jacksonville, and he visited the area where Martin spent his early childhood in Marion County. Crary also traveled to Tallahassee to review the former governor’s papers, and was told from the looks of the storage container, Crary was probably the first member of the public to request access. From all these bits and pieces, Crary has been able to make the connections.

As a result of his curiosity and his scholarship, Crary’s first article, “Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye,” was recently published in the January 2012 edition of Indian River Magazine. It traces the founding and naming of Martin County. The story also can be found online at

According to the article, local boosters expected a new county would help Stuart become the biggest port city south of Savannah. With powerful Palm Beach county blocking the local boosters’ efforts to break away, Governor Martin’s support became essential. The article tells how they persuaded him to join their cause on the eve of the collapse of the great Florida Land Boom in 1925.

Two years after the county was created, Rick Crary’s late grandfather, Evans Crary, Sr., founded his law practice in Stuart. It remains one of the oldest law firms on the Treasure Coast.

Since 1927, Crary Buchanan have provided their clients with quality legal services by maintaining a high standard of ethics and legal excellence. Admired for their integrity, professionalism, energy, and devotion to the community, they are proud of the longstanding relationships and trust that they have established over many years of service. Crary Buchanan is located at 759 SW Federal Highway, Suite 106, Stuart, Florida 34994; (772) 287-2600;