The Gator King
2020 Dates & Times:
October 23, 24, 30 & 31
(Friday & Saturday both weekends)
$13.00 per adult
$6.00 per child (10 and under)
Cash and debit/credit accepted
Tickets CANNOT be ordered on line
They only offered onsite and are first come, first served
Box office open at 7:30
The campus of The Church @ 434
817 E. State Road 434
Winter Springs, FL 32708
The Gator King
The City of Winter Springs incorporated in 1972 but the history of the city and the Lake Jessup area twists and turns back through the corridor of time to an era where the history of the State of Florida was struggling to emerge. History reveals and reveres the name of Moses Levy, a wealthy merchant from New York as the first owner of the Lake Jessup region.
Later, Henry Gee and his son John Henry Gee, in an agreement worked out with the governor of Florida, Richard Call was granted the rights to the area and as a result, the Gees became the new owners of the land known today as Winter Springs. Henry Gee was a doctor during the Seminole Indian Wars of the late 1830’s and 1840’s. He and his son immediately began to develop and expand the region. In a bitter legal battle, a federal court abruptly reversed the land development agreements and returned the ownership of all the properties the Gees had acquired and developed back to the Moses Levy family.
To this day, Gee Creek and Gee Hammock bear the name of Dr. Henry Gee. In the years that followed : The Lake Jessup Steamboat Company kept the area alive and moved goods from the area across the State of Florida that encouraged settlers, businesses, and development to take place.
A name lost, except by those who dabble in the unknown and unspoken, is associated with a darker, mysterious, and questionable era of Lake Jessup history. The name is Mordecai Henry Mitchell.
Mordecai arrived in the Lake Jessup area in the early 1920’s and began purchasing plots of land that he promised he would bring new life into the area. A self-proclaimed doctor, he set up an early medical practice that he ran from a wagon. This traveling doctor’s office made house calls, would set up shop on a rotational basis at various places along Lake Jessup, and featured a variety of ointments, liniments, and elixirs promising a cure for many ailments.
Dr. Mordecai Henry Mitchell became known as “The Gator King” because of one of his bottled potions, Mordecai’s Alligator Tonic, that was reported to be made from boiled alligator fat and other additional secret ingredients.
Although much of the history and story of Dr. Mordecai Henry Mitchell has been buried in the dust of time, it was reported that he spent a great deal of time in the Gee Creek area. Rumors emerged that he had discovered a spring, which he suggested was a “fountain of health” and anyone or anything that drank of the spring would find new health, longevity, and new vitality of life.
The doctor proclaimed this water to be refreshing relief from the Florida heat, a burst of winter in the sizzling sunshine, as a result, he proudly called his water source – Winter Springs.
Mordecai’s Alligator Tonic came under scrutiny, when it was discovered that Mordecai Mitchell was a descendant of Dr. Henry Gee and had developed much of his medical knowledge based on the research of his relative recorded during the Seminole Indian Wars. His return to the area had been prompted by a desire to reclaim what was stolen from his family. It was believed that his alligator tonic contained a lot less gator than people had been promised and in fact, he was doing research on alligators attempting to develop what he believed was a source of eternal youth – the waters of Winter Springs.
Eventually area founders discovered the doctor was testing his “tonic” on a variety of animals, was bringing in creatures from all over the country for testing, and there were rumors of human experimentation.
Under the cover of darkness, land owners from the Lake Jessup area drove Dr. Mordecai Henry Mitchell, along with his Alligator Tonic away from the Winter Springs area forever… fearing that his true desire was to seek revenge in the name of his family legacy. His name was erased from most public records and over time, lost in the mist of memory.
But – that is only a story….
Still a few lingering items remain in the mystery surrounding his life and endure to this day….
His proclamation of a burst of winter in sizzling sunshine water source eventually evolved into the actual name of the city – Winter Springs.
The location of the spring, reported to be somewhere along Gee Creek, was never documented and never found.
It was after his reported research and experimentation on alligators that the population of gators in the Lake Jessup area exploded, making it one of the most gator populated bodies of water in Florida.
The Gee family never regained a foothold in the area, although the creek and hammock that bear the name of the family remain. Most residents are not aware of where the name came from.
The area where Dr. Mordecai Henry Mitchell did his work and research has remained undiscovered – until now, 100 years later as a local church began getting ready for an expansion project and began to carve into previously undeveloped land – the startling discoveries they made are not only unsettling, they are enough to frighten and scare you.
Mysteriously an original bottle of Mordecai’s Alligator Tonic was discovered in an old abandoned shack. This discovery is the only concrete proof that the legend of Dr. Henry Mordecai Mitchell and his questionable creation ever existed. During the global pandemic a team of archeologists and researchers went deeper into this rich, undeveloped, wetland. The team never returned.
Now during the 2020 Halloween season – the creators of Face the Fear are offering tours into the long lost and forgotten world of Mordecai Henry Mitchell – The Gator King. What you will see -will give you nightmares.