Alderman Carlton moved his family from Georgia to Florida in 1843 using the Florida Armed Occupation Act to receive land. This would allow Alderman to receive 160 acres of land as long as he built a house on his land and cultivated part of the property for at least 5 years. The act was titled the Armed Occupation Act because the settlers where responsible for their own safety. From the get go the Carltons where influential in society. Alderman and his wife started the first school in Hardee County near present day Wauchula. Alderman would have 14 children and would make the Carltons one of the pioneer cattle ranching families.
One of Alderman’s sons, Albert Carlton would marry Martha McEwen in 1868 in Hardee County. Albert and Martha provided for themselves through cattle ranching and the citrus industry. The Carltons lived in log cabin along with operating a hardware store and bank. Albert and Martha would later have 10 children: 1 girl and 9 boys. With the birth if their children the couple built a new house in Hardee County in 1885. The house would have some distinctive features such as being two stories and having a dogtrot hallway through the middle of the house. The couple needed such a big house due to their 10 children.
One of Albert and Martha’s children would be the future 25th governor of Florida, Doyle Carlton Sr. Doyle would be raised in the two-story house that is maintained at Cracker Country. Doyle Carlton Sr. would have a very prominent run as governor of Florida. Before Doyle Carlton’s term in office Florida went through a real estate boom, a major hurricane in 1928 and the beginnings of the Great Depression. During Carlton’s term Florida was devastated by the Mediterranean fruit fly. With all these problems going on Doyle Carlton decreased his salary, taxed gasoline to create highways along with eradicating the fruit fly. Doyle Carlton Sr. would raise a son named Doyle Carlton Jr. who, like his father, had a well-respected career.
Doyle Carlton Jr. would marry Mildred Woodberry and they would move to a cattle ranch near Wauchula that consist of 60,000 acres. Doyle Carlton Jr. would serve in the state senate and earn accolades. Doyle Carlton Jr. ran for Florida governor in 1959 but lost when he state he would not remove his children from public schools if they were integrated. As a result, Doyle Carlton Jr. won the Lee Roy Collins Award for political courage in 1991. The museum revolves around the Carlton house and tells a story that is related to the Carlton house and the Carlton family.