LifestyleBlack History Month


Nelson Tillis: First African American pioneer to settle in Fort Myers

Posted: 2:35 PM, Feb 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-07 14:35:05-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On Christmas Day in 1867, Nelson Tillis arrived in Fort Myers and became the first free black pioneer in the area.

He worked as a farmer, a fisherman and a fishing guide and was even known to take the inventor Thomas Edison fishing from time to time.

Being a strong member within the community, Nelson Tillis helped haul material on the river that was used to construct some of the first buildings in Fort Myers.

Fox 4 celebrates Black History Month.