Levy County was created in 1845, after the Seminole Wars. It was named for David Levy, a planter elected in 1841 as the state’s territorial delegate to the US House of Representatives, where he served two terms. When Florida was admitted as a state, Levy was elected by the new state legislature as one of Florida’s first two U.S. senators; he served from 1845 to 1851, and again from 1855 to 1861. He was the first Jewish American elected to the United States Senate.
Levy provided for long-term development in the state by constructing the first railroad across Florida, the Florida Railroad, linking the deep-water ports of Fernandina (Port of Fernandina) on the Atlantic Ocean and Cedar Key on the Gulf of Mexico. He developed a network of feeder railroads through central Florida as well. For his efforts, he was called “the father of Florida railroads.”