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Brothers James and Daniel Mc Mullen were members of the Confederate Cow Cavalry, driving Florida cattle to Georgia and the Carolinas to help sustain the war effort. Marston served in the 9th Florida Regiment as a part of the Appomattox Campaign. Otherwise the peninsula had virtually no significance during the war, and the war largely passed the area by.Tarpon Springs became West Hillsborough's first incorporated city in 1887, and in 1888 the Orange Belt Railway was extended into the southern portion of the peninsula. Other major towns in the county incorporated during this time were Clearwater (1891), Dunedin (1899), and Largo (1905).Prior to European exploration and settlement the Pinellas peninsula, like all of Tampa Bay, was inhabited by the Tocobaga Indians, who built a town and large temple mound overlooking the bay in what is now Safety Harbor.The modern site is protected and can be visited as part of the County's Philippe Park.Others distilled moonshine in the County's still plentiful woods.

The new fort was located on a bluff overlooking Clear Water Harbor, which later became part of an early 20th-century residential development (now historic district) called Harbor Oaks.

During the early 16th century Spanish explorers discovered and slowly began exploring Florida, including Tampa Bay.

In 1528 Panfilo de Narvaez landed in Pinellas, and 10 years later Hernando de Soto is thought to have explored the Tampa Bay Area.

Railroad owner Peter Demens named the town that grew near the railroad's terminus St. Construction of Fort De Soto, on Mullet Key facing the mouth of Tampa Bay, was begun in 1898 during the Spanish–American War to protect Tampa Bay from potential invading forces.

The fort, a subpost of Fort Dade on adjacent Egmont Key (which lies in the mouth of Tampa Bay), was equipped with artillery and mortar batteries.

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After the war many of these same soldiers remembered their war time experience in Pinellas well, and returned as tourists or residents.