Long before white settlers staked claim to the land now known as Bradenton, generations of Native Americans congregated around a natural spring with reputed medicinal and spiritual powers. In 1842, as the second Seminole War ended, Josiah Gates and a hardy band of pioneers labored to put down roots near the spring. They built homes and started businesses, gradually creating the village of Manatee. To the west, another early settler, Dr. Joseph Braden, constructed a fortified encampment where employees working on his sugar plantation found refuge from Seminole raids. As the garrison evolved into a town, Maj. William Iredell Turner proposed naming the community after Dr. Braden, but an error in the application resulted in the name "Braidentown." Turner, considered the city's founder, envisioned a thoroughfare with access to a wharf on the Manatee River. His plotting of lots along Main Street spurred business development and produced a conduit for commerce and trade. Bradenton was formed in 1944, when it merged with the town of Manatee.