Leonard Destin was born and raised in New London, CT during the 1800s. With Destin’s family background of fishermen, he served as a crew member on a fishing ship that traveled the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Eventually, he successfully became the captain of his ship where he discovered the remote island peninsula at the western end of the Florida Panhandle, east of Pensacola. Destin was mesmerized by the island’s beautiful white-sand beaches, but most of all, the abundance of fish in the area. Quickly, Destin jumped at the opportunity and started his own fishing business in the newfound territory, specifically the present-day Moreno Point. Leonard Destin established himself there - he married, built a home, had children, and continued to thrive in his business between 1851-1861.
In 1861, the Civil war began and threw a wrench in Destin’s fishing business when the Confederates took control of the land. Union forces blockaded the coast but received supplies from sympathetic Floridians. Connecticut-born Leonard Destin was one of them and was arrested by the Confederates for being a Union sympathizer. He was taken to DeFuniak Springs to be tried for treason, and once sentenced, the penalty was death by hanging. However, Destin was a member of a fraternal order of Freemasons and luckily, so was the judge who tried him. As a result, the judge did not sentence him to death but had him imprisoned in DeFuniak Springs until the war was over.