The land where Florence now stands was granted by the US Government to Ellison Williams the 3rd of June 1832. The town was then known as Williamsburg/Williamsville/Williamstown, according to legend Florence at the time was nicknamed Nigger Hill because a freed black slave moved to the area and opened a store. In 1839 a postoffice was established and the name was changed permanently to Florence. In 1858 the Butterfield Overland Mail established a relay station which lasted until Congress discontinued the route in 1861. Prior to the Civil War, Florence was a thriving town with a population of about 50. Missouri Governor Claiborne Fox Jackson took refuge outside of Florence after fleeing from Jefferson City and General Nathaniel Lyon because of his collaboration with the Confederates. Many of the settlers of Florence at this time were German and sided with the North during the war which led to raids by Bushwhackers. One of these raids occurred Wednesday October 14, 1863 in which a house was lit on fire which spread and burnt down a large portion of the town. The town never fully recovered, the population in 1865 was 75 and 1870 it was just 12. In 1877 John M. Hummel established Hummel Pottery about two miles south of Florence making earthenware bricks, tiles, and other earthenware products. When the town was laid out in 1882 Hummel moved his operation to Florence. Hummel Pottery ceased operation in about 1892.