Aycock Community, Jackson Co FL

Aycock Community
Jackson Co FL

Map showing Aycock
Found this on a 1940 map of Florida.Aycock was between Chipley and Cottondale just inside Jackson Couty line. Odell Robinson

Subj: Aycock Fire
Date: 06/12/2000
From: SGVICK@aol.com

I had access to some old Pensacola News Journals today, so I thought I would see what it said about the Aycock fire. I couldn't remember the exact date, so I started at the end of October and worked back. I eventually found the three attached articles about Aycock. But I want to give you a flavor of the news for the two weeks that I read before finding the article.

It did not look like a pleasant time to live. Fully one-third of the news related to the yellow fever epidemic. Alabama had bans on people from Florida, and Georgia had bans on people from Alabama. The newspaper gave a daily count of new cases and new deaths as well as a running total for the season. There was a refugee camp near McDavid because people were afraid to return to Pensacola. Street Commissioner Gingles fled the city in fear and the citizens wanted him removed from office. Some people brought law suits to stop forced fumigation of their homes. President Roosevelt (the first one) had refused to visit Pensacola on his recent tour of Florida and New Orleans. Lynchings were almost a daily event. Mostly whites lynching blacks for assaulting a white women. There was one case of blacks lynching blacks in Georgia for assaulting a black woman. The Jim Crow law was just put into effect in Pensacola, ordering all blacks to ride in the back of the street car. The newspaper lauded the Parole Board for not interfering with a hanging in Marianna. Many of the ads touted the healthful effects of whiskey and alcoholic malt beverages. Several mutinies occurred aboard merchant vessels by black crew members, resulting in the killing of the officers. I don't know that many people gave much thought to the deaths in Aycock. The follow-up article, as you can see, seemed at least as interested in keeping the mill running as the deaths of the men. Meanwhile, President Roosevelt proposed changing some of the rules for football, and Tzar Nicholas agreed to relinquish part of his power.

Duke Vickrey


Pensacola News Journal October 10, 1905

One Guard and Four Prisoners at Aycock Brothers Camp Near Chipley Meet Horrible Death in Flames.
Special to the Journal.

Chipley, October 9. -- Fire destroyed the stockade of Aycock Bros. Lumber Co. during last night, cremating one guard and four negro convicts. Six others were badly burned.

The Dead.
J. G. Longine, (white), night guard.
Daniel Robinson (colored), convict.
Will Coker (colored), convict.
Will Biggs, (colored), convict.
Lewis Robinson, (colored), convict.

Jno. W. Brown burned on legs, one foot burned to bone.
Robert Hodge, burned on legs and feet.
Will McCoy burned on legs and feet.
J. P. Peterson, burned on legs and feet.
James McKay, burned on arms, legs and feet.
Henry Calhoun, burned all over.

Statements of Witnesses.

Mr. McMillan, superintendent of the plant, says that J. F. Longino who was the regular night guard, was not put on duty that night but that his brother, Mr. J. T. Longino, one of the day guards, took his place. J. T. Longino says that at about 12:30 o'clock he went to the well, some little distance from the stockade and was gone perhaps 10 or 15 minutes. Upon starting back he saw the fire and ran back, but the fire had gained such headway that it was impossible for him to reach the chain to which the prisoners were fastened, but with the help of the trustys he rescued six from the burning building.

The Night guard who was off duty was sleeping in a side room and before his brother could get to him he had perished in the flames.

As soon as possible news was sent to the mill and the wounded men were brought in and received every medical attention. Dr. McGeachy, of Chipley, was sent for to assist the company's doctor, J. O. Kinol (?) in attendin the suffering men.

Lamp Exploded

Stephen Spotes, one of the trustys, says he is not sure but thinks a lamp exploded. When he awoke flames were all over the walls. He and another trusty broke down a door and securing an ax broke open a window. The prisoners crowded out of the small opening, hanging by their feet until the guard succeeded in cutting the chain. In trying to cut the chain one of the men's feet was badly injured.

When the fire reached the sleeping guard three or four shots were heard as the fire exploded cartridges in his pockets or pistol


Pensacola News Journal October 12, 1905
Special to the Journal.

Aycock, Oct. 11. -- Death has ended the sufferings of another victim of the fire at the stockade of the Aycock Lumber Co. Two more are expected to die.

A bread of Engine No. 1 will necessitate a hut down of the mill for several days, or until Mr. Ed Aycock arrives with a new engine, which has already been purchased and is en route.

Mr. Tom Aycock is out looking after business again after a short illness, but is still in poor health.

Mr. Al Hogeboom, The Journals representative was here Sunday on the lookout for business and news.


Pensacola News Journal October 10, 1905

Chipley, Oct. 9. -- The Hilliard House, a colored boarding house at Aycock, was burned at half past two this morning. The building caught from the outside.


Five Cremated

The Chipley Banner 12 Oct 1905
The Chipley Banner, 12 Oct 1905,  (Best Copy, Whit Gainey)

Nothing in Stanley's book...
looking in Shoffner's......  late  Nov. 1905, according to Shoffner (page 392)

(I do imagine there is something of it in the Pensacola newspaper.)

careless fire...   references Co Commissioner minutes: 12/13/1905

10/13/1908; 10/18/1909; 12/9/1913; 7/15/1915; 1/19/1918

Subj: Re: [FLJACKSO] Aycock Fire late Nov 1905
Date: 05/31/2000
From: SeaGee69@aol.com
According to Carswell's history of Washington County, "Washington Florida's Twelfth County," page 313, the fire occurred on October 7, 1905, at an Aycock Lumber company naval stores camp located ten miles south of the Aycock community, between Alford and Oak Hill (between Cottondale and Chipley). This was reported in the Chipley Banner, week of October 12, 1905.

As reported in Carswell's book on page 314 from the account of Chipley detective, Tom J. Watts, who wrote, "In this fire, James Longino, the guard on duty, and eight convicts, were burned to death. Four or five bodies were cremated. The only two remaining victims...barely escaped with their lives, and are now lying in Aycock stockade at Aycock, Florida, in a badly burned condition..."

The preceding account was written only a few days after the incident in a letter to Governor Napoleon B. Broward and is on file in Special Collections, John C. Pace Library at the University of West Florida, Pensacola, according to Carswell's footnotes.

Watts' letter indicated the chances were 'very much against' the recovery of one of the men, William McCoy. Watts stated he had inquired into the matter and found that "the guard and one convict were murdered by Jim Glassco, a free-laborer employed in the camp." He found the motive for the murder to have been robbery.

Watts' report continues to state the weapon "used by Glassco was a spike maul...added that Longino's skull and that of the convict had been crushed." Jim Glassco was arrested and held in the Marianna Jail. The jury apparently failed to indict Glassco. The contract with Aycock was canceled on the grounds the lessees "failed to make payments for October and November, failed to give bond, and their negligence caused the death of several prisoners."

According to Shoffner's Jackson County history, Aycock was able to again lease the convicts in 1920.

The leasing practice was ended by state law in 1923.


It would be great to get copies of the actual documents mentioned in Carswell's and Shoffner's recordings of this horrible incident.

If anyone is around Pensacola, Gainesville, Marianna, and/or Chipley and could help with the research, it would be great to include this on the web site; especially if we are able to add names of those involved.
Cindy Sloan

Subj: Re: Fwd: [FLJACKSO] Aycock Cemetery
Date: 05/31/2000
From: rlroulhac@hotmail.com (roy roulhac)
Hello Betty,
There is a reference to the fire in the GA-JCTS book on page 59, below a photo of four African American convicts. According to Shofner, the fire occured in November 1905. Shofner describes the location of the turpentine camp leased to the Aycock brothers as "near the Washington County just west of Alford." (p. 392). Isn't Alford south of Marianna, closer to the Calhoun County line? The map suggest that it is west of Marianna.

The deaths should be records in the death index at the Bureau of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville. Maybe some one has a copy and can take a look.

Another thought about the fire. The Aycock brothers who leased the prison were probably from the Aycock community, near the Washington County line, and had a family cemetery. However, the turpertine camp was probably to the South as Shofner notes in his book.
Roy Roulhac

Subj: Re: [FLJACKSO] Aycock Cemetery
Date: 05/30/2000
From: Dickson_p@popmail.firn.edu (Pat Dickson)
To: BettyMaeS@aol.com

Betty, My parents live on the county line on highway 90 between Cottondale and Chipley. We were always told that the Aycock community was along there on highway 90 about where Ronnie Odom now lives. there is a pecan grove there that he planted on the north side of 90 around his house. In fact, several years ago several members of my family walked through the woods there along the railroad tract and found the remnants of the prison camp that burned there. The prisoners were chained inside and could not get out and burned to death. We saw the old brick and mortar foundation there. The prisoners were leased out to the saw mill to work and were chained inside the barracks at night.  

You might want to check with Ronnie to see if he has any more information on this, or my parents Art and Bonnie Aukema at Aukema Dairy might be able to give you more specific information. As I said, it was several years ago that we took that walk and had the discussion about this. My parents had heard this information from someone else. Keep up the good work.


Subj: [FLJACKSO] Aycock
Date: 05/22/2000
From: SGVICK@aol.com

This is a response to Lottie's request for information on Aycock. Don Sellers and I were in a recent discussion about the burial of sawmill workers after a fire at Aycock and the disappearance of the cemetery.

The book Iron Horse In The Pinelands, p.55, states "There were other stations on the route during the peak of the 'timber boom' that followed the railroad's completion. Some faded quickly, however, after the timber harvest ended. Only a few of the placenames have lingered. Counted among them are ... Aycock, between Chipley and Cottondale;"

According to a 1926 map of Jackson Co., Aycock was located on the railroad in the eastern half of Section 33 T5N R12W.

Duke Vickrey

Subj: Re: [FLJACKSO] Aycock, FL
Date: 05/22/2000
From: wtgainey@digitalexp.com (Whit Gainey)

I asked my dad who was born in 1909 what he knew about Aycock. He said the town had already faded when he first remembered although there were still buildings standing when he was a teenager hunting and trapping through the area. He grew up about 3 miles NW of Aycock. He did not know where the fire was or where the burial was.

I have a copy of the local newspaper article about the fire. It tells very little. The paper was worn or torn before being sealed in plastic and some words on the edge of the paper are not readable, however you can determine the gist of the article. Mr. E. W. Carswell found other documents and tells a more complete report in his book which I believe is titled "Washington County" (may not be the complete title). The book is in the library at Chipley. His report concludes the fire was between Oak Hill and Alford.

The tram line from Oak Hill to Aycock Is still visible where it crossed our family farm but is overgrown and I could not identify it if dad had not pointed it out to me. On a neighbor's property it has been used for a farm road and is more distinct. The rails were gone before my time. The mules and / or oxen which pulled the tram cars hauling the logs wore a trench on each side of the tram roadbed which is still visible.

Cindy Sloan asked about this a while back and I started trying to find out what I could. It turned into more work than I had time so this is all I have found. I understand Aycock Road runs through the original Aycock community. It is about 3 or 4 miles west of Cottondale and goes north.


2nd e-mail
Ronnie Odom is my cousin. I have not discussed this with him but I believe the community probably included the area where Ronnie lives. It is my understanding that some remnants of the mill and other buildings still exist. Older folks in this area seem to believe the fire of 1905 was somewhere in the Aycock area, however E. W. Carswell came to a different conclusion. He obtained copies of letters written to Tallahassee and other documents and concluded the fire was at a field camp near Oak Hill, some 10 miles to the south. It appears to me that he did the homework and has better info than the stories I have heard locally.

Subj: Aycock
Date: 05/30/2000
From: ltparker@gateway.net (Lottie Parker)

Hi Betty,
This is a longshot but perhaps whoever handled the preparation of the bodies for burial could give us that information or perhaps even the State Bureau of Prisons. I wish I was down there right now, cause I would surely like the challenge. The State Prison officials should have the names of the prisoners assigned to Aycock, I would think. Perhaps the Panama City Herald might have the information in their archives. I checked with the Washington Co. News and they do not have any papers past 1932. They said they do not have any of the old Banner papers at all. Sure surprised me!!!

Makes me sad to think the burial plots have disappeared....Is there something that we can do to find the graves?

It got my curiosity when I saw on the WWI Draft registration that My great uncle, grandfather and their father (Burrell Gay) was born in Aycock.

To add information e-mail:
Betty James Smith
May 2000