Miscellanous Newspaper Articles
Miscellanous Newspaper Articles
and Other Items
Baker County Press
VOL 44 NO. 35 MACCLENNY, FLA DEC. 14, 1972 SINGLE COPY 10c
15 Years Warning
After 15 years of Condemnation notices and inadequate facility citations, the state Department of Corrections ordered all prisoners out of the Baker County jail by 5:00 p.m. Tuesday. 0n the basis of an agreement reached that morning with Union County officials, all city and county prisoners will be quartered in the Lake Butler jail until further arrangements can be made.
In yet another meeting called Tuesday evening the County Commission, the engineer designer of the planned new county jail Jim Beverlin of Macclenny, was pressured to complete the now year old planning stages of the building so construction can begin at the earliest possible date.
According to Sheriff Paul T. Thrift, the two remaining felony prisoners were taken to Lake Butler by deadline time Tuesday. The remaining jail population, which included two juveniles, was released by authorities following case disposal.
The closing order came following a spot inspection Monday by Ronnie Griffis and a Mr. Nettles, both from the corrections agency. The two discovered unsanitary conditions in areas such as the kitchen, lavatory and cells. Other maintenance procedures were noted deficient in heating, walls and window repair.
Griffis said he could see no evidence that satisfactory progress was being made
toward planning for a new jail, nor were efforts apparent in correcting present inadequate conditions in the existing jailhouse.
"Regardless of the nature of many of the people in the jail we have to treat them the way we would want to be treated," remarked Griffis.
According to local law officials, 26 persons were housed in the McIver St. jail over the weekend. One prisoner had stuffed a roll of toilet tissue into a sewer pipe, and that combined with the additional disarray made for a bad scene when the corrections inspectors showed up.
Griffis also added that the order came on authority of Corrections Department Director Louie Wainwright in Tallahassee and contained the binding force of the Governor's office.
Other objectionable aspects of the jail operation here, said Nettles and Griffis, included the fact that 5 juveniles were housed over the weekend with over 20 adults, including several felons and that women were housed in cells adjacent to men. The jail, said the officials, should have a jailer as well as a radio operator. Both jobs are now handled by the same person.
"If you locked up a mental patient in there and he hanged himself because no one was there to keep an eye on him, the county commission could be open to a big lawsuit," Griffis explained to the board.
The commission agreed to meet Wednesday morning with Nettles to see what might be done to the 5 cells on the lower level to get approval for at least a temporary detention center. Everyone agreed that the expense of refurbishing might well be less than the constant 50 mile shuttle back and forth to Lake Butler.
Engineer Beverlin admitted he was running behind on the jail plans which both he and the commission had hoped could be completed and bidded along with the health unit plans to conserve cost.
He claimed that the federal agencies have held up the works and he has had to alter the plans three times to suit their specifications.
The commission instructed Beverlin to proceed with the jail plans even at the cost of separating bidding times on both projects. The jail plans were sent to Beverlin by the state architect on May 23 and since then no second approval has been sought.
The engineer was to have made an appointment in Tallahassee later this week or early next week. He says if they are approved then bidding can begin in three weeks.
"Out by 5 p.m. Tuesday"
State Closes Baker Jail
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THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, Jul 9, 1981
Karlie Tyler of Glen
By Gene Barber
Karlie Tyler of Glen St. Mary is one of those enviable people who seem to always be touching greatness. Relative of a United States president, classmate of a governor, and teacher of the prestigious, she would, however, gainsay anything for herself but a quiet existence of service in education.
Her ancestral heritage was a presage of her life. Her English forebears of the Tyler name landed in Massachusetts in the eighteenth century, and some migrated south, generation by generation, until one of the more plucky branches was settled in the highlands of extreme western Virginia. This Virginia clan produced the tenth president of the United States, John Tyler.
Miss Tyler's paternal grandmother was a member of the famous feuding Hatfield family, and a maternal ancestral relative attended Napoleon's wedding.
The Virginia clan also produced Albert Tyler. He taught school in Rose Hill in Virginia's Lee County, but decided to try his fortunes in Florida where he acted as secretary of the Columbia Normal College (a parent school of the University of Florida). Mr. Tyler must have fondly remembered one of his former eighth grade students, the pretty Miss Fannie Rosenbalm, because he returned to marry her on New Year's Day of 1905.
The young couple was in Rose Hill when their first child was born. Mr. Tyler, recalling a little girl named Karlie he had known in Iowa, wished for his child the same black curly hair and blue eyes. "I disappointed Daddy," his daughter Karlie Reed Tyler commented many years later, "I didn't have black or curly hair, but I got the name."
Mr. Tyler moved his family to Chicago where the second and last child, Rose, was born. The severe winters prompted him to return Mrs. Tyler and the girls to Rose Hill, but he remained in Chicago engaged in office work.
Two of his former associates in the Lake City college, Messrs Hume and Jernigan, wrote Mr. Tyler asking if he would consider going to Florida to assume secretarial duties in the newly incorporated Glen Saint Mary Nurseries. He responded by rushing to Virginia to pack his family, and they were on their way to Baker County, Florida.
They detrained in Glen during the very dark night of Octcober twenty first, 1910.
One faint light was feebly glowing in the entire town. Little Karli got sand in her shoes (a sporty black and red, tasseled high top pair), and, although that condition was later touted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce to be the charm certain to bring state visitors back, the young lady was vociferously disenchanted.
Above their older daughter's protest, the Tylers stayed. They lived temporarily in the Walden Boarding House on the northeast corner of Glen Avenue and the railroad. Then it was to the nursery to a home built just for them, and later they moved into the more spacious recently vacated Hume house.
"The nursery mail wagon's morning trip to Glen was scheduled so that the children living on the nursery could ride it to school," Miss Tyler reminisced. "But they had to walk back in the afternoon. I was puny and couldn't make the two mile trip, so Mama and Daddy taught me for my first three years of school." For her fourth year, she shared a tutor with George Taber and the Hume children.
By the fifth grade, Karlie was permitted to attend the Glen School which was located a short distance north of the present Baptist Church. Mr. Tyler took a job in Blountstown in west Florida for a year, and Miss Tyler shared the tenth grade with an energetic backwoods cavalier named Fuller Warren. She remembered Warren as being sincerely friendly and "very good looking." He became one of Florida's most effective and controversial governors, but his downfall came when a three percent sales tax was instituted after his vigorous campaigning with the promise of "no new taxes."
Back on the Glen Nursery for her eleventh year, Miss Tyler took note of the neighboring Schnables' houseguest and his piano playing. The handsome young Austrian played in concert in Jacksonville and filled in at the Methodist Church one Sunday.
Years later it was discovered that the elegant continental gentleman was one of Europe's most highly acclaimed concert pianists.
Wishing his daughter Karlie to enter college, Mr. Tyler moved his wife and children into a Jacksonville apartment so that she might graduate from the old Duval High School. She laughs about the Tyler boys, unrelated to her, and the confusion created by a teacher believing they were her brothers. "She was always wanting me to tell my parents that the boys must stop playing hooky, and I could never convince her that I was not their sister."
Graduating at fifteen years of age from Duval High, she was almost too young to enter college. The Florida State College for Women at Tallahassee accepted her, (and without a college entrance examination). It was at college that she impishly corrected a professor who was belaboring the symmetry of the human body. When he got to ears, Miss Tyler said, "But Professor, my ears aren't alike." After examining them. "He made me show my ears to the entire class. They're not alike, and I don't think it was because it was because Mr. Taylor always cut one when he was cutting my hair either."
In Tallahassee she witnessed the indomitable Ann Harwick set an Olympic record for javelin throwing. Miss Harwick went on to eradicate tuberculosis in Baker
County and to write a popular novelette based on her experiences in the county.
Miss Tyler refused her teaching certificate at graduation. In those days graduation from college for women automatically meant a future lifetime of teaching. Karile Tyler was adamant: "I was not going to teach. I was never going to teach." Instead, she took a job as a laboratory technician with a Dr. Thomas in Gainesville and then transferred to Starke where she was employed in Dr. Biggs' office. A serious illness - multiple malarial infection and acute appendicitis - cut short her career in medicine and within a year she was teaching.
Harold Milton had been one of her classmates, and had entered the Baker County School System as a teacher. While chatting with Miss Tyler at a McClenny commencement ceremony, he asked, "Karlie, why don't you come teach with us?"
Miss Tyler remembered she had not taken the then required examination on the United States Constitution, and wrote to the Department of Education to learn what she must do to secure her teaching certificate. She was promptly answered with her certificate, and Karlie Tyler entered a service in education that would
last 42 years.
She recalls teaching the Boyd children, Jean and Alan Jean, now Dr. Dowling, became a refreshing force in the local education scene, and Alan was selected by President John Kennedy to be the first Floridian to serve in a Presidential Cabinet as well as the first person to fill the post of Secretary of Transportation.
She remembered the handsome J.J. Crews and personable Edwin Fraser, both responsible for an improved tack in the county's economic direction. Fraser, legislator and long-time Secretary of the Senate, often stated that no one was more capable a teacher than Karlie Tyler, and he credited her for introducing him to the beauty and power of the English language.
As a young teacher fresh from college where true or false tests were the rage, Miss Tyler instituted that form in her classes. Young J.W. Hiers liked the challenge and approached his novice instructor: "Miss Tyler, I'll make a deal with you. If You'll let me flip a quarter to decide my answers, I'll let you watch." Always known by her students and peers as a good sport, she accepted. "He was the only one in the class to make a Perfect score," laughed Miss Tyler. "That was the last true and false I ever gave. It was back to good ol' definitions.
But that type of test was not without its humor also. An innocent little girl defined Magellan: "He circumcised the globe."
The child told Miss Tyler that she knew Magellan had circumed something, and she had heard the word at church so she knew it couldn't be bad. At the after school faculty meeting that day, the somewhat prim spinster, Miss Rosa Wolfe, dryly remarked, "My, he must have had quite a job."
Miss Tyler taught for a few years in Marion County before transferring back to Baker County in the early 1940's. While she was in Marion, her father retired from the nursery and purchased the old Masonic Lodge building in Glen to renovate for their home. The upper floor was converted into apartments and the lower floor, once Ander Townsend's grocery store and the Glen precinct polling place, became the Tyler residence. Miss Tyler lives there now with German Shepherd companion, Jana.
The Public library had begun to expand under the guidance of Emily Taber and Ruth Cone. Before she died, Mrs. Cone requested the retired Miss Tyler to help catalog the collection, and Miss Tyler has spent almost eight years cataloging over 40,000 books.
Miss Tyler retired from teaching, but not from living. She teaches Sunday School in the Methodist Church (she has been a member since 1919); is active in retired teacher groups; is an accomplished artist in the media of oils, watercolors, and pastels; reads; and devotes much time to her grandnieces and grand nephews in south Florida. "And," she smiles, "I do love to eat."
The Press will not divulge the lady's age, but we will say she will have a birthday very soon. And although she has touched greatness several times, there are many former classmates, students, and friends who believe that to have known Karlie Tyler is to have touched greatness. They wish for her many more birthdays.
[NOTE cwm: daughter of Albert & Fannie R. Tyler; b. 1 Aug 1906, d. 6 Nov 1985 buried Woodlawn cemetery]
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From The Florida Times Union October 1958
New and Old in Post Offices at Glen St. Marys
GLEN ST. MARY DEDICATION SET
New Post Office Marks End Of Another General Store
By HANK DRANE
GLEN ST. MARY, Oct. 18--The Community of Glen St. Mary will dedicate its new post office next Saturday, marking the end of another of rural Florida's fast diminishing general store post offices.
The new post office is a concrete block structure, located on U.S. Highway 90 with all new equipment, including 100 bronze mail boxes.
The Old post office, by contrast, occupied one section of a general store which dispensed, besides the mail, everything from horehound candy to long-handle underwear.
The celebration Saturday will be a big one because in a community thc size of Glen St. Mary, opening of a post office is a major milestone in the town's history.
We've invited Congressman D.R. Matthews of Gainesville to speak said Mrs. Mary Hurst, acting postmaster, who is busy planning the program while getting adjusted to her new quarters. "And we expect severa1 hundred people to take part in the dedication and open house."
Baker County Judge B. R. Burnsed will serve as master of ceremonies for the dedication which starts at 2:30 p.m. Another speaker will be E. L. Saley field Service officer with the Post Office Department. The high school band at nearby Macclenny will furnish music and the Macclenny Boy Scout troop will raise the flag.
Thoughts of raising the flag have brought Mrs. Hurst some moments of anxiety because the flag pole was installed too close to the building and she is fearful the flag might get hung on its way up the pole during the ceremony.
"The flag we have been flying has been torn because of flapping against the building," she Said. "We have a smaller flag we are saving for the dedication which I hope will solve this problem. I've also got to remember to get the sign hung out front which was blown down by the wind this week."
The new building housing the post office was constructed for that purpose by a local contractor and leased to the government. Also occupying the same building is a barber and beauty shop.
The third class post office serves about 175 patrons and includes one rural mail carrier, Artis Crews. Mrs. Lucy Davis is substitute clerk and Mrs. Dorothy Roberts is temporary clerk. Mrs. Hurst said the letter boxes are proving popular and she already has rented 75. "We Probably will need more," she added. While a number of dignitaries will attend the dedication, the guests of honor will be Jesse E. Franklin, who owned the general store where the old post office was located and was postmaster for 37 years before his retirement last year, and John H. Townsend who served as rural mail carrier for 42 years before his retirement in 1949. Mrs. Hurst worked under Franklin as a clerk for 16 years before succeeding him upon his retirement. He has been chosen by Mrs. Hurst to deliver a history of the post office at the dedication.
Franklin, now 71, wasn't at home when this reporter called. His wife, who also helped him in the general store and post office, said he had gone to Jacksonville for the day to sell some persimmons. She said they no longer operated the general store and the old frame building is now vacant.
"We have some wonderful memories of the old post office" she said, because most everybody in town stopped by each day to chat and ask for the mail. The children especially liked my husband because he would give them candy when they came for the mail."
Retired mail carrier Townsend, now 78, still resides in Glen St. Mary and also is looking forward to the dedication ceremony.
He said when he first started carrying the mail back in 1907 he used a horse and buggy to cover the 24-mile route which was nothing but sandtrails.
"Then I got me one of them new Model-T Fords." he chuckled. "I bet I got stuck in every mudhole along the route during rainy weather."
Townsend takes pride in the fact that he didn't miss, more than 60 days from work during his 49 years as a mail carrier. "Had 69 days of sick leave built up when I retired."
The old post office here isn't the last of the general store variety in Baker County. Still a survivor in the vast changes that have altered the rural face of Florida during the past decade is the post office at Olustee which is operated in a general store owned by Clarence Kirkland.
Times-Union Staff Writer
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The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Friday, March 29, 1957
AFTER 37 YEARS SERVICE
GLEN ST. MARY, March 28 -- J. E. Franklin will retire Sunday after 37 years as postmaster in the Baker County community of Glen St. Mary.
Franklin, who still enjoys good health at the age of 70, said today he was saddened by thoughts of retirement. "I have enjoyed my work," he said, "and my long association with the people of this community."
Franklin was appointed postmaster on Oct. 1, 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson. He said he isn't absolutely certain, but he believes he is the oldest postmaster in Florida in length of service.
Like most retiring oldsters, Franklin said he planned to catch up on his fishing. He will continue to reside here to look after property he owns.
The post office here is in a general store which Franklin also runs. The store is located across the street from the depot and Franklin has become a familiar figure down though the years as he daily wheeled his mail cart to the depot to meet the trains.
The post office was broken into twice during Franklin's tenure. Thieves took $30 the first time and Franklin was forced to reimburse the government because the money wasn't in a safe. The second time, the thieves went away empty-handed except for articles taken from the store.
Franklin said the biggest difference in the post office today and in 1919 is "the large amount of red tape I have to contend with now."
Franklin and his wife, who helps him in the store and post office, have two children. Cecil E. Franklin of Donalsonville, Ga. and Mrs. P. S. Prevatt of Gainesville.
Although no official announcement has been made, Mrs. Mary Hurst of Glen St. Mary is expected to succeed Franklin
Veteran Glen St. Mary Postmaster to Retire
By Staff Writer
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The Baker County Press, Thursday, July 9, 1981
Attorney and civic leader Charles Furr dead at 49
Local attorney Charles G. Furr died of a heart attack July 4, during a holiday visit with friends in the St. Augustine area. He was 49 years old and just last month had been appointed counsel for the City of Macclenny.
Furr, who started a private law practice here in 1973, collapsed at the home of former Glen St. Mary residents Mr. and Mrs. Danny Johnson shortly after returning from a swim at the beach. He was pronounced dead at Flagler Hospital.
He was a graduate of Wofford College and held a law degree from Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He served in the Army during the Korean conflict, and was employed on the legal staff of both Southern Railroad and the University of Florida before moving here.
The native of Dillon, South Carolina was active in civic affairs here. He was the first president of the Baker County Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, charter member of the Sertoma Club, the Historical Society and Fine Arts Council. He was also a Lions Club past president, and an unsuccessful candidate for County Judge last year.
Furr was active in the First Methodist Church in Macclenny, where an overflow crowd attended memorial services Monday afternoon. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
He is survived by his wife Carmean, a teacher at Baker County High School; and three daughters, Nancy, Laurie and Julie; and mother Louise Furr of South Carolina.
Charles G. Furr, 1932-1981
By Jim McGauley
Communities large or small are made up of doers and sitters. Sitters are resigned to the inevitable. Doers realize that where we find ourselves is the product of what we have or have not done to get ourselves there.
Doers are generally the optimists. They sense that over a lifetime they can make things better for themselves and those around them, and that honest attempts to make the difference generally turn out good in the end.
Doers over a lifetime develop a singularity of purpose. It becomes obvious to those around them that doers are going to go forward regardless. Those that want to go can go; those that want to stay can stay.
This community will miss Charlie Furr.
[NOTE cwm: Charles Gilmore Furr b. 3 Oct 1932, d. 4 Jul 1981]
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First Lady responds to 'get well' wish
Edith (Granny) Hicks has been a people person all her 89 years so it's not unusual that she sent her best wishes along to Nancy Reagan when the First Lady underwent a mastectomy two months ago.
What made it unusual was the fact that Mrs. Hicks, who has spent all but 19 years of her life on a farm south of Glen St. Mary and had all eight of her children at home, entered Fraser Hospital, nine weeks before Mrs. Reagan for the same operation. Both of them came through it fine.
She felt close enough to the ordeal to tell Mrs. Reagan to hang in there. The First Lady thought it was nice enough that she sent a thank you card.
"I wanted to give her a little encouragement," said the spry near-centenarian who was out picking pecans shortly after she came home from the hospital. "I told her an old woman from Florida still loves her and prays for her. I still pray for her every night. You know there's no distance in prayer.
Mrs. Hicks said she politicked a bit in her get well message. "I told her without Medicare and Medicaid, there's no way I could have made it through this. Her husband's been wanting to cut all that, you know."
Mrs. Reagan replied: "I was very touched by your concern and kind words of support. The President joins me in sending you our deep appreciation and best wishes.
This week Granny Hicks was keeping the card with "The White House" on its return envelope in the living room of her Smokey Road home, for the benefit of relatives who were coming around the holidays and had yet to see it.
Incidently, the prognosis for Mrs. Hicks when she turns 90 next summer is excellent. Naturally.
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The Baker County Press, February 16, 1978
A Narrative On The Battle
What Happened That Day
(Ed note: the following narrative a capsule history of the Olustee Battle, what caused it and how it developed. Those who want to see the reenactment on Sunday night want to read this over first and get an idea of the maneuvers the troops will be recreating. It was written and published by the First State Regiment Florida Volunteers.)
THE BATTLE OF OLUSTEE
The Federal troops, under Generals Gilmore and Seymour, sought to sever the supply lines from Florida to the rest of the Confederacy, as well as to restore the state of Florida to the Union as a free state. Florida, finding itself politically, economically, and militarily of great importance, found itself in the early part of 1864 in a perilous and nearly hopeless situation. In February of 1864 the 5500 troops of General Seymour moved westward to face an East Florida force under General Finegan, growing daily thanks to reenforcements sent from Georgia and South Carolina by General Beauregard. A few hours after noon on February 20th, a beautiful dry day, the battle of Olustee commenced with Confederate forces numbering 4,600 infantry, 600 cavalry, and 12 cannons, facing Federal forces totaling 5,500 men and 16 cannons.
The battle, a decided Confederate victory and a bloody check to the Union Cause in Florida, lasted some two and half hours. Union losses totaled 203 killed, 1152 wounded, 506 missing and a loss of five field guns, 1600 small arms, 400 sets of accoutrements and 130,000 rounds of small arm ammunition. Confederate losses numbered 93 killed, 847 wounded, and 6 missing.
The scenario of the battle follows:
The Confederate forces under General Finegan were well entrenched a few miles east of Lake City and fifty miles west of Jacksonville. Skirmishers of the 7th Connecticut Infantry were sent out to the "park-like," "open" pine forest. They met the Confederate cavalry over two miles in the front of the Confederate entrenchments. The 64th Georgia and the 32nd Georgia were sent out to support the cavalry and expecting to face only a cavalry raid, the Georgia troops formed a square designed for infantry defense against cavalry. The Confederate cavalry realizing that the opposing force included infantry and artillery as well as cavalry, caused the suicidal square to be broken. The Georgia troops fell back upon the advancing Confederate artillery flanking and protecting it.
The Federal forces moving in two, then three columns advanced slowly, forming up a unified front. When the 7th Conn. Inf. skirmishers were pulled back, they uncovered the 7th New Hampshire undergoing manuevers on the Federal right wing. The Confederates taking advantage of all cover, laying behind trees, logs, stumps, and depressions concentrated their fire on this regiment, causing it to be thrown into confusion, where upon it broke and ran. The Confederate fire was swung to the Federal left where a regiment of black troops, the 8th US Colored Infantry stood. The tremendous fire on both sides inflicted heavy casualties, the Confederate cannon were unmanned by Federal fire and the 8th US with heavy losses broke and swept through the troops in the rear. As additional troops moved to protect the Federal artillery on the left wing, they too met a galling fire, and soon the left wing and the artillery were crushed. Pouring in a deliberate and effective fire the Confederates advanced, capturing the unmanned Federal artillery, but running out of ammunition. As the Confederates pulled back Col. Colquilt of Georgia leading the Confederate right wing rallied the troops and caused them to hold. Runners were sent to the rear and a makeshift supply line brought up the needed ammunition. Re-supplied the Confederates took the offensive. The weakened Confederate left wing under Col. Harrison of Georgia was reinforced by Finegan's reserves. This strengthened left wing advanced crushing the Federal right wing inflicting 100% casualties.
The Federal forces having lost nearly one third of their strength began to retreat. Some accounts give an orderly retreat with rear-guard action, others refer to this as a rout. The Confederates pursued the shattered Union forces for a time, but did not take full advantage of the opportunity and hostilities ceases as night fell.
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The Baker County Press
They Who fought here.....
(Ed note: What follows is a most poignant treatise by local historian Dicky Ferry in observance of the 115th anniversary of the Battle of Olustee this weekend, which for the third year in a row, will be marked by a re-enactment by Civil War buffs at the battle site in west Baker County. Most of the observance is centered in the Lake City area starting Friday and culminating in the staging of the battle Sunday.)
By Dicky Ferry
Many stories written on the Battle of Olustee or the Battle of Ocean Pond, as it was called by the Confederates, deal with the heroes or the strategy behind the battle. Probably the most touching or tragic stories concern the everyday enlisted man, the unknown faces who were among the killed, wounded or missing at the Battle of Olustee.
Sometimes someone will ask the question: What did these men believe they were fighting for? Although not an easy question to answer for personal motivations are hard to establish and they differ with individuals. Letters and diaries give the impression that the dominant incentive of most Confederates was to protect home and country from what they regarded as unwarranted invasion. Most Southerners only wanted to follow in the paths of their fathers in matters of government, social institutions and ways of earning a livelihood. They wanted to maintain the status quo and be left alone.
On the other hand the spirit which motivated the soldiers of the North was vividly demonstrated by a conversation between a Union and Confederate private as they lay wounded in a barn at Cedear Mountain on Aug. 10, 1862. "For a while, they eased their pain with banter and light talk. Then the quiet fell, and presently the man who had lost a leg inquired calmly: Why did you come down here anyway fighting us? Equally without emotion, but with much pride the man in blue whose arm was gone replied: For the old flag. Thus on Feb. 20, 1864 two armys met.
Among the many incidents at Olustee is the story of Sergeant Henry Lang of Company C., 48th regiment, New York State Volunteers quoted in a letter in the regimental history of that regiment. I go 20 years back to Olustee, Florida now only a dreamland. I see myself again amongst the guns abandoned by Battery M of the 1st US Artillery. Then again I am left alone, firing away from 60 rounds I had in my pockets. The rebels had a good mark on me standing amongst the guns. They crept nearer, and nearer, jumping from trunk to trunk. Everything about me was shot away - my canteen, my haversack, the skirts on my blouse; on the other hand, my cartridges were also ominously disappearing down to the 56th. I levelled to fire the 57th round at a cluster of heads behind a pine truck; we were at close quarters; I pulled, my ball sped on its way, a crash, and I fell to one side, propping myself up with my gun. At the moment my gun went off, another ball had hit at last its mark, and my leg was smashed; a friendly hand assisted me to a tree and fled for dear life because the enemy advanced, and in another moment all my adversaries came rushing to the tree where I was reclining; all shouted, are you the man that was amongst the guns?
Having told them that that was so, they all exclaimed "Bully Boy!" One of them began to question me concerning how many men we had in the battle. I told them about 15,000. (It is interesting to note that aggregate of the Union forces were placed at 5,600 men). They spoke about our regiments who had made such a devilish noise with their sharpshooters. Flushed with victory as they were, they only went about 300 yards beyond where I was and ordered a halt. I grew faint and fainter, and yet with a iron determination raised myself from my faintness, cut open my trousers and with the only handkerchief found about me, and the help of a stick, succeeding in stopping the bleeding of my wound. I took out my pipe, and finding just enough tobacco, I began to smoke to keep away faintness and kill the wretched thoughts growing apace with the darkness spreading over the battlefield and to divert my thoughts from listening to the groans of the dying and wounded, and from the blasphemous language of some marauding soldiers who were ill treating wounded negroes.
In this state two young Confederate soldiers came to me and by holding a lighted match to my face they recognized me as one of the 48th regiment. They inquired about their home in Savannah which they had not seen during the war. They were the sons of merchants of that city. I could give them very little information, except what we had heard from the city through the runaway soldiers at Fort Pulaski. At last one of them said to the other; "I would like to make the Yank a fire. Look how he is shivering! He will not stand the frost tonight." So they kindled me a blazing fire, which revived my benumbered limbs; then one of them unbuckled his blanket, covered me with it, brought me some water, then bidding good-by, they left me - not, however, till the younger of them had given me a plug of good tobacco. May these Savannah boys be blessed.
Sometimes the government was more cruel than the enemy.
One such story found in The History of Massachusetts During the War tells of a veteran negro soldier probably of the 54th Mass. regiment appearing before some officials of the state asking to be reimbursed $19.99 he was charged for equipment lost during the Battle of Olustee. It seems the poor soldier was shot through both cheeks losing a number of his teeth and breaking a jaw. When he awoke on the battlefield, he was nearly a mile behind Confederate lines. Mustering enough strength he crawled the mile to safety through the pines and swamps along the way avoiding capture by the Confederates. After partial recover, he was charged by the army $19.00 for the loss of his gun and canteen. Unfortunately for this disabled veteran, the state did not see fit to reimburse him his money.
When looking at the casualties of the Battle of Ocean Pond, one might think that all of the 203 Union soldiers killed there were killed by the Confederates. But out of the battle comes the story of the gruesome murder of one soldier of the 7th Conn. The following story is taken from the pages of the History of the 7th Conn. Volunteer Inf.
After the battle was over it was reported to Captain Skinner that Jerome Dupoy, a substitute of Co. I had been killed, shot through the head by John Rowley, another substitute in the same company. Neither of the men could speak much English. (it is interesting to note that one out of every 20 to 25 soldiers in the Confederate army were of foreign birth and in the Union Army one out of every 4 or 5. One example of this is that of the Irish Confederate commanding General at the Battle of Olustee, Joseph Finnegan.)
Some time before they had a quarrel and Dupoy cut Rowley with a knife, and at the same time Rowley swore vengeance.
As on investigation there was no proof that the shooting was intentional, Captain Skinner did not report it. So much was said about it in the company however, that Rowley was arrested on suspicion and placed in the guardhouse. There he was troublesome, could not sleep, saw ghosts and at last confessed that he shot Dupoy purposely in revenge. He was afterward tried, found guilty of murder and hanged.
Now 116 years later the smoke has cleared, the twisted and torn trees no longer stand. But the same hallowed ground still remains that once ran red with American blood. We, the citizens of Baker County are fortunate to have a piece of History right here at home. But now the sad part comes. Many of the trees on the Battlefield have been marked for harvesting. Some trees bear the scars of turpentining. The trenches of Olustee have almost been completely destroyed. The old Jacksonville to Lake City Highway that the Union troops advanced and retreated on that day has all but been destroyed. Things like this could be understood if this were private land, but this land is government land. Land that belongs to you and I. Take the time to go to the battlefield, walk over the same ground that our ancestors fought over 116 years ago. Then maybe a letter to your congressman or state representative urging a ban on timber harvesting or any destroying of the natural state of the battlefield within a 3 mile area. I feel that if this is not done soon that maybe one day we will not have these things to enjoy.
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THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, June 2,1983
During annual awards day Monday
Local artist and historian Gene Barber was named to Baker High School's Hall of fame during the Awards Assembly Monday morning. The honor signifies outstanding achievement by a BCHS graduate. Barber's name will be engraved on the plaque which hangs in the school's front office.
In other honors during the annual ceremony, ten students received Pride Awards from the state education department for academic excellence, while 11 others were named as receiving scholarships. Pride awards went to Toni Thompson, Toni McGarrity, Robin Loadholtz, Laurie Furr, Jimmy Combs, David Bridges, Laura Tucker, Aralene Sotomayer, Camille Schilling and Joe Pickett.
Receiving scholarships were Eugenia Stewart-Miss Ebony; Jeff Anderson-Lake City Foundation; Kelly Kilgo-Berry College; Robin Loadholtz-Tampa University; Laura Tucker-ITT Rayonier and University of Central Florida; Timmy Combs, Ronda Combs and Terri Haddock-Florida Junior College; Toni Thompson-Governor's Scholar; Larry Mannerberg- DCT/McDonald's.
Laura Tucker was recognized as this year's valedictorian, sharing top grade point honors with co-salutatorians Laurie Furr and Kelly Kilgo.
In department awards, Kelly Kilgo, Faith Harvey, Ora Lee Paige and Adam McQueen were rewarded for excellence in art; Christy Carter-business; Valerie Rowe-typing; Mike Davis-bookkeeping; Toni Thompson, Laurie Furr, Rodney McKendree and Robin Loadholtz-English; Laura Tucker-journalism; Brian Dopson, Kelly Kilgo and Toni Thompson (German), Tina Crews and Lisa Wilholt (Spanish)-foreign language.
History honors went to Tina Crews, Laurie Furr, John Pearce, Christine Milota and club president Jessalyn Fraser; Yolanda Davis, Valerie Givens, Valerie Rowe and Eugenia Stewart-home economics; Toni Thompson, Mike Davis, and Larry Mannerberg- mathematics; Jeff Anderson, Lisa Stokes, Brian Yarbrough, David Widges, Troy Helms, Toni McGarrity and Rodney McKendree (chorus), Christy Carter, Laurie Furr, Jeanne Scott and Knolan DeVevo (band)-music; Kathy Starling and Ronnie Hall-physical education.
Troy Helms, Laura Tucker and Toni Thompson were honored for science achievement; Larry Mannerberg-cooperative education; Tim Rhodes and Robert Church-drama; Laurie Furr, Dennis Schmitz, Joe Pickett, Jeanne Scott and Toni Thompson-Brain Brawl; Gina Burnsed-medla.
Rodney McKendree and Kelly Kilgo were joint recipients of the DAR award, and McKendree shared American Legion Award honors with Ronda Combs. David Bridges received the Klate Yarbrough award, and Greg Brown was recognized as this year's Star Student.
Attendance awards went to Larry Mannerberg dnd Bobby Rulse for attending every day during grades 9-12, and to Rodney McKendree for perfect attendance during his senior year. Elijah Manning and Darrain Givens received Special Olympics awards.
Also honored were outgoing senior class officers Jimmy Combs president, Aralene Sotomayer vice president,. Toni Thompson secretary, Brian Yarbrough treasurer, Tracy Cook historian, and Rodney McKendree chaplain.
Marilyn Harrell was recognized as the school's teacher of the year, Danny Green as coach of the year, and Glenn McKendree for his 100th basketball victory.
Barber in BCHS Hall of Fame; seniors honored
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SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING
DEMOCRATIC STEERING COMMITTEE
United States Senate
January 28, 1986
The Honorable Carl Rhoden, Mayor
City of Glen St. Mary
P. 0. Box 239
Glen St. Mary, Florida 32040
A few weeks ago, I contacted the Florida Department
of Transportation regarding the need for a traffic
signal at the intersection of U.S. 90 and State
Road 125. Unfortunately, I have not received a
response to this inquiry.
In an effort to continue my assistance, I have
once again contacted the Florida Department of
Transportation and requested their review of
this matter. As soon as I receive their response,
I will let you know at once. While we are awaiting
this information, please let me know if I can be
helpful to you or your constituents in any way.
With kind regards, I am
REPLY TO: FEDERAL BUILDING, LAKELAND, FLORIDA 33801
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LETTERS TO THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, January 11, 1979
Some Historical Notes On The Rev. Marion DeGrate
This is in response to the historical note column in the Press Jan. 13, 1979 concerning the intention of the Press to write historical notes about one Rev. Marion DeGrate.
Being one of the grandsons of Rev. Marion DeGrate, I deeply appreciate your effort to research and publish notes about my grandfather of whom I know very little about due to the fact that he had deceased at the time of my birth. However, my mother, Mamie DeGrate Peterson, often talked of Rev. DeGrate and his activities. There are other persons living today namely Mr. Edgar Lewis, Mr. Wi11iam Lewis, Mr. Manard Patilla, Mrs. Elsie Lewis, .Mrs. Etta Bird and maybe some of the older grandsons and granddaughters.
Rev. DeGrate is listed in the records of the United Methodist Church's deceased ministers column.
Some known facts about Rev. DeGrate is that he was a former slave who escaped from his owner and joined the union Army. It is believed that he assumed the name Marion DeGrate of his own choosing, as I have not been able to find any other people by the name DeGrate. He arrived from South Carolina to Sanderson, Fla. the then or later county site. There he married the former Rosa Snowden who was said to have been the sister to the mother of Arthur Givens, Sr.
To Rev. and Mrs DeGrate were born five girls, Florence, who now, has one, living daughter, L. D. Burke of Bunnell, Fla.;. Maggie, no living offspring; Eliza, one living adopted son, Clifford; Emma, one living son, Melvin Smith of Jacksonville; two living daughters, Juanita Lillie Bolden of Macclenny and Inez Ingram of Jacksonville, Fla. Mamie DeGrate Peterson, five living daughters, Lois Peterson Dilliard of Jacksonville Beach, Marie Peterson Lewis of Macclenny, Edith Peterson Dowdell of Jacksonville, Ruth Peterson Atwaters of Jacksonville, Catherine Peterson Parker of Macclenny; one son George A. Peterson of Jacksonville, Fla.; a number of grandchildren and great grandchildren of the late Mamie DeGrate Peterson are also offsprings of Rev. DeGrate.
Rev. and Mrs. DeGrate, it is said, moved from Sanderson to Macclenny in the late 1800's and settled on approximately 5 acres of land which he had purchased from a Mr. Turner. The parcel now grown up in trees is located in the section of southeast Macclenny known as Baby Town just east of SR 228 and west of the Old Maxville Road.
Marie Peterson Lewis
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Glen Residents request purchase of Fire Engine
We the undersigned, being duly registered voters in the Town of Glen St. Mary, Florida, hereby request the Commissioners of Glen St. Mary, Florida to consider the purchase of a new Fire Engine to replace present equipment now in use. We understand that no taxes will be levied toward us to pay for such equipment and therefore leave the financing and specification of type of engine to be purchased up to the judgment of the City Commissioners of Glen St. Mary, Florida.
|Frank W. Williams
|Willa Mae Williams
||Railugh ? Harris
||Gussie Lee Harris
|Paul E. Crawmer, Sr.
|Sadi R. Johnson
||R. E. Hines
|R. Lee Combs
||Rose M. Hines
|T. R. Combs
||Faye St. John
||Tommy St. John
|Marion H. Lough
||Tommie Sue Davis
|James P. Lough
||William J. Lyons
|Marie F. Newmans
|J. C Brogdon
||Sandra B. Padgett
|R. A. Bennett
|Susie L. Bennett
||L. E. Swindell
|James N. Harvey
|Janet G. Mobley
|Corlie N. Mobley
|Betty J. Mobley
||Mrs. J. Pribble
|Douglas O. Mobley
||Charles C. Thompson, Jr.
||Estus R. Stone
|R. L. Taylor
||Vernie L. Taylor
|Michael W. Griffis
||Arthur Lee Crews
|Mamie Lee Rhoden
|Thomas C. Ott, Jr.
||Judy M. Barton
|Teresa O. Dance
|Joyce M. Ott
|Karlie R. Tyler
||George R. Starling
||Emory O. McDaniel
||E. Roy Combs
|Mirtie N. Loadholtz
||Linda S. Combs
|Charles G. Hicks
||Fred P. Conner
|R. E. Moates
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Baker County High School Class Of 1956
||Arline Ruis Cook
Baker County High School Class Of 1956
||Bennett, Carrie Sharon
||Crews, James Buster
||Doman, Betty Lou
||Freeman, Clara Nell
||Johns, Tommy Gerald
||Nettles, Martin A.
||Sterling, George Ray
||Wood, Nina Lee
||Willis, Curtis Lavoyd
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Macclenny centenarian's best memories his past jobs; 100 on Wed.
BY CHERYL R. PINGEL
Much has changed over the last hundred years. The newfangled horseless carriage has gained worldwide acceptance. Funny little boxes with people barely visible through snowy screens have blossomed into large screens with people so real they seem actually to be in your living room. The phonograph and radio, refrigerators and ovens, washing machines and dryers, have all made startling transformations.
And Henry Donaldson of Macclenny has been around for it all.
According to his niece in Key West, Bertha Dobin, Mr. Donaldson was born August 31, 1894, the only boy in the family, and the youngest of five children. That makes him 100 years old this week, but Henry just shrugs his shoulders and says, "Yea, they tell me 'bout it."
There is some discrepancy in the where of his birth. His niece thought it was Apalachicola, but Henry ponders the question for a moment, then says, "I was born in Jesup...., Jesup, Georgia. I was born in Georgia and momma raised me in Alabama."
With so many to choose from out of all those years, Henry's favorite memory might surprise you. More than anything else, he liked to "work." Ms. Dobin said he used to work construction and on the railroad, but Henry asserted, "Any kind of thing that come along when I was working, I used to work."
As for the worst part of living to be 100, Henry isn't sure, but one of the hard things was the loss of his family. With the exception of his niece and a nephew in Key West, Donaldson is the last of a line. His sister Elizabeth Williams, who also lived in Baker County, died recently, and his only child, John Henry Donaldson, died in Savannah about ten years ago. "All them gone but me; all them dead but me!" he says sadly.
Henry's life also recently changed. Angie Bones, his caseworker at the Baker County Council on Aging I said, "Up until about a year ago, he lived in his own place and did his own cooking."
Mr. Donaldson reminds her, "That freezer was full. Chicken, turkey neck bones, beef."
Now he lives in Frank Wells Nursing Home, and cooking isn't something he worries about. "I just have food, is all I know."
His schedule is pretty active. He goes to Sunday School and worship at St. James Baptist every other Sunday, and is usually at the Council on Aging about 10:00 am every weekday. First order of business is a hug from Anna Bolduc, the COA cook; then he usually sits in his chair drinking a cup of coffee and talking with Mr. Jones, a friend across the table. Just before noon, he joins with the others in the Pledge of Allegiance, then explains, "When 12:00 o'clock comes, we get our food, then about one o'clock I go back there (the nursing home) and they just let me go take that one little old pill they give, and I lay down till about 3:00 o'clock."
Meanwhile, his life is not lonely, and he is not without some of the modern conveniences. Asked about his friends, and he replied, "Best friend is up above," and then added "Angie and Deacon Williams and Rev. Right (Bryant) to the list. Henry also has girlfriends-"loads of them," by his own admission.
TV? "I got one in my room." Does he like it? "Yea. it plays. When it plays, I look at it, that's all."
He had a radio, too, until he moved out of his house. It had a bad plug and had to be left behind.
Henry rides the bus to the center, but in the old'days he used a mule and wagon. "It was all right, just had to catch that mule and get it ready." Would he rather go back to having the wagon and the mules..."I don't know about that, now!"
I thought perhaps Henry would shed some wisdom on living a longer life.
"What do you think is the reason you've lived so long?" His response directed me to the only source he thought could tell me. "I don't know about that now, cuz the man up above tell you about that."
I did find one modern invention Henry wasn't crazy about--my tape recorder. "That thing right there," he said with a nod toward the machine. "What you say about anything, it's all right there. Watch out buddy!"
Turning 100 is a phenomenon many of us might not experience, but perhaps in his very quiet way Henry Donaldson points us along the right path. Keep a friend of the man upstairs, work hard, and accept what comes with grace. Happy Birthday, Henry, and here's hoping for many more.
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Carlton Leading Next Governor
MACCLENNY, FLORIDA, FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 1928
Carlton Leading Next Governor - Leads Catts By 5000 Votes; Hathaway Is Third Man; Many Surprises in County Contests
At the time this is being printed, Doyle E. Carlton was leading in the race for governor by over 5.000 votes, with Catts second and Hathaway a close third. The vote was: Carlton, 47,083; Catts, 41,784; and Hathaway, 40,986.
Political excitement was somewhat warm on Tuesday, and a large vote was polled. It is generally believed that it was the biggest vote ever polled in this county. In Macclenny precinct 413 electors voted between the hours of 8 O'clock and sundown. The inspectors and clerks were busy counting all night and only finished about 9:30 o'clock on Wednesday morning.
Below in an incomplete list of the officers elected in the county and the vote they received in the Macclenny district.
Wesley Moody led by the largest majority. He was running for supervisor of registration, and the vote stood for this office: Wesley Moody, 284; A. J. Mobley, 52; J. Monroe Thompson, 62.
Atty. W.B. Cone won by an overwhelming majority in the race for representative in the state legislature. The vote was: W. B. Cone, 296; J. J. Combs, 50; W. D. Mann, 43.
W. Harold Milton smothered both of his opponents, throughout the county in the contest for superintendent of public instruction. Below is given the vote in Macclenny Precinct: W. Harold Milton, 263; J. L Hodges 98, G. M. Clayton, 41.
L. L. Rhoden won the race for tax assessor by a big majority. The number of ballots cast for this, office in this precinct follows: L. L. Rhoden, 199; W. B. Taylor, 161; J. A. Townsend, 44.
Sheriff Joe Jones, Jr., was reelected over his three opponents. Their standing in precinct No 3 was: Joe Jones, 187; R. J. Davis. 104; A. J. Hodges 21.
For tax collector, W. Frank Wells led his opponents by a big vote in this precinct, but was beaten in other parts of the county. They ran as follows in this precinct: W. Frank Wells, 248; Dennis W. Finley, 86; John C. Crews, 62; J. 0. Kelly, 13.
For county commissioner for this district, J. G. Crews was elected to succeed L. W. Mobley. Mr. Mobley received the most first-choice votes but was beaten by the second-choice votes.: J. G. Crews, 154; L. W. Mobley, 164; G. W. Garrett, 84.
For clerk of the circuit court Thompson led in this precinct: W. C. Thompson, 258; J. W. Barber 127.
For member of the school board, J. J. Crews was elected for this district. This vote was: J. J. Crews, 190; J. A. Rowe, 179.
W. R. Rhoden was reported as elected county judge although he lost in this district, as follows: J. N. Milton, 216; W. R. Rhoden, 177.
For state senator for the twenty-ninth district, the following vote was cast in Macclenny: T. J. Knabb, 231; A. Tyler, 164; J. Slater Smith, 11.
Below is the vote cast for a few of the candidates for state offices in Macclenny precinct: For United States Senator, Park Trammell ran wild over John W. Martin. Their vote was: Trammell, 304; Martin, 28,
For Governor, Doyle E. Carlton led by a small margin. Carlton, 179; Sidney J. Catts, 176; Fons A. Hathaway, 14; J. M. Carson, 2.
The vote throughout the county was not obtainable in time for this week's Reporter.
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'Way back yonder' in Baker County were the good ol' days for Frank Rewis
BAKER COUNTY STANDARD, JANUARY 7, 1993
By Dawn McDonald
When he was a child growing up in Macclenny, Frank Rewis, 83, helped construct the building at 101 E. Macclenny Ave.
"I was what you calls a lackey boy, waiting on the men while they built this building," Rewis said. "They told me what to get and I ran and got it. "
Now that old building houses the Council on Aging in Macclenny, and Rewis visits five days a week for meals and to see old friends.
Rewis can't remember just how old the building is, but he does recollect that the city was just a sand bed when he was a child. Just a few buildings existed then, including the Macclenny store and the Hotel Annie.
Earl Eiseman said the council building was once a grocery store with apartments available on the second level. A butcher shop was located at the far end, and several sale counters were arranged throughout the store.
At that time, customers requested groceries and the store workers filled the orders. Beans, rice and white bacon were ordered in bulk, and workers scooped the items from large bins.
"I used to trade there when it was a store when [Ira] Walker owned it" Eiseman said. "There were countertops all around and you checked out right up front here [near the front window of the senior center. "
Living in Baker County all of his life, Rewis said, he "growed up with the people" he now visits at the center, Rewis isn't much for cards and doesn't fool with bingo, but he does enjoy socializing with the other seniors while drinking his morning coffee. It's good to see old friends, he said.
Since October, Rewis has lived in the city of Macclenny. Until that time, he lived out in the country a few miles from town. He was moved out of his house in October following the county-wide floods, he said.
But when Rewis was younger, 10 miles was a long way to travel and he made the trip only twice a week, To get the children in the area to school three miles away, Rewis drove a mule and cart. His father donated the wagon and another man the mule.
"I carried just as many that could hang on as I could," Rewis said.
Even though Rewis only finished the fourth grade -- his daddy tried to keep him in school, but he "thought he knew it all" -- he made up for it in farm living. Although he was raised in the country, Rewis said he made a career of "a little bit of everything. "
Growing up in the country on a farm, Rewis said, taught him about milking cows, and growing his own food.
He now lets others do the cooking, eating lunch at the center five days a week, and enjoys all of the meals. He was raised in the country, and will eat anything that's cooked, he said.
Rewis had two wives in his lifetime, Ida Harvey and Mary Barton. He also has two daughters, Ida and Catherine, that he rarely sees. But what he lacks in family, Rewis has made up in friends. He has trouble remembering names, but he does know the people and the faces.
"I never had any enemies," Rewis said, "and I always treated people right.
He can remember "way back yonder" about Macclenny, including when gunfights erupted downtown at random. One day he knew that a feud would turn violent and a shoot-out would occur, Rewis said. But he just learned to turn his head and look somewheres else."
Although a lot of "strangers" are moving to Macclenny and the town is growing bigger all of the time, Rewis said he wouldn't think of living any place else, Even though he wandered and worked around the state, he's always returned to Macclenny.
"I've been to Miami and worked around and always came back to Baker County," Rewis said. "This town was always home. "
Standard staff writer
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Iva Lee Chesser
CHARLTON COUNTY HERALD, OCTOBER 6, 1993
Favorite Dishes of Charlton Cooks
As she cared for her husband, Tom, and her family of seven children, Iva Chesser discovered the secrets to the art of cooking. Knowing just what to add when could change a mediocre dish into (as Mother Goose put it) "a dainty dish to set before the king". Mrs. Iva, the matriarch of Chesser Island Homestead, utilized a variety of tools through the years... from cooking on a wood burning stove. to a gas stove, and onward to all the conveniencesof a modern day kitchen.
Mrs. Iva came to Chesser Island as a 16 year o1d bride in 1925. Her husband, Tom, was deeded half the Chesser holdings, a 55 acre tract with the stipulation that he care for his parents, Sam and Sara, the rest of their lives, which he willingly did. Farming 30 acres of this tract took a lot of hard work, but the determination to succeed and the satisfaction of a self-sufflcient lifestyle was worth the effort. They had their own cows, hogs and chickens and the abundance of wild game in the woods and waterways of the swamp. Growing all types of vegetables and fruits on their farm helped to set a bountiful table for the growing Chesser family. An excellent seamstress, Mrs. Iva even made her own patterns for her family's clothing. "I'd go in the stores and see how they were made, then go home and draw out the pattern," said Mrs. Iva. "We ordered the boy's dungarees and for shoes I'd get a piece of paper and trace around their foot, then allow 1/4" around and order them from Sears, too." She handcrafted her babies' cribs out of strips from the black gum tree, peeling the bark off and whittling the pieces to just the right size, and rounding them off so the baby wouldn't get hurt.
Living on the remote island made it necessary for the Chessers to use homemade remedies for illness. Mrs. Iva's mother was part Indian and her father was Cherokee so she learned some of their methods. Knowing what to do was often a matter of life and death, like the time her son, Joe Lester, stuck an old, dirty pitchfork in his foot. "After they pulled it out, it rose up and turned dark like it was going to blood poison. I took him to the kitchen and put epsom salts in boiling water and put his foot in to soak. Then I made a poultice and wrapped it in a gunnysack," remembered Mrs. Iva. Her homemade salve is still made by her daughter-in-law, Donnie.
The Chesser Island cane syrup was famous throughout south Georgia for its fine flavor. Cash money was supplied by selling the syrup, animal skins, and produce from their vegetable gardens and farm animals. With some of this cash, they proudly purchased their first car, a 1928 Chevrolet.
The Chessers moved to town in 1958, even though Mr. Tom didn't go with them. Not wanting to leave the swamp, he stayed on another 3 weeks, but probably got lonely and tired of his own cooking and moved to town with the rest of his family. Mrs. Iva was a familiar face to the county's school children as she worked in the lunchroom for 35 years.
Beginning in the early 40's, Mr. Tom worked at ONWR as a guide and in maintenance. He retired in 1962 and passed away in 1970. When Mrs. Iva retired from the school system, she was asked by co-workers what she was going to do. She matter of factly replied, "I'm going to see Mr. John Harris. He's over 100 years old and I'm going to ask him for his recipe. She didn't really retire, what she did was accept a job offer as hostess for the newly restored Chesser Island Homestead which opened its doors to the public in 1977.
Tom and Iva's children have all done well. Wade is semi-retired as president of Vidalia Federal Savings and Loan; Winnifred (Winnie) Gay retired from Sunnyland Training Center and lives in Waldo, Florida; Gertie Thompson passed away in 1965; Bill lives in Folkston and is retired from Chevron as Sr. Retailer Representative he is also one our county commissioners; Ruby Sirmans, a homemaker who works with J. C. Penny, lives in Waycross; Joe Lester lives in Folkston and is part owner of Great South Timber Co. and Aaron (Huey) is on the U. S. Tariff Commission in Washington, D.C.
I enjoyed my visit with Mrs. Iva at Baptist Village and she graciously shared a few of her delicious recipes with us.
While you're enjoying the Okefenokee Festival this weekend, take time to glimpse into the past at Chesser Island Homestead.
By Vivian Clark Wainwright
NOTE cwm: Joseph Thomas Chesser b. 5 Oct 1896, d. 12 Jan 1970 - s/o Samuel Archie Chesser & Sarah Altman
Iva Lee Chesser b. 21 Feb 1909, d. 25 Apr 1994 - d/o Wade Hampton Chesser & Bessie Ann Johns
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THE BAKER COUNTRY PRESS Thursday, September 2, 1993
By Cheryl R. Pingel - Feature Writer
Historic outpost during Seminole War named after 1st Indian At West Point
When looking at a Georgia map, you will discover a small dot just across the Georgia-Florida border with "Moniac" written beside it.
With such a charming name, you might expect a quaint little Georgia town with a few shops and maybe a soda fountain, but you would be disappointed. Today, that spot is marked by a gas station/convenience store at the intersection of state highways 2, 94, and 185.
While a couple of churches and a cemetery also claim the name, Moniac's actual significance goes back to a much wilder and primitive time almost two centuries ago.
Florida was home to Indian tribes then; primarily the Seminoles, descendants of migrating Creeks from Georgia and Alabama. However, it also increasingly piqued the interest of a fledgling government known as the United States of, America. White settlers continued to venture into its strange wilds, and occasionally clashed with native residents.
At that time, no one imagined that a child born in a Lower Creek village on the Pinchona Creek, Alabama, a son of Creek Indian leader Sam Moniac and his wife, would lend his name to a portion of Baker County and South Georgia.
It was February, 1802, when David A. Moniac entered the world with blood from both races flowing in his veins. He was only 15 when he became the first Native American admitted to West Point Military Academy.
He graduated as Brevet Second Lieutenant in July, 1822, one year after. the U.S. acquired Florida from Spain. It was a time of relative peace, so Congress cut back the Army; as a result, several West Point graduates, Moniac included, resigned shortly after graduation.
Between December, 1822, and June, 1836, he married Mary Powell, a cousin of Chief Osceola, fathered two children, farmed cotton and raised thoroughbred race horses in Baldwin County, Alabama.
In an article published by the Alabama State Department of Archives and History, Benjamin Griffith quotes one of Moniac's kinsmen, "He was a high toned chivalric gentleman and cordially esteemed by all who knew him. There was really nothing in his quiet life to distinguish him from the majority of the country gentlemen of his time and day."
All of this was about to change, however. Hostilities between the government and the Seminoles were increasing. The 1823 Treaty of Fort Moultrie gave the Seminole "his own inviolate five-million-acre reservation in East Florida for a period of twenty years." (Journey into Wilderness by Jacob Rhett Motte) But then came the 1830 Indian Removal Act providing for the deportation of all Indians to teiritories west of the Mississippi River. When the Seminoles refused to move, the second Seminole War began. On August 17, 1836, David Moniac mustered into service at Ft. Mitchell, Alabama as Captain in the Regiment of Mounted Creek Volunteers. Leaving by steamboat September 15, they arrived at Ft. Brooke, Tampa Bay, October 5th, and proceeded into the wilderness.
Moniac was promoted to Major on November 15, 1836. Griffith's article states, "Although the records are not specific, the promotion must have come as a reward for action in an engagement on the previous day, when a Seminole encampment was attacked with strong resistance."
The promotion was short-lived. The Major was killed in the Battle of Wahoo Swamp, November 21, 1836, while crossing a difficult bog in face of enemy fire. The pension application by his widow states, "His remains were interred with the honors of war at the Battleground of Major Dade beside those officers who fell in that action."
So, how does a Creek born in Alaabama and killed in a swamp much further south leave his name as a legacy in north Baker County?
Near the end of July, 1837, Col Zachary Taylor arrived. In the Florida Wars, Virginia Bergman Peters describes, "Early in 1838 he began to carry out his plan to win the Seminole War. He placed a grid over the entire state, laying it out in small square districts. Each ... was protected by a guard house, manned by a garrison, and all were linked by a network of wagon roads...Citizens were protected by the fort nearest each plantation.
Apparently as part of this plan, a fort was constructed in north Baker County. Local historian Dickie Ferry, has researched its exact location: although no monument yet exists, the state recognizes property adjacent to Gibson Crews and owned by ITT Rayonier, as the actual location of this fort. In service from. August, 1838-1842, it was called Fort Moniac.
Dickie's research discovered that several officers who served with Major Moniac were stationed at this location, hence the name in his honor. The fort served the residents of the area well. In 1913, Martha Tyler, daughter of Captain Aaron Jernigan, told of her experiences in the area, and these recollections are on file at the Orange County Historical Society. The following are portions transcribed pretty much as written:
"I was born the 14th of February, 1839. The same year on August 19 the neighborhood had gathered together at Ft. Monaack and was attacted between sunset and dark by the Seminole Indians. They commenced fire on us the first gun was fired shooting cousen Eliza Patrick right through the root of her tounge which happened a few minutes after sundown. She died at the coming of daylight next morning leaving three children all boys...
There was one man killed by the name of Davis weighed a bout two hundred pounds three little boys killed and houses all burnt down... The Indians put the pots and all of the salt they could find in the wells...
"there was a family bye the name of Raulersons. The man would go over to where the regular soldiers was station and play cards and when he would go home late at night his wife would tell him he would come home and find her dead some time, that she could hear the Indians whistleing around their every night when she was tending the cows...
"Her husband told her it was rabbits, whistleing. She told him he would see so one night he heard the guns and he was at the soldiers station one mile from his house. So he went with a crowd of soldiers and there was a branch to cross an when they got to the branch they met his two little girls and the Soldiers was so scared they like to have shot the two little girls the Indians had done killed Mrs. Raulerson and told the girls if they did not run they would kill them. Mr. Raulerson wife was dead and infant babie lieing in her arms in a gore of blood nurseing it dead mother. They had shot her and cut her cross her breast to the bone and they had robed the house and took all their feather beds and emtied the feathers all over the place and they took every thing they had in the house and destroyed all... but there was a large goard hold a bout a "bushel set under the bedstead full of rags and in the bottom of that was three hundred and fifth dollars in silver... mother said he would walk the yard and cry with his babie in his arms and tell what his wife had said to him."
Such sad times for all races! Perhaps revisiting history will bring us all greater understanding today.
(Deep appreciation to Dickie Ferry, whose research and book collection made this article possible.)
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Local man's innovations help clean environment
-- Ward P. Barnes
THE BAKER COUNTY STANDARD, 22 June 1994
By Joanna Chisholm-Holton
The job: Clean up the hazardous waste through recycling, reutilization or proper disposal.
A mandate rolled down from Capitol Hill and came to a halt at the feet of Aviation Technician First Class Ward P. Barnes.
The Naval Reservist, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elgin Barnes of Macclenny and a member of the Baker County High School Class of 1968, was stationed at Point Mugu, Calif. His work there earned him the Navy Achievement Medal.
The mandate from Congress required a 50 percent reduction in hazardous waste. The solution at Point Mugu was hatched on the curb outside the Bachelor Officers Quarters.
It took about 14 days to get the project up and running, but the goal was reached and passed three years earlier than required. The first year alone saw the team reduce the purchase of hazardous materials by 60 percent. The production of hazardous waste dropped by 75 percent.
Special to The Standard