Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Band of Shriners

My uncle Alton Green was a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He was the only Shriner I know of in the immediate family.

The only exposure to Shriners I had growing up was going to see him perform when the Shriners Band was playing in Tallahassee. I can remember seeing him play the trombone in a parade and at a baseball game at the old minor league park in Tallahassee. He never talked about the Shriners and as far as I know never tried to get my Dad to join.

There was always a current running in the background that the Shriners were not something a good Christian wanted to be around.

Alton was not a religious person. He confessed his belief in God after he came down with cancer and was near death.

After he died I found a couple of his Shriners books and their Bible. They had ominous warnings that there were only to be read by members of the Order. There was way too much of their secret symbolism in the books to make much sense of them. I figured out then that what attracted Al to the group was the music.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stopnetters vs. Gillnetters

I came across a family feud that ended up almost costing the life of my great grandfather's brother, Joseph Manley Fulford.

He was a fisherman in Carteret County NC and came to Cortez, FL in the early part of the 20th century, about 20 years after his siblings first moved there. Joe was a fisherman and lived in Cortez with his wife, Sallie Chapman Chadwick Fulford.

On Sunday, January 5, 1930 while he was asleep, his house was dynamited. This was done due to a feud between stopnetters and gillnetters. Joe was a gillnetter and there had been several incidents of nets being torn up, nets being burned with acid, cut up or set afire.

Stopnetting was controversial because it caught all the fish in the area and the fishermen who used gillnets didn't want the others to use stopnets. Three men (William Pearce, Albert Mora and Richard Posey) were arrested for trying to kill Joe but were not convicted.
Joseph Fulford was 64 years old when this happened and he moved back to North Carolina soon after. Everyone in Cortez is related in some way so the culprits, whoever they were, are probably related to Joe.

The North Carolina Fisheries Commission says a stop net is defined as a stationary net (not intended to gill fish) whose purpose is to impede the progress of schooling fish so that they can be harvested with a seine.

It is interesting that disputes between stopnet and gillnet fishermen is still going on today. I found this in a 2006 NC fisheries publication: "Gill netters and stop netters have historically been at odds over the allocation of the schools as they come down the beach. The mobile gill netters have set in front of and even within the stop nets, and the beach seiners are accused of harvesting an inordinate amount of the resource. In the mid-1980s, the use of spotter aircraft to direct the beach seiners when to strike the striped mullet schools was deemed unfair by gill netters and recreational fishermen alike. The vehicular traffic on the beach associated with stop nets (pickup trucks and tractors) is a source of controversy with beachfront residents, sea turtle activists and recreational fishermen."

The 1995 net ban in Florida was caused in part by negative publicity about stopnets and large seine fishing. But it is a way of fishing that has existed for hundreds of years. A 1880 publication by R. Edward Earll about fishing off the coast of Carteret County NC had this account.

The majority of the mullet fishermen were farmers from the mainland. "When the fishing season arrived," he said, "they leave their homes and proceed in gangs of four to thirty men to the seashore under the leadership of a "captain," who controls their movements... . On reaching the shore they at once build rude huts or cabins, in which they eat and sleep until the close of the season.

David Stick's "The Outer Banks of North Carolina" says "The men would post a lookout for mullet on the top of a large sand hill or a constructed lookout tower. When the men saw a school of fish, they would leave the post, walk down the beach and indicate the movements of the fish to other crew members with arm signals. Finally, at the proper signal from the lookout, the fishermen would launch their boat through the surf, and 'shoot' their seine in front of the approaching school of fish. After pulling in the schools of mullet, the men would take their catch by boat to fish houses.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What's with the guns?

Ever notice how many of the men who had their picture taken brought their gun along?

Was this a southern thing or did the men up north do this also?

Here are several photos I found of family members and their guns.

Sometimes they hold it up like they are proud of it and in others it's stuck in the belt and you might miss it if you don't look closely.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Married into the family

Considering that my mother was from Manatee County Florida and my dad from Taylor County Florida, 200 miles away there were unusual connections between their two families.

My mother's first cousin, Doris Adams married my dad's first cousin Woodrow Wilson Green in Cortez, Florida about 1933.

Then after the first cousin once removed of my mother, Lillie Mae Henderson died, her husband James Duncan Bryan married the first cousin, once removed of my dad, Malinda Gabrella Pridgeon in 1943 in Perry, Florida.

My parents met in Panama City, Florida neutral turf I guess, and married sixty one years ago today in Cortez, Florida.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Best Christmas Present

This isn't really about my genealogy research.

I have been doing Christmas shopping for the last couple weeks. Since our girls are grown and Cedric's list
is pretty long and specific, the only Christmas presents that require a lot of work are those for my nieces and nephews.

Shopping for them means finding something unique that parents or grandparents won't buy and something that can be shipped to them easily, since none of them live in our area.

It reminded me of the present I received from my Aunt Anna Dean and her husband Julian when I was about 9 or 10. I think it was right after they got married. Anna Dean had lived with us in Tallahassee while she was going to college so maybe she felt an obligation to buy a nice present that year. Maybe having a new husband helped.

Anyway, they gave me a remote control, gas powered Airplane. It was the largest and most expensive present I had ever received. The best I remember I never even got to use it. My parents convinced me it was not something I could use, too old for me, so they told me I should exchange it for something else.

I don't remember what I got from the exchange but remember the process. I took it to the toy store on Monroe Street in Tallahassee and they gave me almost $100 in credit. I think I went back there several times buying stuff before I used up all the store credit.