Sunday, February 13, 2011

Excursion to Anna Maria

Over 20 years ago I "met" Doyle Leffers via email. He was from North Carolina and was researching families in the Carteret County area. I was interested in the connection since several of my ancestors came from the area. He was able to give me a lot of information that helped me find my way on several family lines.

When he heard my family was from Cortez, Florida he asked if I had ever heard of any Leffers living there. At the time I had not and none of my family in the area knew of them.

He said they had lived there early in the 1900s and then moved away. I kept this information in mind and about 4 years ago came across some burial records for some of his Leffers relatives in Fort Myers, Florida. They moved there from Cortez in the early part of the century.

When I tried to contact him the email address bounced. I contacted several other Carteret County researchers and eventually found another email address for him. I made contact and found he had retired and moved to Mexico.

Just a few months ago the librarian at the Manatee County Historical Records Library found an old newspaper article from 1891 about Cortez, Florida and it was sent to me.

It mentioned my Great Grandfather, William Thomas Fulford (the reason they sent it to me) but to my surprise it also mentioned Capt. John C. Leffers. This is the family Doyle was looking for 20 years ago. I tried to send it to him but unfortunately his email address is bouncing again. It is an interesting read so I thought I would share it here.

August 6, 1891

Manatee River Journal

Excursion to Anna Maria

After our appointment at Braidentown on Sabbath, we went out after night service to visit our friend and Brother, Deacon S. J. Tyler. All who know Uncle Steve and that constitutes all the residents of our county appreciate the generous hospitality of himself and family, and I need not tell of how pleasantly I spent the hours of my visit with them.

By previous agreement with Bro. Tyler had promised to accompany be on a trip to Palma Sola bay, Hunter’s Point, Anna Maria or Palm Key, etc., so on Monday morning, we started out in his buggy, and behind his fine horse, to see these places I had long desired to visit.

Carrying a spade along with us we stopped a while at Palma Sola creek to examine the phosphate in the bed of this creek. Each shovel full of dirt revealed a number of bones and pebble phosphate, which shows the future possibilities of a bonanza in phosphate in this part of the county. The land examined belongs to Bro. Tyler, and he is offering this land, including his Palma Sola grove, situated on Palma Sola creek, at a great bargain.

We passed the home of Dr. Hayden, where we alighted for a few moments for a fresh draught of water, and then proceeded on our journey to Hunter’s Point, which we reached at 10 am. This Point is a beautiful front in the junction of Palma Sola and Sarasota bays and is Fisherman’s Town.

There are several neat residences on Hunter’s Point and a population of 21 persons as we learned from one of the residents. They are all engaged in fishing and were very busy, under several boat sheds, preparing their boats for commencing the business for the present season.

The fishing navy will consist of 40 boats owned by as many as six or seven companies or firms. The steamers, the Mistletoe, the Magnet and the Iola, will be employed in the transportation of fish, during the present season and the fisherman have already made contract for delivering at 1 ½ cents, an advance over former prices. I mention these facts that the readers of the JOURNAL may form some idea of the commerce in fish in Manatee County. But to proceed with our excursion.

On application Mr. W. T. Fulford kindly furnished us a boat to cross the bay to Anna Maria, a distance of about one mile. Neither Bro. Tyler nor myself were sailors so we secured the services of Capt. Robert Leffers, a boy of eleven summers, to sail us over the bay. In a very short time we landed and proceeded across the island at a narrow point of less than a quarter of a mile and stood on the beach were “the blue waters roll and the angry billows roam.” And for the first time in my life I was permitted to enjoy a surf bath. The incoming waves sported with Bro. T and myself as though we were toys and in the frolicsome glee for 15 minutes we returned to boyhood again, dashing and splashing amidst the sportive billows.

The bath was exquisitely refreshing and after bathing we employed the remaining moments on the beach in gathering a few shells; but as there had been no recent storm, could find none of much value.

On our return to the Point we found Capt. J.C. Leffers had anticipated our wants and caught for us a fine mess of pompano, which his kind lady stewed and fried as fisherman’s wives know how to prepare them after the most approved cuisine and we enjoyed a rare and excellent dinner.

Reader, do you know anything of the generous fisherman, and his kindness and hospitality? If not, you ought to get away sometime from the selfish world and visit a fisherman’s home.

We want to thank again our generous hosts, Capt Leffers and his kind lady, for their disinterested kindness and profuse hospitality. After dinner we took a jaunt to ascend the famous Hunter’s Mound, a mound of solid shell thrown up in the far ages of the past, beyond the memory of the Aborigines and by an unknown race.

The mound covers several acres of ground. Upon it’s summit there is growing a huge wild fig, measuring at the base over 2 feet in diameter. There is another curious tree bearing fruit, a tropical tree, but we do not know the name and Bro. Tyler could not tell us.

We took in the mountain or mound and proceeded back to Capt. Letters. Bro. Tyler suggested we should bare our feet and do a nearer route, through some shallow water at the base of the mound. So we pulled off our shoes and began to wade. But would you believe it, we struck water 100 deg. Fahrenheit just below the boiling point and two old me became suddenly as nimble as kittens, hurrying to reach the other shore.

It hardly seems credible that the sun’s rays could have made this water so hot. We wish come younger men would make an examination of this water so hot. We wish some younger men would make an examination of this water and see if we have not Hot Springs in Florida. If I was ingenious enough I would give our readers a wood cut of Bro Tyler and myself hurrying with our bare feet and legs, shoes in hand through his cauldron.

This ended out excursion, so taking leave of the fishermen, one of whom, Capt. Fulford gave us some fish to bring back with us, we returned to Bro. Tyler’s having a most pleasant buggy ride and sweet companionship on our return.

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