Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Real Santa Claus

He didn't find his calling until late in life. In fact he already had finished a career in the US Navy and another as a Barber in a small Florida town. But when he decided to become Santa Claus he began to dance around even more than Frosty.

My great uncle, Walton Hugo Wilson was born May 15, 1924 in Oneco, Florida and died June 14, 2002 in Lecanto, Florida. His name was chosen by his older sister, my grandmother Edith. He was the youngest of seven and his mother told Edith, who was 18, she could name her brother. She named him after her two boyfriends.

Frank Wilson & Hugo Olson 1923
On the day her brother Walt was born Edith was making plans to marry Walton "Tink" Fulford and would do so three weeks later. Apparently Hugo Olson was still on her mind. This picture of her brother Frank Wilson with Hugo was in my grandmother's papers when she died.

Walt grew up in Cortez, Florida after his father died in 1933. He liked music and used to perform with the Culbreath family who later became famous as the "Cortez Grand Ole Opry." He was also a promoter of sorts. He made a wax record of them playing and took it to the radio station in St. Petersburg to get them to put the group on live. The first radio show was 45 minutes of just fiddle music because none of them would sing. Walt told them they needed to sing along so the next time he sang and they played the instruments. The Station must have liked it since they asked them to play every Saturday night. He had a radio voice so Walt also did the announcing when they played on the radio.

Walt joined the Navy during WW II and served as a Hospital Corpsman during the invasion of Iwo Jima. His unit suffered a 91% casualty rate. He said it was during the war that he picked up his skill as a barber. He would cut hair for his shipmates and became pretty good at it. He had worked in a barber shop back home in Oneco when he was a kid, sweeping up the clippings from the floor.

Walt outside barber shop 1979
When the Navy career ended he moved to Lecanto, Florida and worked at a barber shop in Crystal River. After a couple years the owner told him he was going to double the rent barbers paid, so Walt decided to build his own place. He built a one room, one chair barber shop next to his house. He did all the work himself, using 100 year old tongue and groove heart pine boards he salvaged from an old barn.

He opened the Whippoorwill Barber Shop on February 20, 1978 and ran it until 1992. Walt liked people and liked to talk. He said he would talk religion, politics, history or whatever came up.

Walt "Santa" Wilson 2001
After he closed the barber shop Walt started his 3rd career as Santa Claus. Like his others he had been practicing it before he started it up seriously. He came to visit my folks a couple times around Christmas and would always be in costume.

I remember one cold night when we had Christmas supper at my aunt Annie's house in Sarasota and Walt was standing out in her yard waving at the cars as they drove by. Annie and Julian always had a huge Christmas light display that stopped traffic on their street. Having a real life Santa didn't hurt their popularity at all.

Walt dressed up and made the rounds at schools, nursing homes and anyplace else that would let him in the door. He had white hair and the beard year round. His personality was perfect for the job. He always had a funny story or joke to tell and loved kids.

Walt married Freida Oliff King on November 5, 1954 in the Northside Church of Christ in Jacksonville, Florida. She died in 2011, nine years after him and they are both buried in the Magnolia Cemetery in Lecanto, Florida.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Eaten by worms

There are several deaths in the Bible which are popular with young boys. Back in the day, when I taught 7th grade boys in Sunday School, they actually listened if we were reading one of them. Probably the worst is the one about King Herod being eaten by worms.

I came across a similar story doing family research. James William Mann was born April 20, 1859 in Sterns County, Minnesota and died October 19, 1908 in Cortez, Florida. He was a carpenter and boat builder and moved to Cortez in the 1890s from Longboat Key, Florida. His father was one of the earliest settlers on Longboat Key and lived in a crude house made of palm tree branches.
Thomas Mann House

James Mann married Elizabeth Vashti Sauders on January 20, 1889 and their son Harry Thomas Mann married my grandmother's first cousin Addice Eugenia Wilson.

The story is that James was very fond of eating raw shell fish and from this developed a disease that killed him. His entire body was infested with the worms. He told people he first knew something was wrong when a small nodule appeared on his arm that itched. He opened it with a knife and a tiny worm crawled out. 

He went to Tampa for treatment but they didn't know how to cure him or keep it from spreading and he died soon after.

They folks in Cortez packed his body in a big tin box full of ice and laid him out in the front yard. They took him to Bradenton for an autopsy which was preformed by Dr. Hubbard Gates.

Robert King, a physician who wrote a history of the area said it was done in the drugstore. The autopsy showed the cause of death as "proliferating custode larvae in man." 

James Mann was buried in the Major Adam's Cemetery in Bradenton, just a few rows away from my Wilson family members.

I first heard the story in a 1993 interview of my mother's cousin Doris Adams Green.    

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Grandpa's Cradle

My Dad made this 30 yrs ago when our first child was born. She wasn't his first grandchild but she had the good timing to be born after he started woodworking as a hobby. His hobby didn't last long so this is one of the few remaining signs of it.

The cradle has traveled around from Bradenton to Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Miami, Memphis, Searcy, Atlanta, Warrenton and Dover.

It was the first bed for our daughters and a bunch of nieces and nephews. It is now getting ready for a trip to Philadelphia for our first grandchild!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mailman in the Family

Mail delivery or at least post offices seem to run in the Lundy family in Florida. One reason may have been the Civil War service of three Lundy brothers. Two of the three served in the Confederate army but quit and with their younger brother joined the Union army. My great grandfather William Lundy was the younger brother.

Jim Lundy Post Office

Post Office jobs back in the 1800s were lucrative political appointments. It would be assumed they went to Union veterans in the South after the Civil War but in this case the privilege lasted a couple generations.

William Lundy's son James William Washington Lundy was appointed the postmaster in Parrish Florida and ran it out of his general store. This photo was taken around 1910.

William Lundy's older brother Mathew Washington Lundy was appointed Postmaster in Perry, Florida in the 1890s and then passed it on to two of his sons.

Thomas Washington Lundy was appointed in 1906 and James Hindley Lundy in 1909. This photo from 1909 shows Thomas Lundy and his family in front of the post office in Perry. The family lived upstairs.

I also found these articles in the Tampa newspaper announcing their appointments as Postmaster.

April 10, 1906 Tampa Tribune


February 20, 1909  Tampa Tribune

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tinker's Nursery

You can barely read the sign but it says "Tinker's Nursery" It is being held by my aunts Irene on the left and Belinda on the right. Standing behind are my uncle Wayne and aunt Anna Dean.

The picture was taken about 1949. They are dressed up and the girls are wearing flowers so it must have been a special occasion.

The sign was made by the girls to advertise my Grandpa Walton "Tink" Fulford's nursery business. He was a commercial fisherman but also grew palm trees.
He started the nursery business in 1947. My uncle Ralph said Tink bought 2,000 coconuts from a nursery in Miami and had the fish house workers plant the seeds on empty lots around his house. Two years later he started selling the trees for five to seven dollars each.

My uncle Wayne said he remembers in the 1950s going to the beach with a large scow, a flat bottomed boat they normally used to haul large loads of fish. Tink had them shovel it full of beach sand to bring back next to the fish house so they could plant coconut seeds in the sand. Tink thought they would grow better in the sand. After the trees got a foot or so high they transplanted them to other lots he owned around the area. In the winter of 1958 Florida had a hard freeze that killed off the coconut trees. Wayne said they had to dig up all the dead trees and then plant seeds all over again. By the time I was old enough to work at the fish dock they were back and I remember having to hoe the weeds around them.

Tink raised mostly cabbage and coconut palms, gathering seeds from the fruit that fell from his trees to grow new ones.

He also grew large Royal Palms and some more unusual varieties. He had several Travelers Palms next to the house which held gallons of water inside, or they did until a boy with a knife came by.

I'd never heard my Grandpa called Tinker before. It was always Tink. At this point, no one knows how he got the nickname. I've asked all my aunts and uncles and my mother's cousins. Irene doesn't remember why they put Tinker on the sign.

Most everyone in Cortez had a nickname and if they didn't someone gave them one. There was a Tater, Cooter, Hoot, Clam Digger, Big and Little Bubbas, Boogie, Bunks, Snooks, Pig, Rat, Sweetpea, Gator, Shorty, Moldy and a Ham Bone just to name a few. I guess with that crowd the provenance of the name wasn't very important.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fifty Years

This isn't connected to my family history research, just common memories of this day 5o years ago that some of us have.

I saw a news article this week with a photo of a woman with old clippings and it reminded me that I had some of those. This one was actually dated November 22, 1963. I guess the Tallahassee paper printed a special edition that afternoon.

I was in elementary school that day and remember my cousin Don Parramore, who was a Florida State University Policeman, coming to pick up my cousin, sister and me. School had been dismissed early. At that point of that day there were all kinds of rumors about a conspiracy, possible war, Cuba and Russia being involved. Being in Florida we still had leftover sand bags in our attic to protect against Cuban missiles. Don didn't want us to be home alone. Thankfully it was the only day in my life I left school in a police car.

What you were doing and where you were at when you heard the news used to be a common question but you don't hear it much these days. I realized this week that most of the people around, at church, work and even those on the TV news weren't even born that day.

Come on CBS, how about letting Dan Rather have some time tonight to bring it back for those of us who spent the weekend glued to the black and white TVs and give the others a glimpse of what it was like.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Three Faces

I recently received a new photo of my great great grandfather, James Henderson Hogan. He was born in 1835 in Stewart County Georgia and died in 1918 in Taylor County Florida.

My third cousin who lives in Maine had the picture. It came from his grandmother who was one of the last in that generation and ended up with many family photos. Folks often say the youngest daughter ends up with family bibles & photos and I've found that to be true.

This must have been taken when he was in his 60s in the 1890s or so since his beard is long and white. This is the 3rd photo I have of him, which is very unusual for a family member from that period.

The same cousin sent me this 2nd picture a couple years ago. He is much younger in it and it was probably taken in the 1860s.

This last photo was in the Andrew Green family bible, belonging to James Hogan's daughter Rebecca. My Dad's cousin Hubert had the old bible and I was able to make a copy of the photo in 2001. It was probably taken around 1915 when he was almost 80 years old.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Smile for the Camera

I have to admit I've always enjoyed taking photos more than being in them. That being said, I do understand the permanency of a photo. What's there is there.

I've never understood when someone would make a face just as their picture was being taken. Don't they understand that is what it will show or do they think the person will throw it away if they don't look good?

These two photos were obviously taken on the same day at my Grandpa Green's house in Perry, Florida, in the mid 1950s. I don't know which was first but the one with him alone shows him, not exactly smiling but sitting dignified in a lawn chair while his son Alton took the photo. You can't really see it in the photo but he is dressed up with a bow tie on.

This second shot has Alton's wife Dinah sitting on the side of the chair and him not very happy looking at all. I have no idea why he made such a face. As far as I know he liked Dinah and she was certainly the best looking woman who would sit in his lap that day.

Era Dinah Dorough was born in 1903 in Tallassee, Elmore County Alabama to Fleet Cooper and Mary Susan Graden Dorough. She and my uncle Alton Green were married in 1951 in Jacksonville, Florida and then again 12 years later. They got a divorce in between but I don't remember that event. They split up for good in 1966.  

Dinah was very friendly and since neither she or Alton ever had children, took to the four in our family. I remember them always bringing some kind of gift, even if it was just a large box of candy. Alton owned a candy vending business in Jacksonville so he always came bearing gifts fit for a 10 year old boy.

Dinah moved to live with her sister Ruby Martin in Hickory, North Carolina after the divorce and was there when she died in 1988. She is buried in the Hopewell United Methodist Church Cemetery in Catawba County.    

An interesting fact about these photos. The 2nd one is the only one I knew about until just recently. It was the one Alton kept and when he died at my parent's home in 1976 my Dad ended up with it.

The first photo (the good one) Alton sent to his niece and my cousin, Doris Green Parramore, in Tallahassee. After she died it ended up with her daughter Karen and she sent me a copy of it earlier this year.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Still a Viking

I was looking at my DNA results recently after they announced they had improved them and was surprised at the results.

It now shows my ancestor's ethnicity is 70% from Great Britain. What happened? They used to show me as 97% Scandinavian. Now I am only 12%.

They say this 70% is more than what a typical native from Great Britain would have as they are only coming in at 60%.  All those British war brides I suppose...

Frankly I was kind of happy before to have Scandinavian heritage. I would rather claim a connection to one of the Viking invaders than the Wimbledon crowd.

I guess I will have to look for evidence that one of my Viking grandfather's found a wife on the Island and settled down there. That would be a plausible explanation for the test results.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

William H. Adams

William H. Adams was my gg grandfather. He was born in 1837 to Elijah Adams and Sarah Mann in the Bogue Sound area of Carteret County North Carolina.
In 1868 he married Hope Jane Foreman and my great grandmother Sallie Adams was born two years later.
He is listed on the 1870 census in Newport, North Carolina but by time of the 1880 census Hope was listed as a widow. The 1870 census below shows they had a son Alexander who apparently died young.
1870 ADAMS WILLIAM Carteret County NC 231 Newport Township Federal Population Schedule NC 1870 Federal Census Index NC5231135
Jane 25 wife
Alexander 10/12 son
State: NC Year: 1870
County: Carteret County
Township: Newport Township
Page: 231

I don't know what happened to William Adams. There are a lot of Adams and Mann family members in the area. Many are buried in the Harlowe Methodist Church Cemetery where Hope's family members are buried. I can't find any record of him after the 1870 census.
I think this Civil War muster roll is him but I am not sure. It shows him enlisting in the 2nd Light Artillery Regiment on November 7, 1861. This was also known as the 36th Regiment Volunteers. If this is him it is the only paper record, other than the marriage and census records.
The Family Search web page put some old North Carolina Probate records online but there is no index and I haven't gotten motivated to search page by page through the 1,145,307 pages. I might check at the Carteret County Court if I have some free time next on the next visit.
I've also looked all the cemetery listings in the area including the WPA survey from 1937 and couldn't find him or his parents. Maybe one day they will turn up.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sister Act

My grandfather, Tink Fulford was the youngest son of nine children in his family. He had four sisters and they were the only siblings surviving along with him when this photo was taken on the dock of Fulford Fish Company in Cortez, Florida.

The picture was taken during a family reunion, probably in 1963 or 1964. Tink organized the family reunions almost every summer.

The print isn't very good and this was the best I could do with it. I don't know who took it or if a negative is still available.

The oldest child in the family and the sister on Tink's left is Dora Jane Fulford Adams. She was born in 1889 on Perico Island in Manatee County and died in 1969. She married Willis Asbury Adams, who fished and also managed fish houses in Cortez. They had ten children but one died at birth. Dora was buried in the Palma Sola Cemetery in Bradenton near her parents.

On Tink's right is Bessie Fulford Evans Henning who was born in 1899 in Cortez and died in 1973 in St. Petersburg, Florida. She and her first husband, John Cecil Evans had four children. He was a fisherman in Cortez and then ran a fish house in St. Petersburg. Later she married William A. Henning. She is buried in the Royal Palm Cemetery in St. Petersburg.

On the far right is Grace Mae Fulford Guthrie. She was born in born in 1906 in Cortez and died in 1976.  She married James Ottaway Guthrie who was born in North Carolina, moved to Cortez in the 1920s and ran a fish house in Manatee County. His middle name was for Otway Burns who was a famous North Carolina Privateer in the War of 1812 and distant relative. Over the years someone misspelled the name and it took. They had five children. Grace is buried in Palma Sola Cemetery

On the far left is Sally "Sissy" Fulford Moore. She was born in 1907 in Cortez and died in 1992. She and her husband John Allen Moore had three children. They owned Moore's Stone Crab Restaurant on Longboat Key, Florida. She was the one I knew the best and always enjoyed when she was around. I can remember taking fish to the restaurant many times when I was working at Fulford Fish as a kid. She is also buried in the Palma Sola Cemetery.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Caught in High Water

I have a distant cousin on Facebook who lives in Alabama and he has posted photos several times of the flooding around his home. If they get a heavy rain he has a good chance of water standing in the yard and if it rains too long he'll have TV crews parked in the driveway waiting for a story.

Alabama Floods - Harper's Weekly April 17, 1886

It reminded me of a story about my wife's gg grandfather John Wiley. He was born August 3, 1809 in Rhone County Tennessee and died January 2, 1886 near Chulafinnee, Alabama. He had the misfortune to be caught in the worst flooding Alabama has had recorded since 1814.

According to the US Geological Survey the Alabama River in Montgomery was recorded at 160.6 feet in April of that year, which is 24.7 feet over flood stage.  

The family story is that he had gone to Chulafinnee about 50 miles from his home in Bluff Springs, Alabama to teach Sunday School in the local church. He died in the flood and because of the high water they couldn't bring his body back home.

He is buried in the Chulafinnee Methodist Church Cemetery.

The inscription on his marker says:

Sacred to the memory of John Wiley.
The remains of his wife Susanah Wiley are buried near Gibsonville, Clay Co., Al.

Dear Father, we have to bid thee adieu, for death has parted us and you. As we are now, so once was you. As you are now, soon we shall be.

The Lord has been your Shepard true and carried you Home to Heaven to live.

O, May we our labor do, and prepare to meet you in Heaven too.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hilda Carlton

Hilda Carlton isn't a relative. I have some connection to the Carlton family by marriage but not to her side of the family

I saw her death notice on the same newspaper page that listed the death of a relative. The details were so unusual I thought she should have some recognition.

She was born on February 20, 1920 and died on May 12, 1921. Her parents were Isaac Steven and Ethel Morey Carlton of Manatee County Florida. I found her name and dates on the death certificate.

Manatee River Journal Thursday, May 19, 1921


Saturday, September 21, 2013

More Indian Murders

This newspaper article that mentions my gg grandfather, William Rowell was in the Natchez Daily Courier, (Natchez, MS) on Wednesday, April 03, 1839. He was a Captain in the Florida Militia during the Indian Wars.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Good news again

I wrote a story a while back about trying to find the birth mother for one of my cousins. This is one of the few times when I don't name names.

About a month ago she gave me some new information about the father. This changed the location of where to search for him and some leads about where his extended family was living in 1960.

Fast forward to searching online family trees, Census, city directories, telephone listings, Facebook friends and a few Google searches and I was able to locate him in a Northwestern State.

Unfortunately the father passed away a few years ago but now there are three new sisters for my cousin to meet and get to know. There is also an 81 year old aunt in the City of Brotherly Love who can meet her new niece.

Even if the family connections don't work out, it gives my cousin some answers and helps her know something about her birth family.

It also gave me a break from searching for dead relatives and I was able to find and talk to some who are still breathing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Following Henry

William Henry Evans was the first cousin of my grandfather Millard Fillmore Green. He was born four years earlier, on November 28, 1876 in Taylor County Florida and died one year before JFK on November 22, 1962.

I don't know if he and my grandfather stayed in touch as adults. I never heard his name before I started doing genealogy research. Early on in life they lived together.

William was living with my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Green's family on the 1880 census and nearby with Andrew's father in law James Henderson Hogan on the 1885 census. By then he was an orphan.

His father, John Evans had died around 1879 and his mother, Samantha Green Evans died in October 1884. William and his brother John David Evans ended up with their grandmother, Sarah Strickland Green and both moved to Suwanee County Florida.

I found his grandmother and brother on the 1900 census in Taylor County but William wasn't living with them. He showed up on the 1910 census in Suwanee County Florida and by then he was married on his own. Until just recently I couldn't find any record of him after that.

New Harmony Methodist Church Cemetery put copies of military grave marker applications online earlier this year and I found one that seemed to match him. It showed he had served in the Spanish American War in 1898 with the 1st Florida Regiment. The Florida Regiment never made it to Cuba. They were stationed in the Tampa area drilling to take part in the invasion of Havana but Teddy R won the war before they could get down there.

His military service would explain why he wasn't with his grandmother on the 1900 census. I wasn't sure this was his record even then because the wife listed wasn't the one I had found with him on the 1910 census. That wife was named Minnie Evelena Bass and she was from Taylor County also. The wife listed on the grave marker application was shown as Ethel.

I decided to start looking for him in other parts of Florida and soon found a trail that would take him around the State.

In 1918 he filled out a WWI Draft registration card while living in St. Petersburg. On the 1920 census he was working on a fruit farm in Elfers, Pasco County Florida. There was a 1936 divorce record in Lake County which explained why Minnie wasn't around when he died. Then I found a 1938 record in Suwanee County showing he married Ethel Verdie High. On the 1940 census he and Ethel were living in Suwanee County and he was listed as a farmer. He died in 1962 in Pinellas County, I assume at the Bay Pines VA Hospital. He was buried in Suwanee County at the New Harmony Methodist Church Cemetery.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Old Soldiers Home

I've written several times about my great uncle William Burgess Fulford. The Florida Archives recently put some records from the Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home in Jacksonville online.

The Old Soldiers Home was opened in 1893 and provided a place to live for aged Confederate veterans until the last one died in 1938. The home was run by the State but the money to build it was donated by the United Confederate Veterans (a group of CW veterans) and two descendant groups, Sons of Confederate veterans and Daughters of the Confederacy.

During the years it was open the home had a resident population that ranged from forty seven to three. After it closed the home was sold and the money donated to the State of Florida to endow scholarships at Florida State College for Women and the University of Florida.

William Fulford enlisted June 3, 1861 in the 2nd North Carolina Infantry. He was wounded and taken prisoner on November 7, 1863 at Kelly's Ford, Virginia. He was sent to the POW camp at Point Lookout Maryland and held there for a year and a half.

He moved to Florida in 1888 about the same time his nephews settled the fishing village of Cortez, Florida. I found him listed in several articles in the Tampa, Florida newspaper. Once in 1909 said he was charged with selling goods out of a wagon on the street without a license. The Judge ruled that as a War Veteran he didn't need a license but told him to get a permit from the Mayor so the Police wouldn't bother him again.

He was living in Tampa, listed as a Sewing Machine Repairman on the 1910 census. At 70 years of age on June 21, 1912 he sent in this Application for Membership with the Florida Confederates Home so he could live there.

His application said that during the war he had received gunshot wounds to the abdomen and testicles and that his arm was broken and never set. A physician documented his injuries and said he was unable to work. The application was approved on July 12, 1912.

He lived in the Old Soldiers Home until December 25, 1924 when he passed away. He is buried in the Confederate Plot of the Old Jacksonville City Cemetery.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Parole of Honor

These papers are from the Confederate Army file of my wife's great great grandfather, David Glenn.
The first one came from the enlistment ledger of the 22nd Alabama Infantry Company K. It shows he was 5 foot 11 inches tall, had dark completion, grey eyes and had dark hair.
22nd Alabama Infantry Regiment Company K
David Glenn was born on April 17, 1828 in Morgan County, Georgia and died October 18, 1908 in School Hill, Texas. He is buried in the School Hill Cemetery.

This document shows on July 17, 1863 he was given a Furlough of 45 days to go home based on General Orders number 69. I don't know what was wrong with him, there isn't any other mention of it in his file.
Confederate Army General Order number 69 was issued on May 28, 1863 to allow soldiers who were in Confederate hospitals either sick or wounded to go home and recover. They had to be certified by a physician as having a serious medical problem.
Later in the war this order was blamed for a shortage of troops because so many failed to return once they were allowed to leave. 


On May 24, 1865, a month after Lee surrendered at Appomattox, David Glenn signed this Parole of Honor, saying he would not give aid, support or information to the enemies or opposers of the United States until I am duly and properly exchanged.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Don't Expect a Card on Father's Day

David Jasper Mimbs was the husband of my great aunt, Laura Matilda Wilson. He was born in 1868 and died on August 29, 1927.

He died of natural causes but folks had planned another end for him. Jasper was convicted of the 1916 murder of Allan Dallas Buey in Polk County, Florida. He almost went to the gallows in Bartow like his son but with a slick defense got a life sentence instead.

Allan Buey was going to marry Jasper's step daughter Lula Mae, Laura's daughter from her first marriage. The trial report showed that Jasper talked his son into shooting Buey because he had a crush on her himself and then he testified against his son. He also claimed his son signed a confession that he alone had been involved and his father was innocent. The only problem is the son couldn't read or write.

Somehow Jasper got a pardon after his son's hanging and was sent to the State Prison in Raiford. On the 1920 census he is listed there as a farmer. He died seven years later and was buried in the prison cemetery.

The newspaper articles tell the story.

The Lake Wales Highlander

April 5, 1917

Father And Son Are Convicted

Ed and Jasper Mimbs Found Guilty of Murder in First Degree After a Lengthy Trial

After a trial which lasted for five days, Ed. Mimbs, charged with the murder of A. D. Buey  on the 17th of December, and his father, Jasper, indicted as an accessory in the crime, were both found guilty of murder in the first degree, the jury bringing in a verdict  at about three o'clock Tuesday afternoon, after being out about three hours.

On account of the publicity which the murder had received and the large number of people  acquainted with the defendants in the east end of the county, considerable difficulty was  experienced in obtaining a jury, it taking nearly all of last Thursday to secure men satisfactory  to the attorneys. The evidence showed that while Ed. Mimbs had actually fired the shots from  ambush which had killed Mr. Buey, he was aided and abetted in the planning of the murder by his father.

The State prosecuting attorney Burton had a strong case of circumstantial evidence against the  accused and handled the proceedings in a masterly way. He was greatly assisted it the conduct  of the case by J. T. Parker, of Lake Wales. The courtroom was crowded with interested  spectators nearly the entire time the trial was in progress, and when the verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree was brought in by the jury, it was the  universal opinion that the verdict was a most just one. Sentence has not yet been passed.

Many Lake Wales people were in attendance  at the trial, as both the murdered man and the defendants were well known here.

The Lake Wales Highlander

April 25, 1918

Father And Son To Hang

Governor Catts on last Friday signed the death warrants of Ed and Jasper Mimbs who were  convicted last March for the murder of E. F. Boewe at Peace Valley, and they will be executed  at Bartow on May 17th. Boewe was waylaid and shot on Sunday morning, December 16, 1916.

Evening Post May 17, 1918

Augusta Chronicle Saturday, June 1, 1918

Tampa Tribune April 8, 1919

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sent Home to Die

Richard Whitehurst Fulford was the brother of my gg grandfather David. He was born on May 11, 1843 and died December 17, 1904. He lived his entire life (except for his war years) on the Straits in Carteret County, North Carolina.

Carolina Observer May 19, 1862
I've made contact over the years with several of his descendants who are also doing family history research.

During the Civil War, Richard enlisted as a Sergeant on June 1, 1861 in Company D, 5th North Carolina Infantry Regiment.

His enlistment papers show he was 26 years old, Eyes - Blue; Hair - Dark; Complexion - Fair; Height - 6' 0"; Occupation - Ship Carpenter.

So he was a boat builder! That would fit nicely with him living on the Straits across from Harker's Island.

A year after he enlisted he was wounded and captured as a POW on May 5, 1862 in the Battle of Williamsburg, VA.

He had a serious gunshot wound to his left thigh and was taken to the US Army General Hospital on Camden Street in Baltimore, MD on May 14, 1862.

I found these newspaper articles that tell about the Battle of Williamsburg and the first one from May 19, 1863 said he was killed. (it is difficult to read but his name is the first one listed as killed at the bottom)

The 2nd article several months later reported he was wounded and still alive.

He remained in the hospital which was fortunate because so many of the POWs died in the prison camps.

I have a letter written by his brother William Burgess Fulford to my grandfather. William was being held as a POW at Point Lookout in Maryland and mentions that he had heard Richard was still in the hospital.

Because of his wounds Richard was sent to Fort Monroe, VA and exchanged (released to go home) on December 31, 1862.

The family story is the Yankees sent him home to die, but he didn't accommodate them.
Carolina Observer July 14, 1862

He remained in the Confederate Army, although unable to return to combat. He went back on active duty on March 10, 1964 and was shown as a Mechanic on the muster role.

On a January 1865 muster roll he was assigned to the Quartermasters Department in Goldsboro, NC. By the end of the war he had been promoted to Captain.

After the war he went home to the Straits and married Maria Jane Gaskill on February 1, 1866. They had six children.

Richard was listed as a Farmer on later census records, living next door to his brother David.

The first time we visited the area, about ten years ago, I found his grave marker in the Fulford - Pigott Cemetery on Sleepy Point Road in Carteret County.

This property had been settled by the Fulford family in the 1600s.

Richard's youngest son, Alvin Willis Fulford never married and when he died at age 96 on May 20, 1976, he was the last Fulford living on the Straits.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Subbing In

Daniel Nixon Cox was the husband of my great aunt, Keziah Blanchard. He was born on April 27, 1827 in Onslow County North Carolina and died on March 5, 1910 in Mayo, Florida.

Daniel and Keziah Cox

He moved to Taylor County Florida in 1859. After his wife Beneter died, he married Keziah Blanchard on June 16, 1874 in Taylor County Florida. She had been married before to William James Smart who died around 1870.

Daniel Cox was a farmer and was listed as the Taylor County Judge on the 1880 census. The records in Perry, Florida show him as the County Judge from 1878 to 1881.

During the Civil War he enlisted as a Private in Company E, 5th Florida Infantry Regiment on March 3, 1862. He then did what men with money had done since the Revolutionary War, found someone else to serve in his place.

Daniel Cox Record
His service record shows he hired a man named David Vickory as a substitute and on July 16, 1862 Cox was discharged.

David Vickory served for over two years but was wounded in The Battle of the Wilderness in Orange County Virginia and died on August 1, 1864. I couldn't find him on the 1860 census so don't know if he had a family.

David Vickory Record

Hiring a sub to avoid going to war was not new and was popular during the Revolutionary war also. When the Federal draft law was enacted after the start of the Civil War men up north avoided the Union army by paying a fee of $300 to another who would then enlist on their behalf. John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, Grover Cleveland who later served as President and many others took advantage of this to avoid serving in the war. If you remember all the bad press about Clinton and Bush and the way they dodged going to Viet Nam, can you imagine what would have been said if they had just hired someone to go for them?

Daniel Cox originally filed for a Confederate pension in 1901 and it was approved on January 11, 1902. He was paid $120 per year.

In 1909 the State of Florida passed a new Confederate pension law so he was required to reapply and this time he was denied. They said because he had hired a substitute after just a couple months of service, he was not entitled to a pension.

Daniel's son, Edward William Cox, appealed the decision. Edward had married Keziah Blanchard's daughter from her first marriage, Columbia Smart so there are several family connections here. Edward sent a five page handwritten letter to the pension board. He also had a local attorney write a letter but both were turned down. 
Letter from Governor

Edward didn't stop at that, he wrote another five page letter to Governor Albert Waller Gilchrist on November 16, 1909. Just three days later the Governor wrote back, saying Daniel Cox was not entitled to the pension because he had not served the minimum time required in the new law of one year in Confederate Army service.

Daniel and Keziah are buried in the Corinth Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Madison County Florida.

With all the applications appeals and letters, Daniel Cox's Civil War pension file is one of the largest I have found. The last thing in it was from 1969 when his great grandson Ernest Cox wrote to the State for copies of his grandfather's service records.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Family Reunion

We had a Green Family reunion last week in Cortez, Florida. This is the 4th time we have been together since my Dad died. We decided in 2004 to try to have one for the immediate family every couple years and have done pretty good with that plan.

This year we were very glad to have several Green family relatives who connect via my grandfather Millard Fillmore Green's siblings.

This photo was taken on the porch of my great grandparent's house that was built in 1907.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Treat Him Kindly

This contact from 1864 was in the Fulford family papers in the North Carolina Archives.

David W. Fulford was my great great grandfather. He didn't serve in the Civil War because he was too old when it started. By the time the Confederate Army drafted the old men, his part of North Carolina was in control of the Union Army.

The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in Southern States, where it could be enforced.

In 1864 David Fulford entered into this contract with George Gaylor, a freed slave and his two daughters to work on his farm located on the Straits in Carteret County. Since the area was under Union Army control he had to have the contract approved by military authorities.

Contract for Labor

The undersigned Freed Laborer hereby agrees for and in consideration of receiving per month 30 lbs. of pork, 5 bushels of corn or meal, ½ gal of Molasses and Quarters. To work himself and his daughters, Jane and Emily Jones until December 1, 1864 for David W. Fulford on his farm situated on the eastern part of the Straits Carteret County, NC And the undersigned David W. Fulford agrees to furnish the above rations and quarters and to treat him kindly.

David W. Fulford
George Gaylor – his mark

Richard Dillon
Capt. VRC (Veterans Reserve Corps) Asst Supt

David Fulford wasn't listed as a slave owner on the 1860 census. His mother Susan who lived next door had an 18 year old female, probably working in the house.

I tried to locate George Gaylor and his daughters on subsequent records to see what happened to them, but came up empty. There is an Anthony Gaylord on the 1870 census in the City of Beaufort, NC shown as born in 1829 and working as a Seaman. There aren't any daughters named Jane or Emily. I couldn't find any record of Jane or Emily Jones either. I suspect that after the war they all moved out of the area.

Captain Richard Dillon who signed off on the contract was born in Ireland in 1832 and died April 11, 1881 in Washington, DC. He is buried at the Old Cathedral Cemetery in Philadelphia.

The following bio was listed on findagrave for Dillon: A Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. Served in the Civil War as a Captain in the 115th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He lost an arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville (May 3, 1863), After which he transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corps, serving in the 14th VRC and the 12th VRC. He was brevetted Brigadier General, US Volunteers on March 13, 1865 for "gallant and meritorious services during the war". His brevet was not commissioned after its appointment, but it was confirmed by the Senate on March 3, 1869 in the last batch of Civil War brevet promotions issued.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Family Intervention

You don't often find one of your family members involved in national politics, especially trying to choose a President.

July 7, 1948 Stars and Stripes

This newspaper article from the July 7, 1948 issue of Stars and Stripes quotes General Dwight David Eisenhower when he declined to seek the 1948 Democratic Presidential nomination. It came in response to a letter written to him by Hugh Monroe Sutton of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Hugh was born in Perry, Florida on October 30, 1907 and died in Fort Lauderdale in June 1967.  His parents were Hugh Monroe Sutton, Sr. and Cora Hassel. His great grandmother, Mary Ezell Sutton was the sister of my ggg grandmother, Holly Ezell Blanchard.

The same issue of Stars and Stripes quoted Florida Senator Claude Pepper (also from Perry) who said the Democratic party should nominate Eisenhower anyway. Pepper said he was sure the General would accept the nomination if he didn't have to run for it and that he would easily be elected to the Presidency. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Melvin's War

Melvin Hunter Brown is a distant relative by marriage who I never met. He was the 2nd husband of Doris Harris who had married a first cousin of my grandmother Edith Wilson, Elam Ralph Henderson.

I only write about Melvin because of the unusual inscription on his grave marker.

He has a military marker and is shows he was a Private in the US Army during the Mexican War. Not something you would think twice about except that he was born in 1893 and the Mexican War was fought in 1846-1848. Many of the generals in the Civil War got their first combat experience in Mexico.

Melvin Brown was born in Oxford, Mississippi and married Doris Harris Henderson in 1939.

Melvin's WWI draft registration card which he filled out in 1918 while living in Plant City, Florida says he had already served three months in the US Army.

I found his obituary from 1979 and it said he was a veteran of the Mexican Border War.

Not having much interest in Texas when I took US History in 7th grade I don't know if this war was mentioned or not. Apparently we sent troops to the Texas and New Mexico border in 1910 during the last (I think) Mexican Revolution and they fought a couple times with both the Mexican Army and Revolutionaries over the next few years.

I suppose in twenty years we will see military grave markers with an inscription showing service in the Grenada War and people will wonder what about that too.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Grandpa's Carry Permit

This gun carry permit was given to my great great grandfather David W. Fulford in 1867 in Carteret County, North Carolina.

It was just two years after the end of the Civil War, they were still occupied by the Union Army and Reconstruction was starting up. I guess the troops didn't like to see armed civilians running around so anyone who wanted a gun had to get approval. This document was found in the North Carolina Archives.

Beaufort, NC
December 26, 1867

Permission is hereby granted to D. W. Fulford to carry a gun for the purpose of hunting game on the Shores and Shoals of Core Sound, Carteret County from December 26, 1867 to April 30th 1868.

We've visited several times and are members of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harker's Island, NC. It's a great community achievement that is preserving and highlighting not just the hunting history of the area but the local culture. I have a couple duck decoys made by Core Sounders. I don't know if David Fulford made his own decoys but I suspect he did.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Loss of Sunshine

Robert (Bob) and George Weston Rettie grew up in Chicago with a father working as an Engineer on the railroad. Both were in the Coast Guard during WWII. That experience on the water must have motivated them to try their hand at commercial fishing.

St Petersburg Times Sept 23 1946
They bought a 66 foot sailing yacht in Illinois after the war ended. They sailed it down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico and then on to Cortez, Florida. There they converted the Yawl into a deep sea fishing boat. They installed an auxiliary motor and insulated holds to store ice and the fish they planned to catch.

The maiden trip of the Sunshine didn't go so well. It exploded and sunk 38 miles off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida on Friday September 20, 1946. Bob Rettie, the only survivor from the four man crew, said the boat struck a mine, left over from those the Navy had placed in the Gulf to prevent German U-Boats from coming in Tampa Bay.

St Petersburg Times Sept 24 1946

Killed in the explosion and sinking were John Van Leer of Bradenton Beach and Warren “Buddy” Lincoln Wilson of Cortez. Buddy was my grandmother's brother. Missing and presumed drowned was Frank Lilliquist of Cortez.

They were fishing for Grouper and had already caught a boat load. The left Cortez on Wednesday and the explosion happened Friday night.

According to Rettie, the explosion caused a huge fire and the blast threw 300 pound blocks of ice through the bulkhead. The Sunshine sank almost immediately but then the Pilot house, torn loose from the hull bobbed to the surface. Rettie and Wilson were able to swim to it and crawl on top. Van Leer had lost both hands to the fire so Rettie had to swim several hundred feet to get to him and bring him back to the makeshift lifeboat. Both Wilson and Van Leer were severely burned and Rettie tied them to the raft to keep them from falling off.

St Petersburg Times Sept 27 1946
Van Leer died Saturday afternoon and Wilson died later Saturday night. The men were found Sunday around 11 am by another fishing boat.

Some debris floated up on Anna Maria Island about a week later but the boat itself was never seen again. Rettie told authorities the explosion was caused by a mine and was on the stern of the boat, away from the engine and gas tank.

Just a couple days later his brother George was quoted in the paper asking people to report any debris they found. He was hoping to find the Pilot house and prove the explosion was from a Navy mine. If they could do that, then the Government would compensate for the loss of life and the boat. Since the Sunshine was never found that never happened.

Warren Lincoln Wilson was born on July 4, 1915 in Oneco, Florida to Ben and Ida Wilson. He married Dorothy Michael in 1936 and they had three children living when he died in 1946. He served as a Private in the Army during WWII. He was buried next to his brother Leroy in the Manasoto Cemetery in Bradenton.

The Rettie brothers left Cortez after the loss of the Sunshine. Bob moved to Tampa and his brother George moved to Miami.