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.