P. Marlin August 2018
As a lifelong resident of North Central Florida, I have lived near the small town of Micanopy my entire life. Embracing the history and culture of nearby communities, I frequently visit the oldest towns that America has to offer, all within a day's visit.
Living in southern Illinois in 1959, my grandfather, looking for better work opportunities, packed his belongings, his wife and four young boys, and made the long, arduous trip to Florida. The family first settled in Micanopy, renting a house just north of the town on Highway 441. Three of the four boys went to the Micanopy school (still standing) on Cholokka Boulevard. My grandfather began working at Sears in Gainesville in the 1960s so the family relocated there, however, their early Florida beginning was in Micanopy, as it was for the many individuals and families referenced in this article.
Embracing its unpretentious, small town quality, Micanopy boasts only 600 in population. Antique shops in original buildings, a history museum located in an old warehouse, an original Presbyterian Church and an elegant and beautiful mansion, all line the one Main Street, Cholokka Boulevard. This is the same route local Indians passed for centuries to trade their goods, long before the white settlers came.
The Presbyterian-Episcopal Church located on Cholokka Boulevard. A Presbyterian congregation was first organized in Micanopy in 1854. The land for the church was given by James Simonton, Benjamin W. Powell, George W. Means. The church building dates from 1870. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Antique shop in the Mott-May building on Cholokka Boulevard. Photo: P Marlin 2018
During the summer of 2018, I decided to make my visits to Micanopy a historic research adventure. The Micanopy Cemetery, established in 1826, is almost as old as Micanopy itself, which was established in 1821. As I strolled in the shade of century old oak trees and azalea bushes, I realized that the Micanopy Cemetery has a charm that is no less equivalent to those of other famous cemeteries, with its own mystic feel of the “garden of good and evil.” As an avid genealogy researcher, I was aware of the potential discoveries that lay among the aged gravestones. How did these pioneers live? How did they die? Had they always lived in Micanopy? There were stories to learn everywhere.
Micanopy Cemetery. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Statuary gravesite of Caroline Barr. Photo: P Marlin 2018
View of Micanopy Cemetery. Photo: P Marlin 2018
John Thrasher, a descendant of the Thrasher family who arrived in in Micanopy 1876, is a long time Micanopy resident, and works at the Micanopy Historical Society Archives located on Cholokka Boulevard on most Wednesday mornings. A wealth of historical knowledge, he shared stories and provided documents that helped establish a vital present connection with the long ago past. Micanopy is a small town, however, its long and active history is an integral part of Florida’s earliest beginnings.
Founded after Spain relinquished Florida to the United States in 1821, Micanopy became the first distinct American town founded in the new US territory. An original Indian trading post, Micanopy was first occupied by the Timucuan Indians, and then the Seminole Indians. King Payne, Micanopy, Osceola, and other chiefs of the Seminole Indians lived in the area. The Spanish explorer, Hernando De Soto encountered an early Timucua Indian Village here in 1539 and later, Pennsylvania botanist William Bartram visited a Cuscowilla village on this site in 1774. 1
The colonization of the Micanopy area began with the participants of the Arrendondo Grant. The Arrendondo grant of September 3, 1817 was awarded by the King Ferdinand VII of Spain to Don Fernando de Maza Arredondo, a Spanish merchant from St. Augustine. The grant encompassed 280,000 acres, embracing most of Alachua County including Micanopy, and provided for the settlement of two-hundred families over three years. The "Proprieters of the Arrendondo Grant," Horatio S. Dexter and Edward M. Wanton, were engaged by Don Fernando "to establish friendly relations with the Indians so as to permit settlement in their territory." 2 3
Part of the agreement between Arrendono, Dexter and Wanton in regards to the Arrendondo Grant February 10,1821. University of Florida Digital Collections Arrendondo Grant 1820-1824.
Once permission was received from the Seminole Indians, Horatio Dexter and Edward Wanton proceeded to the area to clear land and build buildings. Using sixteen horses and slaves to transport supplies, they had built two houses by March 1821. Orange Lake Creek was cleared, allowing Alachua to connect to the St. Johns River and a year later, "slave quarters, Wanton's house, a kitchen, a corn house, an Indian trading store, a "lodging house," and a "large log-house" enabled his family to join him." 3 Wanton's "large" house held court in 1825 and preaching was held in the same building by Reverend John L. Jerry. The entire settlement consisted of fifteen or so people. The first post office in Alachua County, called "Wanton's," was located here. The name was changed to Micanopy March 3, 1834. 16
Moses Elias Levy, a Jewish-American, had also taken interest in establishing a settlement in Florida. A businessman, he was devoted to his Jewish heritage and had great concern for his persecuted race in Europe. His plan was to bring his people from across the sea and establish a Florida colony, "Pilgrimage Plantation," a refuge and religious community. He purchased large tracts of land and in 1816 went to England in connection with his plan for colonization. 4
An 1880's map of Alachua County shows the Arrendondo Grant area including Moses E. Levy. A larger version is available at the Library of Congress
By 1822 settlers from New York, New Jersey and Europe, all part of the Florida Association of New York, headed by Moses Elias Levy, departed New York harbor for Florida to begin colonization. After landing near present day Palatka on the St. John's River, the group forged a 45-mile road, with eight bridges to "Wanton's." When the new settlers arrived at Wanton's, they found that thirteen houses had been built. By October 1824, the Arredondo Grant contained 200 residents and twenty farms. Wanton's would eventually be re-named Micanopy after the Seminole Chief. 4
By 1835 relations with the Indians in the Alachua settlements started to deteriorate. Indians claimed that the "whites encroached on their lands, and that the lands assigned to them was not fertile and would not produce sufficient food, and they were actually suffering from want of food."2 Violence erupted between settlers and Indians in the area, including Paynes Prairie. Indians were killed, homesteads were burned, and settler families, in fear of their lives, sought safety in fortifications that had sprang up in the area. Horatio Dexter, Edward Wanton and others wrote letters regarding the distressed situation of the Seminoles. These situations led to the start of the Second Seminole War which would last for seven years.
Ft. Micanopy (originally Ft. Defiance). University of Florida Digital Collections
Florida became a state in 1845, allowing for agricultural expansion and land purchases in the Arrendondo Grant. After the Seminole War, Micanopy was rebuilt by settlers from South Carolina and Georgia, with only a few of the original inhabitants returning. The town grew rapidly and incorporation was considered by Micanopy's pioneer residents (below). With the advancement of transportation, Micanopy became known as the "leading orange and vegetable growing section of Florida." Many of the mid-to late 19th century homes, built by prominent Micanopy settlers, were surrounded by acres and acres orange groves.
Ballot for/against Micanopy's incorporation in 1858 lists Micanopy's prominent families.
Old cemeteries are unique repositories of history and art. The Micanopy Historic Cemetery was founded by Dr. H. Lucius Montgomery Sr. a physician in the Township of Micanopy in the 1800's. Interesting markers include 19th century tablet form gravestones and fine examples of Victorian sculpture. The gravestones trace many longtime families who have lived in the Micanopy area and dedicated their lives to the community. The cemetery has over 2,000 burials with the first recorded burial dated 1826.
It's been said that residents of Micanopy do not consider one a "permanent resident" until they have purchased a burial plot in the cemetery. This portion of the blog post focuses on the families who occupy the 19th and early 20th century graves in the cemetery. Most information was gleaned from old obituaries, newspaper articles and family histories. Family features include Edwards, Montgomery, Barr, Means, Arnow, Powell, Thrasher, Cooper, Mathers, Chitty, Simonton, McCredie, Herlong, Feaster, Daily, Ley, Smith, and Chamberlin.
Like many old cemeteries, a portion of the older grave stones are unreadable, missing or have disappeared into the earth. Though I was able to locate most everyone I was looking for, I could not find members of the McCredie family, including James, his wife, and his parents, David and Janet. A number of deaths occurred in 1888, maybe from a disease that came through the community at the time.
The earliest grave in the cemetery, James William Martin, 1737-1826 (the stone in the front was added later). Photo: P Marlin 2018
Micanopy Cemetery 1910-1920. UF Digital Collections
Similar view as above photo. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Micanopy Cemetery 1918. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Museum
James Edwards was one of the first settlers of the Arrendondo Grant. Born in Devonshire, England in 1793, he arrived in America in 1819, working as a house builder. Living in New York in 1822, he learned of a group of colonists heading to Florida and decided to join them. After landing in Jacksonville, the group learned that the shortest path to inland Florida, a place called "Wanton's," was via Palatka. Loaded with wagons and horses, the settlers cut a path to their destination, and once there, met Edward Wanton, living peacefully among the Indians. Photo: Florida Memory
Edwards was said to purchase venison from Indians at "one chalk a quarter." The Indians brought the venison to Edward's home and would hang the quarter of meat in a safe place. The Indians would then make a chalk mark, indicating that Edwards was indebted to them to the amount of 25 cents and would return later for payment. At the onset of the Second Seminole War in 1835, Edwards fled from Micanopy to St. Augustine. He would return to Micanopy again to live with his son, William. He died in 1888. 2, 5, 9, 15, 16
William and Julia Edwards. Photo: Florida Memory
The only child of James Edwards (above), William Edwards was born "among the Indians." A lawyer by profession, Edwards became the pioneer of orange culture in Alachua County. He was appointed judge of the Court of Alachua County on February 13, 1869 by Governor Harrison Reed. William A. Smith, settler of Tacoma (photo below), wrote of Edwards' orange groves in his letters:
"One of the best groves in the State is in the village of Micanopy, and is owned by Judge Edwards. The grove numbers 500 trees. A few of them are twenty years old, the balance are eleven years old this spring. The first time I was in his grove was about the first of February. The trees were then loaded with ripe fruit. He had begun to gather and send the fruit to Gainesville, where his entire crop was disposed of at $10 per barrel net - a barrel containing from 250 to 300 oranges. If any one who comes to this country will take the trouble to visit Judge Edwards’ grove, his doubts in regard to the profits of raising oranges, if he has any doubts, will disappear." 9, 15, 16
William Edwards (died 1888) is buried in the same plot as his father and wife, Julia. .
Edwards family monument, Micanopy Cemetery. Photo: P Marlin 2018
William Edwards bought this home, located at the southern end of Cholokka Boulevard, in 1872. The lot was once owned by Dr. George B. Payne who arrived in Micanopy in 1835. The oldest known house in Micanopy, it dates back to a two-room log office built by Dr. James A. Stewart on the lot he bought from Payne in 1855. James Stewart's widow, Martha , sold it to William Edwards in 1872. Julia Edwards, Williams' widow, sold it to John Duskin Merry in 1916. 18
Stewart-Merry House. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Dr. Lucius M. Montgomery Sr. and his son, Dr. Harvey Lucius Montgomery Jr. were both doctors in the early Micanopy community. Their general practice was called Montgomery & Montgomery, Physicians and Surgeons. The similar names create a little confusion. Dr. Harvey Lucius Montgomery Jr. was highly educated and distinguished in his career, however, he had several incidents with the law due to excessive drinking. At one point his father, Lucius M. Montgomery Sr. put a notice in the paper stating that his son was causing all the trouble, and requested that the newspaper distinguish between them.
Lucius M. Montgomery Sr. was born in South Carolina in 1841. Arriving in Florida from St. Louis, Missouri in 1868, he originally lived in Orange County near the St. John's River. After prospecting around Florida for several years, he found Alachua county to be the best in soil quality and healthfulness and settled in Micanopy.9
A veteran of the Confederate Army, Montgomery Sr. served as a surgeon on a battleship. His first wife, Madora, died in the Flying Cloud incident on Orange Lake in 1871. Second, he married Lucinda Jane Hall. Montgomery Sr. and Lucinda donated a portion of their property to establish the Micanopy Cemetery.
Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr. in his home in Micanopy. Photo: Ancestry
Standing next to a train in Micanopy are an engineer, fireman, and Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr. Florida Memory
Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr. grave monument. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Harvey Lucius Montgomery Jr. was born in 1876, in Micanopy. Highly educated, he received his B.A. from the Jasper Normal Institute in 1897, attended Yale School of Law 1897-99 and practiced law in Jacksonville, Florida from 1901-02. He studied at Atlanta Medical College from 1902-04 (M.D. 1904) then returned to Micanopy to practice medicine with his father. 14
Dr. Harvey Lucius Montgomery Jr. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Dr. Harvey Lucius Montgomery Jr. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Lucius Montgomery Jr. in addition to his father, practiced medicine in Micanopy and surrounding communities. In addition to his medical practice, Lucius Montgomery Jr. was also known for indulging in unsavory "non-medical" practices. His drinking and antics with women succeded in getting him in trouble with the law numerous times. The situation came to a head in 1889 when the Presbyterian church, attended by the Montgomery family, decided to prosecute Montgomery Jr. on adultery charges. The congregation of the church had become weary of Montgomery's behavior and decided to act on it. Hearings were held by the church and it was decided by a jury that the charges against Montgomery Jr. be validated. However, the sheriff decided against the charge and overruled the verdict. The newspapers called it "The Micanopy Affair." A detailed version of the story is told in the book, Fifteen Florida Cemeteries by Lola Haskins. 21
The Micanopy Affair did nothing to dissuade Montgomery Jr. from his disruptive behavior. On July 9, 1912, the Ocala Star Banner , reported that Montgomery Jr. had visited town Sunday night loaded up with four pistols. Evidently the doctor "disported himself variously but comparatively harmlessly from dewy morn till dusky eve." The full article can be read HERE.
While the newspapers had a heydey in reporting Lucius' bad behavior it became of a point of angst for the father, Lucius Montgomery Sr. On July 12, 1912, he wrote to the Ocala Star Banner asking the paper to distinguish between him and his son.
"I am Dr. Lucius Montgomery and the only man by that name in Micanopy or in the state. I practice medicine all over the state and out of state, and your article is calculated to do me immense harm among people who have no way of knowing your mistake. I go everywhere needed in my automobile, but I have never taken a drink in Keating's or in any other saloon on this earth. My son, Dr. H.L. Montgomery, contracted the unfortunate habit of drinking while at Yale University. Notwithstanding at his graduation, there in a class of 614 he stood third and the distinction is written in his diploma. He has been graduated from three of the best colleges in the United States: possibly the most thoroughly educated man in the South. Still, whisky is seeming to be his ruin. If you need to metnion his name in your paper again, kindly make such correction as will not let injury attach to me. Very Truly, L. Montgomery." The newspaper responded in kind. The full article can be read HERE.
On July 16, 1912, while his son was in jail, Montgomery Sr. talked with the authories and asked them to keep his son in jail until the alcohol had evaporated from his system. The friends and family of Montgomery Jr. desired to "have him examined by physicians to decide whether or not he is insane. Their wishes should be complied with, and if the physicians decide he shouldn't be sent to Chattahoochee, he should be put on the hard roads. Six months under the tutelage of Henry Gordon would eliminate all the alcohol from his system and built up his constitution, and moreover teach him and other high rollers some respect for the law and the rights of other people."
Dr. Lucius Montgomery Jr. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Harvey Lucius Montgomery Jr. died in June 1924, in Asheville, North Carolina. In poor health for some time, he had been taken to Asheville for recovery, however, he only lasted a few months before succumbing to cirrhosis of the liver (North Carolina death record and Gainesville Sun obituary).
Dr. Montgomery's home, as seen through the brick ornamental archway in the photo below and is still standing today, was considered one of the finest residences in Micanopy. The house was surrounded by orange groves.
Three school boys and a maid at the old brick archway (1903) at the entrance to Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr. home. When Dr. Montgomery lived here in the 1880’s, the area was "full of orange groves and the average high temperature for June 1883 was 81 degrees." Eden of the South, Carl Webber. The Montgomery home was destroyed by fire in 1930.
The Montgomery Wall in 2018. Photo: P Marlin
Originally from South Carolina, John Jacob Barr served in the Civil War while at The Citadel before settling in Micanopy. He was a prominent orange grower of Micanopy, putting out a grove of oranges on forty acres soon after 1870. According to Mr. Barr, his friends told him he was the "biggest fool there was. There were not enough people in the United States to eat that many oranges." 7 He continued to plant more crops and became the wealthiest of the orange growers in the village of Micanopy. In 1906, Barr established the Micanopy Banking Company (photos below). His son-in-law, Dr. John Dixie Watkins and Watkin's son, John Barr Watkins, were trustees. The bank closed in 1927.
Barr's daughter, Annie Gertrude Barr, died at a young age of pneumonia. Her gravesite is one of the most prominent in the cemetery.
Top step: John Jacob Barr and his wife Sue Bauknight Barr; Middle step: Dr. John Dixie Watkins and his wife Lillian Barr Watkins (daughter of J.J. Barr); Clarice Watkins and John Barr Watkins, Sr. Dr. Watkins' children. Florida Memory
The gravesites of John Jacob Barr, his wife Sue, and their 19-year old daughter Gertrude Annie. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The beautiful monument to daughter Gertrude Annie Barr. Photo: P Marlin
"Miss Annie, youngest daughter of Mr. J.J. Barr of Micanopy, died at 2 o'clock last Monday morning. Miss Barr was an accomplished and most estimable young lady and had many friends throughout the state. She was 17 years of age. Pneumonia was the cause of her death." The Weekly Florida Times-Union. Thursday, January 15, 1891 Page 8.
The beautiful monument to daughter Gertrude Annie Barr. Photo: P Marlin
The Victorian Barr home (now gone) was located on Ocala Street. The oak trees on the property were first documented in 1883 when they are referred to as Chief Micanopy's Council Oaks. As mentioned in The Eden of the South by Carl Webber, "The Indians had their encampment around a small pond, now owned by J.J. Barr, and the only one in town." Barr's property was adjacent to Dr. Lucious Montgomery and both residences were located just down from the Micanopy Cemetery.
The Barr House showing octagon porches in 1915. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
The large oak tree in front of the Barr home in 1907. The oaks around the home were thought to be from the time of Chief Micanopy, called "Council Oaks." Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
The Micanopy Bank, built in 1906 and shown soon after construction. Located in the west side of square on Cholokka Boulevard. Dr. Watkins is in the doorway. Florida Memory
Today this building houses an antique store. Photo: P Marlin 2018
George W. and Mrs. Means. Photo: Florida Memory
George W. Means was born in South Carolina and lived in the areas for 48 years. Like many others, he made a success of fruit growing. During his career, he was lawyer, prosecuting attorney, merchant, farmer, and fruit grower. He was also trustee of the Micanopy Presbyterian Church. Means died on April 21, 1899 and his funeral service was conducted by Reverend John C. Ley.
A story in the Tuskawilla News on May 7, 1891 tells of Judge Means' close encounter with lightning. "Standing in the door of his Orange Lake warehouse, the Judge says that the force of the stroke was on his forehead, and gave him quite a sock; in fact, he believes that it would have killed anybody but an old residenter."
Gate entrance to the Means family plot. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gate entrance to the Means family plot. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravestone of George W. Means in the Means family plot. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Looking west on Ocala Street by Judge Means' house in Micanopy (now gone). Photo: Florida Memory
The Flying Cloud was a sailboat owned by George W. Means and used for recreation, typically on Orange Lake. On June 16, 1871 Micanopy residents were enjoying a day out when a group decided to take a ride on the Flying Cloud. After one of the boys pulled at the sails, the boat capsized. When the boat went down, seven of the group died including Mrs. Madora Montgomery, Ella Winecoff, Addie Shufford, Maggie Simonton, Johnnie Simonton, Isaab Bowen, and Florence McIlvaine. The photos below are of the gravesites of Madora Montgomery (wife of Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr.), and Johnnie Simonton, both of whom died in the accident.
The following was taken from a letter written by Esther Geiger Powell to her sister, Anne Elizabeth Geiger Spearman describing the accident in detail. The full letter can be viewed at UF Digital Collections.
"The Flying Cloud capsized about 4 o'clock p. m. and seven souls were hurried from time into eternity. Ours, Praise the Lord were spared, but many others stricken hearts now mourn the loss of loved ones. Ben would not allow the little children to go, as Mr. Hoosier being sick, did not sail with the boat, did not know that Lizzie was aboard till she was under way. Mrs. Montgomery, Maggie Simonton, Ella Winecoff (about Lizzie's age) and Addie Shuford (Billie Shuford's eldest about Buddy's age) were recovered though dead. Little Johnnie Simonton and Florence Malvaine (about Sissie's age) were missing at last account.
Mary swallowed a great deal of water and Lizzie says she was perfectly blue when she came up. Had to be carried to the boat four times, could scarcely cling on was so exhausted. Lizzie says she felt her feet touch something and gave a push and came up by the boat and caught it herself and succeeded in getting on the bottom of the boat. Little Johnnie was found this morning and his little dead hands were full of sand from the bottom. Florence was found on shore. Bowen, the Negro that drove our wagon was also drowned. There were 36 aboard and 30 came out alive. Mary says she swam like a good fellow. Mr. Adams got Mrs. Montgomery out, and says the boat was on her head and he could hardly get her out by main strength. Johnnie was tangled in the sail under the boat. P. S. Frank Mcllvaine making the sails dip, to scare the girls, caused the accident, all the men are hostile, say he ought to be delt with for it, he did it twice and she righted, the third time went down. Ben says if he had been on board, he would have made him desist or shot him dead." 4
"She has lain down in green pastures." Madora Montgomery, wife of Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr. drowned in Orange Lake, June 16, 1871.
Gravesite of Mandora Montgomery. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Madora Montgomery. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Johnnie drowned during the accident of the Flying Cloud on Orange Lake, June 16, 1871.
An excerpt from the obituary of George J. Arnow, "Postmaster Arnow has passed away," from the Gainesville Daily Sun, dated August 9, 1906.
"Judge George J. Arnow, postmaster of Gainesville and one of the most widely known and prominent Republicans in Florida, died at his home in this city at 6 0'clock Wednesday morning, after an illness covering a period of several weeks.
George J. Arnow was born in St. Mary's, Georgia in 1825. His father, Joseph Arnow, a native of Florida in provincial times, removed to Georgia in 1805 and remained there until a few years before the Civil War, when he returned to Florida and located at Micanopy, subsequently returning to his old home when he died in 1884.
George Arnow was educated at St. Mary's Academy, in Georgia, and then took up the profession of teaching. He had charge of school in Brunswick, Georgia and the Methodist School (he was second to last principal of the East Florida Seminary in Micanopy) in Micanopy. He continued teaching until 1860, when, in that year, he was admitted to the bar, and for a few months, edited The Cotton States. In 1862 he enlisted in the Seventh Florida Regiment, and went to the front. He remained with the Confederate Army until the close of the war.
In 1865 he was elected district attorney. He was instrumental in obtaining the land grant for the Florida Southern Railroad, and made a strong speech in advocacy of that measure. He was elected postmaster at Gainesville by President Arthur and again by President McKinley."
Judge Arnow married Esther Lamb in 1848 and to this union were born thirteen children. Only four of the thirteen children survived to Judge Arnow's death. His wife Esther died in 1881 at the age of 43. Arnow's funeral was held at his residence in Gainesville, then he was transported to the Micanopy Cemetery via funeral train, accompanied by friends and family.
Gravesite of George J. Arnow. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Martha, known as Mattie, was the daughter-in-law of George Joseph Arnow (above). Mattie married George's son, George Columbus Arnow, and had several children before her husband died at a young age. Mattie became postmistress of the Micanopy Post Ofice in 1896 and lived on one side of the post office building. The photo below shows Mattie with her children including Robert Edward Arnow, featured below.
Martha Caroline Pardee (Mattie) Arnow, widow of George Columbus Arnow, with children. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Gravesite of Martha Caroline Pardee Arnow, widow of George Columbus Arnow. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Robert Edward Arnow was born in Micanopy, Florida in 1887. His father was George Columbus Arnow and his mother was Martha (Mattie) Pardee. Judge George J. Arnow was his grandfather. Called Robbie or Bob, Arnow had lived most of his life in Micanopy. He had several occupations, one being rural mail carrier. Shorly before his death, he had been commissioned deputy sheriff of Alachua County, and it was in the line of duty that he was mortally wounded on June 18, 1921. He passed peacefully at the hospital surrounded by his wife, mother, one brother and hospital attendants.
An excerpt from Gainesville Daily Sun dated June 21, 1921. "Bob Arnow is dead from bullet wound of Saturday night. Micanopy Deputy passes away at Williams Sanitarium here after operation Sunday. Negro is still uncaught. But Micanopy country bristles with guns of posses out to capture slayer."
"Deputy Sheriff Robert E. Arnow died yesterday morning at almost ten o'clock at the Williams Sanitorium here from a wound received Saturday night at Micanopy when John Bowyer, a negro, shot him as Mr. Arnow was demanding surrender of the black's revolver. Bowyer is still at large at a late hour last night, but Micanopy authorities expressed the belief that he had not gone far from the scene of the crime and would be captured in a few hours. The crime was committed on the baseball field at Micanopy in the presence of Chief of Police Gladney. The negro is said to have fired four shots at Mr. Arnow, only one of them hitting him (one hit in the neck breaking his spinal column), however, the wounded officer was brought to Gainesville early Sunday morning by local doctors. He rallied for a brief period after the operation, but relapsed yesterday."
An excerpt of the obituary of Robert Arnow as appeared in the Gainesville Daily Sun on July 17, 1921.
"When the word was first given out that Bob Arnow was shot and fatally wounded, perhaps, it spread like wild fire and met with a responsive sympathetic chord in the hearts of town people as well as those to whom the news had flashed over the wires. They hurried to his bedside, they came from everywhere anxious to render any and every service they could. But to the wife yet at the home on the farm, on those lips the good bye kisses of less than two hours before still lingered. The three little boys to whom daddy meant so much; the mother whose baby boy he was, and on whom had involved the entire care and guidance to him since when at the tender age of 10 months his father died.
No higher tribute can be paid a man except that of loving and serving God, than that the people who loved and respected himmost, were the ones who knew him best. No one thought that he had an enemy. Even his slayer had no cause to have feelings of anmity towards him. He was a fugitive from justice and was more in dread perhaps of arrest, and punishment, for former hienous crimes than for the one he was guilty of just at that time. And Bob, not knowing the depravity of the culprit, trusted too much to the justice and fairness he meted out to others, being returnedto him in like manner."
John Bowyer was convicted of the crime and hung at the Alachua County jail yard on February 24, 1922, six weeks after sentencing. Bowyer was the next to last man to hang in Alachua County. An account of the story can be read at: Forgotten Heroes: Police Officers Killed in Early Florida, 1840-1925
Gravesite of Robert Edwards Arnow. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Benjamin Powell and wife, Esther Geiger Powell. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
A prominent early settler of Micanopy, Captain Benjamin William Powell was born in South Carolina in 1826 and was a 1859 graduate of The Citadel. Immediately following Florida's secession on January 10, 1861, Powell organized three companies of local men to serve in the Confederate Army. After the war, he returned to Micanopy and built a house (1866) on Cholokka Boulevard. The house is still standing today. The Powells lived in the house until their deaths in 1900-01.10
Gravesite of Benjamin William Powell. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Benjamin William Powell. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Powell family plot. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Martha Ann, a teacher from Upson County, Georgia married first, Dr. Richard Olive. After Richard's death, she was married second Early Wyatt Thrasher. Martha and Early moved to Florida in 1876. They purchased orange groves from Judge George W. Means and lived a few years inside of Marion County in the Evinston community. After Early's death in 1879, Martha and the children, who were still living at home, purchased a large home in Micanopy on Tuscawulla Road, just behind the Baptist Church. Find-A-Grave
Gravesites of Early Wyatt and Martha Ann Thrasher. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The son of Early Wyatt and Martha Thrasher (above), John Early Thrasher was born in Georgia in 1863. After the death of his father, Early Wyatt in 1876, John Early settled with his mom, Martha, and siblings in Micanopy. In 1896, John Early opened the Thrasher General Store, the largest mercantile establishment in Alachua County, outside Gainesville. Located in a brick building on Cholokka Boulevard, the general store flourished until a fire destroyed the brick building in 1911. Undeterred, Thrasher moved his goods to the Thrasher Warehouse down the street until a new store was built. Thrasher ran the store until 1932 when his son, J. E. Thrasher Jr. became the manager. In addition to the store, Thrasher operated a livery stable, where he sold, rented and loaned out horses and mules. Thrasher passed away of a heart attack while on a trading trip in 1937. The Micanopy Historical Museum is now located in the Thrasher warehouse. 17
The Thrasher family plot with John Early on the left. His parents are located behind him. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The original Thrasher General Store before it burned down in 1911. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Thrasher 50th Anniversary. Standing left to right: J.E. Thrasher, Jr. Joseph Eve Means, Neil Merry, Laura Craig, unknown, Leslie Arnow. Seated: J.E. Thrasher Jr. Barton Eugene Thrasher, Albert Kine. 1900. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
The Thrasher Warehouse before it became the Micanopy Historical Museum. The Coca-Cola sign dates from the 1920's. Photo: Matheson Historical Museum
The Thrasher Warehouse in 2018. Photo: P Marlin
The son of John Early Thrasher (above), Leon was born in the small family home on North Cholokka Boulevard. His father started his general mercantile store in 1896 and Leon grew up in that atmosphere. He attended the local school and entered the University of Florida in 1909 where he earned his Civil Engineering degree in 1913. He was initiated into the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity in 1911. In 1986 he was honored for 75th year of membership and for being the oldest living member. He was a life time member of the University Alumni Association.
Leon B. Thrasher with classmate in 1910 graduation photo. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Leon began his career working for the East Coast Railroad and a phosphate mining company in Polk Coounty Florida. In 1917 - 18 he moved to Lakeland where he was assistant city engineer. The following was written by his mother:
"Leon enlisted in the US Engineering Corp. in July 1918 - and received his commission as 2nd Lieutenant. He was refused entry into the military service for a time as he was so small and needed to gain weight. He was called, "Skeet" for mosquito because he was so small. Following WW I, Leon joined the State Road department in 1919. From then until 1939, Leon handled planning and construction of paved roads extending over much of the State of Florida. In 1922 Leon received his Master's Degree in Civil Engineering from UF. In 1938 he resigned and from the State and became Engineer director of the Lime Rock Association of Florida. By a unanimous vote the Florida Legislature passed a bill naming the fifteen mile section of highway #441 from Ocala to near Orange Lake the "L. B.Skeet" Thrasher Memorial Highway" in 1965. The most outstanding honor that Leon received was his selection as the 1981 recipient of the University of Florida Distinguished Alumnus award, the highest recognition that the University can bestow on an alumnus." Source: Find A Grave.
Gravesite of Leon Thrasher. Photo: P Marlin 2018
In 1853, Dr. James Cooper and his son-in-law, Augustus Mathers, built an apothecary shop, later known as "The Old Reliable Drug Store." In the building was the first post office with Mathers as the postmaster. It was a regular passenger and mail stop for the stagecoach, which left Newnansville and went around the west end of the prairie, and entered Micanopy from the west on Newnansville St. (approximately Seminary Ave.), then turned south to the town square. The building burned in 1867, and was rebuilt in 1871 with the same foundation and front door with a letter drop. It was later expanded with a large two-story wing with the telephone exchange on the first floor. It was bought for a hotel and became the Palm Inn, famous for its food and hospitality in the 1890s and early 1900s. It burned down in about 1935. 18
Cooper and Mathers Drugs and Apothecary in Micanopy. Opened in 1853, Dr. James Cooper lived next door and Dr. Augustus Henry Mathers lived over the store. Photo: Florida Memory
Stagecoach stop monument on Cholokka Boulevard. Photo: P Marlin
James A. Cooper was an apothacary with his son, James L Cooper, and son-in-law, Augustus Mathers. They owned and operated a drugstore in Micanopy from 1853 until about 1900.
Gravesite/plot of James A. Cooper with the Mathers family in the same plot area. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Born in Monticello, Florida, Augustus H. Mathers was a physician, as was his father-in-law, James A. Cooper. His brother-in-law, James L. Cooper (also in the Micanopy Cemetery), who was the same age as Augustus, was also a druggist. Mathers enlisted in the CSA in 1861 and served as an assistant surgeon in Company F, 4th Florida Infantry. His regiment was ordered to Virginia after the evacuation of Fernandina in 1862 but Augustus was ordered to remain in Florida to serve as assistant surgeon until the close of the war in 1865.
Mathers continued his labor as an apothecarist /medical doctor/citrus farmer in Alachua County and also served as mayor in Micanopy after the Civil War. Around 1900, Augustus and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth, relocated to Tampa where he also had a drugstore. He died 1914 at the age of 88.
Letters written by Augustus Mathers during his time in the CSA were given to Franklin Doty, at the University of Florida, by Augustus's granddaughter, Catherine Mathers Simpson. Professor Doty's annotation of these letters was published in the Florida Historical Society Quarterly, Oct 1959, Vol. 36, Issue 2, pages 94-124. Source: Find A Grave
Gravesite of Augustus Henry Mathers. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Edward Cooper Chitty was born in 1845 in South Carolina. He served in Company H, 17th South Carolina Infantry and was a prisoner at Point Lookout, Maryland. Point Lookout was the largest and one of the worst Union prisoner-of-war camps, established on August 1, 1863. Captured in Petersburg on March 25, 1865, he was released June 26 of the same year. Edward and his wife, Mary Ann Cooper, moved to Micanopy in the 1890's where they built a home in 1900. 10
Edward Cooper Chitty and Mary Ann Cooper Chity. 1914. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Mary Ann Chitty was born in South Carolina in 1846. She married Edward in 1866 and they moved to Florida in 1877, eventually settling in Micanopy in 1891. She was the mother of thirteen children. Mary Ann died at the age of 71, after suffering ill health for a some time.
Gravesite of Edward Cooper Chitty and his wife. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Edward Chitty ran a general merchandise store in the 1885 Benjamin building on Cholokka Boulevard. The Benjamin building was partially destroyed by fire and was rebuilt with one story as it is today. At one time, the building housed a pool hall, the post office, a bank and drug store.6
Chitty General Merchandise in the Benjamin building. Photo: Florida Memory
Original photo of the Benjamin Building. Photo: Florida Memory
The Benjamin Building today. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The Chitty-Thrasher house. Following Cooper Chitty's death in 1917, John Early Thrasher (photo above) bought it. The Thrashers wanted to be near their store and warehouse. After John Early Thrasher's death, the second floor was removed which is how it appears today.10
James Boyce Simonton was born a few miles from Micanopy in 1863. His parents, James A. and Sarah Simonton, were from South Carolina and are also buried in the Micanopy Cemetery. James Boyce was mostly self-educated. The schools of the time were only a few months in duration, so Simonton learned by studying in the evenings. In addition to fruit growing (he owned a peach farm in Georgia), he was also a prosperous farmer and stock raiser in Micanopy, having one of the best herds (Aberdeen Angus cattle) in the state, about 150 head. His farm was one of the most highly regarded in the state. He was a leader in civic affairs, serving as Mayor and a long-time member of the town council. The Simonton home, still standing, is one of the most beautiful residences in Micanopy. Simonton died at home after a short Illness, he was 83 years old.17
Simonton family plot and gravesite of James Boyce Simonton. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of James Boyce Simonton. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The original house on this site, which faced south, was built by James A. Cooper (Apothecary Shop). The two magnolia trees near the driveway were planted by Cooper in the late 1850s. The live oak tree in the backyard is estimated to date from the late 18th century. The Cooper house was later torn down by James Boyce Simonton and in 1910, he built the present Victorian style home, which the Gainesville Sun in 1911 described as one of the "prettiest houses in Micanopy." 19
An article in a December 9, 1909 edition of the Gainesville Daily Sun titled, "Will Build Fine Home. J.B. Simonton Will Have One of the Best Homes in the County," states, "J.B. Simonton of Micanopy will soon have one of the finest and most modern residences in the county, to cost in the neighborhood of $6000.00 and a home which will afford every comfortable desire. The house will be two stories, twelve rooms, with broad and inviting verandas, and will be equipped with the latest in sewerage and other modern appliances, including acetylene gas lights. Mr. and Mrs. Simonton are clever entertainers, and their new possession will afford them much more convenience in looking after the happiness of their friends."
Simonton House 1915. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Simonton House. Photo: P Marlin 2018
This interior photo of the home shows the decorations for the Simonton's 25th Anniversary party. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
David McCredie, the patriarch of the McCredie family, was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. A cobbler, he married Janet Milwain in 1827 and soon started a family. By 1854, David and his family were living in Whithorn, Scotland, where he continued his cobbler business. Times were tough as the country was in the midst of a famine. David and Janet struggled to feed their growing family (four of their small children died). With a plan to improve conditions for his family, David decided to send two of his young sons, John and James, to America. There the boys would meet up with David's brother, John Stewart, who was already living in Orange Springs, Florida.
John and James boarded the Patrick Henry on April 15, 1854 and after a fairly uneventful ocean crossing, landed at New York Harbor on May 30. Their arrival in the big city was exciting, however, they realized that the money they had reserved for the rest of their passage to Florida, had been stolen. The quick thinking boys told the captain of the Patrick Henry of their situation and the captain allowed them to work on the ship as payment for their passage. The ship continued to Savannah, Georgia.
As they made their way south, John and James worked odd jobs to earn money to continue their journey. When the brothers finally arrived in Palatka, Florida, they excitedly met their uncle, John Stewart McCredie, who had been patiently awaiting their arrival. John Stewart could finally put aside the fear that his nephews had met with an unsavory end.
The McCredie boys spent most of 1855 in carpentry work. With new settlers arriving in Florida daily, their time was spent adding rooms to old residences and additions to hotels. The boys worked as carpenters and one of their jobs involved putting an addition on Dr. James Cooper's (Apothecary shop) residence in Micanopy. The boys decided they really liked the area.
In 1856 John and James had saved enough money to book passage for their parents, David and Janet, and the rest of siblings for their journey to America. The family left Scotland on May 10, 1856 and arrived safely in Florida to a joyous reunion with their boys, who they had not seen in several years. The father, David McCredie, set up shop as a cobbler in Ocala with plenty of work to keep him busy, and John and James worked on building the new family home in Micanopy which the family moved into in 1857.
Built in 1875; burned in 1896; rebuilt to identical plan. Today the house is gone. Photo: Florida Memory
Several of the McCredie boys served in the Third Seminole War and the Civil War. As they grew older, the boys became fruit farmers like most in Micanopy and raised large families. Several generations of McCredies are buried in the cemetery including parents David and Janet, and their sons John, James, and Thomas. Unfortunately I could not find the gravestones for David, Janet or James McCredie. James would survive a bout of Yellow Fever, having been nursed back to health by Dr. Lucius Montgomery Sr.
The book, Cold Before Morning, by John Paul Jones, Jr. grandson of James McCredie, tells the story of the McCredie family's journey to America and their life in Micanopy. The book is a "simple, yet powerful novel of a Scottish family's emotional and heart-warming romance and daily conflict with pioneer Florida between 1854 and 1913" and a source of information provided in this blog.
John was the eldest son of David and Janet McCredie. In 1854, he and his brother, James, made the long journey to Florida from Scotland, establishing the McCredie family in Micanopy in the mid 1800's. During the Civil War, John joined Captain Pearson's Independent Company, Florida Volunteers, which had been formed to ambush and harass any Union Boat that might use the St. Johns and Ocklawaha Rivers. After the Civil War, John returned to Micanopy a thin, gaunt man, barely recognizable by his mother, Janet.
Unlike his brothers who grew orange trees, John was a farmer. He grew sugarcane and made syrup for northern markets. From his hogs came home-cured bacon, hams and sausage. He also shipped beans, squash, cucumbers, sweet corn, lettuce, and watermelons to New York, Boston and Philadelphia. As he aged, he was unable to keep up the farm. He rented out the property and moved to Ocala, however, upon visiting the farm again, he was devastated to see how unkept the property was. Afterwards, his health seemed to deteriorate more rapidly.
From the Gainesville Daily Sun Obituary, January 30, 1908: "Unable to keep up the farm toward the end of his life, John moved to Ocala. One evening he complained of indigestion. He ate supper as usual, but when he sat down to read the newspaper, he complained of feeling badly, a pain in his side. A few moments later he died in the chair."
Gravesite of John Hay McCredie. Photo: P Marlin
Anna was the daughter of John and Julie McCredie. As told in the book, Cold Before Morning, Anna was playing in a cow pasture and got an "ole spur" stuck in her foot. Nothing was thought of it at the time, and Anna's mom, Julia, tried to remove the spur with a needle. A few days later, Anna's foot and leg swelled to her knee and she was unable to open her mouth. There was concern that Anna had the dreaded "LockJaw" (Tetanus), and would not be able to eat. Dr. Lucius Montgomery's last effort to save Anna's life was to cut out her teeth to provide an opening for food. After suffering through this agony, she was fed chicken broth through a goose quill, however, she died anyway.
Gravesite of Anna Julia McCredie in the McCredie family plot. There are gravestones in this plot that cannot be read. Photo: P Marlin
Thomas was the last of David and Janet's McCredie's children to be born in Scotland. In his obituary he is fondly remembered: "Thomas McCredie, one of the oldest and most beloved citizens of Micanopy, died at his home on Sunday night about 10 o'clock after an illness of several weeks' duration with an affection of the stomach. Deceased had been a resident of Micanopy since the place was a mere village and no man stood higher in the estimation of the community. Among those who attended from Gainesville were Capt. James Doig and J. I. Blake, each of whom are relatives of deceased."
Gravesite of Thomas McCredie. Photo: P Marlin
Zeddy C. Herlong was born in South Carolina in 1879. Zeddy's father was a railroad builder and in 1886, the family moved to Columbia County, Florida. In addition to schooling in Columbia County, Zeddy also attended the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville. He became a public accountant in Gainesville in 1893 and later engaged in the lumber business with mills in Alachua County and an office located in Jacksonville. He moved to Micanopy in 1910, and like others in the community, raised live stock and began fruit farming. In 1915, he embarked on renovations of his home (the original Stoughton home) and turned it into the beautiful Herlong Mansion. Zeddy was on the Micanopy City Council and a School Trustee. He attended the local Methodist Church. Photo: Zeddy Clarence Herlong 1939. Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Herlong family plot. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Zeddy Clarence Herlong. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The house that is known today as the Herlong Mansion was originally a simple “cracker style” pine farm home built circa 1845. It was a two-story affair with a detached kitchen built by one of the original settlers of Micanopy. Zeddy Clarence Herlong came to Micanopy and settled into the farm house with his wife, Natalie Simonton, after his home and business had burned down in Alabama. He became involved with the local lumber industry whose operations generated the wealth necessary to remodel the once humble farm house into the grand style of the mansion today. By 1910, the original farm house structure was “fully encased within a brick classic greek revival imitation of a southern colonial design”. The Herlong’s raised six children in the home but after Natalie passed away Zeddy remarried and moved to Blackrock, South Carolina with his new bride, Marie Rosborough. The building sat vacant until a young couple bought it in the 1980’s and turned it into a Bed and Breakfast. History taken from Herlong Mansion website.
The Herlong Mansion. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Born near Micanopy, Otis Laney Feaster was a prominent merchant and sawmill operator. After retiring from business, he moved to St. Petersburg where he lived for a few years before passing away at the age of 67.
Otis Laney Feaster. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Gravesite of Otis Laney Feaster. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Johnny Lynn Feaster was a crate manufacturer in Micanopy. Feaster had been ill for several weeks with an ordinary fever, that soon developed into typhoid, and caused his death. An excerpt from his obituary in the Ocala Star Banner:
"Everything possible in medicine skill and science was used to save his life, to no avail. Up to this late illness, Mr. Feaster had not been sick in twenty years. He leaves a wife and one child, and many friends to mourn his death. He was a comparatively young man, scarcely thirty. Yet from small beginnings had built up a very successful business and stood high in the commercial world. He was an exemplary man and by the fair treatment he accorded with everyone with whom he came in contact. He made friends and retained them."
Gravesite of Johnny Lynn Feaster. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Johnny Lynn Feaster. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Johnny Lynn Feaster. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Otis Laney Feaster, Jr. is credited with building the Feaster Building in 1903. A general store and the first telephone office were on the ground floor. The second floor was a storage warehouse. On the third operas, plays and balls were held. 11 Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Feaster Building. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Dr. Ira Daily was born in Georgia in 1891. He moved to Alachua County in 1916 and practiced medicine in Micanopy for 30 years. He was a graduate of the Atlanta Medical College and a member of the Alachua Count Medical Society and American Medical Society. Ira operated a drug store on Cholokkaa Boulevard in a building that is still standing. The drug store was located on the first floor of building with a soda fountain, a mirror cabinet wall and a white marble counter. In addition to his office, Daily and his family lived in an apartment upstairs. 6
The "Micanopy Drug Company" was owned by Ira Daily Drug Store. This photo is of Dr. Daily with an employee in 1925. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
The same building houses an antique shop today.
The gravesite of Ira Daily. Photo: P Marlin 2018.
John Ley and wife. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Reverend Ley was born in Burke County, Georgia in 1821. In 1845 Ley was admitted to the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Church, however, was transferred to the Florida Conference - the Florida Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South established the East Florida Seminary in Micanopy in the 1850's - Rev. Ley would serve as principal of this school. At this time ministers would travel from town to town to fulfill ministerial duties. In Reverend Ley's book, Fifty -two years in Florida, written in 1889, he talks about the dangers faced by ministers whose district encompassed the whole Indian territory. The journeys from town to town in the Florida wilderness was daunting, however, these ministers carried on with "courage and zeal, and neither tomahawk nor scalping knife drove him from his work. The cruel and unconquerable Seminoles were waging exterminating war, and the preachers held their own at the risk of their lives."13 There were positive moments, however, as told in this excerpt from Ley's book:
"From thence to Newnansville, sixty-five miles, by Indian trail; thence to Micanopy, thirty miles, etc. These lonely rides the missionary made on horseback, carrying his clothes, books, lunch, and a little sack of corn to feed his horse. He told me that during one of these lonely rides, his money reduced to less than one dollar, he stopped to lunch and feed his horse. Feeling depressed, he went to a cluster of bushes to pray. Seeing something glitter in the sunshine and supposing it was a button dropped by some Cavalier of the olden time, he thought he would go and pick it up as a relic. But what was his surprise when, on taking it in hand, he found it a Spanish doubloon ($16). This met all his wants until Quarterly Conference, when he received his installment of missionary money." 13
Reverend Ley was a member of the Board of the East Florida Seminary in Micanopy as well as the principal for a time.
Gravesite of Reverend John C. Ley and his wife, Photo: P Marlin 2018
The original Tuscawilla Hotel was renamed Pardee House in 1901 by owner Honor Pardee Turner and her husband. Edna Pardee was a long-time teacher at the Micanopy School.
Emma Pardee, Edna Pardee, Caroline Bethany Turner Pardee (seated), Honor Pardee. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Gravesites of Caroline Bethany and Honor Pardee. Photo: P Marlin 2018
George Sanford Chamberlin and William A. Smith were early settlers of a small community located about three miles north of Micanopy, called "Tacoma." Tacoma is an Indian name given to one of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains which signifies "nearly heaven."
A 1931 map of Tacoma showing the Smith and Chamberlin properties overlooking Lake Wauburg. Photo: P.K. Yonge Library.
William Smith was born in Massachusetts in 1826. While he was a young boy, his family moved to Wisconsin, where he grew up. He married and moved to Cortland, New York, where he began to raise a family. After hearing of Florida's new settlements, Smith decided to venture south. While traveling to Florida, he gave Bible lectures illustrated by magic-lantern slides, to help cover expenses. Upon arriving, he purchased forty-two acres a few miles north of Micanopy. He built a one-room cabin and named his new settlement, Tacoma. After a few years in Tacoma, Smith had 625 orange trees, a large quantity of peach trees, 130 fig trees as well as lemon and other fruit trees.
Smith began writing letters to the Cortland, New York newspaper (Cortland Standard) describing the living conditions in Florida, including climate, business opportunities and general living condition s. In a letter dated January 22, 1877, he writes:12
"To say that I like this country does not half express my admiration. It is splendid, magnificent, glorious! While you of the North are wading about in the snow, shivering in the cold, dodging around the corners to get out of the way of the furious blasts, we here are enjoying the most delightful summer weather. The thermometer ranges daily from 75-85 degrees, with a gentle breeze from the southwest making the day so enjoyable that one would wish to live here forever." Smith died in 1902.12
Gravesite of William Smith. Photo: P Marlin 2018
George Sanford Chamberlin, Sr. was born in Monteocha, Alachua County, Florida in 1842. He was educated at the East Florida Seminary in Micanopy. At the opening of the Civil War, he enlisted with the Marion Dragoons then later transferred to the Second Florida Cavalry, serving in C Troop. Chamberlin saw action twice during the war, in a battle fought at Gainesville and in a single skirmish with Union Troops near Micanopy.19
Perhaps his obituary tells it best. An excerpt from, "Last Veteran of Confederate Army In County is Buried at Micanopy," reads:
"The flag of the Confederate States of America was flown for perhaps the last time in this county last week when it was unfurled above the open grave of George S. Chamberlin, whose death and burial at Micanopy Thursday brought to a conclusion the age-long struggling march of the 'thin gray line' of the host of Lee and Jackson in this county. A veteran of four full years of service in the Confederate Army, Mr. Chamberlin, at the age of 94, had survived all the rigorous hardships of active warfare and lived to see each of his scores of comradesin the county go down before him at the hands of time, until he alone stood out as the sole of the glory of the Lost Cause for which he and his fellows fought and bled.Born at Monteocha, in this county, on January 31, 1842, Mr. Chamberlin had been a lifelong resident of the county-and during all of his years never set foot outside of Florida. His father came here from Mass. as a United States soldier sent to subdue the Indians; but during the California gold rush he departed for the west and was never heard of again, leaving the young Chamberlin an orphan to be reared by relatives. Mr. Chamberlin was educated at the old East Florida Seminary, then located in Micanopy. At the opening of the Civil War he enlisted with the Marion Dragoons under Capt. James B. Owens, later transferring to the Second Florida Cavalry, serving in C Troop under Capt. Chambers. He saw action but twice during the war, in a battle fought at Gainesville and in a single skirmish with Union Troops near here. Following the civil war Mr. Chamberlin joined with a group of friends in forming the community known as Tacoma, which was developed into one of the finest citrus growing areas of it's day.Mr. Chamberlin fractured a hip in an accident in 1929, and since that time had been confined to bed at his home at Tacoma." 19
Gravesite of George Sanford Chamberlin, Sr. Photo: P. Marlin 2018
Wedding photo of George S. Chamberlin Jr. and his wife Caroline in 1915. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
Caroline A. Chamberlin, wife of George S. Chamberlin, Jr. was born in Georgetown Texas in 1894. In 1853 she died in an automobile accident. An excerpt from an article in the Gainesville Daily Sun , dated 1953, tells the story.
"Mrs. G.S. Chamberlin, 59 of Micanopy, was killed and four others were injured this morning as the result of two related accidents. Mrs. Chamberlin expred shortly before noon at Alachua General Hospital, about four and a half hours after the accidents. Her doctor said a stroke she suffered just before the bush crashed was the cause of death.
The first crash happened when a school bus, driven by Mrs. Chamberlin and loaded with Gainesville High School and P.K. Yonge school children, hit a culvert about a mile and a half north of Micanopy on US 441. The ambulance, speeding with Mrs. Chamberlin, one of the victims of the bus accident, collided with a truck at a Gainesville street intersection, and a car following close behind smacked into the rear of the ambulance. Students on the bus said Mrs. Chamberlin took one hand off the wheel just before hitting the culvert, as if suffering a stroke.
State Highway Trooper J.T. Roberts said the school bus went off the road while traveling north, struck the side of the culver t, and veered across the road, stopping in the ditch on the other side. One of the students said there was confusion and screaming when it became apparent that the bus was going to crash."
Gravesite of George Sanford Chamberlin, Jr. and Caroline A Chamberlin. Photo: P. Marlin 2018
From the Tuskawilla News of 1891, "While handling a Winchester, last Thursday afternoon, Garrett Chamberlin accidentally shot John Strap, a colored boy, in the arm inflicting a painful, though not dangerou wound. The ball came near striking Mr. J.A. Simonton, who was standing nearby. Garrett did the part of a man well, by paying all doctor bills and placing the boy on double wages while unable to work. This is only a proof that guns are things which should be handled with all care."
Gravesite of Garrett Chamberlin, son of George Chamberlin, Sr. Photo: P. Marlin
Martha Chamberlin Florida Memory
Martha, daughter of George Chamberlin, was blind but learned to type and correspond with people. She had been blind since she was a very small child and went totally blind as a teenager, when she had the measles.
Gravesite of Martha Ellen Chamberlin. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Maude and Lucretia Chamberlin, daughters of G.S. Chamberlin, both died of measles on the same day. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The Chamberlin family lived in Tacoma, just north of Micanopy, on Lake Wauberg.
The Chamberlin home overlooking Lake Wauberg. 1915. Photo: Micanopy Historical Society Archives
"Safe With Jesus" is etched on 12 year old Lester Burch's tombstone. The gravesite showcases a collection of marbles, a moss covered teddy bear, toy trucks and other trinkets embeded into the concrete. There may have been a ceramic statue, which is no longer there. I inquired with the Micanopy cemetery association president as to the cause of his death, and they informed me that death was due to drowning.
Gravesite of Lester Lindbergh Burch. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Lester Lindbergh Burch. Photo: P Marlin 2018
An excerpt from an article in the Gainesville Daily Sun, February 21, 1905, tells of "The Sad Drowning on Levy Lake."
"Information has reached this city of a sad drowning at the Underhill place, Levy Lake, near Kirkwood, in which Roy Emerson, twenty years old, son of A.H. Emerson and R.B. Dean, seventy years of age, a relative of the Emersons, who was visiting the family at Kirkwood, last their lives. From the best information obtainable at this time, Emerson and Dean left the Emerson home early Saturday afternoon for a fishing trip. They drove to the Underhill place, where they secured a boat. As the shade of evening folded to its bosom the dying day, the gentlement did not return. Supper at the Emersons was postponed on account of their failure to arrive, and about 8 o'clock Mr. Emerson became uneasy at the continued absence of his son and relattive, and began a search, which resulted in finding the boat only a few yeard from shore, filled with water. In the boat were the poles used by the fishermen, the poles used by Mr. Dean had been broken. This explained the story that both men had fallen victims to a watery grave.
Mr. Emerson was naturally deeply distressed at this discovery, but he secured assistance and began at once a search for the bodies, both of which were recovered. The body of Mr. Dean was dragged first, about midnight, while the body of young Mr. Emerson was discovered two hours later. They were taken to the home of Mr. Emerson, accompanied by the distracted father and a few sorrowing friends. The body of Mr. Dean was embalmed and shipped to his home in South Carolina. The burial of the young man took place at Micanopy cemetery yesterday.
Gravesite of Roy Emerson. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The drowning occurred in about six feet of water, and only a few yards from shore. Judging from the position of the boat, which was not upturned, and the broken fishpole, it is supposed that in attemtping to pull in a fish the pole gave way, throwing the occupants into the water; or it may have been that in his attempt to save Mr. Dean, young Emerson went overboard. Neither could swim, with the result that both drowned."
An excerpt from the obituary of Rosamund Pardee in the Gainesville Daily Sun dated August 1929.
"Friends in Gainesville and throughout this section of Florida of Miss Rosamond Pardee of Micanopy will regret to learn of her sudden death in Palatka Sunday morning. The young lady, only 18 years old and a very pretty girl, was the daughter of Mr. and MRs. Will Pardee of Micanopy where she was reared and educated. She recently trained and studied to be a registered nurse in the hospital at Ocala and at the time of her death was nursing an invalid lady in Florida. Miss Pardee's death came as a terrible shock to relatives and friends as she always seemed to be in the best of health until Saturday when she was stricken, dying at an early hour yesterday morning."
Gravesite of Rosamond Pardee. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Harriet and Esther Zetrouer, mother and daughter, both died within a few days of each other in 1913. The "Ocala Star Banner" tells of Esther Zetrouer's passing. It is assumed her mom, Harriet, died of the same illness as her daughter.
"The entire community is deeply grieved over the demise of Esther Zetrouer which occurred in MIcanopy Saturday night at 7 o'clock. Esther was a sweet child and exceedingly bright and was loved by all who knew her. Her death came so suddenly. She was only sick about seven days and it is sad indeed to see one so full of youth and primise sicken and die, but we feel and know that God needs such jewels in his kingdom. It is sad indeed that the mother (Harriet), grandmother and little sister of Esther were so ill they were unable to attend the funeral. Mrs. Zetrouer is a noble Christian woman and until about six months ago, lived in the country about two miles from here. She has the love and sympathy of all her friends in her hour of grief.
Gravesite of Harriet and Esther Zetrouer. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Lillian Eulalie Denton 1 year old. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Susie King died in 1897 when she was twelve years old. The brick enclosure is said to be the burial site of a baby, probably from Susie's family.
Gravesite of Susie King. Photo: P Marlin
Gravesite of Susie King. Photo: P Marlin
Gravesite of James Deering Knox. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Elizabeth R. Bishop wife of Rev. T. Bishop. Faithful unto death, she had nothing to do but die. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Gray Thomas Jarrell. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Mary A. Keaton. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of John William Hall who died at age 7. Here lies Willy, in a land of strangers near by his Mother's side, where seldom comes a near or dear Friend to weep over his tomb, but the Saviour who loves little children, bids them come unto Him, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Ovid Lee Simonton. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Reverend Selwyn Smith. Photo: P Marlin 2018
The Merry family plot with the gravesite of Calvin Merry. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Gravesite of Susie Merry. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Vine covered grave. Photo: P Marlin 2018
Photo: P Marlin 2018
1 Micanopy Town Town of Micanopy Website.
2 Watkins, Caroline B. The Story of Historic Micanopy. 1976
3 Edward M. Wanton and the Settling of Micanopy. The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 73, No. 4 (Apr., 1995), pp. 456-477
4 Huhner, Leon. Moses Elias Levy, An Early Florida Pioneer and the Father of Florida’s First Senator The Florida Historical Quarterly. 1941
4 History of Gainesville Letter from Mrs. Ester Geiger Powell, Micanopy, to her sister, Mrs. Annie Elizabth Geiger Spearman, Social Circle Ga. June 16, 1871
5 Monaco, C.S. Alachua Settlers and the Second Seminole War. The Florida Historical Quarterly. 2012
6 Historic Tour of Micanopy University of Florida Digital Collections
7 Smith, James Calvert Micanopy . 1942
9 Webber, Carl. The Eden of the South. 1883
10 Grenier, Bob. Central Florida's Civil War Veterans.
11 Photos of the Micanopy Cemetery. Pam Marlin. 2018
12 Smith, W.A. Letters of a Florida Settler in 1877. Florida Historical Quarterly January 1954
13 Ley, John C. Fifty-two years in Florida. Publishing House of the M.E. Church, South. 1899.
14 Obituary Records of Yale Graduates 1924-1925 p. 1533
15 Statement written by Julia Edwards, wife of William Edwards. 1885. Micanopy Historical Society Archives
16 Davis, Jess. History of Alachua County. year
17 Buchholz, F.W. History of Alachua Couty Florida. 1929.
18 Rajitar, Steve. Micanopy Historical Trail. 1999
19 Chamberlin, Shelley. The Chamberlins of Florida. 2009
20 Jones, John Paul. Cold Before Morning. 1992
21 Haskins, Lorna. Fifteen Florida Cemeteries. 2011