Gatorama is a long-time Florida attraction located off the most beaten paths in South Florida, but it’s well worth a visit and the price of admission. Hundreds of alligators and crocodiles of all shapes and sizes are on display, as are some other Florida creatures. We were there in July, and since then, the local ABC7 station has done a story on the gator and croc training that goes on there. It’s surprising and fascinating and well worth the view. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
The birth of another great-nephew this week (named Wyatt) coincided with a birth of a very different kind—the emergence of a beautiful Monarch butterfly in the passion flower vine growing just outside in the milkweed bed. We failed to notice the chrysalis until just after the butterfly made its appearance. We named it Wyatt in honor of our newest family member and enjoyed watching it take its inaugural flight to the nearby tamarind tree. Can’t wait to watch baby Wyatt take flight, too. The sky’s the limit! Or is it? Perhaps, he will be the first family member to travel to the stars and beyond!
So many were added to her collection on Christmas Day in 1926 that she (and her Mom) decided a photograph was needed to mark the occasion.
I happened upon this photo in an antique store today. From what little I have researched, this high school was in Rogersville, Missouri. In white print below the photo, it says “Senior Class of 1925”. I’m publishing it here in the event it ever assists someone with their research. Happy Labor Day Weekend, and stay safe everyone on the east coast here in FL and on up to GA, SC, etc.
Some images from a recent stroll through the historic Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs, Florida. It was the end of the day, and I had this small zoo/botanical garden to myself. Nothing like nature to lift one’s spirits and relieve the stressors of the day. I hope you have a chance to spend some time this coming weekend in the great outdoors.
Author Curtis Dewees recently notified me that his book Joseph and Phebe Dewees of Grayson County, Kentucky and Their Descendants has just been published. It can be ordered from the Grayson County Historical Society, via their Facebook page. Paypal is accepted; or the book can be ordered by mail at the Society’s address: Grayson County Historical Society, PO Box 84, Leitchfield, Kentucy 42755. The cost is $26.05, including state sales tax and shipping costs.
For a little Friday relaxation, you may enjoy watching some manatees floating down the springs at Blue Spring State Park on their way to the St. John’s River. On cold winter days, manatees are typically abundant here as the springs remain a constant 72 degrees year round. Blue Springs State Park is in Orange City, Florida, an easy drive from Orlando, if you ever happen to visit the area. We did not see many on the day we were there, even though it was very chilly, but the sight of these three floating by made our trip especially worthwhile.
To see what’s happening right now, check out the live webcams! In 2018, 485 manatees spent the winter here–imagine that!
On a family history note, these springs (of which there are many in central and northern Florida) are not far from Enterprise, FL, the place my second-great-grandmother’s nephew, Charles Jaques Jr., passed away on May 10, 1886, at age 22. He was the son of Dr. Charles Jaques and Katherine Louise De Forrest.
Enterprise is just 7.5 miles from Orange City, and I can’t help but wonder whether Charles came upon these springs in his travels around this area, which back then (mid-1880s) would have been frontier land and just starting to get populated.
From the 1850s – 1880s, the St. John’s River was an important transportation route, and steamboats would have landed regularly at Blue Springs Landing. It seems possible that Charles would have made his way here via a St. John’s River steamboat, and I’d like to think that he saw manatees in the springs and the river along the way, sightings he would surely have reported back to friends and loved ones, and hopefully he had a chance to do that.
There is something very special and memorable about manatees, and if you ever get a chance to visit Florida in the winter, do your best to try to see some.
The next annual reunion of the DePuy and Brodhead families is scheduled for 9AM, Saturday, August 25, at the Monroe County (PA) Historical Association (a.k.a. the Stroud Mansion).
According to the De Puy / Brodhead Family Association, which is holding the event, as many as four guest speakers will address attendees. The Monroe County Historical Association Curator will take guests on a private tour that will include a Special Collections Presentation of General Daniel Brodhead’s uniform. Other activities are hoped for/being planned. An optional activity may be on offer for the day before (Friday).
For full information, please contact: depuy dot brodhead dot family dot assoc @ gmail dot com.
It’s almost a year ago that I found in a box an old button hook that belonged to my grandmother Elizabeth Sargent Trewin’s sister-in-law Sarah Bowley Sargent. I put a poll up asking how folks would handle an item like that—one that was more distantly related to them. Most respondents were happy to put the item back in the box and hand it down. I chuckled when I saw that.
I was confronted with a similar situation again recently when I came across a small prayer book dated 1849; on the cover appear the initials “A. M. Barksdale” and the street address “2204 Monument Avenue” is written inside. The opposite side of that page contains a line from Dante’s Divine Comedy in Italian and English: “Down through the world of infinite bitterness.”
Clueless as to whom the book once belonged, I must admit that discarding it crossed my mind. But, I was too curious and ended up putting my detective hat on.
I won’t bore you with the zigs and zags of my small bit of research. Suffice it to say that I am quite certain the book belonged to Agnes Morton Barksdale (1834-1908) and that the address is that of the home of “Francis D. Barksdale”, a cousin (once removed) who lived at that street address in Richmond, Virginia. The house, built in 1909, still stands.
I don’t think Agnes ever married or had children. She was the daughter of Dr. Claiborne Williams Barksdale (b. 1802) and his second wife Sallie Norment Whitlock. The family lived in Halifax Co., Virginia. Their children were:
- Claiborne Whitlock Barksdale (1833 – 1902)
- Agnes Morton Barksdale (1834 – 1908)
- Judith Beverly Barksdale (1836 – 1891)
- Mary Barksdale (1838 – 1854)
- Sallie Claiborne Barksdale (1840 – 1916)
- Achilles Whitlock Barksdale (1842 – 1916)
- Thomas White Barksdale (1844 – 1902)
- Howard Barksdale (1846 – 1907)
In a nutshell, one of my grandmother’s sisters married a descendant of one of Agnes’s sisters, Sallie Claiborne Barksdale. That descendant died not long after they married, and my grandmother’s sister remarried and moved to California. Somehow this book remained behind in New Jersey with my grandmother.
I must say, my initial inclination was to dispose of it somehow, but I am glad I took the time to connect the dots and find the story behind this object. It was obviously used quite a bit by Agnes given the wear in the leather. I’ve sent a few emails to some folks I’ve found who appear to be bona fide descendants of Agnes’s siblings but have not yet heard back. I’ll have to wait and see where this little book’s fate takes it from here…
UPDATE 4/3/2017: I am pleased to report that this little prayer book is en route to a new home with a bona fide descendant of Dr. Claiborne Barksdale and his wife Sallie N. Whitlock.