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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Commissioner Oliver Jernigan, Jr. Owned one of the most powerful Automobiles on the Panhandle in 1910

Owner's Name: Jernigan, Oliver, Jr.

Address: Milton, Florida

Modern County: Santa Rosa County (Fla.)

Registration Number: 1876

Date: July 12, 1910

Maker's Name: Mitchell [Mitchell Motor Car/Mitchell-Lewis Co.]

Style of Vehicle: Touring

Horsepower: 50

This collection contains Florida's first automobile registrations, which were recorded by the Florida Department of State between 1905 and 1917. Each registration, which was handwritten in a ledger, indicates the name and post office address of the registrant plus the manufacturer, style, horsepower and factory number of the vehicle. Each entry was dated and assigned a unique registration number, which was sent to the registrant on a certificate.

These records help illustrate how profoundly the automobile transformed Florida in the early 20th century as well as how much the automobile itself changed over the same period. Some of the earliest registrations in the documents are for steam-powered and electric cars, and many of the entries are for cars made by companies like the Sears & Roebuck Corporation, the National Sewing Machine Company, and the Locomobile Company of America. Old recognizable brands, like Ford, Cadillac and Olds[mobile], can be found throughout the collection as well.

Local historians can use these records to identify the earliest automobile owners in a given Florida community. Genealogists will find them useful for determining whether and where their ancestors may have registered automobiles in Florida during the 1905-1917 period.


A handful of "horseless carriages" appeared in Florida in the 1890s, but machines going by the name "automobile" first began appearing in the Sunshine State around 1900. That year, Edward Manrara purchased Tampa's first auto, which had a gasoline-fueled engine but was propelled by steam. A newspaper editor in Tallahassee wrote later in 1900 of seeing an automobile pass through town for the first time. Gainesville's first auto arrived in 1905, and the first car to pass through Fort Pierce did so in 1907 while en route from Jacksonville to Miami.

No law existed to regulate the use of automobiles on public roadways at first, but this state of affairs was bound to come to an end. Speed tests were popular events and tended to draw large crowds, but unless they were adequately announced and prepared for, they could be dangerous and disruptive to normal business. Horses were often frightened by the new machines, and no uniform procedures existed to aid pedestrians trying to cross city streets unscathed.

State Representative Edward L. Wartmann, of Citra, in Marion County, sought to bring some order to this chaotic situation. In 1905, he introduced a bill in the House that would require automobile owners to register their vehicles and outfit them with safety equipment as well as follow some basic rules for driving. Wartmann based his bill in part on the automobile laws already in force in the state of New York. The full text of the law as passed by the 1905 Legislature is available on the Registration Laws page, but the following were the main requirements of the act:

Every automobile had to be registered with the secretary of state, and the certificate of registration had to be present with the vehicle at all times during its use.
The vehicle's registration number had to be displayed on a tag in Arabic numerals of not less than 3 inches long and 2 inches wide.
Every vehicle operating on public roadways had to have a bell, horn or whistle available as a signal as well as two "lamps" to be used for illumination between sunset and sunrise.
Drivers had to abide by a "proper and reasonable" statewide speed limit.
Motorists had to give a signal when approaching horses or other draft animals and were obligated to immediately stop if given a signal to do so by someone riding or driving said animals.
Boards of county commissioners were empowered to set aside times for speed tests or races on public roadways, which drivers had to adhere to.
It may seem odd that the secretary of state was selected as the official responsible for supervising the registration of automobiles, but prior to this there were no other private forms of transportation that required registration. Common carriers, like railroads and steamship companies, were regulated at the state level, but carriages, wagons and horses were not registered with the state government at all. Consequently, the automobile was a new frontier not only for transportation, but for governmental regulation as well.

The secretary of state was responsible for registering vehicles until 1917, when the duty was transferred by law to the Comptroller's Office. Unfortunately, the individual registration records from that agency's tenure as automobile registrar do not appear to have survived. Annual registration totals are listed, however, in the Comptroller's annual reports, which are available in print and online.

Early Auto Registrations, 1905-1917

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Discipline - Jocko Willink

A guy who says things worth listening to sometimes

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Can you identify these men ?

Officials watching last logs being cut into lumber. 
 Last logs cut at the Bagdad Land and Lumber Company April 4, 1939.

Friday, October 06, 2017

This episode of the series “Louisiana Legends” from October 1, 1982, features an interview with Justin Wilson conducted by Gus Weill. Wilson, a native of Amite, is a famous Cajun cook and storyteller. He discusses: his childhood; his comedic influences; the origins of his stories; how he handles a variety of audiences; the Cajun lifestyle and sense of humor; and his serious traffic accident and resulting narcotics addiction.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Beard's Raid,
Ordered by General Braxton Bragg in conjunction with his evacuation of some 8000 Confederate troops from Pensacola, Florida.From Bragg’s order to General Samuel Jones:
“I desire you to leave nothing the enemy can use; burn all from Fort McRee to the junction with Mobile road. Save the guns, and if necessary destroy your gunboats and all other boats. They might be used against us. Destroy all machinery, public and private, which could be useful to the enemy; especially disable the sawmills in and around the bay and burn the lumber. Break up the railroad from Pensacola to the Junction, carrying the iron up to a safe place.”
Subsequently Lt. Colonel Beard’s order:
“You will burn every sawmill, planning mill, sash factory, every foot of lumber, and all boats of every description. If there is any cotton at any of the places you will not fail to destroy it. It is not supposed that you will meet with any opposition, but should there be, you will carry out your orders by force of arms. I rely upon you to execute your orders that nothing of material value to the enemy shall be left in that vicinity.”
Route of Beard's Raid, March 1862
Destruction of
Deer Point
Miller's Sawmill
Pierce's Mill
Oyster Boats
Criglar, Batchelder and Company
Ollinger and Bruce Shipyard
Simpson Steamer
Bagdad Mill
C.P. Knapp & Dycus Company
Keyser, McVoy & Company
Hyer's Planing Mill
Wright's Sawmill
Bacon, Abercrombie and Company
McGhee Sawmill
Judge Sawmill
Ferry Pass
Wallace Sawmill…

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Unsolved - Death of Suzanne Martin:
Local bartender`s slaying remains a mystery

 PUBLISHED SUNDAY, AUGUST 5, 2001 By Monica Scandlen
One year later
Suzanne Martin's violent death haunts people every day.
Her mother, Gail Martin, thinks about it as she recovers from brain surgery
at her home in Talladega, Ala.
Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Cpl. Joe McCurdy can't let it go, even though he
is not on the case full time anymore.
Childhood friend Jeff Faulkner is reminded every time he looks at a poster
with Suzanne Martin's picture hanging in his St. Petersberg office.
And investigators believe Martin's death must also be weighing on whoever
killed the popular bartender April 28, 2000, after a night of partying.
More than a year after her partially clothed body was found floating in
Escambia Bay, no one has been charged.
"I've played the scenario over in my head," McCurdy said. "Why is this girl
dead? There's no reason for it."
The answers come slowly, if they come at all.
McCurdy has eliminated at least one man he once suspected and ruled out a
couple of theories. There are a few new details in Martin's autopsy report
that were never made public. Faulkner has increased a reward for information
leading to an arrest to $7,500.
Santa Rosa Sheriff Wendell Hall said solving the homicide is a high
priority, and investigators and prosecutors plan to meet to pore over the
case file, discuss physical evidence and look at possible suspects.
"Many times, there's a lot of hard work that's done, but you have a little
bit of luck," said Assistant State Attorney John Molchan. "In this one, we
just haven't had that one bit of luck. It's very much a mystery."
Suspected events
McCurdy can last place Martin, 38, a single mother raising a teen-age son,
at Seville Quarter about 2:30 a.m. April 28, 200il then, McCurdy said,
Martin's evening played out like this:
She left her job about 4 p.m. at Intermission, a downtown bar, where she was
the day bar manager. She went to a male friend's house in the 1900 block of
east Cervantes Street and left her car.
The man has been cleared as a suspect and has moved out of state.
They ran some errands, ate at Hooter's Restaurant on North Ninth Avenue,
went to Martin's home in Gulf Breeze, then about 8 p.m. went to Capt'n Fun
Beach Club, where they saw other friends.
About 1 a.m., she returned to Intermission, then walked to Seville Quarter
with two other men and a woman. Investigators declined to release their
names. Martin soon broke off from them.
The whole night Martin was drinking heavily. Witnesses told police she was
known to use Ecstasy.
At Seville, most people saw her alone. One person saw her on the dance floor
at Phineas Phogg's with a man. At some point, Martin likely met someone she
knew and left. Nobody saw her leave.
A fisherman found her floating near Archie Glover Boat Ramp in Milton about
8:30 a.m. She was wearing a black shirt and purple bra. Her jeans were
There were signs of a possible struggle.
Martin's death
An autopsy report from the Medical Examiner's Office states Martin had five
fractured ribs on the left and 10 fractured ribs on the right. There were
scrapes, cuts and bruises on her head, face and back.
She was dead when her body was dumped in the water. The autopsy found no
water in her lungs.
Martin also had injuries "as to indicate the possibility that the deceased
was run over by an automobile," the report states.
Cause of death: blunt force injuries to her chest and abdomen.
Manner of death: homicide.
McCurdy has ruled out a drifter from Lillian, Ala., who was a possible
He has only theories about the last moments of Martin's life.
"She gets to the other location, something went wrong and the next thing
they know, they have a body they want to get rid off," McCurdy said.
"They drug her out there. I don't know if they thought she would sink or
float or what."
Likely scenario
If Martin was run over by a car, McCurdy suspects it was not an accident. It
is unlikely she wandered in front of a car, was hit, and the driver got
scared and dumped the body.
"If you run over somebody in downtown Pensacola, are you going to take the
time to stop your car, load her up and drive to Archie's boat ramp?" he
McCurdy also ruled out the theory Martin was killed because she owed someone
money for drugs. And it's unlikely Martin accidentally overdosed.
Her blood alcohol level was .097, slightly more than Florida's .08 standard
for a drunken driving charge.
There are several male friends of Martin whom investigators have not
eliminated, and McCurdy said physical evidence gathered from the scene,
including DNA, is being tested by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The results might provide more information.
That leads McCurdy back to this scenario:
"I think she left that bar with someone, someone she knew, and something got
out of hand. I'm confident we're going to link the right piece (of evidence)
to the suspect before it's done."
Linking evidence to a suspect isn't McCurdy's responsibility anymore.
McCurdy moved from investigations to become a patrol supervisor.
Investigator Paul Lio is in charge of finding Martin's killer now.
Lio declined to say if other evidence showed whether Martin was sexually
assaulted or whether drugs might have been in her system.
Still waiting
Gail Martin, Suzanne Martin's mother, knows finding answers may take a
"At times it's OK, at other times I cry a lot," said Gail Martin, 64, who is
recovering from an aneurysm followed by brain surgery.
"Especially when there are things that come up that bring back memories.
It's just one of those things we live with day-to-day."
She prefers to remember her daughter as the beautiful, young- at-heart
mother who told her, "Give me a boat and some water and I'm as happy as I
can be," when she moved from Montgomery, Ala., to Pensacola.
Suzanne Martin's body was so badly injured that her mother could not look at
it before the funeral.
"I saw her from the door, but I could not go in. I knew that we needed to
have a closed casket."
On the first anniversary of Suzanne Martin's death, Gail Martin and her
husband, Lawrence, 67, gave flowers at their church.
Suzanne's Martin son, who was 16 when his mother died, lived with them for
one year. He is 18 and has returned to Pensacola, where he lives with
Before Gail Martin's surgery, she kept in touch with investigators
regularly. Now, it's not as often.
Around McGuire's Irish Pub and Brewery, where Martin worked for about two
years, her death is still a topic of conversation.
For Donna Ashcom, the date "April 28" is seared in her mind.
"I still get chills thinking about it," said Ashcom, 30, who met Martin at
"I still grieve for her, but I'm angry. Chances are, the person who took her
life isn't worth 10 of Suzanne's."
Martin was going through a rough patch when she died, Ashcom said, with her
recent drunken driving arrest and drug use.
"She was a good woman. She might have messed up a bit, but she would have
pulled herself out of it," Ashcom said. "Everybody stubs their toes once in
She would "bet her life," that whoever killed Martin knew her, and Ashcom
keeps her ears open for any new tidbits that might lead to an arrest.
"I just wish we knew what happened, and the longer it goes ..." Ashcom said.
"You hear about cases that never get solved."
Jeff Faulkner, a friend since kindergarten, has circulated posters with
Martin's picture on it to make sure that doesn't happen.
A copy of that poster still hangs in his office, and he keeps track of the
case through media accounts.
"Nobody deserves to die, but nobody deserves to die in that manner," said
Faulkner, 40, a general contractor in St. Petersberg.
He is coordinating the reward for information leading to an arrest and
conviction. In July, he increased the reward to $7,500.
Gail Martin tries not to dwell on the possibility no one may ever be
"If they never find out (who killed Suzanne), then the only one who can take
care of it is the Lord. And He will take care of it in His own good time."
Want to help?
Anyone with information about Suzanne Martin's death can call the Santa Rosa
County Sheriff's Office at 983-1100 or Santa Rosa Crime Stoppers at

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Cold Coldwater Ambush
Milton, Sept. - 2. 1911
Alf and Arch Cooley, residing in the northern part of this county, were ambushed and shot from their horses early last night, adding two more murders to the already long list of crimes in this year. The ambuscade was in what is known as the Clearwater creek neighborhood. A coroner's jury has been impaneled and a thorough investigation will be made of this latest murder. Arch Cooley was a brother and Alf a cousin of Daniel Cooley, who was shot and killed near here last Sunday.There is considerable excitement,!but from what could be learned tonight the Cooleys were returning to their homes early in the night and were shot from the roadside by parties secreted in some thick undergrowth. Shot guns were used and there were several in the party, as five shots in rapid succession were heard. Later the riderless horses galloped up to the homes of the men with blood on the saddles. A searching party found the bodies riddled with shot and death must have been instantaneous.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff John Houston Collins“long John Collins.” faced a wild and sometimes murderous frontier, folks in remote areas of the county generally settled things themselves and for the most part peacefully, however violent feuds are well known to have occurred in many areas of the county during the early twentieth century.  One of the more notorious Munson feuds would lead to the killing of a constable, for unknown reasons this death has not been recorded as an LODD .
Robert E.L. Collins was killed on 2 December 1916 while serving as constable for Munson District.

John Houston Collins was born on May 16, 1868 in Santa Rosa County, Florida. In 1893 Collins was first elected Sheriff of Santa Rosa County. He was considered to be a “frontier type” sheriff and served two separate terms in office. descriptive speaking, Collins stood 6’7”tall, was thin in build, and often considered to be an imposing figure. He earned the nicknames of “honest John” and “long John Collins.” While Sheriff Collins and his family resided in the upper level of the jail in the county courthouse.
At the age of 69, Collins died following a lengthy illness. He and his wife are both buried in the Milton Cemetery.
Served as Sheriff  from 1893-1897
and again from 1909-1913

SRC Courthouse photo (State Archives of Florida

References: Pensacola News Journal- Library of Congress Collection.  Collins Bio and photo 

Further reading :  History of Santa Rosa County: A King's country Unknown Binding – 1973

History of Santa Rosa County: A King's country 1973 by M. Luther King (Author)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Two Egg TV's expedition to find a mysterious stone structure on the bottom of Lake Seminole in Southwest Georgia. Mystery on the Lake Bottom (Part 3)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is this all that remains of the Overpass Cafe ?
While site seeing on the old brick road in East Milton, I noticed in a wooded area, this concrete pilling and a partial drive way entrance from the old road. Could this possibly be all that remains of the Overpass Cafe?
The enclosed post card is from the 1940's. If you have any photos or memories of the Overpass Cafe, please post them or email us

Monday, August 14, 2017

Early Auto Registrations, 1905-1917

 Thames, Rufus
 Jay, Florida
Modern County: Santa Rosa County (Fla.)
Registration Number: 922
Date: May 10, 1909
Maker's Name: Reo M.Co. [REO Motor Car Co.]
Style of Vehicle: Runabout
Horsepower: 10

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dear to the hearts of many, the old Holt School now sits silent and derelict in the center of what once was a thriving lumber community.
Built in 1922 of brick and wood, the school has seen many children pass through its now graffiti covered doors, a melancholy reminder of how the times have changed.
The scrub oaks that now grow over the windows add to the ghostly feeling of  the old structure . On the south-side of the building the playground and courts are mostly intact, the asphalt pad was a grand tricycle track in its day.
The school closed in the mid seventies, in those days Holt seemed to be the Mayberry of Florida. The School was sold in 1977 to private parties, and spending its later years serving as a commercial building.

Another School Year

Tomorrow starts another school year. Haiden, my grandson, will be in 4th grade and Annaleigh, my granddaughter, will start Pre-K. They are growing up way to fast!
It only seems like yesterday, that I was getting ready to start a new school year. I would be so nervous and hoped my "first day of school outfit" was cool. I wasn't the most popular kid in school. My parents kept me in private school most of my life, but for 9th grade, I was going to be a Panther, in public school.
You want to talk about being nervous??? I was scared to death! I always had to wear dresses to school (reason you will hardly ever see me in one) and now I was able to wear Levi's and other cool clothes. I made a lot of good friends that year, and throughout my high school years. I am proud of who I am. I believe I have good manners, good morals and I think, a good heart.
Now, there is nothing to separate those times in my life. Every Monday of every week, of every month is the beginning of my work week. No breaks for the summer or the winter, just work and a day off here and there. I have my dream job, so this makes it so much easier. I miss the days of wondering what tomorrow or the next year would bring, but I would not change anything today.
In closing, I hope everyone has a great school year and to those who are in the same boat as me, I hope you have a great work week.

By Contributor Stephanie Cato

Thursday, July 06, 2017


The greatest Generation
My dad, J. Lee Campbell was first cousin to a bunch of Campbell's -- children of my great uncle, Cuyler Campbell. My grandfather (Cuyler's brother)  was Jim Campbell. My dad was James Lee and my brother is James Edward II (after grandpa).

In a small community like ours - in Chumuckla, Florida - the family ties are THICK and stretch back in these woods for a couple hundred years. 

So first cousins are almost like siblings and even second cousins are bonded by family lore and heritage and usually geographical proximity. It's a family model similar to
The stories get thicker and deeper
thousands across America. You know the people. You know a level of trust you have with few other social networks in your world.

But even so -- you begin to lose clarity of lineage as the families expand and your second cousins have grand-kids.  The names begin to blur.  In my case, I have to refresh my memory every year. It gets embarrassing to ask some of the now twenty-something cousins what their name is -- AGAIN.

It helps to ask who their mom or grandma is.  I am going to have to write up a family tree chart.

picture time
But, beyond the embarrassment I find myself increasingly amazed at the younger generation. They are following their dreams in all manner of fields.  Engineers, Medicine, Psychology, Educators, Farmers and business people.  Many are very advanced degrees.

Some of the twenties generation are still in school and the little ones are just getting started.  The talent and power of these independent people - as a family -- and as individuals is a gift to America - and to the next generation to follow them ! I am amazed.

The gathering every INDEPENDENCE DAY at
the barn in Chumuckla is a tradition for the Cuyler and Bessie  Campbell descendants for decades.

My brother Jim and I take advantage of every opportunity to soak up this bit of heritage that comes alive in this place every July. It is something to savor.

All Sizes of cousins
The fish are mullet caught by one of the cousins, Joe - who lives in Alabama. He used a cast net to take in a haul out of the Perdido Bay.  He cleaned them. His daughter often helps. Another cousin, David, cooked them.  Another fried up the hush puppies.

There was a pot luck table full of more food.  So many farmers are involved it is expected that every bounty the earth can provide will be laid out for discerning tastes.

 And it was. And it was good.   Very good.   
                                                      In America last Tuesday.

Generational Exchange

Generations Helping Hands

Enough to feed Coxie's Army
Joe caught the mullet and he eats the mullet

My brother, Jim can tell a story so it seems

The youngster here comes from a strong mold

A family within the family -
It is Sharon's barn but Ronnie is down from NC

There were a lot more cousins here
but they are shared in a private family
album.  Must have been 20 smaller kids
and then everybody under 60 is the younger
folks. The ones over 80 are getting old
and the ones over 90 are
simply superhuman.

My Brother, Jim - Retired from reserves as a Navy Captain. Our cousin, Clay who was here retired an Army Colonel. The BIRD on either collar is the the same. It is an American Bird.


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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The HEART of PINE documentary on the longleaf

This film was presented recently for several days at the ARCADIA MILL site in Milton. If you have never visited the ARCADIA MILL - an 1830 industry in the Florida Panhandle ... you should. The boardwalk through the creek swamp and old mill site are an excellent introduction following a tour inside the museum.  Here is the film on the LONGLEAF PINE.  60 years ago, I wandered through second growth longleaf that was already  40 years old and very large. Many older trees remained in the forest - and carried "cat faces" from the harvest of turpentine.  This was a huge industry in the coastal plains "Pine Barrens" that blanketed the southeast.  It involved the rivers, the land and the people - along with tremendous mills and machinery with rails and communities to support the whole enterprise.  MOST OF THAT IS NOW A MEMORY. It was only a fragment of itself in 1960.   Watch this film and learn about that amazing resource .. and perhaps the hopes to bring some of that back again.
Presented here courtesy of  Conflict Free Collards

LONGLEAF: THE HEART OF PINE from The Southern Documentary Project on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dr. Rucker presents Camp Helen State Park

Camp Helen is located near the Western edge of Panama City Beach in Walton County.  Dr. Rucker talks about this gem here. The ending clips show some streaming outfall from coastal lakes similar to the one this park borders.  Learn more about Dr. Rucker's books at his facebook site PATAGONIA PRESS.   His TREASURES OF THE PANHANDLE is available from Amazon.