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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 srso.org 

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 Jerniganlanding@gmail.com

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
https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/300226

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

INDEPENDENCE-- that day

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.



America
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.

an INDEPENDENT BIRD






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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The HEART of PINE documentary on the longleaf

wme3.net

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.


RUCKER goes to the BEACH - 30-A

Dr. Brian Rucker - a prolific historian of topics big and small in the panhandle of Florida provides here a glimpse of the developments along Hwy 30A in the Panhandle.  After this brief history are some clips of some of the scenery there -- the developments along 30-A.

DUNE LAKES of the Florida Panhandle

One of the more prolific historians for our Panhandle is Dr. Brian Rucker, a professor at Pensacola State College and at UWF.  His lecture series often include tours with students to areas referenced in class. Here is a quick look at DUNE LAKES of South Walton County  off Hwy 30-A.  Learn more about his books at PATAGONIA PRESS.  A multi part documentary on these Dune Lakes is available through the St. Joe Community Foundation.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Gaylier Miller - Author



WME3.NET

Gaylier Miller writes historical fiction among other things. A retired educator whose roots are in Northwest Florida, she finds colorful characters and vibrant history right at her feet.  Her latest book, "CLEVE" is a part of an "interwoven" series that began with "WAITING DEER" and the complex meeting of cultures and peoples who pioneered the region.

"CLEVE" is a bit later - late 19th century, CLEVE" takes us from what now is a ghost town (erased but for a cemetery) of Coon Hill in Santa Rosa County, Florida, to Auburn University, to the FIRST Chautauqua at DeFuniak Springs, Florida and more of the Panhandle.

We are fortunate to have this talented author to give us a glimpse of an era that hides behind the thinnest veil of generations and colors a period many of us living can remember our grandparents talk about.  "

EXTENDED INTERVIEW 1 (Cleve)
EXTENDED INTERVIEW 2 (Waiting Deer) (reading passages)





Saturday, April 22, 2017

Rucker - MINE EYES HAVE SEEN ....

From wme3.net

AN OBSCURE UNION GENERAL casuses havoc in North Mississippi and this brings big changes to the Union and Confederate troop placement along the Gulf Coast.  Dr. Rucker's  recent book "MINE EYES HAVE SEEN" is an excellent collection of EYEWITNESS accounts of both soldiers and civilians from both sides in our part of the Gulf Coast. Pensacola, Badgad, Milton -- including South Alabama were in a state of constant tension throughout the period.

Learn more about how to get his books from PATAGONIA PRESS 

Dr. Rucker is a professor at both Pensacola State College and University of West Florida. His courses and writings (books) on panhandle history are treasured by natives and newcomers alike.





Dr. Ruker is featured in many youtube clips that highlight various features of the Florida Panhandle. Look for them at www.me3tv.org

FLOYD TALKS - there is more

Floyd drops in from time to time and we sit out at the barn and just talk. Floyd spends a lot of time with his various internet tablets on which re researches the Bible.   I can't say I am clear on any of what he is talking about but there is a certain peacefulness in chilling out at the barn regardless of the wisdom attempted from any conversation.



He reminds me just a little bit of a homeless "genius" that I once recorded. (see below)



Don Albert was a homeless man I ran into maybe 20 years ago in NJ. Don claimed to be a genius. He lived in his car (by choice) and probably was quite mentally challenged.  But he would do odd jobs for people and make a few dollars and move on. Over the course of several years he traveled all over the USA. Sometimes I would be able to send him a package of his videos on tape so he could sell them for some cash.  He even went into Guatamala at one point.  The last time I had contact was when he was taken in by  (or he took in) some Israeli students in Tel Aviv. He must have had a little SSI income too but he insisted on being "homeless".




Floyd believes he has some insight. He keeps searching.



Here is a collection of his talks .

Dr. Rucker and the Bluffs on Escambia Bay