By EMILY LAGOW BELL
Copyrig Applied For
MY PIONEER DAYS
By EMILY LAGOW BELL
Copyright Applied For
The classic advice of Horace Greeley of the early '70s, "Go
west, young man," had about accomplished its purpose.
'The Wild West was fast yielding to settlement and civiliza-
This family of "Old Vincennes," this family of mixed French
and English origin; this family possessing the pioneering instincts
of its ancestry; this family sharing the empire building character-
istics of its associates, the Beechers, the Lincolns and the Grants,
"came south" to our Florida, the last frontier.
Here, on our East Coast, in the late '70s, this young lady from
the old North met and wedded this young man of the new South.
They immediately moved to what is now Fort Pierce. Here,
within the confines of our present city limits, they, with their scat-
tered neighbors both on the north and south, engaged in the rescue
of our fair and favored lower Indian River section from a wilder-
ness of neglect.
Here they strove mightily, endured privations, suffered hard-
Did you ever ask yourself concerning our predecessors of a
generation gone, How did they live? What were the details of their
daily life? What foods did they eat three times a day? What were
their amusements? When death threatened, how did they "call the
To these and other queries, the following pages give reply.
Historian, Old Timers' Association.
Fort Pierce, Florida.
This Book I Dedicate to My Children
I will endeavor to tell the story of my pioneer days in Florida.
In the year of 1876, on the 19th day of November, we left
our Illinois home for sunny Florida. It was blowing and sleeting
and so cold we were dressed with heavy clothes and furs, and we
had 24 miles to ride in a two-horse wagon to Vincennes to get the
train for Florida.
My father had come to Florida and he was so much better that
the doctors said he would get well of rheumatism, so he sent for us.
It took us nine days on the trip, as there were no fast trains those
days, and nothing of any note happened until we got to Georgia.
And myself and sisters had never seen only one old negro man and
wife at that time, and we began to see hundreds of them as we came
into the state.
And before we got to Atlanta we saw them by the dozens pick-
ing cotton, and they were so black and the cotton so white that their
wool looked like it was gray.
And we got to the station where we saw little kinky-headed
pickaninnies with their bags of cotton. Then the train stopped and
some men threw some pennies to them and they began to dance,
and their bowlegs looked like sticks of tar, and say, their shirts
would crack in the wind, as it was cold, and they only had one gar-
ment on. Some of them sang real well, made the songs as they
And the train pulled out and we got to the woods. It was get-
ting late and we stopped at every cow trail as the engine used wood
for fuel, and we heard th en say "De boys am going for to get
a possum," and one man ARd, "Whar dat possum is?"
"I done tol' you hit was in de log. And de dogs is atter hit.
When dey gits hit we got de 'taters and we got hot ashes. We can
singe de hair offen it, then bake it in the oven and oh! de Lord
knows how much I can put under this shirt of mine."
"Oh, go on, man, I likes possum soup and 'taters."
But we pulled out and didn't get to see the possum, for we
had never seen any animal like that.
It was almost dark. We could see very little more. Well, next
morning as we were nearing Live Oak, the train gave a lurch and
stopped so suddenly it threw me against the window, leaving a good
sized bump on my head. Our train was derailed, so they sent a
stock car for us to finish our trip to Jacksonville. It was a car for
sheep-ne'seats. We had to stand up all the way, and there was
a dear little bride, and she had a No. 4 foot in a shoe two sizes too
small, and she stood on one foot, then on the other, and the groom
would hold her up the best he could. And we of those days had
telescopes instead of the fancy suitcases of today. Poor thing, the
tears ran down her face, the pain was so great. Everyone was
sorry for her, and were so glad when we rolled into Jacksonville,
all tired and dusty.
Then we had to take the steamer Hattie to Enterprise, and
the scenery was wonderful to see; those old live oak trees with their
veils of Spanish moss reaching to the ground were great to us, and
men were gathering it in great stacks. The captain told us it was
for mattresses, which, when cured, was among the greatest for dura-
bility and better than hair or cotton, and soft and fluffy.
We spent the night on the boat and at night we felt lonesome,
so we three sisters had learned a great many songs, and our voices
were trained. We sang several pieces, unconscious of anyone lis-
tening. We found we were entertaining officers, passengers and
crew, so we stopped. But they insisted, so we sang a few more
pieces. Then mother and all went to our staterooms.
When we arrived at Enterprise, about five in the afternoon,
and found rooms and the landlady, who was very nice, told us a
great deal and gave us oranges from the wild groves, as there were
a great many those days, and she brought us a real nice fruit she
called guava, and of all things it smelled so bad, but of course we
tolerated it and thanked her for it while she was in the room, but
couldn't sleep with it in the room, so threw it in the bushes. But
many years after we learned to use them in jellies and marmalade,
and cutting the meat off the seeds made lovely cobblers-similar
to peaches.. Just as the lady said, we would learn to like them.
Well, we were to start at six next morning.
Punctually at six the team came and there were five with the
driver, and one large trunk, and only two little ponies, which looked
like large sized Shetland ponies. We were used to big farm and
Tickled to get started, even thoh we had been told hair-
raising stories of the wilds of Florida. So we plied the driver with
questions. Sometimes only a grunt for answer.
"Do you see many bears?" I said.
"Yep, some'res in the woods."
"Did you ever kill one?"
He said. "Nope."
"Do you see many snakes?"
"Haven't seed none since last huckleberry time."
"Where do you live, near here?"
"Nope; wherever I take my hat off!"
So he met some friends and one said: "Hello, Juniper, hain't
seed you since last orange-picking time."
"Come to think of it, I hain't seed you since, nuther. I am
on the road nigh about all the time. Well, s'long. Gid-ap here, boys."
So sister asked him what his name was. He said: "Wal'll, they
call me Juniper tew hum."
"Haven't you any other name?"
With a drawl: "Hit's Juniper Pig."
"Have you got sisters and brothers, too?"
"Yas, got some, one sister. Her name is Florida Pig."
And We could hardly keep our faces straight at his name, but
we hid our laughter the best we could and wondered if she looked
like the razorbacks.
So after two years I had the.pleasure of meeting his sister, and
she was a beautiful girl of sixteen, so we cannot judge one by the
It was Sunday and four in the afternoon, and we expected to
get to New Smyrna by six. The distance was 30 miles. Already
so tired of riding over roots and through deep sand, when all at
once we heard singing. Pretty soon we came in sight of young
folks coming from church and singing school. Girls and boys on
horseback; each Beau Brummel had his sweetheart on behind him.
Some had on home-made palmetto hats, all draped with Spanish
moss and wild jasmine, which was a novel sight to us.
Well, we soon came in sight of the preacher. We had heard
the poem of the wonderful one-horse shay, for it looked like it had
run one hundred years to a day. The minister himself was old and
a wonderful man-Methodist preacher. Preacher Selick was his
But the funny part was yet to come. There was a large
family in an old-fashioned ox cart. The mother and children had
dresses and sunbonnets all alike. The old lady and man were sitting
in cowhide chairs looking so happy and smoking their old clay pipes,
while the eldest boy was walking and driving with a long gad, and
all at once the oxen got scared, and over went the children. The
old lady upset, her pipe flew out. The old man, rather stiff, man-
aged to get ahead of the oxen and stop them and, quieting the chil-
dren, started on. Oh, pshaw! if we only dared to laugh as we
wanted to, but were afraid, for we had heard the Crackers were
terrible folk' if they got mad at you. But to this day I have to
laugh, the way they looked as over the roots they went bumping.
Well, we are nearing .our journey's end at last; only three
miles more, our guide said, and of course we expected to see quite
a town. But, on arrival, we didn't see a dozen houses, store and all.
Then we arrived at Cal Knap's. He was customs officer at New
Smyrna at that time, and my father was boatman for him; also
George Mendall, as he had to keep two men, boatmen.
So, after the pleasure of meeting father and the new friends
and supper over, we had almost decided it was the end of a perfect
day, so we started down to the grove to get some water, and it
looked so cool and nice we drank it, but oh, gee! it was that awful
sulphur water. So disappointed, for we were so thirsty-nothing
to drink all day. So we turned to look at the beautiful orange
trees, so laden with the bright golden fruit. It was a grand sight
to us, as we were used to seeing apples and other fruits. We did
not touch one, but the colonel told it to help ourselves, so we each
took one, for we had to pay ten cents apiece at home for oranges.
As we stood looking around in fear of snakes we began to stamp
our feet and rub our faces, and our heads itched and our faces
began to burn, when sister said, "Let's go." We couldn't see what
the matter was, so the little girl who was with us said, "Oh, it's only
sand flies." Therewere millions, so we ran back to the house, where
they had made smudges, and we didn't sleep all night for them. So
after that we had them nearly every day, and a mosquito hawk
came and lit on my younger sister and she screamed, "Oh! it's a sand
fly; let's run!" But they were so small that the Indians would say,
"No see um," but we used domestic or sand fly netting-nets to
sleep under, they were so bad.
Colonel Knap was a great tease, and a few days later he found
a box terrapin and put it under our bed and told us that was the
small sized bed bugs. He would find something new to scare or
tease us about almost every day.
So one morning he showed us the oysters-great bars of them.
It was low tide, so next day my little sister and I slipped off our
shoes and took the boat and went out to get some for dinner and
we got overboard, and say, if you ever have seen those sharp edges
-just like razors. Our feet were almost ruined. You could trail
us with blood. He was sorry that he didn't tell us to put on old
shoes. That ended our slipping out and not asking questions.
Now, father had rented a house at Hawk's Park, south of New
Smyrna about three miles. It was in the woods-no neighbors
nearer than three miles-and we had to go in sail or rowboats to
the town of New Smyrna. The house was just a shell and we had
bunks to sleep in-couldn't get furniture nearer than Jacksonville,
200 miles. Well, we put up our nets just before night, mosquitoes
so thick they roared like bees or hungry wolves. Our hands and
legs were swollen so badly we cried and would bathe in strong salt
water, they poisoned us so bad.
And the next morning we went out on our little dock to see the
fish in the river. There were thousands of roe mullet, as it was
their season. It was a truly wonderful sight. But oh! it was so
lonesome, for we had come from a large town. So we children
cried an ocean of tears the six months we lived.there. We wanted
to go home, but father had rheumatism so bad he couldn't live in
the north any more. He would be in bed helpless for six months at
a time. So that was why we came to Florida, and my father got'
well. So we got used to the country and stayed. Father's name
was Alford Lagow. My bitterest disappointment was when I found
that there was no school to go to, and I was sickly and couldn't go
very much. I felt that I would rather die than not have a real
collegiate education. I wanted to be a great writer, so I read every-
thing that I could get. Father taught me when he was home, and I
thought I would run away and go back to my Illinois home, but had
no money, and that winter the orange trees were so frozen trees
were split open, and so we hadn't anything but the land and couldn't
get one dollar an acre-not like it is today.
And we didn't know how to raise cow-peas and sweet potatoes
.like the natives did, but learned later.
We got two boarders and they paid us three dollars a week.
Not much, but it helped to get grits, and we could get plenty of
fish and oysters, but we couldn't get coffee all the time, so would
slice sweet potatoes and brown them in a Dutch oven till real brown,
then boil a few minutes-and it was real good coffee.
We would cook grits about two hours, for we had never seen
it before. We ate it with bacon gravy or lots of lime juice on it.
Boiled or baked fish-we had none of the things to make things
palatable like we have today.
Now, we had to go to Port Orange to get most of our gro-
ceries. Captain Fozzard and his father kept store and we had to
go in a small sail boat and had to cross New Smyrna inlet, and so
many times would have to wait till the tide swerved.
And the mosquitoes and sand flies seemed to come up out of
the sand as soon as the wind would drop; would roar like hungry
wolves. We did not know enough then to carry smudge pots and
wood to smoke them away. We were almost crazy with their bit-
ing us, so we tore up one of our underskirts to make a smudge, or
we would have been crazy, for we had to wait for three or four
hours. And we thought of what Sherman said about the war. It
was h- but that wouldn't fill the bill. And one night were go-
ing along nicely and the moon was shining like silver on the water.
Oh! it was one of the beautiful nights, wind light in the winter and
cool, when the young man said, "Look over there, something float-
ing." So they pulled up close as they could. He said, "Dad, it is a
man." Oh, horrors! a dead man. Say, it was a ghostly sight. Fa-
ther said, "What shall we do? We can't leave it this way." So
they tied a rope on the body, took it on to New Smyrna, and found
it was a man who had fallen off a schooner. So that broke us
girls from going any more.
Now, we had been to the place we called home when my sister
said, "Let's go kill some squirrels for dinner." We had a nice single
barrel shotgun and she was a good shot, so we started off. Just
back of our house were lots of hickory trees, and so many squirrels.
Well, in just a little while we got six, so sister said, "This is enough
for dinner and I'll go on to the house this way and you go down by
the field and get some pumpkins to cook for dinner." They were
So I started off whistling-didn't let her think I was scared.
I got to the field, had my skirts full of those small Indian pumpkins
and had to climb over a palmetto log fence, which was quite high,
when all at once I heard a cracking in the bushes and my heart
thumped so loud I thought they might have heard it at the house.
So I started to run, dropping my pumpkins, and as I got over the
fence I looked back and saw an alligator was coming over the logs,
and I think I must have flown, and oh! that 'gator could travel,
too. The faster I ran he seemed to get up quite close, and he had
his back humped up in the middle and his tail off the ground. As I
got nearer the house they heard me screaming and all the folks
came running out on the porch, and as I got to the steps and pointed
back I fell breathless, and when the two young men saw what it
was they just roared and then I cried, but they said it wouldn't
hurt you, but I didn't trust anything like that. That was the way
it crossed the lot to get to the river, but I still respect them enough
to keep out of their way, and didn't gather any more pumpkins-
Now, I-wanted to go to Sunday school and church, but had to
go three miles, but I learned to row a boat and could sail quite good.
But father took me up on Saturday to Mrs. Lewis, a teacher. She
invited me to come and spend Sundays with her so I could meet
the young folks, and I did go all winter.
In February the church had a festival and, of course, each one
gave a cake or a box to be sold, and we had oyster stew. So my sis-
ter and her beau and myself and a beau all four started in a row-
boat, so got there all right, and at 11 o'clock started for home.
When we got to the boat the tide had gone out and left it high and
dry on a bar. Well, the only thing was to walk.
Now we started. For a mile it was not so bad. We could keep
the trail Indian fashion, single file. Then we came to a dense ham-
mock, dark in daytime. We got to an old house, so borrowed an
old lantern and it burned for a little while, but the wick was short
and it went out. Then we lost our way and wandered around in
palmetto jungles and finally came to the big canal and a clear
place. So the boys hallowed till they were hoarse and, oh, glory!
someone answered. It was like a message from heaven.
And it was Mr. Abbot. He came across the canal with a torch of
fat pine. Those days we used them instead of lamps or candles. He
said, "My good folks, it is a wonder you didn't get snake bit or the
panthers catch you," for they were numerous at that time. Well,
he put us on the path and gave us torch wood to last till we got
home. We had a mile yet, and when we got home the family was
all up and didn't know just which way we would come, so just had
to wait. Anyway, when wo got there our clothes looked like we
had been through a threshing machine. And I tell you we never
went to festivals or dances only in daytime and spent the night in
And the next morning a neighbor said a panther had killed
some of their pigs, so we knew we wouldn't go again!
I became acquainted with the young folks and there was a
dear little old lady that I stayed with quite a lot, and she often
would chaperon our crowd. Mrs. Mathews was her name. Now we
woud have singing school and the teacher sang what he termed a
wonderful bass, but he sang through his nose, so it really sounded
like a tin fog horn, for I don't believe he could have said pudding to
save his life.
Well, singing and dancing and beach combing was the only
recreation we had those days, now called beach parties.
There was a scarcity of young men, so when a new one ap-
peared, why of course we girls all put on our broadest smile, and
there was no rouge and powder and lipstick, and we didn't have
perfumed soaps, and flappers were not known those days.
Now we all went to the ball on Friday evening, and it was our
usual crowd, and we had danced several square dances and waiting,
for the music was great. It was a fiddle and not scientifically
played, but really was good, and a young man sat in front of the
musician and had two sticks about fifteen inches long and beat the
strings, and it was real good, for it was like two instruments. Well,
it was about ten o'clock and we stopped dancing and went to our
seats. Who should we see but a strange young man and, of course,
all began to brush our hair and dresses to look our best.
So one of our friends came in and introduced him. Of course
we wondered who would get to dance first with this good looking
stranger. So, as I looked up he was coming toward me, and I had
that pleasure first. So he finally married one of the girls in our
set-Miss Emma Loud. His name was Westall.
Now, if you have a Peterson's Magazine of 1874, 1875 or 1976,
even to 1880, you can see the styles. Well, we wore long trains
and tight basques and polonaise with loops in the back and bustles,
and some hoops and sleeves tight from elbows down, and the tops
were like balloons. -Some wore waists so tight they looked like
wasps. And when we were dancing we had two or three smudges.
We made brushes of palmetto to brush the mosquitoes off our
shoulders and backs. And the men those days wore boots, high tops,
and some had brogans which looked like plow shoes, but they danced
as light as they do now with pumps on, and one would think the men
would step on our trains, but not so, for they didn't dance the crazy
way they do now, for if any young man dared hug the girls the way
they do now they would have been thrown out of the hall as being
So now we move along. It is Sunday and the men folks de-
cided to go to the beach, as we sometimes got coconuts and mother
would scrape the meat all out fine and put the milk out of it bacJ
and mash and strain, and it was delicious on rice, grits or even
bread. with a little sugar. We lived on that diet for many weeks.
One day the men had been gone a short time when we heard a
pig squeal. Mother grabbed the gun and started, but it *as loaded
with fine shot for squirrels, so when she got to the picket fence
there was a half grown bear with the pig in his paws, gnawing his
neck, and mother shot him in the face and loaded and shot again,
and I tell you that bear rolled over and over and ran in the bushes.
We went after a neighbor who owned the hogs around there, and
he and some other men came and in about an hour had Mr. Bear.
They killed and dressed it and sent it around to all the neighbors.
Mother and father ate some of it, but we girls had just as soon
eat a monkey.
We were anxious to see the bear when mother shot him and
were near the fence, and it looked like he would come through it,
so we didn't have to be told to move-we just flew-never stopped
to see if he caught mother until we got to the house.
That night when the men came home they surely were sur-
prised to see so much meat. So mother told them how it was and
they said they would get buckshot for her.
About one week later my sister and I were coming from Mr.
Abbot's with a basket of green peas and potatoes and onions. We
were going through a dense hammock, and it was getting late, when
we heard some hogs coming and they all rallied close to us. We
set our baskets down, but the hogs were frightened, so they didn't
care for anything to eat and we soon saw what was the matter. A
big bear was biting at a big sow to make her go to her bed, where
her pigs were. Oh, horrors! We didn't get our breath till they
passed on down the ravine, where her bed was, and he got two or
three before we could get Mr. Abbot there. But he killed him and then
took us home. He said he had been killing the hogs for some time.
Say, now, a ghost story could make you have that creepy feeling like
meeting a big bear in the woods. When our men folks came home
that night it was funny to see how they looked when we showed them
so much meat again. Oh, joy!
Mr. Mendel told us he had a letter from his father and they
were coming to Florida-two sisters, one brother, father and mother.
Going to move to Florida and live next to us. Oh! now we could
hardly wait for the schooner to come from Jacksonville, for they
had to come that way.
Our neighbors came and we found them to be very religious
and wouldn't do a thing on Sunday but sing and read. We cer-
tainly did enjoy them, for then we could go to Sunday school, for
the young man built a small sail boat and we could go more. We
wouldn't be afraid. Their father was a dear old man. He was an
old sea captain, and evenings we would sit around the fire and he
would tell. us sea stories about whaling trips.
Walter told his sister we would go to Sunday school the next
day and we were ready early, as we had to go with the tide, three
miles. We went out on the little dock we had, and our dresses
starched so stiff they rattled like stiff silk. Everything was starched
those days. Dresses and skirts would stand out like hoops, but now
the thinner and.tighter dresses are today is more in fashion. Now it
takes one yard and a half where it took ten and twelve yards to one
Now back to our first Sunday trip. We got in the boat, started,
had a fair wind and got about a half mile from the dock when the
halyard broke at top of the mast and so Walter said, "Girls, sit over
on the one side and I will go up the mast and tie it back."
Well, we moved as he said, and lie climbed about half way
when the boat tipped to one side and over we all went. Well, the
water wasn't more than three feet deep, so we held onto the boat
and waded to the sandbar that was close to us, and we just had
to look at one another and laugh till we cried; our nice starched
dresses limp as a rag. We pulled the boat up and baled it out and
rowed back. The folks all came running out and before we got to
the dock the planks broke and they all fell in, so we had a baptising
and they all laughed till they could hardly help each other out.
There were about ten of them; it was like a movie picture. After
getting straightened up, dinner over, we decided to go to the beach,
and we made it a habit to all pick up an armfull of driftwood to
put pieces in the little fire we would sit around at night and listen
to the old folks tell stories and sing songs. And sometimes we
would gather a bushel or more of oysters and roast them, which was
fun as well as being delicious. And many times broil the fish, and
only corn bread to go with it, but we were healthy and had lots of
fun, As father's health was so good that we decided we could
stand it, but never had been .used to living like that. We could
have gotten the money from home and gcne back, but father said,
"I won't take the back track."
Now in 1878 father and my brother-in-law got some carpenter
work at New Smyrna, an addition to the Ocean House. It was
owned and run by Mr. Lowd and wife. There were quite a lot of
Northern people came to Florida at that time, so they were busy
I was at my friend's house, Mrs. Lewis's, and bhe had two old
gentlemen visiting her. She introduced them to me and they were
the J. & P. Coats brothers, whose thread you all have used. They
were the manufacturers of the six-cord thread. They were jolly
and always brought Mrs. Lewis presents, besides her year's thread.
We went to church, as she was a Northern Methodist, and they were,
too, and they were singing that old hymn, "Saviour, more than life
to me, I am clinging, clinging close to thee," and one would say "I
am co-ling-ing" after the rest had finished, when, as always, the
young folks would snicker out loud, but he. never knew he was
furnishing the fun. These two gentlemen were Mr. Lowd's boarders
Well, at that time father and brother made three dollars a day
between them, so they brought home some flour and bacon and
mother had learned how to take the sour orange juice and make the
most delicious biscuits, and baked them in a Dutch oven in the
yard, then took three or four slices of bacon and fried it crisp and
made thickened gravy with it. We couldn't have much of it at the
time, and couldn't get coffee only once in a while, so mother took
corn, parched it brown and made coffee out of that, and sometimes
used small roots, sliced them thin, put them to dry for a few days
and it made real good tea. It was a briar root.
So one evening father came home all full of business and said
a doctor from Savannah lad come down to Florida to study the
nature of the saw palmetto berry to make a kidney medicine. So
he took Dr. Fox under his wing and they talked it over as Dr. Fox
had found they had fine medicinal properties in them for the lungs.
So the doctor told father he would give him fifty cents a
bushel for ripe berries. There were thousands of bushels of them.
Oh, joy for us. We could get about ten bushels a day, so baskets,
boxes or bags were got together to start next day. Not early, oh,
no! Not till a breeze sprang up, for the mosquitoes were in the
bushes solid till bout nine o'clock.
Father took boxes and nailed a piece of hickory stick split in
two parts on the boxes for handles for each of us. Over to the beach
side they were black beauties and the bees were after them for the
honey, so I decided I would try one. They looked so nice and juicy.
Oh! So they were, but that has been forty-nine years, but never did
I try one again. I could never tell you how it tasted. It took the
skin off of my throat, but I never told it till some of the other girls
tried it, and didn't tell it for years after.
It took a long time to get a bdshel, and we had to tie pieces
of crocus sacks around our legs to keep the mosquitoes from eating
us up, and put paper in the backs of our dresses so they would not
eat our backs, then tie a piece of cloth over our heads to keep them
off our necks and out of our ears. Oh, it was a tortuous job. Well,
we got five bushels the first day, but did better the next, so we
made about thirty dollars that week.
Well, the market closed glutted, so they said they were ex-
perimenting. So they built a shed and put a furnace in it and a
sixty-gallon kettle to cook them in to separate the syrup from the
oil. It looked like castor oil when pressed out, the oil skimmed off,
and then they boiled the syrup down and lots of people liked the
taste of it. Said it was good on pancakes. I took their word. Once
was enough for me.
Well, it was put in kegs and shipped away to Savannah, and
there were lots of pummies and no more work till the verdict
was rendered, which -would be sometime before the test was made.
That hardship over, now for the funny side of it. The pummies had
to be disposed of. I was staying with a friend, who lived in a two-
story house built out on a dock. They lived upstairs and had a
store on the lower floor. So they used wheelbarrows to haul the
punnies to the edge of the river, and they had tide water there. It
rose about three feet and carried off lots of it.
I was sitting by the window and watching some hogs and an
old sow with four pigs were eating those pummies like they were the
best kind of food. I didn't think any more about it until about
two hours later and I looked out to see if they had a feast. The
old mother hog was trying to get up out of the water and she
would fall back and grunt and try again, and the pigs would try to
get up and squeal. Say, it was a sight. So I called Mr. Star and
told. him they would all be drowned; they were sick-poisoned. "Gee
whizz, I wish it was me," he said, and I ughed.
And I said, "I don't think it funny to see them drown."
He said, "Don't you see what the matter is?"
I said "No!"
"Why, they are drunk on the soured pummies." And by that
time I guess the crowd gathered, and I think there were at leat
six men who were just roaring, the most amusing sight to see hogs
drunk, and I said to one: "That's the way you look sometimes. The
only difference is two feet and you have them when you can't walk.
You crawl." But they had to lift them out. He said: "You are
hard on us." And then there were some chickens so drunk, and
one old duck-legged hen would stand and drink till she got so
wobbly she would tip over backwards. And an old rooster that
evening tried to get on a little log of wood to crow and he steadied
himself, got on the log, and over he would go, flutter around and
try again. We laughed till our sides were sore. By that time
women and children had gathered to see the sights, too.
After dark some of the men decided they would squeeze some
of the juice and try it. They were drunk for three days and they
said they thought they would never get sober.
We gathered a few more berries and shipped them in boxes.
When gathering berries we always had a thrill coming, for if we
saw a rattlesnake it was a chill instead. There were lots of them,
as there were lots of young rabbits, so the men would kill them,
which they liked to do with pleasure.
Berry time over, so three of us girls would go over to the
beach in a small scow boat father built for us. We lived about
a mile across the river and the beach side was about a half mile to
walk. We would row over and most always have a fair wind back,
and we would cut about five big palmetto fans and put them up by
the little mast and say, it would pull us across the river. So one
time the sun was hot We took the big umbrella with us. We
started back and sister was standing in the bow and Susie in the
middle and I steering with an oar when she hoisted the umbrella
and oh! say, we just sailed for home, or nearly home, and she was
holding the handle tight and I forgot about an oyster bar near home,
when all at once we struck it and struck it hard, when over she
went, head, neck and umbrella. It turned wrong side out, but it
was shallow water, no danger, so we did not say a word. Mother
always expected us wet when we got home.
So we used several more umbrellas before we were found out
as we were sneaking one in. George had seen us and seen the um-
brella turn wrong side out, but we had the fun first, so didn't mind
the scolding-it didn't last long.
On Thursday my friend, Mrs. Abbot, sent her son down, which
was two miles, to tell me she was going to have a week-end party,
as the men folks had just returned from a hunting trip and had
deer and turkeys and quail. So I soon got ready and we started
back and we had to hustle as it was getting late, then a dense ham-
mock to pass through, but I wasn't afraid, as John was a wonderful
shot and had a good rifle, and a good hunter, too.
Well, we got there at sunset and we could smell the meats
roasting and the nice sweet potatoes all baked in Dutch ovens in
a fireplace. They had an iron bar across the fireplace where
they could hang three kettles at one time and then pull the live
coals out on the hearth and put the long-legged ovens on them, then
put the lid on and cover that with hot coals, and when you would
raise the lid it was the nicest brown roasted meats with potatoes
all around, and the corn bread in one large pone was a rich brown,
and it surely was the best meat I had ever eaten. I never had seen
anyone cook that way before. Well, there were about fifteen of us,
and words fail me to express the pleasure we had dancing and eat-
ing. It was a real feast, and that was not the only party we had,
for both Mr. and Mrs. Abbot were jolly and their latchstring was
Well, on Saturday Mr. Abbot said: "Miss Emma, I have a
dandy beau for you. He is rich. He saw you and some of the
girls in the grove today and he asked me if you were my daughter
and I told him no, that we were having a house party at my house,
so I invited him to stay for supper and dance, as we were breaking
up at twelve o'clock that night.
We girls saw the stranger coming with Mr. Abbot and he in-
troduced him to all, so none of us grils liked his looks. His keen
black eyes would pierce you through. He was tall and dark and
heavy black mustache, which he seemed proud of. Well, we girls
danced with him and I told Mr. A. I didn't like him at all; he is too
He said, "He will improve on acquaintance."
I said, "No, I never change my mind." So Mr. A. told him
what I said the next day. He just laughed and said "She will see.
I always get what I want with little trouble."
He came two or three times and the next week Mrs. A. and I
went to Smyrna to trade some, and it was late when we got home.
So Mrs. A. had me stay all night, as the next day was Sunday. So
I stayed and I told John if Beau Brummel came that day we would
play a trick on him. John was Mr. Abbot's son. He said, "I am
with you." We didn't dare to tell Mr. A., but we told Mrs. A. what
we had planned on doing and she said, "Be careful, for he is a South
American nad they are treacherous." It didn't scare me. So I
told her after supper she should rock the baby to sleep and John
and I would wash the dishes.
He would come around the corner of the kitchen, where a
bird pepper bush grew and he could eat them like I could cherries,
so that was fine. He dressed always in white linen and a fine tucked
shirt bosom, not a wrinkle in it. The dishes washed and we dumped
the pot liquor off the turnip greens and the grounds off the coffee
all in the big dishpan, and John was to watch and when he got to the
corner I let it go and the contents struck him in the face and went
the whole way down. Oh, joy! What a success! He blew the grounds
out of his mustache and puffed like a porpoise, and said: "I believe
you did that on purpose," and I said, "Well, you should whistle when
you go around the corner of people's homes." He said, "Well, you
knew I always get some peppers when I come."
I said, "How did I know you were coming, and did you get
He said, "No, but I'll get you."
I said, "Yesl too bad to spoil those spotless clothes," but he
never came again.
So as he went back down the path he met Mr. A. and told him.
So Mr. A. said, "I know it was an accident," but in his own mind
he thought it was just like me, one more of my tricks. Mr. A. came
to the house and said, "My God, Miss Emma, what did you do to
I said, "Nothing, he came around the corner of the house and I
throw the dish water out. He must have been standing there and
of course, I couldn't get the dishwater back, could I?"
So John and Mrs. A. and I laughed till our sides ached, and
she would have to put her hand over John's mouth so Mr. A. wouldn't
hear us and catch on.
After a year we told him. He said, "I always thought it was
you, but it was dangerous, for those Malays are mean, and like
Spaniards." He was a Malay. They are dangerous, but I think
that convinced him I didn't care for him and he never came again.
Really, I was glad. After thinking it over I was afraid.
Now in the year of 1878 Mr. Abbot built a large two-masted
schooner for a trade boat. It was a real store and he was going to
make his first trip down the Indian River, as the nearest store to
Fort Pierce was Titusville, and it was over a hundred miles, and all
travelled in sail boats and it took from five to ten days to make
Well, they invited me to go on the first trip. I was delighted,
as they had everything so comfortable, and of course we had to
put up our sand fly nets each night and the men folks slept on deck
and we had lots of room. The boat was fifty feet in length and
Well, the first day we had a head wind and at night Mr. Abbot
said to his wife: "We must put up the sand fly nets," as the wind
had dropped so the river looked like glass, and the mosquitoes were
roaring like bees-millions of them-so we got into our nets.
The next morning, soon as the breeze came up, we set sail and
made the haulover the first day. Then Titusville the next day, and
stayed one day, but anchored in midstream to spend the night and,
as usual, nets up at sundown.
We made City Point next. Mr. Abbot blew his conch, a big
shell which he had fixed to blow like a horn, and when the folks
came out to see they waved to us.
Well, Mr. A. jumped in the small boat and got to shore and
Mr. Enoch Hall, tax assessor at that time, came in his boat, and Al-
bert and Mrs. Faber came out also; did quite a bit of trading.
Mr. Lawrence Faber and wife came out and Mrs. Abbot anc
myself went ashore with them. They had three little children, eld-
est son, Leon, and twins, Roy and Lorena, who were in a soap box
wagon their father had made, with wooden wheels, and Leon was
hauling them around the house. The two Messrs. Faber were suc-
cessful orange growers, noted for their superior quality, which
brought them good money.
Mr. L. Faber moved to Fort Pierce and started a little home bak-
ery, which grew so rapidly he had to build a larger place, then in-
vested in other property until he has built up one of the finest bak-
eries and up-to-date machinery of all descriptions and latest type.
He also is a very influential man and a wonderful citizen.
His sister, Mrs. Frank Powers, whose husband is in the real
estate business, resides in Miami. Now on with the story.
Mr. Abbot and wife were the jolliest company--anything for
Mr. A. said: "Now, Miss Emma, it is up to you to see how many
nice oranges we get, for there are lots of young men that work in
the groves. Now look your best."
I said: "I don't know about the looks, but give me a chance and
I can play jokes." So Mr. Williams came out and did a lot of
trading, for he had quite a number of men to buy for. Then, after
he went ashore two young men came aboard-friends of Mr. A.
They stayed about three hours and we got supper, so the dudes
came back. One of the boys' name was Charles Creech. He brought
me a half dozen oranges, but Mr. A. said "He sure is stingy." I said,
"He didn't have a basket to bring them in."
The other fellow's name was James Bell and I really liked his
looks. Mr. A. whispered "That is a fine fellow. Tell him you like
oranges." After the bugs began to get thick we said we would stay
the night there, so they went ashore, saying they pould come in the
Then one lad about 18 came and bought tobacco and a pair
of boots. His hair was so red Mr. A. said if he were in the woods
the woodpeckers would feed him. So one of the children told him
what his dad said and he had a big laugh about it.
Next morning, breakfast over, Mr. Bell came out and brought
me out a fine box of choice fruit-100-of golden beauties. Say,
my heart beat three times too fast, so I thanked him so much for
them. He bought high top boots. He was a fine looking man-
black curly hair. He was pilot on the Indian River for small sail
boats and tourists. And of all the beaus that were selected for me,
he seemed the nicest. So it was really love at first sight.
Mr. A. said: "Those oranges are for me, aren't they, Jim." I
saw him wink. He said: "I'll tell you, I will give you Miss Emma
I said: "Oh, Mr. A.; What what will he think of me to have
you talk like that?"
He said: "Jim is an old friend. He is used to our jokes." So
he left. We proceeded on. Mr. A. said: "I bet I tie that knot yet.
He said he is coming to see you when you get home. I said,
I peeled a large orange and said, "Just see how nice."
Mr. A.: "Give it to me," and grabbed it out of my hands and
stumbled back and knocked a caddy of tobacco overboard. But his
son jumped in the small boat and got it before it got wet.
He said. "That's all right. Peel me another." Mrs. A. put
them away till we got home.
Now for Fort Capron and Fort Pierce. Not anyone came out.
At St. Lucie Judge Pain's folks came out and stocked up their
We went on to the House of Refuge at Peck's Lake, on the
way to Jupiter. We got the sails all down, for the clouds were
black, and about four in the afternoon it began to rain and blow
so that the spray came over on the boat, but we were in a good
harbor and it was fierce all night, and lasted 24 hours. We were
all right. That was my first experience of gales in Florida. I was
so scared I couldn't lie down or sleep till it was over.
We started for Jupiter and arrived at noon, so glad to get
ashore to walk around. Spent the afternoon going up in the light-
house, and only three families there. Captain Armour, wife and
three children were so glad to see us, for they didn't have com-
pany, and we surely did have to get under our nets, for sand flies
were the worst I ever saw them, and the children began to cry-
three of them. I would have cried, too, if it would have stopped the
insects from torturing us. Mr. A. said, "Hush, children, the In-
dians will hear you and. come on the boat," and I, of course, was
green, thinking maybe they might come, and sure was scared. Still,
if the Indians were a mile away they could have heard my heart
beating. The children kept on.
Mrs. A. said, "Old man, the joke is on you." So he told them
he wobld sing a song for them if they would stop, so I put the song
in here. It was an old sailor's song, and the children went to sleep,
but not me. I would have given anything to have been home. He
sang through his nose.
SAILOR'S ALPHABET SONG
A is the Anchor, which holds our jolly ship.
B is Bowsprit, which neatly does fit.
C is the Capstan, on the deck it does stand.
D is the Davits, where the small boats hang.
E is the Ensign of red, white and blue.
F is the forecastle, which holds the jolly crew.
G is the Gangway, where the captain does stand.
H is tle Hawser, that never will strand.
I is tie Iron that bounds our ship round.
J is the Jib-boom, where head sails are found.
K is the Kelson, that leads fore and aft.
L is the Lanyards, that make back stays fast.
M is the Main Mast, down through the deck goes.
N is the Nasty old cook at his stove.
O is the Order for all men to beware.
P is the Pump, where all men swear.
Q is the Quadrant, the sun it does take.
R is the Rigging, that never will break.
S is the Starboard side of our jolly ship.
T is the Topsail, never will split.
U is the Ugly Old Captain, down aft.
V is the varnish that brightens our mast.
W is the Water, more salty than brine.
XYZ there is nothing can rhyme.
Now, I tell you I was happy when we started home. We had
a fair wind, we made one stop at Fort Pierce, and found the gale
had done quite a lot of damage. Alexander Bell and family, also
Mr. Archibald Hendry's family, Mr. Sellers and family were living
at Ten Mile Creek. This was the 1878 storm.
The gale lasted 24 hours and the creek began to rise and James
Bell and'brother, Frank, and others found they had to get something
to save the women and children, so took the floor out of the house,
made a raft, and the water was in the house then!
Well, he took his mother and children first to an Indian
mound, which I think is near Ten Mile creek yet. He had to make
several trips before he got them all and forgot his horse, and it
drowned in the yard.
There were cattle, hogs, deers, snakes and coons, possums, tur-
keys all coming to the mound. Hundreds of stock and animals
drowned. They built fires on the mound and the second day the
water was receding and they all came into Fort Pierce. Couldn't
tell the rainfall. So, after hearing of their safety, we left for home.
Four more days and we arrived home, and we were glad. The
trip was wonderful to me, as well as the torture of bugs. Oh, gee!
Well, the girls were so glad and said, "Oh, joy! We haven't had a
bit of fun since you left. Didn't go to the beach. Now, rest up and
we will have fun."
We went to church Sunday and found some new folks had
come in and Mrs. Lewis introduced us to them. So we thought we
would like to entertain them. We were invited to go with Mammy
Mathews to a dance. That is what she was called by everyone.
We had been dancing and a dandy young man came in city
clothes. We all, of course, stared at him, which was rude, but he
was a new fellow--one more for fun. He was secretary to a bot-
anist. They were getting specimens for an institute at Washing-
ton, D. C. We three girls decided we would show him some nice
places of interest. So, after each dance, we would tell him of the
wonders of the boating and scenery. So he said he would be de-
lighted to go with us. We found he was green and near-sighted,
and mortally afraid of snakes. Well, we put our heads together.
Louise and Sady and myself put our heads together and began to
lay plans for fun. So we invited him to take a boat ride up the big
canal. He said he was delighted. Next day he was to meet us
We had a lunch with us, but we ate it before he arrived, for it
was grits cooked nice with bacon, gravy over it. When hot and put
in a pail and when cold slice it. We found it good when hungry.
Well, Mr. Tyler arrived, groomed to a finish. Our boat was a good
large rowboat and two could sit in the back seat, so Sady would
steer. She and he both sat there and I was to row, Louise in the bow.
All steady. I pulled out in the stream then up the canal.
He was delighted with the scenery and old oaks, with the Span-
ish moss hanging to the water's edge, and the palms waving. He
just beamed with delight.
Louise said: "Let's go up to the rustic bridge where the grape-
vine swings are, and not so hot." Tyler said: "That will be great,"
and, of course, we knew it would be, for we had had trouble in be-
ing initiated in the mysteries of their castle or harem. Anyway,
they sting as they come out of a big nest of guinea wasps. We had
.knots on us, too, for days. We carried soda with us after that; it
takes the poison out.
Before we got up that far we put our sand fly netting over our
heads, tied them under our chins, for no more stings for us.
Tyler said: "Oh! this is great. I never have had this pleasure
But he did not know what was in store for him in a short time.
He said he didn't know there were such wonderful places in the
world. But wait; he will find different wonders before we end this
trip. So I rowed right on under a big saw palmetto bunch, where
the wasp castle was.
Louise said: "Oh, look! There's wasps!" "Wasps!" He looked
up like he thought they were birds.
Sady said: "Oh! There it is." So he jumped to one side. We
steadied the boat the best we could, for the water was deep and I
didn't want to be thrown out, for I could not swim. The joke
nearly turned on us.
Tyler said: "Oh! there is one." It was a bird. So about that
time we hit the nest, and sure enough, one got him between the
waistband and the seat of the boat. When he hallowed, "Oh, I sat
on a tack," of course we didn't dare laugh. So we sympathized
with him. About that time one got him under the chin. Then we
moved and told him it was a wasp, and so sorry, and he thought we
were truthful in saying we did not know they were there. Put
some soda on his chin; that was all we could do.
Well, we started back, and Louise said, "There is a spider,"
and knocked it in his lap. He almost turned green, he was so scared.
He thought everything then was one. She got it out of the boat.
Tyler tried to jump ashore; we were near it, and it was about three
So I caught his hand and we jumped out and ran up a little
hill. The girls hallowed, "More wasps!" Sady caught up with us,
took his hand, so I let go, for I saw what she was going to do. She
could swim, I could not. They ran on. She said, "Oh! jump, there
is a snake!" Off they jumped with a splash and his hat floated off.
He came up with lily pads and roots all over him and he blew like
a porpoise. Sady was all right. It was the most fun we had had
in a whole year. We told him if he hadn't jumped we might have
"And, say, you did look so funny, and we did not want you
Sady looked a fright-hair all down and full of roots and pads.
She didn't care. Look at the fun.
He spluttered and said: "You-you did that-that on purpose,"
his face all swollen.
Louise giggled all the time. He said: "You did this to have
fun with me, so laugh, darn you, laugh. I am all wet."
Sady said: "So you are. Let's be mermaids," and threw wet
moss on him. Then we just roared and said: "You look like Blue-
beard." Then we brushed him off the best we could. We started
to get to the boat and he saw a stick move, thought it a snake, and
jumped in the briars. We could not laugh any more, for we were
nearly all in.
We took him to the place where he stayed. So he never told
anyone of his lovely trip, but said he fell in the canal. We said we
would take him beach combing. He said: "If I go I'll get a guide,
but I leave on the schooner in the morning." So we told him we
had lots of pleasure. So we bade him good-bye. He said he would
always remember the day.
When we got home our folks thought we were caught by the
Indians or drowned. That night we were dying to tell of the fun
we had, but we knew if they found out we wouldn't get to go with-
out one of them.
We didn't know anyone had seen us. There were two men
working in a grove who saw us and told father he had seen his girls
when we played the joke on the young man, and had never seen
boys play tricks any better; never saw girls so full of sport. So I
tell you we got a real sermon, but had the sport first.
Now we decided to learn to knit cast nets, and Captain Mendel
taught us, and he also taught me to make braid for hats out of the
cabbage palmetto buds. After he taught me one kind of braid I
soon leraned to design ten different kinds. He had learned to braid
the grass in South America and I made hats for the tourist trade;
also fancy fans and center tables. Also stork baskets for babies. I
was handy in millinery work. Mother made flowers out of the
palmetto. So the hats sold from $2.50 to $5; fans, $1. We gath-
ered plume grasses and wild sea oats and shipped them to a firm in
New York, for which we got fifty cents a bunch.
Now we are going to celebrate the first of May at Turtle Mound
and the folks up and down the river would prepare for a big time
and come to the big fish fry and bring baked sweet potatoes galore.
We all had a big feed. There were about forty with children and
On our way over we heard an old lady say she hadn't been wet
all over in twenty years, and afraid to get wet.
Her granddaughter, Louise, said: "Let's duck grandma," and
we said, "Aren't you afraid it would kill her?" And we were nearly
to Turtle Mound, and the boat was large. We had to go to shore
in rowboats. There were six of us to go ashore. Some of the boys
were catching fish. One of the boys said to Louise: "How old are
you?" She said: "I am sixteen this summer," and she said: "How
old are you? He said: "I'll be nineteen next orange picking time."
Then she said to a boy called Bob: "How old are you?" He said:
"Last roe mullet season I was 18 years old. I said: "Say, suppose
there was no roe mullet, then how would you keep your age?" He
said: "I dunno." He didn't know his letters, and there were many
others like him. There was no school at New Smyrna at that time.
Louise said her mother said salt water would cure grandma.
We planned that when we got in the rowboat and got near shore
that one would stand up and stumble and fall on one of us and both
get on one side, and we did. Both fell at the same time and all were
tumbled in the water--old lady and the six of us. Well, it was
not deep, but the old lady's starched bonnet fell off. She was
about 180 pounds. So we all got her up and the older man told
her to get on his back and he would tote her ashore. So she got
up on his back and Louise pushed me, and say, I nearly fell under
the bottom, and we both fell, the man and the old lady in the water
again. Several men came and helped her, but she walked ashore
We didn't have bathing suits, but wore an old dress. So the
women folks had their old dresses and soon had her dressed, but she
looked too funny for anything, but she said all right, the water was
fine. But we girls had to get behind the trees to have a laugh. Two
or three years after Louise told her grandma we did it for fun.
After that she would go in the surf and it never hurt her one bit.
Her name was Mrs. Goodmen.
We would go to some of the homes to finish the day with danc-
ing, and we were like one big family. Each tried to make the day
a perfect success.
When I got home mother said: "There is a young man here
to see you. He came from Fort Pierce. Now, who is he?"
I thought I was in for it, so I said I met him on the Indian
River. He said he was coming to see me some time when he visited
Mother said: "Did he write you?"
I said: "No."
She said: "Does he know you are a Yankee?"
"I will tell him if he wants to know, and that is no difference."
So the next day he and Mr. Abbot came to see me and meet my
parents. They stayed about three hours. Well, mother seemed to
like him, so he said we would correspond, and it was three weeks
and I got a letter with a proposal of marriage. So I showed it to
my parents. They said: "It is up to you, but wait for a year."
She said: "Did you answer the letter and what was the answer?"
I said yes to both questions. Three months later he and a friend
from childhood came up with him. His name was D. L. Futch. He
went to Enterprise to get our license and he had to walk the 30
miles there and back, making 60 miles. So you see he was a real
friend. He was gone four days and we were married by our friend,
Mr. W. Abbot, who was justice of the peace at that time.
We were married the 25th of July, 1879, and on the night we
were married the mosquitoes and sand flies were so bad we had
a smudge at both doors, both outside and inside. The smoke was
so thick we could hardly see or breathe.
My husband had a boy that he was taking care of and raising.
He was about 15 and a fine lad, and we soon became friends, and
he stayed with us until just before he married. His name was James
Olmstead. He married one of Ruben Carleton's daughters. They
lived in Fort Pierce for several years, then he went to Miami over
twenty years ago and became one of the contractors and builders,
and still resides there.
We visited with friends for some time after we were married.
Then we started on to my husband's people. He had a nice little
flat bottomed boat and we had a new sand fly net and some cook-
ing utensils, some provisions and my clothes. We bade my family
good-bye and my girl friends were there to see us off, and I never
saw my pals again. The two girls went back north.
We sailed away, a fair wind, and made the haulover the first
We had a friend who lived on the canal and we were invited
to spend the night. His name was J. Sykes. He had lived there
for years and had raised sweet potatoes for market.
We got to the house, just himself and three children, were all
ready to sit down to supper. His wife was dead, so he did the
cooking. He had sweet potatoes baked to a turn and had baked
mullet and coffee and grits. He cooked in a fireplace. We did not
stop for dinner, but did justice to his supper. We gave him some
flour and coffee. After supper we visited for a while, then to bed
and to get an early start the next morning, as the bay was twelve
miles wide to Titusville. We started after eight o'clock.
We arrived at one o'clock and got dinner. Quite a number of
my husband's friends came down to see us, Sam Belcher, the Titus
boys and Sam Norton, and my husband's uncle, Alex Stuart, who
was clerk of the court for thirty years. Sam Belcher moved to
Miami after the railroad was finished and started the Belcher as-
phalt business. .After his death the business continued. Well, the
next day early, or I say early, it was nine o'clock when the wind
sprang up. We wouldn't dare put our heads from under the net,
for the skeets were solid. But when we got started with the dandy
little boat we could skim over the water with a nice fair wind. So
it did not take long to get to Eau Gallie. But I think it was known
as Horse Creek.
We stopped at Rufus Stewart's. That was my husband's uncle.
He and his mother were living on a high place just north of the
creek. Mrs. Stewart was my husband's grandmother. They came
there in 1872 from Hamilton County. Later Mr. Stewart married
and moved to Banyan, on Indian River. Planted a large grove, raised
truck, also a large family, and became wealthy. He was a very in-
fluential man and has passed away. While visiting Grandma Stewart
they had a man who was working for them. So he went for fish
and threw the cast net, caught three big mullet, and uncle said:
"Now watch him, he will take the fish and fight the mosquitoes off
off his face and neck," and sure enough, he did. Uncle said he had
to make him go in the river to bathe every day. He didn't mind
the fish scent at all.
Our visit over, we went on to Capt. Houston's, who lived at
Horse Creek. Mr. and Mrs. Houston had five sons and two daugh-
ters. Capt. John Houston was quite well known as a guide and
piloted boats; also a builder of boats. He also raised four fine boys
and three daughters. Capt. Frank and Capt. George were both
men of the river boats or on the sea. Their grandfather came to
Indian River in 1870.
As soon as we arrived at the Houstons' they said: "Oh! now for
a dance." It looked like they shook the bushes, and in all there
were enough to form a square dance and, of course, the fiddle was
the only music. And the next morning I heard someone as I thought
grinding coffee, but I found they were grinding corn, and took the
coarse part from the meal or fine part and made bread and had
the grits cooked to itself, and I got to where I thought: "Grits is
rough and grits is tough, and, thank God, I had grits enough."
The next eightt we sat around the fire and Mr. Houston told
us some stories of the sounds that would awaken them in the night.
the sounds as if horses running and their hoofs sounded like they
would have heavy shoes on, and the clanking of heavy chains. Then
boats would come to the shore and sound like a regiment of sol-
diers. He said they would rush out, and not a sound, but when
everything was quiet would hear it again. Only certain times of
the year. Now, everyone who knew Mr. Houston knew him to be
truthful, for we had experience along that line, too.
On our way again. My husband said: "I will take you to see
an old man who lives all alone only for his hound dogs." I found
they were mere frames and long ears, so thin you could almost see
We got there at nine o'clock. He was in a shack of palmetto
and looked snaky, I tell you. He had a pot of grits cooking on a
fire in the yard and a dog on each side anxious to be fed grits, fish
in two pots. When done he would mix it together for the dogs.
Well, one dog would get a little closer, then the other would move
up, too. He had a paddle to stir his stuff with and if one got too
close he would hit him, then stir his food with it. He insisted on
us staying for breakfast, but told him we had breakfast at Mr. Hous-
ton's. He said we must stay and I said, "Oh, thank you."
His name was Stone. I don't know his first name. He was
very interesting and told us a story, and said he had lived there on
the end of Merritt's Island since 1868. Came in on a boat. So he
told us of a hidden treasure that Capt. Drake had told him of, and
the ship had come ashore near Canaveral. Capt. Drake was a pi-
rate on the high seas.
He said about a mile from him was a place where no one
could live in any peace on account of the sounds like someone was
pelting the house with rocks, and there was a tree that was always
shaking like an aspen. There was an old colored woman lived there
-the only one that could. That was in 1858. We thought he came
treasure hunting. So he did say so.
In 1926 I met a Mr. Drake and I said: "Are you a descendant-of
Pirate Drake?" and he said: "Yes, great-grandson. I am not proud
of it, but there is a hidden treasure on Merritt's Island that several
have tried to get, but have been thrown to the ground so hard they
didn't try it again. But there were two parties in 1912. One of
the party, just as he got in the large hole, his back was nearly
broken. They say at some time they will turn it loose, but only to
some of the family."
We finally got away from Mr. Stone. I was getting so tired,
and it was some trip for a bride who had never dreamed there were
such places. I was out of quite a little town. We will not stop
unless the wind should drop, then we would have to get under nets
On the seventh day of August we arrived at Taylor Creek and
my heart was in my throat, for I did not know how the family
would receive me, as several people told me the south did not like
Yankees, but I did rmt feel like that, for I was so happy. We
landed and we saw three of the sisters coming to the landing, and
then one looked at me and ran back to the house and told them at
the house that brother Jim had a girl in the boat, and when we got
to the house they saw I was all right and treated me fine. But after
I went to bed I had a big cry to myself. I was lonesome-never so
far away from my people before.
But next day I met my brother-in-law, Frank Bell, and wife,
who, before her marriage, was Eloise C. Hendry, sister to Mr. Arch
Hendry of Fort Pierce. Then my father-in-law came in from his
farm at Ten Mile Creek, where he still stayed after the flood, and
I loved him at once. He was such a wonderful man, a very quiet,
cultured gentleman. He raised cane and corn, potatoes, and had a
few mango trees, some sour seedling orange trees and a few sweet
orange trees that were taken from the old Herman grove down near
Eden. We each year would go there and get bags of the finest
sweet oranges from the old grove. Father Bell planted the seeds and
then the big freeze came and some of the big groves were ruined.
Trees even on the north part of Merritt's Island, where the famous
Dummit grove was, froze. Then there were several men hunting
the frostproof part of the state for new groves, and my father-in-
law had died, and the family decided to sell the Ten Mile place and
a Mr. Sid Williams came about 1894 or 1895, and he bought the
place at a very low figure, something like five or six hundred dol-
lars, and he built up something like one hundred acres of grove,
which sold for a fabulous price. Now it is owned by the Standard
Why did he buy out there? Because it was below the frost
line and it was the Alexander Bell place in 1872.
After this interruption, will say the first meal I ate at the
home of my husband was cow peas cooked with dried beef and
cooked in a large kettle, and home-made grits. I had never seen
dried beef cooked like that, but, say, it was real good.
We brought quite a good supply of groceries. For about two
weeks we all had a feast. Our nearest store was Titusville and go
by small sailboat. It was one hundred miles, but a head wind' made
it nearly double. Would take from ten to fifteen days to make the
trip. So if one boat went the four families would send together.
One family was James Russell and mother and his wife, Liza
Russell, and one son, Will. They lived at Fort Capron. And Judge
Pa'ne and wife and two sons, James, eldest, and Thomas Pain, and
one daughter, Gertrude Pain. They lived where it's called St. Lucie.
His daughter married Judge Minor Jones in 1875, I think. They
had three sons, John, Stanley and Wade, and one daughter--don't
know her name. Judge Jones was elected judge of the judicial cir-
cuit court. He made an excellent judge and his nature was always
fair to his fellow man. His work was too hard. He had nervous
trouble, hard study, so he passed away and we lost a good citizen
Alexander Bell came to Fort Pierce in 1871 with wife and two
sons and four daughters, names James S., Frank, Ella, Alice, Matella
and Lilly. Now father, mother, both sons have passed away. Al-
exander Bell was the first white child born in Hamilton County,
Fla., in 1827, grew up and was a very cultured and highly educated
man. Was captain in the Seminole Indian war and was a mem-
ber of the legislature. He was wanted to run for senator, but he.
did not care to enter in politics so deep, but was at all times a hale
fellow, well met, and his latchstring was always out. He was a
cousin to Governor N. B. Broward. He liked his rural life best.
Governor Broward's sister, Maggie, taught school for one term in
1880 at Mr. Bell's home.
Mr. A. Hendry moved from Polk County in 1872 with four
daughters and two sons. In 1878 Frank Bell married the eldest
daughter, Eloise Hendry.
That made two families and then husband and myself made
three. The town was growing. Our next neighbor was Capt. Ar-
mour and wife, one child, that was a son. Then it was forty miles
south of Jupiter. He was keeper of the lighthouse at Jupiter Inlet.
Not sure of the date, but think it was 1854.
We leave our neighbors and return to my story. August the
twenty-eighth, 1879, we were so excited, for we saw a strange boat
in sight, and we were so anxious we went to the bank of the
creek and found they were going to land. Seven of us all lined up.
A man came up the bank, then asked if they could camp there.
Father Bell said certainly. It was Captain Benjamin Hogg, Mrs.
Hogg and sons, William, Alex, Marion. Later his eldest daughter,
Jessie, came. She is the wife of Robert Brown.
Capt. Hogg said: "Well, I have brought a load of groceries to
sell or trade."
Father said: "Fine, fine. You may have to stay for about ten
days to send word to the cattlemen and Indians, for you can trade
dry goods for hides to the Indians."
While the men talked we women folks talked. Mrs. Hogg said
she bought one hundred dollars' worth of stuff on a fine watch ahd
so they were going to try to build up with the country. We all
became staunch friends. They were to run between Titusville and
Jupiter. People came from Lake Worth to Jupiter to trade with
Then the second trip they struck camp at old Fort Pierce and
did a good business with the Indians. Captain built a palmetto
house for their stuff. She had many ups and downs with the In-
dians. Those days brandied cherries and peaches were sold in all
kinds of stores. So the Indians became very fond of them. So
she would not keep them until she had some protection, for the
Indians might get wild.
We were so glad to have a store, even if it was two miles from
us, and we felt we could have better eats. Capt. Hogg then bought
a schooner and plied between Jacksonville and Fort Pierce. My
husband was catching green turtle at that time, so Capt. Hogg took
them there and sold them for him.
One day Capt. Sharp of City Point was visiting us. We started
in our little boat, the Hannah, to the store and a large tarpon fish
jumped out of the water, struck me on the face and side of my
head, knocking my hat off, and hit my husband's black hat, and
the silver scales rubbed off and looked like they were painted on it.
The fin scratched my face. Capt. Sharp thought the boom had
broke and hit us, it was done so quick. It hurt my back badly. We
went on and my hair was full of slime off of it. I don't care for
tarpon fishing that way.
Mrs. Hogg bought a place where Mr. P. P. Cobb's store now
stands. I think she got it of Mr. Ruben Carleton, as they had
moved over here from the west coast. Anyway, she built a large
trade with the few people here. She had worked hard, and not any
too well. About that time Mr. P. P. Cobb and T. J. O'Brien came
and Mr. Cobb helped with the store. Mr. O'Brien came in the in-
terest of the telegraph company, putting up the poles. Then we
knew we could hear from the outside world.
Then she sold out to a company of men from Connecticut.
They came here to start an oyster cannery and called it Cantown.
Mr. Julius Tyler was president of the company. So they got busy
and stocked the store up and Mr. P. P. Cobb continued with them.
Then he bought them out, so the store has grown from a small one
up to a large business of all the latest and the best. You will find
Mr. Cobb still on the job.
Mr. Cobb and Mr. Card, wife and little daughter, came from
the same place Mr. Cobb did, and the two men got a small boat
together. Something came up and they decided to saw it in two
aid each take half, so Mr. Card made his little daughter a play-
house out of the bow. That was fine for her. She was a dear
little tot. And then they went back North for her education and,
on returning several years later, she gave several nice little dances
and recitations, and sang the song that had just come out, "When
Cuba Gains Her Victory Under the American Flag." Now she is
with her mother on their large estate. They were among the first
and best pineapple growers and became rich, and Lucia Zora, who
is a writer of note after a splendid stage career. She has retired.
Mrs. Hogg, after selling out, turned her attention to real es-
tate. They bought a saw mill at St. Lucie River. They did well.
Captain stopped the sea work. Mrs. Hogg helped the people with
food and in trouble. She never turned away from them and was
missed when she passed over to get her reward.
I must tell of a cute trick her son, Alex, did when they first
camped. Everyone kept some fire in the yard. We cooked on it
and kept smudges. So his mother sent him over to get some fire
coals. Her fire had gone out and none had mAtches, and no sun
that day. We could start a fire on lint or cotton with a sun
glass. He said: "Miss Bell, my mamma wants to get some fire," and
I said, "How will you take it?" He said, "Wait, I will show you,"
stooped down and filled his hand with sand, laid the coals on it
and got a fire started. So you see how smart he. was, and I believe
he has continued. He is a prominent man of Fort Pierce today.
He has lived there since 1879.
We lived in the home of my mother-in-law until October, then
my husband decided to build us a palmetto house, and it was a large,
nice house. As we had taken a homestead that adjoined his father,
we had to live on it, but couldn't get windows nor doors, not even
boards for a floor. We had two windows and put sand fly netting
on them and put an old canvas sail on the doors. We kept the
house dark, for the mosquitos were thick and the horseflies were
almost solid. I have scraped the horseflies off the windows and
would get three quarts at the time. They tortured the cows until
we have had to build large smudges to keep them from killing the
poor things, and in the woods many were killed. They were thicker
than a swarm of bees.
Mother and father were coming to see us and Mrs. Lucie Lamb
was moving back north, so mother bought a bed and cooking uten-
sils and carpet and a real stove to cook on. Now we began to
feel like real folks, with a stove, for we had a pen built and filled
in with dirt two feet high, so as not to stoop over so much. It was
bad, for the smoke would make your eyes ache and I burned so
much up. We didn't have kerosene only part of the time, but used
fat pine split in long splinters to light, and it made a good light,
but the soot was black and settled over everything.
When mother got here it was nearly dark and my husband was
cooking hoe cakes out in the yard, and mother said, "My child, is
this the way you have to live?" We had bunks built in the side
of the wall like ships, bunks, no doors to keep animals out. "Well,"
I said, "you have brought me some carpet. That will be better, but
Mother and father stayed a week, then went back to Hawk's
Park and put their stuff in a large flat bottom boat known as the
Bogum, and brought my young sister, Lena, and an old Portuguese
man, who had been with us nearly a year. His name was Joseph
Parata, known as Portugal Joe. He was light-handed, would take
things he should not. One day mother said, "Joe, you will get shot
some of these days." He laughed and said, "No man go to hell
steal for eat." Mother said, "Yes, but you stole clothes."
He would laugh. So when he came to our home he went down
to Mr. Richards' place, where an old Cuban had died, and he stayed
there till someone murdered him, thinking he had money. Father
picked him up on the beach. Said he was lost off of a fruiter.
There came a schooner from Savannah to buy turtles. We had
about 50 nice green turtles and we got most of it in provisions. And
then we would let the neighbors have some of it.
I had learned to knit the turtle nets and they would be about
one thousand feet when he put three together. Sometimes he would
get five or six, which would be over a thousand pounds. We would
get a good price, six and seven cents a pound.
Now my husband got the mail contract to carry the mail from"
Titusville (to Lake Worth then, now Palm Beach). He made a trip
every two weeks. We got our mail at St. Lucie. Mr. Jim Pain was
He would start as early as the wind would be hard enough to
fill the sail. Then he had to stop at Waveland with mail to the
Baker family. They were an old and fine family, who came there
for health, but I never knew them very well. But he had to leave.his
boat at the lighthouse and row across the south side, then carry the
mail bags on his back, walk eight miles to the postoffice. He car-
ried it for six months, then gave out. He said someone sent an iron
stove lid in the mail and some potatoes and seeds, so he stopped. I
don't remember who, but think it was Jim Russell who took it next.
When the tide was high the sand was so soft they could hardly
get along. They only got $30 a month. He would have to carry
a smudge pot with him, then he would rest one day, then start again.
I stayed by myself. Now can you imagine a girl out of a town
staying in the wilds, no windows nor doors, only a lantern or torch
wood for a light?
My husband said I should stay at his father's and I said noth-
nothing won't hurt me, for the Lord takes care of fools and children,-
and I felt I was both.
There were no tramps and the Indians never came near un-
less they saw some men folks, but I had gotten over my fear of
But the panthers and wildcats would scream and growl at night
and the skunks would come in the house, but I kept still and they
would soon leave. We slept under coarse domestic cloth screens, or
bars, we called them, tucked under our home-made mattress. We
made them out of the saw palmetto fans. Took an old steel fork
and stripped them up fine, and they dried in the sun and made a
bed as sweet smelling as new mown hay.
Aunt Kate Stewart had given me a nice half-grown kitten and
we named it Maggie, but should have been Tom, but he knew the
name. We were on the bed. I said, "Let's take a nap." It was
about three in the afternoon, and threw myself across the footof
the bed, Maggie by me, and I couldn't get to sleep, so got under
the net and tucked it under the mattress good, so no snake could
I dozed off, and all at once I sat- up in bed, and Mag had his
hair on his tail all fluffed up and creeping to the edge of the bed.
So I was quiet, only my heart beat so it shook the bed, or at least
I thought it did, anyway, and I could see a large rattlesnake slowly
crawling across the floor, leaving its trail, making himself at home.
I stayed in bed until he crawled in the bushes. It was the first
I had ever seen. I kept the cat in bed, too. So I fixed the net good
and went up to Father Bell's and he said wherever one goes another
would follow. Then I knew I would not go home till hubby came
home. When he saw the trail he said, "Now you must not stay
by yourself," so he got my sister, Lena, to stay with me. She brought
her pet kitten, Snoozes. We left him at home and took our wash-
ing up to Mother Bell's, as I didn't have any tubs or washboard. In
fact no one had them, only battling blocks and a paddle to beat them
with, was the way they washed. So I never did wash. It was funny
to me, but our clothes were so white and nice.
Our clothes dry, tied in a bundle, ready when my hubby came
to take us home. It was dark and sister's kitten would always meet
us at the gate and hide, then jump to scare us. I heard a rattlesnake
sing his rattles and see the cat jump, and I said "Run, a snake!" and
did not know where he was. We got to the house and lit the lamp,
and it seemed like everything that moved was a snake. Well, I
set supper, and about that time the kitten came in and the blood
came trickling down his face. He had bit him. He died a horrible
death, but none of us could kill it. We couldn't eat our supper.
Next morning we went out to the fence and my sister said, "I see
it, it is under the palmettos and it was on an old piece of quilt that
had been thrown away. So we set the bushes afire all around
it and it got burned till it looked like a limb of a tree. It was over
six feet. We had killed nine the first six months we lived on the
We would go over to the beach and had picked up enough lum-
ber to build one room 12x12, and father went to some large pine
trees and cut some down, cut them in three-foot lengths, then rived
what they called clapboards for shingles and we felt real proud
of our little one-room home.
I am a little ahead of my story, for on the 27th of August,
1880, there was a terrible hurricane lasting nearly twenty-four
hours, and we had gotten our supply of groceries from Titusville,
and we were still in the palmetto house and the roof blew off and
no way to save our stuff, one barrel of corn meal, one barrel of
grits and one of flour. We lost all of it. The grits had swollen
till it looked like a poisoned pup.
Well, we grabbed each a quilt. Mother took my two-month-old
son, Charles, and father and she would cling together and myself
and sister and hubby held together, but when those heavy puffs
would come it would nearly take us in the river, for there were
no roads. So we went on the river beach all the way to Father
Bell's at Taylor Creek, and they were getting wet, but their roof
stayed on. We got in the driest places we could and tried to keep
the baby dry.
Most of the windows were blown out-the glass ones. After
twenty-four hours the wind lulled, and we didn't have a bite to
eat, no place to cook, nothing to cook, all gone, only some horse
corn. We had a mill, so we tried to dry the corn, but parched it so
we could eat it that way. Before the storm cleared my father was
all wrapped up and huddled in a corner of the room and I went in
to try to get a place, and I looked at him. Say, the old big cat was
sitting on his head, and so wet till he looked like he was soaked in
a tub of water. It was too funny. We had to laugh. If we were wet
now, you haven't seen the fish after a storm. They were so
hungry or storm beaten, the men folks just picked them up by the
hundreds and, believe me, we cooked them as quick as we could
and ate them without bread, till we could dry some corn. We could
eat anything, I tell you!
Next day, Sunday, we saw a sail boat in sight. It looked good
to us. They stopped at our place. They said they were on a camp
hunt for a month. We told them of not having bread or lard, so
they gave us some. They could see how the storm had done us.
Mother went to work and baked some dandy biscuits, made
with lemon juice and soda, had no baking powder. She baked
them in a Dutch oven and gave some of them to the visitors, and
they said they had never eaten biscuits made that way, and cooked.
in the yard. They left that day. Words fail to express our feeling
as the delicious bread went down so smooth. Only as a colored boy
once said, "It sho' do taste like heaven dust." He was right.
Now I will continue, after telling of my second storm in Flor-
ida-first, 1878, the flood; second, 1880. We finished and moved
in the house I spoke of. We were sleeping sound and it was one of
the most beautiful moonlight nights and not a ripple on the water,
and the silvery sheen glistened. Only to be seen on the beautiful
Indian River. Not a person nearer than one mile, when all at once
I found myself sitting up in bed shaking husband, saying "Indians,
Indians!" He listened. Nothing moved. He said, "You were
dreaming." I said, "No, be still!"
We listened and it was after one o'clock, and then the sounds,
like horses with shoes on running around and around the house, and
clanking of chains. I jumped up, went to one door, he to the other,
and everything ceased, not a leaf stirred. We went to bed again.
It would commence again. It would last only a short time. Then
we would hear a rowboat land at our dock and throw the oars in
the boat, and it was as plain as if we were there in the boat. Well,
this was five or six times a year for the first three years we lived
there. It was spooky!
A stranger came to our house in 1883 and said he was to old
Fort Pierce, where Col. Pierce one time had some soldiers and had
a skirmish. He found several cannon balls and what they called
minnie balls, and the bank was at that time built up like they ex-
pected trouble from the southeast.
We told him of the sounds we heard and he said the ground
had been fought over and he believed that was the cause of it. He
dug around and found some skulls. He said they were not Indians.
He took some of them north with him. G. Albright was his name.
Well, father and mother decided to move down the river on
Hutchinson Island, where there was good truck land. They built
a dandy palmetto house and got enough lumber off the beach to
floor it so they could keep the snakes out. But we found it hard, as
the mosquitoes were so bad and sand flies fierce. They were there
day and night. Smudges didn't count, but after they cleared the
brush out the wind could get in and blow them away. They were
there about three months when Thomas E. Richards and son, Will,
came down opposite on the mainland. They called it Eden, but after
a few days found it was not the Eden they were looking for. He
said it was what commenced with H-, but they were good scouts
On Sunday they came over to see the ocean. My father, A.
Lagow, and my mother were the only people there at that time. It
was Sunday and they insisted the two Messrs. Richards should stay
for dinner. Mother said, "I will give you some cabbage, for it is
different from the kind you raise." So father talked till I knew
they were tired, but Mr. Richards wasn't far behind. They enjoyed
the palmetto cabbage and said they would try cooking some. We all
became great friends and they would bring mother over some flour.
She would bake bread for them, for part of the week they learned
how to camp like we did.
We showed them how to tie the nets onto their hat brims. I
made them palmetto hats, broad brims, for shade.
One Saturday night Will caught a large possum, and father
told him how to dress it. So he did and brought it over early so
mother could bake it. He put it in soda water all night. Mother
fixed it and put it in the big Dutch oven, and when it was done
s'e had sweet potatoes with it, and say, a fresh milk pig was no
better. It was baked so brown, looked so nice, but I couldn't eat
a piece of it-would not go down. Father and my husband, Mr.
Richards and Will did it justice. So mother fixed the remainder
with the potatoes for their supper. But sister, mother and myself
had a cabbage dinner. Too much like a rat.
We couldn't get hops to make yeast, so we took the mission
grape leaves and used them like we do hops to make yeast cakes.
We used the leaves with salt to make our cucumber pickles. Within
two weeks they would be just right.
We came back to help dad to get a road cut out over to the
beach, about three hundred yards. We were busy piling brush and
dad said, "Say, I wonder why Richards and Will didn't come over;
they always come on Sunday." I said, "Let's stop; it is Sunday."
Dad said, "It is Saturday," but we lost our notch sticks and worked
on till nearly dark. "Well," dad said, "if they don't come over I
will go see about them." So we cleaned up and mother put on
some turtle to cook. They all liked it.
About ten Sunday, as we thought, they came over and dad and
all of us dressed for Sunday. We noticed they looked at us funny.
They didn't have their Sunday clothes on. That was clean overalls
and homespun shirts. Mother washed for them.
Mr. Richards said, "What the devil are you all dressed for?"
'What is the matter with you? We don't work on Sunday."
And Will said, "Oh, dad! that's a good one on you. Where is your
bottle? Good joke on you, old man. All jokes aside, this is Monday.
We didn't get over yesterday; had company and some friends came
in time for dinner. They said it was Monday."
So dad said, "The devil, we will keep it just the same, for we
One time after that we lost the day. Father and mother would
go for miles to old wrecks and cut the copper bolts out of them and
we would be miles from home, and carry them in sacks on our
backs to get something to eat. Capt. Hogg would buy all we could
get at fifteen cents a pound. Sometimes we would get fifty pounds,
then go back the next day for more. As sometimes it would be all
covered again, then we would have to dig the stuff out again.
Sister and I went over to the beach. It wasn't over three hun-
dred yards, but through a jungle. The one we cut out on each side
of the trail was oaks, thick, palmettos.. We took a pail, for we would
catch the crabs as they would come on the waves. We could catch
them before they would sink in the sand. If we were quick enough
we would get a pailfull.
After I saw some crabs eating a dead colored man that had
been killed and one time eating a dead dog, that ended my taste for
crabs. Dad ate them. We got them for him. Well, this time we
kept busy and I got up and looked down the beach. We both looked.
"It's two people coming this way," sister said, "It's Indians. Let's
run." "No," I said, "it's too small for them. She said, "They are
on thier hands and knees gathering shells."
"Say, now, I'll run. Oh, see! it is two bears, sure!"
We began to step lively, feeling my hair standing straight.
Say, we couldn't speak. Sister could outrun me.
I said, "Stop, my heart has quit beating." We got to the trail.
Sister screamed every step. I looked back and called for dad,
hoping he would hear us and come with his gun. He was running,
and mother, too. Well, he was out of breath, had his gun. I couldn't
talk, but pointed down the beach.
They were coming, dad said. "Stand still, they will pass this
way-old path of theirs." So we were on the opposite side from
dad, but we were shaking, so we didn't think they would go between
dad and us, but they turned and ran between us. Oh! what a feel-
ing, to stand still. Well, he didn't see them turn till they nearly ran
over him. He jumped, fell back and dropped his gun. It fell on
his foot. He opened his month so ride his chew of tobacco fell
out. It was so large it was big enough to break his other foot. Well,
mother got there.
I said, "Oh, it was two bears as big as the house." Mother just
roared. We did not go after our bucket of crabs, either, but went
for the house. After we got there and were over the excitement,
Mr. Richards and Will came in to tell us of his exciting time.
So we tried to tell them, and the way dad looked when he
dropped the gun on his foot and his tobacco fell out of his mouth.
They just roared. "Why didn't you shoot?" He said, "I dropped
the gun." He was dazed. Then Mr. Richards said, "Dad, you are
a good one."
They stopped laughing and he said, "Now, let me tell you what
happened to me Monday." We were all attention.
He said, "I was on the river beach and I saw a big coon wading
in the water, so thought I would have some fun. So I threw an oys-
ter shell at it and looked. It growled, so I threw a piece of a limb
at it. Say, it came at me and caught my pants leg and climbed up to
my shoulders and scratched and bit me terrible. I went out in the
water, it still fighting. So I got it by the neck and held it under
the water till it died."
He surely looked like he had been in a den of them. Mother
gave him some salve to put on the places. "No more coon fights
for me," he said. He was clearing land then. Mr. Richards put
out a large pineapple farm and made good. In fact, he was called
the pineapple king.
His daughter came and his two other sons, Frank and Harry,
then his wife, and he built a splendid home. Had a very interesting
family. He lived at Eden till he passed over; also his wife.
Father found he could not get the land-it was a grant-so
moved back to Fort Pierce. Took the homestead adjoining ours.
He put up a one-room house. He got the stuff off the beach and
covered it with palmetto fans and made a roof.
Then it was time for my husband to get the cattle up for his
mother and his brother and himself, for they had to be marked and
branded. He went out to a place the cow hunters called Snipe
Fields. That is where the dairy of Mr. Cleveland is now. My hus-
band and Mr. Hays cut the pine trees down and peeled the bark off
of them and built us a real nice log house, then built pens where
he could pen the cows and mark and brand them. Sometimes
other people would mark our calves for themselves, and they would
be sucking our cows. There were rustlers those days. Then the
mark would have to be changed. It was cruel to cut their ears
We lived there quite a while and my first baby was born,
Charles Alexander Bell, 6th of June, 1880. And the first doctor
was Dr. Moore. He was stopping at Mr. Bell's. Charles was the
first grandchild. His grandparents were very fond of him, and
since he is grown he often says "Abraham Lincoln hasn't anything
on me-I was born in a log hduse, too. I am proud of it."
They had to brand the calves with a hot branding iron over the
old brand to change it, then cut the ears over. Web Hays once said,
"The marks look like the devil tore loose in one ear and h---- tore
loose in the other." He was about right, I guess.
In the evening my husband would go out and crack his 16-
foot whip or drag, they called it, and give a call that as far as the
cattle could hear it, they would come, for we had smudges to keep
the horseflies from killing them. So many times he would call me
out to see a deer that would come with the cows, and one night
he called: "Come here, quick," and it was to see a mother deer and
her twin fawns, spotted just alike. Every once in a while they
My husband was building a smudge and called, "Come and see
this snake," and I said, "No, I don't like them," but went on, and
it saw us, and its color was a peculiar color, all mingled with black
and green and light yellow. It started to crawl off and he threw a
pine burr at it. Then its tail went up to its head and formed a
hoop like, and it rolled for several feet. Then he struck it with a
club and killed it. We examined it and on the end of the tail it
had a horn like a dog's toenail. Now, it is said there are no hoop
snakes, but that was the second one he had killed, the first on the
Kissimmee prairie with his whip.
Frank Bell, my husband's brother, always helped with the
cattle. He had quite a number himself. All done for this year of
We decided to move back to our homestead. As we could get
no money to live on, to put out trees and plant potatoes and cane, so
he got the mail contract again and in a month got to our place. I
could not see how we were going to pull through the month, as
we had no milk, for we were living on corn meal and grits with
clabber milk and what butter I could make, but not near the river
to get fish. It was three miles, and to walk was too much, so I was
so hungry, and he had gone to his mother's for the day.
I was not strong, not having the food necessary for a young
mother. I sat down and looked at my nice clean little cabin, and
I had four hens that Aunt Polly Sellers gave me, and I put the eggs
she brought me in the crack of the logs, and some red peppers in
another place, and everything looked so nice. Then baby cried and
I took him up and cried. I said, "Baby, we are alone and the day
will be so long. I feel like we better die together." Three miles in
the woods, not even a dog. Baby asleep. He was three weeks old.
I put him down and as I looked towards the path I saw someone. My
heart was in my mouth-couldn't tell who it might be. And as they
came nearer I could see it was a woman, and it was my mother.
And I knew if anyone could get me something to eat it would be
she. When she came in I looked at her. She said, "What's the mat-
ter?" I said, "Nothing." She said, "I know better." I said, "Sit
down, for you must be tired."
"Yes, and had no dinner. Walked all the way." I broke down
and cried and said, "I haven't had much to eat in ten days, only
grits and clabber and milk, and the cows turned out, so had plain
She said, "My God, to think of your living out here and not
enough to eat!"
"I can't help it, I am sick," I said.
"Where is your husband?"
I said, "He went to see his folks in to the river."
"Why didn't you go, too? Where is the ox cart?"
"Why, I couldn't walk and I couldn't ride on the cart-only the
pole to sit on, so rather be here."
She said, "I will go to old Fort Pierce to Mr. Hogg and get
you something to eat. We have over two hundred pounds of cop-
per." She had to wade a pond, walk through woods and around
ponds, but at dark she came in so tired she could hardly drag. I
cried to think mother had to.walk and carry things to eat, but it
wasn't much-about ten pounds--some tea, sugar and bacon, three
pounds of flour. We had pancakes and fried the bacon and made
thickened gravy, and I don't think food ever tasted so good. Hus-
band came. She gave my husband a scolding and told him: "You
should have brought her home. We had enough for her."
He said, "I will get stuff tomorrow."
She said, "Why didn't you bring it now," she said, "I came, she
had nothing, so I went all the way to Hogg's store to get this for
her." He never said anything more. They always got along fine.
He knew mother was right.
Well, we moved back, so he started with the mail contract, and
I had enough to eat, for we would be one mile from the store and
nearly a mile to walk to Mother Bell's at Taylor Creek, only go
in a boat-no roads. Now I would be alone, baby and me, but I
could shut the house up. It had solid wood doors and windows on
Third night I heard a scream like a woman in distress. I tell
you, it was a chill instead of a thrill. I shook like an aspen and I
heard it again. Then I knew it was a panther, and it is a peculiar
sound. And now I was thankful I had such a solid house, and I
did not open the window till late in the morning, and went out, and
say, it had been all around the house, and such large paws it had.
The next day my sisters-in-law, Ella and Alice, came down and
I went back and stayed till my husband came with the mail. He
was gone six days.
I had some chickens. We built a good tight coop. One night I
heard them squawking and I was afraid to go out alone again. I
thought it was a possum, but it had reached its paw through a
crack and pulled a hen up to the side and tore her whole side out,
but could see it was a wildcat. Then I nailed slats over the cracks.
The skunks would dig under it. It was a puzzle to know what to do.
Turkeys and deer would come through the yard and seemed
to know I would not hurt them.
I took baby and went to the store and I was all in, he was so
heavy. This is November that I went to the store. Who should I
see but the store full of Indians, and I was so scared I nearly lost
my breath, but Mrs. Hogg gave me a chair behind the counter and
she could talk some with them. Told old Parker, he was chief at
that time, I was Jim Bell's squaw. He said, "Uncah Jimmie Bellegas
pickaninny." She nodded her head.
Jim Russell was there, so he said, "I will take you home. I go
by there. And in the night my husband came home and I would
not let him in until he called me by name. I thought it Indians.
My husband had been with them for ten years. He and his
father, his brother, Frank. could understand them and talk to them.
In 1882 they came in to the river to camp, and they would
come to the house -if the men folks were there. I was baking some
syrup cookies and had quite a large panfull, looked up, and stand-
ing in the door were old Polly Parker and old Lucy and three chil-
dren and old nigger Nance, who was old Tuscanuga's wife. He was
the ugliest human I have ever seen. Nance was stolen when a
child from St. Augustine. She never knew anything but Indians.
Now I will tell you how they did me. I thought I would pass them
around. They would take two or three, but, no, sir, old Polly took
her dress up and poured the whole batch of them in her dress, so the
rest of them wouldn't get any, and I did not know how to make
them understand, and I heard my husband whistling at the boat. So
I motioned him to hurry and he saw the guests I had. I told him.
He made Polly give some to all of them. She didn't like it. He told
mr to always divide with each one. I learned to never have any-
thing, for they liked to beg, but never would steal.
I had a little girl baby. Her name was Madge, and the little
ndians would play with her and her brother, Charles. They were
heir first playmates, friends, too. My husband and Henry Parker
were great boy friends, go swimming together and hunting. He
was a fine large Indian and a favorite with the whites. He was
standing on the bank at Ten Mile Creek when his dog must have
jumped up and struck the trigger of his gun and it went off and
killed him. He was about 20 years old. They all mourned for
My mother then was living on their homestead and she was a
nurse and knew how to treat sick folks, and she doctored the In-
dians. We have seen five and six in the yard under the trees wait-
ing till she could get medicine from Titusville. They had great
confidence in her. They loved her. They would bring her so much
meats and turkey, pumpkins and potatoes and even chickens. She
could make them understand how to take medicine. It was ten
years she cared for them. Then she went away for a while.
In 1883 we had our first Christmas tree and it was a nice little
tree with real candles on it. Of course, we didn't have toys, but had
a few presents of wearables. We had cakes and pies.and a dance.
That was the only pleasure and not more than two dozen there,
Mrs. Hogg's family and Jim Russell and wife, myself and hubby,
Mrs. Hendry's daughters, Lessy and Cally and Anna. Frank Bell
was the fiddler and James Olmstead beat the strings. Oh! I was
about to forget my husband had an accordion and there were two
Indians with us-Dr. Johnnie and Billy Bowlegs. Billy said he
could play it, so someone gave it to him, and they told him to play
"Leather Beeches," and he said "encah," so started, and he played
the same thing until we were nearly distracted. So I said, "For
heaven's sake, give him something to eat and get that thing and
hide it." We could hear the violin then.
In 1884 we had two Baptist ministers, who came in missionary
work. They came to our house and we had added one more room,
so now we could accommodate them. We had a cook shed then, so
they stayed several days, Mr. Michael and Mr. Savage, and they held
church in our home. That was the first church to organize. Don't
remember the date. My husband had a small saw mill and gave
part of the lumber and helped to build it..
In 1886 the first House of Refuge was built, and we were the
first keepers. It was built on the south side of Indian River Inlet,
about three miles. We lived there thirteen months, when my health
got so bad we had to give it up. Then three of the children had to
go to school. We had to take the tide gauge, put it on record, and
state when vessels passed, whether sail or steamships.
The tourists in the winter made our house a visiting place. It
was very large and comfortable. They would bring lunch and spend
the day before going North. Commodore Hughes of New York was
almost a daily visitor in the winter.
Now we were planning on a Fourth of July picnic, and we
did not have an orator to speak, and no flag. Mother said: "I will
make one." So she was the Betsy Ross. She had red and white
cloth and some blue. She had father mark a star out, then she
cut the number that was required, sewed every stitch by hand. She
did not tell anyone until it was put up. William Beecher had got a
nice long pole, peeled it, and it was white and slick and put it up.
Then the next day was the Fourth. So he rigged the halyards and
up went the flag. The people from all around admired the flag as
it floated out with a nice east breeze, and some of the Indians
looked, and in their eyes they asked the question, what is it? They
told them one big day. The stayed all day. They held the picnic
over to Coconut Cove. They could get fish and fry them, and oys-
ters to roast. There were the Carletons, Russells, the Bells, the
Hendrys and Pains and Hoggs. So there were about thirty-five
people there. The flagpole was put up at Edgartown (now North
Fort Pierce), and the first postoffice was in Edgartown. William
Beecher kept it awhile. He gave it up to Mr. Cobb, and it was put
in the Cantown store, which made it better for the people.
We were still at the House of Refuge, and surely it was a place
of refuge, for on the 15th of November-it was a beautiful clear
night-and Charles said: "Papa, listen, I hear somebody." I said.
"Go to sleep," but we could hear people talking, not very loud. I
said: "I'll bet it's a surprise party," so I went to the door and, sure
enough, there was a crowd, and all trying to talk at once. Mothers
trying to keep the children quiet. At last my husband said: "All stop
and let one talk." I don't remember who did the talking, but
anyway, he said: "We have come over here, as the Indians are on
the warpath, their paints on and dancing around the fire. Say,
'Killum all white man,' so we came here to see if you can't make a
treaty with them. They said white men had stolen their hogs and
driven all their cattle off and said they would killum all, in two
suns." The next morning my husband and his father and brother,
all good friends with the Indians, said they would try to settle for
them. They got over to Fort Pierce and had to raise two hundred
dollars. That was their price. It was something hard to get that,
but finally settled it, and the rustlers got the cattle, all right, but
some of them had to leave the country. We were glad to see the
men alive to get back to us. We gave a shout, and for weeks we
were shaky, for we didn't understand Indians.
Now I would have to go over to Cantown store and get our
groceries. I had a good cat-rigged sail boat and it had a center-
board. So I would put the four children in the boat and tie the
baby one to the centerboard pin and I could go over with the tide
and come back on the outgoing tide, but I had to watch the wind
in the cut, called Wildcat Cove. When I got to the store Mr. Julius
Tyler was president of the Cantown Company, and he said: "Where
is Jim?" I said: "Home, sick in bed, and the inspector is there."
He said: "You came over with those little children?" I said: "Yes,
I can sail as good as anyone." "That's all right, leave the children
home." "Who would watch them? Jimmie can't get up."
He said: "If you was my wife you wouldn't." I said: "I hope
she never has to do my way." He laughed, shook his head. Mr.
Tyler was a thorough business man, and was always ready to have
a social chat, and a good neighbor. They were over to the station,
that is, he and wife. She also would scold me. They were here some
time before Frank, his son, his wife and two daughters, Edyth and
Ethel. After a while they came to Florida to be one of us. I think
it was 1887, or near that time.
Now, we had one noted man and his wife, who were English
to the bone. They were Lady and Lieutenant Henn. She always
carried a bottle of the best to drink. I don't know how it was, but
she would insist on me taking a nip. I never had much use for such
stuff, much less those who used it. She was always swearing at
the centerboard boats. She said nobody but Americans would
have them. They were boarding at St. Lucia with Judge Paine and
came over every day to fish, and my husband would roast oysters
for them. They thought they were grand roasted.
Their boat did not get back soon enough, and Lady Henn
wanted to go home. So I said: "We have a good boat. My husband
can take you over." Lieutenant Henn said: "You couldn't hire her
to get in a centerboard boat," but she hit the bottle hard and did
not care, so they started. She would give the children money each
time she came.
When he got back he said she liked the boat, and the next
day she said: "Let me buy the boat," but of course we wouldn't
part with it.
Senator Matt Quay and son, Dick, were boarding at Judge
Paine's, and his wife and one daughter. They came to our house
and we gave dances. We would invite the guests and send ox
teams for them to come down, but we did not know their names.
But they would come and enjoy the square dances. You could hear
them laughing far out on the river. Dick Quay loved to dance what
he called a cracker breakdown, and was a sport right. He paid the
fiddler and the man who beat the strings. Ben Souy and wife al-
ways came, and he would dance till the last minute, then sing "We
Won't Go Home Till Morning," and it was three in the morning
many times when they would leave.
We would come over to our house for the dances. Now we
would move the next week, so was painting the boat, and we were
trying to decide what color. I said white with red and he said blue
We heard the bushes cracking. I said: "It's the dog." He said:
"Listen, it's a wildcat," he said, "too heavy, it's a bear," he said.
"Here is the dog asleep. Be quiet, he will pass us." And he didn't
come around the bow of the boat; he came around the stern. I
jumped back, stepped on the dog, and he yelped. He saw the bear
and ran, yelping every step. It came near running over me. We
saw him run by the house and did not know where the children
were. So we ran and the children saw him and said: "The bear
bit Guy." That was the dog's name. They heard him yelping. We
couldn't get him out all day. He came back the next afternoon.
We had some bee hives and he discovered them, and when we saw
him he had turned one over and was eating honey, and the bees
swarming all over him, in his ears, all over his head. He rolled
and pawed and stuck his nose in the sand, and then tried it again.
We had no cartridges, so off he trotted on down the beach, but
ruined the bees and honey, too.
We moved home once more and my husband went to Titusville
to get his license for pilot and captain, as he was notified through
the mail to pilot one of the boats.
The boats would start in one month. Oh, I tell you, that was
joyful news, as we felt we were nearing civilization at last. When
he returned he said he would help stake the channel, as he had
run boats for 17 years, knew every sand and oyster bar through the
nine miles of narrows, he could pilot a boat safely..
The narrows begin south of Vero and through where man-
groves were on both sides of the channel, north for nine miles
Well, Sunday came, and at last the day for the boat. Now
every house was astir. It was four in the morning when we saw
her bright light. She blew her whistle at St. Lucie and the echo
sounded from one side of the river to the other. Oh, how light our
hearts were. I knew we could ship our turtles to a good advan-
tage-not lose so many.
We stood at the window (at last we had two windows), scarcely
breathing lest it might be a myth, but we were soon to realize we
were awake. We heard sounds like birds. "Hark!" I said, "
Husband said: "No, it's mice." The boat was just in front of
our house when something fell in a lump from the rafters to the
floor. It was a mouse nest, and a snake had got in and had a tiny
mouse in its mouth. It fell at.my feet. Some quick move, I jumped
in the middle of the bed and got tangled in the mosquito net, fell
out. Husband calling for a match, I got one and lit the lamp, and he
killed the snake and mice, too, and after all, we didn't get to see
much of the boat. We didn't go back to bed. It was daylight-
glad of it. The boat got stuck in the Jupiter narrows. Sent for
Capt. Jim Bell, as he was called, to pilot her back.
He ran on all the boats that ran on the river for ten years. He
ran as pilot for Capt. Fischer, Capt. Bouie, Capt. Watson, Capt. Mer-
cier, Capt. Bravo, Capt. Paddison. I have forgotten some names.
He was known from New Smyrna to Lake Worth, now Palm Beach,
and highly respected for his true worth, hale fellow to all.
Now I must tell of the first person who died, a Mr. Warren.
He was working for Mr. P. Cobb and was living at the Henry Klopp
place. He had three children and wife. His son, who was about
8 years old, came uptown, walked the river beach and told Mr. Cobb
and then Mr. Carleton that his father was sick and somebody come
at once. It was nearly three miles to walk, but my husband went
and found him dead. He was poisoned on cahned beef. He was the
only one that ate it.
My husband left a man there and came back. Mr. Will Beecher
and my father worked hard and got a coffin made out of rough
boards and lined it with white bleachen and went back there. We
had a pony, so he put the coffin in the wagon and had to pick his
way through thicket and part trail, not much road. Put him in the
wagon, nearly night, and the woman and children came in a row-
boat. My husband and Mr. Carleton walking beside the horse.
When they got here the question was where to bury him. So
Frank Bell said: "I will give one acre of land for a cemetery." So
it was over back of the hill near where it is now. Frank gave a
deed to it.
He was buried and Mr. C. T. McCarty offered a prayer. Mrs.
McCarty and Mrs. Jennie Jennings sang "Shall We Meet Beyond
the River," and it was dark as the little procession wended its way
through the pines to Mrs. Jennings' house, where she cared for the
little family until money was made up to send them to their people.
In 1886 my father, A. G. Lagow, decided to put up a boarding
house, as some traveling men and tourist people began to come in
the winter time. So he made arrangements to get the money, and
built a six-room house. He had proved up on his homestead. Then
Mr. Murry Hall came down and there was a fish house near the
shore, and he rented it. Then W. W. Beecher put a blacksmith
shop up. Now, this was Edgartown and the house still stands in
Mother had six men boarders. Of course, we didn't know their
business then, but some bought hides, others came for health and
one man, Mr. Roy, was trying to get to trade with the Indians, get
deer hides for whiskey. So father told him the government men
would get him. He did not tarry very long. Next boat he left.
Their boarders thought it wonderful that mother could get such
a meal. She would fix palmetto cabbage and they said it was bet-
ter than green corn, and where did she get the turkeys and deer
meat? She said: "You will see the ones who are the hunters."
Mother knew the Indians would be in that night. Sure
enough, there was Henry Parker, Johnny Doctor and Polly and
Lucy at the door early.
The drummers stood back and watched them. All brought
some kind of meats, but mother always took.a sharp knife and cut
a thin layer all over it off. She said they always looked so dirty.
Mother told the boarders she doctored them when they were
sick. They liked her.
She would take a ham of venison and cut the bone out, then
the meat, grind it and put some potatoes, onions and bread crumbs,
pepper and salt, then put it in a large baker, then bake about three
hours, basting it often, and serve cold or hot, but it was delicious
either way. Some of the men would say: "My plate leaks," or
"You did not give me any; just a little more, please."
Now I will go on. I thought I would put out some seeds.
Flowers were rare. I dug up a nice plot and planted them, and
Charles was always busy undoing what I did. I went ii the house
and forgot Charles and looked out. He and the dog, Guy, were
both asleep under a little tree that we had planted two years
before. It was a mulbeiry from the beach, and it still is growing
on the corner of Second and Norway on the Jim Bell homestead,
planted 1880, and the children have driven hundreds of nails in
the old body. It is 48 years old and it still is bearing fruit.
So you see the boy was all right. So started to get dinner. I
called my husband and I said: "I wish you would call Charles." But
he was coming in and said:
"Big black 'nake crawled on Charles boy's foot." We rushed
out and, sure enough, there in the yard, the dog looking at it, a
rattlesnake, coiled up, and my husband got the big hoe and scolded
the dog, and struck it in the head. It was not large, about two
feet long. It would have bit the dog, but we did not know whether
it did crawl on his foot or not.
The dog got so he was so watchful and I had just fed the
chickens and left the boy with feed, so went in the house. And I
heard the dog growl and keep it up. So I went to see, and Charles
was by the fence, imitating a cat: Meaow, meaow. So I said: "No
cat there." He said it again and the picket was off, and when I
got there I saw it was a wildcat, just in the act of jumping on him.
He didn't want to leave. The dog was near the hole, watching, but
the cat ran as he saw me. I would say: "Guy, bring the boy." He
would tear his dress, but would bring him. He was worth his
weight in gold. He took hemorrhages and died. He was five
We had hard times until the boats got started. My two first
children would cry for nenny bed until they would go to sleep. We
had to wait till a boat came.
Oh, the privations and starvations and the aggravations of in-
sects, and away from civilization, was so bad words could never ex-
press it. And then we would have a little party and forget the
hardships for the time.
We had the Schleppy brothers, the Hendry brothers, Mr. Giger,
the Houston boys, that were always ready for a dance and, strange
to say, they wore boots or brogans. They were heavy like plow
shoes, but the boys were not accustomed to watch their step and
not get on our dress trains.
Everyone wore long trains, some a half yard or more in length.
Then we wore bustles and sleeves, tight from the cuff to the el-
bow, then like a balloon. The basques were short and very tight.
Some wore hoops.
One night I was dancing with Arch Hendry and he had on a
new pair of brogs and he would slip and nearly fall. So he said:
"Wait, I'll fix the darn things." Out with his jackknife and scraped
them on the soles. "We're rough now, we can dance."
t Someone had put sperm oil on the floor, and the rough boards
were nearly worn smooth from dancing. He will laugh when he
reads this, as he still is in Fort Pierce.
The dancing was not hugging like they do now. Graceful danc-
ing is impossible with jazz. And the styles were like in the Peter-
son Magazine, 1874 to 1886. Then dresses took 12 yards to make
one--all loops in the back-and you can make three dresses now
out of the 12 yards. That is much better than dress mopping the
There were not many single girls, only Ella and Alice and Ma-
tella Bell and Miss Mary somebody. She was a school teacher to Mr.
Ruben Carleton's children, Charlotte and Sally and Lessie, and Anna
Hendry were all the girls, and we young married folks were young,
even if we did have children.
We went to Mrs. Carleton's to a dance and some of the men
said: "Let's have some fun," and the children were put on quilts in
the carts, so when they started home they would not wake them up.
We would make pallets on the floor in the house. Put some
there while dancing. They took some children and put in the
carts, and bring them out of the carts and change them all around.
When a mother heard a child cry they would listen and everyone
knew their voices, and someone would fill in the place dancing
until she came back.
One little one started crying and the rest were aroused, and
there were eight, and you couldn't tell where they were-some out-
side-and the light was put out. Such a time! It took over an hour
to get straightened out and then it was time to go. We did not
have a dance for a long time. Some got mad.
My father and husband were going on a big hunting trip. We
put the children in the boat and went to Fort Capron, where father
was, and start from there. Sister and mother and myself were
not going, so they said they would put a pole up, so if anything
should happen we could come to Sewell's Point and put a white flag
on it. They could see it. We were not acquainted with Capt.
Sewell at that time.
We were getting things ready and I went to the door and
saw a boat rowing in towards father's house, and I said a boat was
coming and hubby came, then sister and children; mother also, and
last dad.. The three strangers laughed and one said: "Gal, stand
back and let dad see," and of course it did look funny. Dad went
on down to the landing. One said: "Say, can we cook on the shore?"
"Certainly, you can." They had provisions for a month. They
gave us some tea and some butter, and it was good, for we only
had briar root tea, and they gave us sugar, too. They decided to go
with dad, so started with a dandy east wind. It wouldn't take over
six hours to go. We saw them off, so cleaned up and did some
sewing, and to bed early, as the sand flies would eat us alive.
The strangers were Mr. Clay, Shad and Joe Gould, who after
a year or more came to fish for the Scoby Fish Company here and
at St. Lucie River.
We did not get up early-nothing to do. It was eight o'clock
and the children were up and my sister was usually up first. But
mother called her and no answer. So raised the net. She was not
there, so called out the door. No answer. Now that got us ex-
cited and an old man lived back of the place. Said: "I think your
gal is gone. I seed a man take a bundle and a gal get in a little
sail boat and pull out. He come from dat house furder down."
So we knew it was Jim Russell's house. The man was Mrs.
Russell's brother, but she denied his being there, but Mr. Pain saw
them and said he thought we were with them. He said they were
going to Lake Worth.
Well, we didn't know she knew him well enough to run away,
but after awhile we found he had met her and she was told she
was getting a wonderful man. She was not fifteen yet. She got
a brute, so mother said: "We will go to dad." Our hearts were
nearly broken. She was such a dear, good girl.
We put the children in the old Bogum and the sail waf too
heavy. It had sixty yards in it, so we put a reef in it. Then we
got it up quite good. Good breeze from the east, and I made for
the east side of the river, then a straight run and could make it in
about four hours. We could see the place they told us to come
to, and they had a fire, cooking supper. But they saw us. They
knew the big boat, so dad and my husband got in the small boat
and rowed out to us. They thought all kinds of things till they
got to us. Well, we told dad, and I don't want to ever see him so
mad again. But it was too late to get through the Jupiter narrows,-
so we camped in the boat, it was so large. Then started, and I was
glad they had such a start, as father would have shot him as long
as the gun would fire.
When we got to Jupiter the children and I stayed in the boat.
The party that was with dad came along, but stopped at Jupiter,
too, as my husband had told them. They said they would wait until
they came back.
Mother, father and husband started. They had to walk eight
miles, and sometimes mother would lag behind to rest up a little,
but she had a gun, and not afraid of man or beast.
She said she got behind going over to the lakeside, as they
were nearly there, and she saw the bushes moving and twigs break-
ing. Looked up and about twenty feet away she could see some-
thing slowly dragging along. She called and called. Dad looked
around. She beckoned, but he shook his head, but she sat down
then. He thought she was hurt, so hurried back. She pointed to-
ward it. They saw what it was. It was a sea serpent of some
description. Well, it was green and black and a yellowish mingled
colors, and they watched it crawl to the sea. It raised its head
and looked all around till it turned their way. Then they said it
looked like a human face. It stood up about three or four feet.
They measured to where its tail was and to where the head was
and it was about thirty feet long and looked the size of a small nail
They went on over and could see the trail. Told Mr. Brown
and Moore of it. They said it had been seen about twice a year
and the Indians were superstitious and would neither kill or try to
So in 1927 one has been seen over at Surfside beach twice.
Some men came over to Fort Pierce to get guns to kill it with, but
when they got back it was gone. Don't think it the same one as
that was 42 years ago.
I will go on. They told Mr. Brown what they came for and he
said: "I married them, that he had got the licenses in Titusville and
I don't know where they went, but his mother lives across the lake."
So they let them go. We did not see her for a year. She wrote us.
So we came back home.
In 1888 Mr. Stephen Jennings and wife, three children, son,
Arthur, and Paul, and Myrtle Jennings moved in our little town.
She said: "Well, we have come to stay." After they were here
some time they bought some land of us and built a house on it,
and they became my neighbors. We lived on the river, while they
lived about two hundred yards back of us. Mr. Jennings was a
good worker and could get more than anyone else.
Mrs. Jennings was a great nurse and good doctor, and no one
ever left their home hungry. She organized the first Methodist
Sunday school in her house and worked untiringly until they got
the church built.
They took up a homestead over on the island, and where
he burned mangrove wood and sold the ashes to the pineapple grow-
ers for the pines. It was of great commercial value. Took jobs of
clearing land. His son, Arthur, stuck to him and in winter went to
school Miss Nettie Gifford was one of the teachers and they took
their turn in boarding her, as it did not pay enough so they could
I will tell of the school. The first was a palmetto shack. Mr.
Joseph Hurst taught the Bell children and Jim Russell's two. It was
at Taylor Creek.
Then, about where the Altadena hotel stands was a little log
house and the children, ten in number. When it was cold the chil-
dren would get pine knots and start a fire and stand around to
get their lessons. The cracks in the house were large enough that
a cat could crawl through. The boys would climb up to the roof
like a ladder on it.
Say, when they came home they looked like the inside of a
stovepipe from standing around the black smoke, but they were
happy and healthy.
Well, in 1888 Lawyer McCarty and wife and sons, Daniel,
Charles and Brian, came to Florida. They located at Ancona. Now
it is Eldred. In 1889 they came to Edgartown and Mrs. McCarty was
selected to teach the school. She would cook her food and bring
it up to do her for a few days, then on Saturday go down home
and wash and come Sunday evening. My father gave them a lot
and they built a little house on it, so she wouldn't have to go and
come so much. I am not sure, but think she taught two terms, and
was one among the best teachers that ever taught for fifteen years.
She was a splendid penman, explicit in everything she taught.
Mr. McCarty was a man the town needed very much. He in-
duced many people to come to Florida, and needed in his profes-
sion, as he was the first lawyer to come in here, but he had some
money, as he couldn't have lived here, for not much doing in that
line. Then he was assassinated January 30, 1897, which was very
uncalled-for, and the town surely lost a good man and citizen. They
sold their house to Jim and Nelly Seward, the first colored people
Elizabeth Carleton, mother of Lim and Wright and Charles,
Rube, Charlotte, Sallie, and, last but one, Sheriff Dan Carleton, who
was killed in duty to his office and people. He was faithful to all,
strangers or friends, of which he had many. He left wife, one son
and daughter, who still,live in Fort Pierce.
Mrs. Elizabeth Carieton was mother to all who knew her, as
well as to her children. She would go to see the sick, distance made
no difference. She would fix soups or something, never thinking
of herself. She surely was self-sacrificing. She and family moved
out to Ten-mile Creek, where she bought land and built a grove
under difficulties. Her husband, Ruben Carleton, was more of a
stock man. He would rather do that than farm work. She gave
to her children, so that all of them had little start before going to
her reward, for she was a thorough Christian.
Mr. Ned Summerlin moved to St. Lucie with wife, Pollyan, and
seven children, Clarence, Harry, Aden, Ethel, Josephine, Tom and
Dick, and one died. Well, now, if you once met him you would
have learned his way of joking, for he would look you over and
then say: "Well, if you get sick, come up and get some good clean
cooking and get fat like I am." Their table was always set for
one more. He never saw a stranger, and it seemed the more they
gave, the more they had.
His wife, a quiet, dear little woman, always joined in anything
he did or asked her to. They had one of the longest latchstrings of
anyone.' Tourists always looked for Uncle Ned. He passed away,
but his wife and sons remain in Fort Pierce yet.
Now, in 1893, we were going out to White City for a big land
sale, as it had been laid out in streets and lots to be sold at auction.
And some ran up as high as four hundred dollars. The funniest
part was some of our people bought lots that could have gotten the
same land at one dollar and a quarter an acre. Could see a big
town grow over night. They had music and dancing and little
places fixed to sit, and big tables for the spread-lemonade by
the barrel-and they had a graphophone with two sets of ear tubes;
10 cents to hear it. We did not buy. We had land. The company
left, but gave White City a start, but they collected quite a sum,
and the people thought they had bought land, but would have to
sell it by the quart. At that time there was no drainage. They
skipped out, but had the money.
In 1894 we had a freeze, that the fish in the river were frozen
until they would float by the acres, or it looked like acres. The
east wind would bring them over to the west side of the river, then
the men folks would rake them back in'the water, and it was so
terrible we could hardly stand it, and finally they began to sink.
We buried lots of them for fertilizer.
In 1886 we had a turtle pen with 50 head of green turtles in
it, and it was cold. The wind from the west. My husband said:
"If the water keeps on falling we will have to bring the turtles out
and cover them and build a fire." So Mr. Giger and a colored man,
John Hugging, started to bring them to the bank. As the water
was 50 feet out, it didn't take much to handle them, for they were
getting numb. They covered them up with old canvas and they
began to limber up, but we had three days of it. So they sat up
all night keeping fire, but we lost all but three, the smallest. Over
$500 lost in twenty-four hours.
We had a small grocery store at this time. Will Gibson was
a barber and we let him have a place for his shop, but didn't stay
long. Too slow for him, he said.
Mr. Billie Tucker, wife and son, Goss, and daughter moved to
St. Lucie and rented Mr. Pain's boarding house and ran it a sea-
son, then rented the Edgar house at Edgartown, kept boarders.
Then Mr. Tucker opened a saloon. After years it was called the
Tarpon, but his first saloon was a small house across the street
from our store. There was talk of the railroad then, and material-
ized later. The Edgar house still stands, No. 511 North River
Drive, or Second Street.
Yes, and we had a family move in from Michigan. Mr. George
Saunders, wife and one daughter and five sons, more school children.
Then a good school, with Mr. Will Hodge as teacher, and surely
was a well liked teacher, and taught for four terms. We all surely
were glad of the new and nice people that fast were coming in, and
the Saunders have lived near the cemetery over 28 years. Their
sons' names are John, Perry, George, Nathan, Howard, Raymond
and daughter, Sadie, and made good neighbors. Mrs. Saunders'
niece, Maud Willming, married Will Richards of Eden.
Oh, joy! The railroad surveyors arrived on the boat and began
the survey and signing the right of way, which we joyfully did, for
it was the greatest event that could happen to our east coast.
My husband was justice of the peace when a year later they
began to bring mules, horses and tons of feed and everything that
goes to build a railroad. Dagoes, negroes and workmen of all kinds
and color, and all departments. The poor animals did suffer, for
they did not know how to protect them from the horseflies, and
we had some stuff to put on them-made them use it. But the most
brutal treatment you ever saw. So my husband was sent to ex-
amine the animals each day and found them beaten till they were
not fit to use. So the law was, put a fine on the owner. So that
stopped it for a while.
Then the men, white and black, would get drunk and fight
each other, and several were found in the river, thrown overboard
after being killed. The justice of the peace had a time, but he
gave it up to Mr. MacMillen and just stayed in the store.
He would sell sometimes a barrel of cider a week to the Dagoes.
They would call for ronches and cy. So they pointed to it and we
found it was cider and crackers. Sometimes they would get a big
box of bread from Titusville and it was so hard they cut it with
their dirk knives or soak it in black coffee.
Of all things it was that they would kill the buzzards and cook
them, but they got after them and finally stopped it. They were
dirtier than buzzards themselves.
The camps, and turning up so much stuff, it caused several
cases of typhoid fever, and most people wouldn't go to a house for
fear of getting it. I had my husband and one daughter and two
sons down at one time, but we had some medicine in the store and
I treated them for fifteen days. No doctors, no drug stores. The
nearest doctor was Dr. W. M. Fee of Melbourne, and I sent for him
and he was all the help I had-just one time. Daughter's fever
ran 31 days. The rest were not so bad, but Dr. Fee said: "You have
done well with only a little medicine to do with." So he sent me
some medicine by mail, and about six months later Dr. Licta put
a small drug store up in Edgartown. But the greatest help I had
was from the Lord. I prayed to Him for help and He never left me.
Dr. W. M. Fee was father to Mr. Frank Fee and grandfather
to Fred and W. J. Fee of Fort Pierce. They came to Florida in
1888, to Melbourne. Then came here and built up quite a business
in the hardware store.
Mr. R. L. Goodwin and George Bachus came. Quite an in-
teresting family, for they could entertain in various ways, and al-
ways ready for fun. All were ready for shows and anything to
make pleasure for the public. George Bachus and wife, two sons,
Tod, George, Bessie. They could hold a crowd when no one else
Mr. Goodwin and wife brought no children. Mrs. Goodwin
sometimes would play the piano, but they, too, were jolly and al-
ways ready for pleasure. Mr. Goodwin turned his attention to his
flowers, especially his Easter lilies, of which he has a great many,
and different plants. Now he sells real estate instead of digging it.
Now, in 1891, the Dittmar family came to Fort Pierce and got
acquainted with my father, and father decided he would go on a
farm. So Mr. Dittmar had one to sell and soon he and father traded.
Father gave him the Edgar house and sixty lots for his farm in
Oxford, Fla. They kept it for a year and sold. Went to Los An-
geles, Calif., where father passed away, and mother is still with me
at the age of 86 years, with good health.
Now, in 1893, the first one of the work trains had got as far
as our place. The track was finished that far and the engineer,
Clemens, was fond of my little girl, Anna Bell, who was ten months
old. He would take her on the engine and she would cry when he
would bring her back. She was the first child to ride on the train in
I tell you, our great-grandchildren will never know the suf-
fering and hardships and torture the people had, to build the great-
est comfort and cause the greatest development of the richest land
in the United States.
In 1894, the greatest day for Fort Pierce, when the first train
pulled in from Jacksonville with some of the officials and a few pas-
sengers, and on it was one of the wisest and far-sighted men at the
helm, and made the east coast what it is today. Henry M. Flagler
was the greatest and, as I have said, it was an inspiration from God.
Like Abe Lincoln, he was inspired. And now one more, Lucky Lindy,
who was inspired, and will be only one, it shows, for his plane was
called the Spirit of St. Louis.
I have lived in Fort Pierce since 1879 and have seen it come
out of the sand and wilderness, to one of the most prosperous of
counties in the state, with its many large orange groves and thou-
sands of acres of potato land, which don't take a back seat for any
state; and trucking of all kinds. Now the old ox teams are gone,
wagons cast aside, horses nearly done away with and replaced with
trucks and automobiles, makes the country nearer town.
The beautiful large and expensive school house has replaced
the little palmetto one that held ten or twelve children. The new
one can accommodate fifteen hundred.
Now a beautiful courthouse and the Fort Pierce Hotel can and
does cater to the most fastidious, besides other hotels.
And, too, the causeway which connects the island with the
mainland. You can go over and take a swim, or fish or stop at the
casino. There and back in an hour, where it took us, if we had
to row, two hours to go over to the beach in 1880.
I have written all of interest, but of friends and neighbors who
have come in since the earlier days, they had no trouble. The older
ones gradually passed away. But I hope you excuse the mistakes,
for I never had a chance for school. But I never would go in a
pioneer country if I were young again. I raised seven children
under difficulties, and I now sign myself,
MRS. EMILY LAGOW BELL.