Group Title: Miscellaneous Papers
Title: Chase, Joshua C.: "South Florida As I Found It, 1884-1885".
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Title: Chase, Joshua C.: "South Florida As I Found It, 1884-1885".
Series Title: Miscellaneous Papers
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Subject: Ingraham, James Edmundson, 1850-1924.
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-SOUTH FLORIA AS I FOUND IT
1884 1996

&L&. to ^cZc u^^^<& Ynf^/ ^
*South Florida as I found it* in the senrin& of 188'4 was

just emerging from the wilderness. Its aq-ni.fitent forests of
pine, oak, cypress and other timber were untouched, Ita lake#,

streams, end rivers were well stocked with fish. G..e of all

kinds was abundant* It was the country's.winater resort of aijre-

tory fowl, vrnd home of plumage birds of many beautiful varieties.

Cattle roamed at will, roundedU p at intervals by anw boye with

their loud cracking whips and musical cow calls, with a couple of
cow do:es trailing the ponies. These reeoell~ctions will always

be pleasant memories.

To -ive you a cleer understendina of my subject, drew a

stri-ght line across the state, from New Sayrne, Volusia County,

on the Atlantic Ocean, to Port In.lla, now Citrus then HerAnndo -

County, on the tulf f f Mexico. South of this line fifty six years

ago the county amka up w as folloXws Brevar34 LtF.de, Hernando,
Hillaboro, Manatee, "lonroe, Orante, Polk, Sumter, ,ns Volusia -

a~:rtcttintg 1,561,000 aores, p-proximately ?l,010 quere miles

or one half the afree of Florida, more than equivalent to the cOm-

bined area of Messfchasette, New Hampabire, Rhode Island and Vermcnt.

This territory hras been divided and subdivided into twenty additional

counties, named -:rowe.rd, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSote,
Cleusa, Hardee, lHendry, bi&hlt-nde, Indian i-.vu-r, Lake, martin,

Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beahb, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Lucia,

Sarasota end Seminole, Fifty six years ago no such places

existed in this territory thet now overflow with people. Th're

was no MiamiB no Palm Beat:, no Leytona Leach, no St, Pteorsburg,


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no Clearwater, or other aiiilar resorts on the Atlantle or gulf

Coasts. The ceansu of 1$865 ives the population of florida as

588,408, with an allotment of 76,904 (of which 14,409 awre colored)

to South Florida Dade County I88* The census of 1940 will show

over two million in the a.t.te, with over one half in the South

Flerida we are considering. The Oenaus of 1862 reported under

cultivation in my ten counties S1,1S7 acres with only 24 eores

in Lnde County* Orange County lead the procession with 11,84

scres. The Florida citrus crop shipped the season of 1684-85

&agcregted 600,000 boxes* The 199-40 cttrus crop is estimated

a+ ?,eo,ooo000

to further figures will b- inflicted u-)on you. Figures

are tiresome, and are only important in your kink balance.

It is difficult for any one coming, to Florida now, ospeci-

ally to South Floride, and ;seeini its prosperous cities end towns,

its thousand of miles of railroad ind paved highways riodpting

into every saetion of 3outh Florida, its phoaphate minute, its

%illse its firhberies, its vast truc and S auar farms, and thousands

of ecres planted to citrus fruits, to realize thtt praotioelly all

of this tievlopsmot hets token Dl~oe in lees than fifty years.

In 1864 Florida was a poor state. As a Ploridr Crrcker

stcted, "If a man oomas to Plorida poor, he stays poor* If he

comes rich and stays ton, enough, he geta poor," It's wealth

per espita wes loaer at that t4e than any other state in the

union. Its resources hA hardly commenced to be developed. There

were no automotive vehicles aso telephones, no radios, no electric

lights, no electric fans or refrtrierntors. Few, if any, houses

wers equipped with wire meah screen, rnd none to my knowledge


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had furnaces. In winter house for heat depended upon wood

in fire places and stoves* Remote from cities for lights the

settlers used kerosene lamps and candles pnd bath tube were

not found in many country houses. Those who wanted to be clean

used a cardinal hat. This answered the purpose of those not

over particular.

Let m aeantion certain happenints prior to 1804 that

had an iportent besring upon my coming. to Florida. First of

these events was a purchase in 1870 by General Henry Shelton

Sanford (of terby, Conn*, -:r many years ministerr to ?ela.um)

from General Joseph Finnegan, hero of the Battle of Oluetee

the only battle on Florida soil in the Civil ser, It I ew0 f

victory a an inferior force of Confecieretes. This purchase

oonsistod of an old Spanish &rrnt of approximately 20E000

8ores fronting on Lake ionroe where the City of Senford now

stands. At that time MXllonville immediately adjoining, the

Sanford Grant was the terminus of all water trr fife up and down

the St. Johns River* With its wharf, store, and post office

it bad been the recognized trading place for the brck country

since the war with the Seminoles, It was the astrting point

of what was known as the Tempa Trail, constructed by the U, 0,

Army eoross the state to connect up a string of ferts from Fort

Mellon to fort Brooke at Taspa. For over thirty y'ara this

was the recognized highway for cross-state travel. In order

to divert this traffic General Sanford built a wharf, and ware-

house, and opened a well equipped store, had his cgent appointed


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postmaster, constructed a straight four male road south along

the range line until it out the Tampa Trail, and brought about

the downfall of Sellonville,

My brother, Sydney 0. Chase, saw Ai Sortbner*s Eagasine

* pioture of a Florida orange grove, whieh gave him the desire

to be an orange grower. Be preceded so to Florida, coming

down from Philadelphia by steamer in 1878. se was given em-

ployaent on Belair grove then otnaed and being developed by

General Sanford. After two years James E, Ingraham, Ajent

for the 3Snford lend and other interests transferred my brother

from Belair to the Sanford office,. fthre he remained until

Mr* Ingrahna was elected Pre&ident of the South Florida Railroead

The South Florida Atilroad was a 'newspaper railr*~f4', as its

principal backer was R. S. Palsifrer, the E.ditor and one of the

owners of the Boston Herealc t The first spike for this road

was drive by General U, S* Grent January 1880. It was con-

structed to WLnter Park and Orlando in thnt year, Pnd completed

to Kissinee in 1868, At this point Mr, Puleifer found the

loand too hef.vy for him to earry and a deal was effected with

Henry b. Plant, Pre.ident of the Southern Lxpress Company and a

string of r ilroads operetintg. in South Oarolinsa Georgia, and

North Florida. Mr, Plantls operation, company, named the Plent

Investment Compsny, completed the rord to Tama. The firet

through train from Sanford was run on January 4, 1884 end every-

body was invited to ride free and all did soe


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Let as here pay tribute to Royal U. Pulaifar, of R M.

Pulaifer & Coapeny# owners of the Boston Herald fifty six years

ago, It took courage as well as money to build snd equip a

railroad thru a wilderness, sparsely settled, with no immediate

pbaing tonnacg in eight. It was a pleasure to come into friendly

relations with such a fine, honereble, perfect gentlemen. Until

recently the amsll .urve connectinC Interlacken with r"ebster

Avenues, on thb. east side of te the tsmll park in front of the Club

Houte, was named Find acrked in his honor "Pulsifer Cirole*. This

caused confusion to property owners frontlnr on the circle who

petitioned the Commission to remove the nhmei Will thb- members

of the Zlub join me in reaueatin, the City rather to christen

the plot "Pulsifer Park#* fnd inn;t.ll tablet suitably inscribed

perpetoutint. th'e ans.m of a man who rendered splendid services to

Winter Park and South Florida.

In 1880 Hamilton Diaston of tnalldelphio came to the

financial rescue of Florida, taking it out of the red by the

purchase of four million cores of land for one million dollRrs.

Much of this purohsear was 3weam overflowed or muck Land %nd one

of the co-siderations alled 'upon the. Diaston Interests to dredge

and open better drainage from where lissimmee is now lasted thra

Lake Tohoptlika, Kissiameea iver, Lake Okeeehobee, Into the

Caloosahatchee aend into the Gulf of MIexicot This was underway

in 1$84.

While the Lieston purcheso vWs important, the -onstruet-

ion of this little narrow gauge railroad across the utate was the


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most important factor in the future development and growth of

South Florida. Heretofore transportation depended u-on water,

All supple goinj; into the interior, and all products for

shipment north bad to be moved over roads that were deep with

sand and made transportation slow and expensive. To encourage

the building of rallroade the State of Florida made land grants

from a few thousand to many thousand scree per sile* A portion

of the Soath Floride Railroad was allotted 80,000 asres per mile.

Before leaving his former position with the Sanford interests

my brother had started asa a sie line an insurence busineoo

which he felt could be developed fnl invited ae to join him

and tuke eharce. At thet time my services were aployed in New

Xerk City by large Germnatown manufacturer of woolens and my

job was to sell to the wholesalers in the city end tbrou;rhout

the country. His offer was coepted, and so was my resignation.

The transportation facilities were invaluable to Diaeton pnd the

r lilroeds, both interests holding large tr sts of 1and, It

encouraged settlere to come in, purchase liand, end develop along

the rellroad, and it was estimate that 46 f000 people moved into

this territory the first eighteen months after tha opening of the

road. This was brought about by the land owners flooding-, the

country with literature boomin* fllorida, its leads nd its

oliatte* The former was advertised to produce every knwin crop,

snd the climate to cure every complaints


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In those days 6 trip to 7o.orida weaa not the sesy@ s co-fort-

able journou of today. Thure .ere no dining cars and all

peazsenors had to leave the treai at meal stops far breakfast,

lunn'l and dinnuar, CoamiL from New iork all csr at Welden

were compelled to change standard to broad jauge trucks then

used thrcudhout the 3outh. If you hLppnePd to travel iown

pft:r May I you were routed out of your ?ullain at OChmreston,

moved into a coach for an all d&y ride to Jacksonville in a

train drawn by a. vood .uruain. looamotive, filling the ~.i 'wi th

amok'3e nd spnrkas In 1884 all rnil trr.vcl teriin';tad at

Jacksonville end botea were takel up th St, Johns. river r for

South Florida.

U0>on my arrival in :. nford the firm of Chase & Compar.y

was established ;nd? his been in continuous exitatnce for fifty

six year, with its founders still on deck, Tbr Comaa.ny heb

survived freoses, yellow fever, epedesmis, hurricanes, prnics

Moliterranaen Fl; ;.lnaLes quarantines, the N.F.A,, u.nd c' far

the New Deo&, .-elliin insurance requires the 3srmc technique

employed in sel:in;: woolens, i-ith less trom.!:l. and enchinery in

dsliverin the (o th oca the records .if %n. of you bhve nsns

or ;randsons, tacke my advice, ives them practical trr'aning in

accounting .nd salesmanship under an Inllish taaoher if posnsble,

Nine in this school has -.roved of great value,,)

The President of the South Florida Reilrord Company,

James E, Inraham, was iood onrou a o.h a m~k me a member of his

family at his home located about four miles south of Senford


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in the Fort ieed ecsttion. ie ap: onted Chese & Company as thb

recognized insurance broker for the road, coimmisioned so

Insurance Inspeator, and furaiahbd me with a pass. This free

transportation enabled ae to cover the territory all alon; the

llne, and brought am into *entaet with the d*eeloperr, an

settlers building on s.d off of the direct railroad. It re-

,ulted in makin& me acquainted with conditions that prevailed

in those days in many parts of South florida. The business of

Chase & CGmpiny flourished, and the results overcame any regrets

at living New XorK', and decided me to make Florida my future

hcbsi, Before my arrival my brother purchased in the FPt f ed

district a small trtct of land with a few orange trees .nd a

story .nd a half unconplaetd house. This we put into condition,

built a barn for our horeas, and sct up bachelor quarters.

Aftcr unsuccessful ef'or ts to ampl.cy a sasiafrctory housekeeper

we secured the -urvices of a your.- chinfman, Louie Kron-:* He

cooked, washed', tron!id, m(In6ed, cleaned the hour,.zr nur-c9sd us

if aick, nad u~rdeid the property dej ancd niaht. He was a

f:-ithful friend, hen first Inetelled his attention was owiled

to an overloadec aloset under the. stairs to the upper floor,

with the requcct to clean it. It was -3 full of books, plnersa

old clothes, ,uttces, end ?prta of harness that when re hurled

in an additional article we had to slam the door quick to kees

It from rolling out. Several times we had to tell his attention

to the job. One oveningi upon our reualon at the dinner table

he remarked *Me clean closet closet not cleaned esine ti,CQ


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We inquired if he knew the meaning of 0.0. He said "XIe. Me

learn it t a Chinese Misslon Friseoo. With Louie in charge we

entertained members of family friends, both stal and female, and

aimed, and were unafraid of wsoan dominS.ton. Shortly after we

became home owners we were aumaonsed to report for $ i'S road

work, equipped with shovel and axe, or pay $1d25 per daRyP I

this tanner ganje of settlers repaired and keapt the or.nds in

:oasseble condition.

In 1884 there were three Volltioal parties in Florida.

Democrats, lReublicansl and a small troup of Independents, The

Senators, br-th Democrste, PwreAjones of Pensaeola andACall of

Jacksonville, and the two Conarassmen werero , I D&vidaon of

,ulncy, L,.moorbt, (a.d Horatio Bisbee, Republican, the last one

to hold office. That ygar Blalun ad Cleveland were oandidatee

for the Presidency. ?arty feelintI ran high. Znlorerd -eople were

permitted to vote, na wr all h[pu.c'ocns, Several hun..rad SC.a-

s arched in a torchlight procezssion, led by white RP-epuilican lead-

ers on horse back. This wae followod&by a Democratic demonstra

tion, all white, snd all mounted, tbut fewer in numla.er then the

opposition. One~ enthsiastio youn. Democrat $sid with pride

"i': have more men on horses th&n the Republlcsnsa' A more ix-

periencod friend nearby reserked "You damn fool, horse can$t vote'

In 1884 ballot, boees, "nd the voting system was different

from asthods no- in Vogue. .ep0rate ballots were :'rint d for each

candidate, and ballot boxes were provided for e.oh office, An$


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ballots found in the wrong box were thrown out. As few of the

colored peopjl could reed, a white leader would vote and note the

arrangement of the boxes in the voting booth, usually a roen. eo

would then arreage the Republican ballets between the fingers of

his voters so they onuld be deposited in the boxes in their proper

order. When the Lemocratia election judge thought the arrangement

e6s working he would rearrange and mixup the ballot boxes. Thli

threw conaternation in the ranks of the uneductted voters. As

the Demooratti and Republie votes were Pbout evenly divided in

thil territory sad the vote was close, occcsionelly one aide or

the other r.-uld ea,.loy Demoe %ati or epubilicfan lbsorere to make

lonaj trips into the back country# and be absent on election dey

and tbroa the results one way or the other. The law called for

printing the nsme on white paper free from any deoignatine mark,

One election ira won by one side .,rlntiUl. fnd distributing ballots

for the op-osition with a minute Ulack rose in one corner. It

was unfortunate. the:. the vote wvt ccuntad Ott of the tellers fally

post d rejected all these mcrked bOllote

What we know as registered nurses -were unknown in South

Florida in 1684. In event of sickness if serious nivic-hbor

volunteered to sit up vith the ciufferer. If the illness w ws rital

nro time r~o loet before burlai, which iss usually within twenty

four hours* If iny one of proeinance passed avey Yritten notl~ c

:ivion the name of the deceased, tiae and pl* e of tnteir/unt,

were ,lceed in the hands of mounted men ubo carried word in every

direction. When caring for one of my sick friends one ni.ht a

powder was to be givsn at a certain hour This was deposited on

the patiently tongue, ana made quite a pilun A few minutes later


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when passing near the bed the poor fellow stuck out his tongue

with the powder undisturbed, which reminded me to furnish the

necessary water for a chaser. The powder was too much to swallow,

and h. was unable to speak.

Have any of you ever been stricken with an attack of dengue

fever in the country, with your only attendant a colored field hand?

If not you have never been sick.

The back-woods class of native Floridians were called

"Crackers", and you are no doubt aware of the origin of the name.

Their homes were scattered all thru South Florida, and a strong

bond of friendship existed among them. The species is becoming

extinct, due to automobiles, good roads, and better schools. Only

recently an old-timer was treated to a glass of Loganberry juice.

He tasted, liked it, End drained the glass. When he put it down

empty he drawled out "If my mammy had only given milk like that

I would never have been weaned'. No writer describes the native

cracker better than Marjorie Kennan Rawlins.


Let me wind up by giving you the characteristics of some

of the old pioneers. Amon. them was the Rev. Lyman Phelps who

lived in the Fort Reed district. He hbd characteristics that did

not make him popular with some of the people he came in contact

with, especially the young men. He always drove a buckboard

pulled by an old gray mare with a bobbed tail, by the name of Belle.

Someone having a grudge against Mr, Phelps shaved all the hair off

of Belle's stumpy tail, which moved constantly in an effort to keep

away the flies. Mr. Phelps had under suspieion a man by the name


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of Teo, who was a ringleader in mischief, Tea acted as a clerk

in the store. KrE Phelps drove his horse up to the store, called

out the young man, End said "Ton, how does that look?* Tom viewed

the tail, and said *MrT Phelps, it looks like heUllt In order to

protect Belle Mr. Phelps did the stumo up in a gunny sack until

the hair irew.

There rere two men in the territory by the name of Joha

McDon&lo. One was known as *Honeat John', and the other was

John A. VoLoneld in the real estate business, who was considered

moreorless tricky. After one of his tricks was exposed the

people, were very much surprised when'Hbnast John" eame out with a

cerd reading "John Mfeoneld*. Someone inquiredshy the Z. qnd

John seid he wanted to get as far away from John A. soLonald as

the alphabet rculd let him.

Another celebrated character in OrPnge County was Captain

Pittas who trapped and hunted alone, the &issimmee River. When he

had enough prlts to werrent the trip to Orlando he disposed of

their, and with aerts of the proceeds usui.lly overindulged. He

was founr asleep in one of the seloons by some of the young men,

who blacked up his face and hPncn andt then woke him and wanted

to knew whnt business a colored man had in a white man's saloon.

He said "I an Gcptain Pitts". "No" was the ~ answer "tou are a nearo".

H-- said Nothing' of the Kind. I a~ white and my name is Captain

Pitts." They brou,(ht him a looking ll&ss and he said *There mua

be some mistake, because I am white. lou take me down to where my

camp Is, at the edge of town, and my dog is there. If I am Captein

Pitta he woatt bark, but if I am not, he will*. When the party
arrived the dog barked terrifically, and the Captain s.4d "Rho in


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the hell am It"

In the names mAntioned in my talk none stands in more

affectionate regard than that of James E. Ingfrebah No one ever

had a more loyal friend. All parts of South Florida are indebted

to him for many of th' benefits nor enjoyed. H! hnd the vision

and enthusiasm, and Plant and Ylagler furnished the bac'kin. Mr,

Inr-ahan located, subdivided, and developed twenty six cities and

towns in South Floride on the lines of the South Florids and

Flagler System railroads in which he was an executive officer.

The hi;hweys of 3outh Florida were lacking in asny thin.s.

One of its worst handicaps was the heavy seEn roads. These follow-

ed the contour of the land, windinE thru timber of all kinda,

around lakes more beautiful than now and across creeks called

branches, at established fords. When these streams were too deep

ferry boats of a very priaitive kind were available, They answered,

however, for the requirements of the users. This was before the days

of beauty shopne-s high colored fina:er nails and permanent waves,

but, as Will Roi,,ers put it more permanent nives, The women were

attractive then without so much face lifting and window dressing.

These were the .aod old horse and buity days, *hen you took your

best girl home the lon,'.st route and acquired skill rriving with

your knees. The roads, altho poor, were not lined with filling

stations, hot dog stands, beer ;nd drnkinkn joints, or defaced with

signs telling you where to eat, what to weap, and X Wl- t -and my talk

Citskhee mars~ t adin GOOD BI.Co*- G-A ,


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Let ae close by sayin., thet this is only an outline of
some of the conditions that provniled in South ?lorida in
1884. It ras my privilege to make the acquaintance of asny
of the pioueer promoters who Ureaaed Fn d. pad~ As.c the future
develop-ent of this territory and it has esn wonderful to
live lonr eaoua to sei ;oe of their JreBis come true.

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