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Interview with Colin D. Gunn, December 1, 1979

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Interview with Colin D. Gunn, December 1, 1979
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Gunn, Colin D. ( Interviewee )
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University of Florida Campus (General) Oral History Collection ( local )

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This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
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This interview is part of the 'University of Florida' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
INTERVIEWEE: Colin D. Gunn
INTERVIEWER: Stephen Kerber
DATE: December 1, 1979


S: You graduated in 1916?
C: That's right. One of the most interesting parts of my experience was
coming to Gainesville [chuckle].
S: I usually begin by asking you to tell me, if you would, your full name,
Mr. Gunn?
C: Yes, my full name is Colin Donald Gunn.
S: I see. Mr. Gunn, where and when were you born?
C: I was born at Greenwood, Jackson County, Florida, on November 16, 1892.
S: I see. What was your father's name?
C: Colin Campbell Gunn.
S: And your mother's name?
C: Annie Elizabeth Rawls, her maiden name.
S: Now, was your father a farmer?
C: No, my father was a country school teacher.
S: Oh, I see.
C: All of his life.
S: Uh huh. Did he teach high school or grade school?
C: Well, mostly rural schools. He taught some high school, but he was
primarily concerned all of his life with seeing that these sharecropper
children, who didn't have much opportunity, learned to read and write.
Some very interesting folk tales about his experiences are all scattered
out through there. That's where he spent most of his time. Now he did
become later Superintendent of Education of Jackson County.
S: Well, then he must have known Mr, CWilliam N.] Sheats [Superintendent of
Public Instruction] from Gainesville?
C: Oh, Uncle Bill,yes indeed. Yeah, then [William M.] Holloway [Superintendent
of Public Instruction] too.
S: Do you remember both Mr. Holloway and Mr. Sheats yourself?


2
C: I remember them, yes, casually as, of course I was just a youngster at
the time. Yes, I remember them both.
S: Well, now, did you yourself go to school in Jackson County?
C: Oh yes. I went to school at Greenwood and Sneads, and Two Egg Echuckle3.
S: How long did you go to school in Two Egg? Do you remember?
C: Only took one term.
S: Where did you attend high school then?
C: Marianna.
S: In Marianna. And you graduated from high school in Marianna?
C: No. I don't know how far I went in Marianna, but anyway my last...I
also went one year to Palmer College in DeFuniak Springs, which is preparatory
college, Presbyterian preparatory college in DeFuniak Springs.
I was there in the winter of 1909, 10, I guess it was.
S: And then did you come from Palmer College to the university?
C: No, I went back to Marianna and did some work in a high school there,
before I came to the university. Now, I entered the university in the
days when they accepted, I believe it was twelve credits, or units, I've
forgotten what they called it. The next year following that, they raised
it to sixteen. So I came in that last class that came with twelve units.
S: Which year was it that you started here at the university?
C: 1912.
S: 1912. In the autumn?
C: Oh, yeah, in September, 1912.
S: Did you know whit you wanted to become when you entered the university?
Did you have a major already picked out?
C: Oh, yeah [chuckle]. I had that from the time I was six years old. Yes,
I came to study agriculture. I was a student in the College of Agriculture
at the university.
S: Where did you live when you first came to the campus?
C: You mean in Gainesville?


3
S: Yes sir. You told me you had been going to high school. I should ask
you first where you were living when you were going to high school.
C: High school graduation was not required. I entered the university with
twelve credits. Now, when I came to the university, my first...I believe
it was Thomas Hall, if I remember correctly.
S: And you had a room there?
C: Yes, section B, if I recall correctly, section B, Thomas Hall.
S: Did you live in Thomas the entire time that you were a university student?
C: I think I did, yes.
S: You never lived in a boardinghouse off-campus?
C: Oh no, no, except in the summer. I didn't go to school in the summer,
but I stayed around the campus inthe summer and worked part of the
summer, of course, the mess hall was not open. I believe they call it
the Commons these days. It was the mess hall when we were students.
S: What did you do during the summer? What was the work that you'd be doing?
C: On the campus during the summer?
S: Yes sir.
C: Well, it was laboratory work and greenhouse work and things of that kind
at the experiment station.
S: So you worked for the experiment station farm? Is that it?
C: Well, no. I worked with headquarters in the experiment station building
in Gainesville, part of it. Working in and out of the greenhouse, and
potting plants, and things of that kind.
S: So you were working out at what they now call Newell Hall? Is that right?
The experiment station building.
C: I think that's right. I think that's now called Newell Hall. The one
that sets off to itself there, yes.
S: Now you said that you took your meals in the mess hall. How did that op-
erate? Was that like a boardinghouse or was that like a cafeteria?
C: Oh no, it was like a boardinghouse. They were seated. I was a waiter.
Served tables in the dining room, what we called the mess hall, which
I believe is now called the Commons.


4
S: Yes sir. So you brought the food to the table?
C: Oh yes, yes.
S: And then it was passed around?
C: Yes.
S: How many meals a day did they serve there?
C: Three.
S: They served all three meals? Were they at one definite time that you
had to be there or you wouldn't get fed?
C: Oh yeah. Yeah. They locked the doors, as I remember, after so many
minutes. You're not permitted to enter after--I've forgotten what it
was, but as I remember it, they closed the doors after so many minutes.
Opened them on a certain schedule, and then if you weren't there for that,
you just didn't go.
S: Then you were out of luck.
C: [Chuckle] That's right.
S: Let me ask you this. When you first started school at the university,
did they have compulsory chapel services?
C: Yes, except I believe the law school was not required to attend chapel.
Well, let's see. I'm not really positive about that. But there was some
difference. Yes, all underclassmen certainly.
S: Where did they hold those services?
C: Well, now, the first years I was there, the chapel, as we called it, was
the second floor of the north end of what's now the agricultural college.
And those buildings were not entirely completed, ag. and one or two
others, and the entire north end of that was left open, not divided into
classrooms as it is now, and that was called the chapel. You attended
chapel in there, you know.
S: Did they move that later on while you were a student?
C: I don't believe they did.
S: It was always there?


5
C: I don't think I ever went to chapel anywhere except in the ag. building.
S: I have been told by some other people that occasionally a member of the
faculty would read some Scripture and then say a few words to the students.
Is that the way that you remember it?
C: Yes, that's right.
S: Did you all sing hymns or anything like that?
C: I don't recall that we did.
S: Let me ask you this now. When you started school, where did you go to
pay your money and to register for classes? Do you recall?
C: I believe the business office at that time was in what is now called
Language Hall.
S: Would that have been Mr. Graham's office?
C: Oh yes. Yes, Klein Graham was the business manager at that time. I'm
quite sure that it was what is now Language Hall.
S: Was there any sort of a bookstore in that building, where you got your
books for your classes?
C: No, I don't recall where we got the books. I really don't.
S: Do you remember if there was anyone to help you select your courses? In
other words, for you, someone who wanted to go into agriculture, was there
someone there from the College of Agriculture to tell you what to take?
Or can you recall?
C: I don't think so.
S: You just used the catalog? The list of courses?
C: I think that's the way it was.
S: Okay. Was there a gymnasium of any sort on campus when you started?
Either a brick building or a wood building?
C: I don't recall that there was.
S: Was there any sort of a man-made swimming pool, or did people just have to
go in the sinkhole or something?


6
C: No, there was a swimming pool during the time that...I don't know
where itwas when I entered or if it was completed during the time that
I was there, but I do remember that there was an open-air swimming pool.
S: Uh huh. Can you tell me roughly where that was, perhaps compared to
Thomas Hall?
C: It was south and west alittle of the dormitory.
S: Oh, I see. A little over where they built the brick gymnasium? In that
area?
C: Oh, yeah.
S: I was going to ask you about military training. I assume you had to go
through compulsory military training?
C: Yes, we went through three years of that.
S: Uh huh. Did they make you buy your own uniform or was that issued to
you?
C: I don't definitely recall about that. It must have been issued to me;
I would've remembered it if I had to pay for it Echuckle].
S: What sort of military training do you think was involved in it?
C: There was classroom study of what we called drill regulation, approached
in a book. It was a class period and then we had drills.
S: How frequently did you drill?
C: I think it was three days a week. I'm not positive about that, but I
think it was three days a week.
S: Did they teach you how to use firearms?
C: Oh, yes.
S: Do you remember if each man had his own equipment with him or whether that
was stored in certain place, whether there was some sort of armory or
barracks or something?
C: No, I don't remember. I don't think we kept it in our rooms. I think
we kept it in storage somewhere, but I'm not perfectly clear on that.
S: Okay. When you fell in, in formation, where did you fall in and where did
you drill on campus?


7
C: We used to fall in in front of Thomas Hall, and then drilled between
what was then the two dormitories. There were only two dormitories at
that time, Buckman and Thomas Hall, and there was quite an area in between,
and we did most of our drilling between those two dorms.
S: I see. Did they ever take you off-campus on any kind of march or maneuver,
that you recall?
C: The only one I recall was, I believe, a Confederate veterans reunion in
Jacksonville. We took the, we spoke of it as a battalion. There were
three companies at that time, and they took the battalion up there for
a week, one at a time of course, three or four or five days, whenever the
convention was held up there in one of the parks.
S: Do you remember who the commanding officer was while you were a student?
Would it have been Major CEdgar Smith] Walker?
C: Yes indeed.
S: It was?
C: Yes sir.
S: Can you tell me anything that you remember about him, about his personality,
and the way he acted, the kind of man he was?
C: Well, one outstanding thing I remember about Major Walker was his ability
to remember names. Now he would call the individual students by names
from the very beginning. I can remember that very clearly, one of his
traits.
S: Uh huh. Was he a big man, Mr. Gunn? Was he a large physical man?
C: Oh no, no. Colonel Walker was neither tall nor large. He had been a
cavalryman as I remember it. He was not a large man.
S: Let me ask you about the library. Where was the university library located?
C: Now let me see. When I finished school it was in what is now Peabody Hall,
I think we call it. But before that I think it was in another building,
because I remember Peabody was under construction at the time that I went
there.
S: Do you remember where, in the building the library was located, what part
of the building?
C: Well, it was the first floor, if I recall.
S: Is that where you did your studying for your classes?


8
C: Oh, I did very little studying over there.
S: Did you study in your dormitory room?
C: Oh yeah, oh yeah.
S: I see. Do you remember if the library was openinthe evenings or on
the weekends?
C: Oh yes, it was openin the evening I'm sure, yes.
S: Did you belong to a fraternity or any other social organization while
you were a student?
C: I didn't belong to any Greek social fraternity while I was in college. I
belonged to the agricultural club, I believe they called it, and YMCA,
perhaps some others, but that's all I recall right now.
S: Can you recall where the YMCA held their meetings and their exercises?
C: I think at the chapel. And that was the ag. building that I referred to
earlier. I think we met there.
S: Did they have any sort of dances or picnics or get-togethers, the YMCA
I mean, for students and for girls from the town of Gainesville?
C: I don't recall any.
S: Do you recall any part of the university or any organization of the uni-
versity holding dances or get-togethers of that kind of students and for
girls from Gainesville? Or did they do that stuff?
C: I don't recall any except the fraternities' dances. Of course they had
them.
S: Were those fraternity dances open to the other students as well as to
the fraternity members? Do you recall?
C: I don't remember if there was any distinction made there. I don't recall.
S: Where would a student have gone, since the university was all male at that
time, to meet a girl in Gainesville at that time? Was there any way one
could strike up an acquaintance with a girl?
C: Through the churches, as I remember, was about the preferable way of
meeting up with several partners of different kinds from the local people.
S: Do you remember many of the students going to church services?


9
C: Yes, they went to them.
S: Would you say most of them regularly attended church services?
C: Well, I don't know what percentage of them attended, but quite a group
usually attended, yes. Of course they had the young people's organi-
zations in the churches which the students attended, you know, BYPU,
and Christian Endeavor, and the Epworth League, and that kind of thing.
And the students always, well not always, but many of the students went
there. And of course all of the young people in Gainesville. The girls
were there.
S: In those days before there were many paved roads, did many of the students
go up to Tallahassee over a weekend, do you know?
C: CChuckle] I don't recall that many of them went up there in those days.
S: It was too hard to get there?
C: Oh yes. It was quite a chore to get to Tallahassee and back then.
S: So probably they didn't start doing that until the late '20s and '30s,
would you say?
C: Oh yes. I imagine it was about then. I don't know if there's been much
of it since that time.
S: Do you recall seeing or hearing about many students using liquor on
campus in those days?
C: No, I don't recall that it was looked upon as being much of a problem. Of
course there was some of it, there was no question about that. I remember
one evening, or one night it was, I was awakened by a group out there.
They were quite happy. But there was, I guess, three or four of the boys,
I don't know where they'd been or what it was about, but they just happened
to be right out near my window. I don't recall any real difficulty.
S: Would they have been liable to get in a lot of trouble if they had been
caught by a faculty member?
C: Oh, I think so, yes. We didn't have student government in the beginning.
Student government was set up while I was a student.
S: Did you have anything to do with that, Mr. Gunn?
C: No, I didn't have any important or active part in it.
S: Do you recall if many people smoked at that time? Smoked cigarettes or
cigars, or anything like that?


10
C: Well, there was some pipe smoking, quite a bit. I don't remember about
cigarettes, but I guess they did. I didn't pay much attention to it.
I never was interested in cigarettes. I was a pipe smoker, and I do
recall some of them smoked pipes, some just smoked cigars. I remember
one thing that the boys used to laugh about, one student that made a
remark that it was going to be expensive for him to pass a certain course
because he'd have to supply the professor with his black high-priced
cigars [chuckle].
S: Can you tell me how people generally dressed to go to class in those days?
By that I mean, was a student expected to wear a tie or anything like
that?
C: No, I don't recall that there was anything said about our dress. However,
we didn't go barefooted and in the shorts like they do today. But we went
just conventionally dressed just like we did at home or like we did on
the street or anywhere else.
S: And there were no regulations of any kind, as you recall?
C: I don't recall any.
S: While you were a student, were the freshmen still expected to wear a
little beanie, a rat cap?
C: Oh yeah. Oh yeah [laugh]. We had rat caps back in those days.
S: Did the upperclassmen enforce any of the rules that freshmen were supposed
to follow, such as wearing the rat cap?
C: Oh yes. Unofficially, yes.
S: But they kept a pretty sharp eye about that?
C: Oh, yes indeed.
S: Can you tell me some of those other things that a freshman would be ex-
pected to do or to know?
C: No.
S: Were they expected to know the names of certain faculty members?
C: I don't remember any requirement about which or how many they were supposed
to know. Take into account in those days we knew everybody on campus:
professors, or students, or garbagemen, or what not. Everybody knew every-
body else in those days. There were only 300 or 400 of us.
S: Do you recall who cleaned up in the dormitories? In other words, were
there maids or janitors or whatever who looked after those buildings?


11
C: Yes, quite clearly I remember Mrs. [S. J.] Swanson Cmatron] and Mrs.
[Margaret] Peeler [assistant matron]who took care of it. Of course
they had several employees who did the work. But they looked after the
rooms and took care of all that kind of stuff. The dormitories then
were built in sections, you know, fireproof sections. I don't remember
how their work was divided up, but I remember those two ladies quite
definitely, quite favorably. They saw to it that the stuff was being
kept right. We were supposed to keep our own rooms for the most part,
but they did come around each morning and sweep the rooms out.
S: Were these people who worked for Mrs. Swanson and Mrs. Peeler Negroes?
C: Yes, they were for the most part Negro women, as I remember it.
S: Uh huh. What about laundry?
C: Oh gee, we had an influx of Negro women on Monday morning, always.
S: They would come and get it for you?
C: Oh yes, they would come in and the boys would have it ready and they'd
take it out and bring it back on Friday, I guess. I don't remember
what day they brought it back. I think it was quite a common thing for
a student to have a wash woman.
S: Now that would have been a private arrangement between the student and
the woman, right?
C: Oh yeah. Oh yes.
S: Had nothing to do with the university?
C: No.
S: Where did the students go to buy their clothes in Gainesville?
C: Oh, Barnett's and Burkhim's downtown.
S: Down on the square?
C: Yes. Those are the two names that occurred to me right away, but there
were others. Old Chitty's of course, has always been down there on the
square. Well, there were several others, but those three...were the old
timers in this city, Fletcher Barnett and Louis Burkhim and H. M. Chitty
were the three men's clothing stores that everybody knew, and had been
there for quite a long while. I guess they're all out of business now.
S: Were there any clothing stores, or were there any stores of any kind
north of campus, across the street, in those days?


12
C: Oh no. There was one or two eating places. There was a big frame
building where the--what do they call the restaurant down there now?
Anyhow, that was run by a Greek called Alex; I forgot what his other
name was. And then there was a small place run by a man and his wife
who we knew as Uncle Dud. His name was Williams, I think. Those two
places that were run, I think, all in what's now called the Gold Coast
out there.
S: Were there just those two boarding houses?
C: Well, to begin with. Of course later on Ma Ramsey came in, and set up
her place, and some others perhaps, I don't recall. But Mrs. Ramsey
was there for a good many years. I know in her later years they used to
put, in the summertime, when the extension service brought in the 4-H
Clubs, the dormitories were closed, and Mrs. Ramsey fed them.
S: Were there private homes?
C: Oh, the faculty was built all along University Avenue. Yes, Indeed.
S: All the way along there while you were a student?
C: Yes. In that block from Thirteenth Street on west to over past where the
restaurants are now.
S: Were you involved in athletics while you were a student, Mr. Gunn?
C: Not enough that anybody ever knew that much about it.
S: Not on a team?
C: No.
S: Where did they play? Where did they hold the football games during that
time?
C: Of course it's hard to remember now [chuckle].
S: Was it around where Florida Field is?
C: Yes, it was in that vicinity there.
S: Uh huh. Can you tell me a little bit about what you remember of Dr.
[Albert A.] Murphree [President of the University of Florida], what sort
of a man he was?
C: You know, the one thing that I'll always remember of Dr. Murphree is that
when you entered the president's office, Dr. Murphree was the person that


13
greeted you. I made the statement many, many times that he's the only
executive I ever knew that occupied the front office and has his secre-
tary or help in the back office. I distinctly remember that when you
entered the president's office you were greeted with what we always re-
ferred to as that million-dollar smile.
S: Uh huh. I understand that he also was a great one for remembering names.
C: Oh, indeed he was, yes sir. He knew them all; he knew their parents and
everything. Yes, indeed.
S: And he would greet you when he saw you on campus?
C: Oh, yes. Yes, sir.
S: How about Dr. CJames M.] Farr? Do you remember Dr. Farr?
C: Quite well. I remember him as an English prof. and as vice president of
the university. He was not president at any of the time that I was there.
Dr. Murphree died after I graduated. But I knew Dr. Farr as a prof. quite
well.
S: Did you have courses with him?
C: Oh, yes. Indeed, yes. I remember that he boasted that he was one English
department head that never published a textbook Cchuckle]. I also remember
that he went to South Carolina every summer, because he was a native of
South Carolina, and when the dormitories closed, of course, we had the
summer schools every summer that the teachers came to. Those of us who
worked there in the summer on campus were permitted to keep our rooms and
to board in the dormitory and we also served, I did, as others did, in
the mess hall. But when it was out, then we had to rustle for ourselves,
and Dr. Farr went to South Carolina, as I said, every summer. One occasion
when they closed the dorms we had moved over to Dud's place across the
street over there, the place I spoke of, Uncle Dud's, and we went over
there one morning and Dr. Farr had returned from his vacation and he was
there for breakfast and I said to him, "Doctor, I hope you enjoyed your
vacation." And he said, "Indeed I did. Indeed I did. I spent it all
fighting Cole Blease Ca candidate for governor of South Carolina]. Cole
Blease was a militant South Carolinian, you know.
S: That's right.
C: And he says he certainly enjoyed a summer fighting Cole Blease.
S: I understand that he was a kind of a feisty person and also that he was
something of a boxer?


14
C: I don't recall about the boxing part of it. He was quite energetic and
always ready with a comeback, feisty with his conversation.
S: Uh huh. Did you ever have any classes with Professor [Charles Langley]
Crow [Professor of Modern Languages]?
C: No, I never had any language courses, modern language courses. I knew
Dr. Crow. Of course we knew everybody, as I said, in those days. I knew
Dr. Crow, that is I had a speaking acquaintance with him, as we did with
all the profs., but I never had one of his classes.
S: How about Professor EH. G.] Keppel [Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy]?
C: Oh yes [laugh]. Oh boy, I sure sweated through trigonometry under Keppel.
Yes sir. Yes sir. He was good.
S: Uh huh. How would you describe him? Was he a big man, was he an old man
when you were a student?
C: Well, he was not excessively overweight, but he was a well-built man, broad
shouldered. He was actually close to six feet tall. He was, I mean, not
over that. An excellent mathematician.
S: Uh huh. That sounds like a German name. Did he have any kind of an accent
that you recall?
C: Oh no. Let's see, I expect you would notice it on first acquaintance per-
haps, but very soon you'd forget that there was any.
S: Uh huh. Do you remember him as being a hard professor? Demanding?
C: Well, he expected you to come up with the assignments that were given.
And very considerate. I didn't have any complaints.
S: Did you know Dr. Cox, Harvey Cox, who was an education professor?
C: Oh well, casually only. I had no work under Cox at all. I had a room-
mate who was very, very fond of Dr. Cox. He thought he was a wonderful
person.
S: Now since you were in agriculture, you will remember Professor [Peter Henry]
Rolfs [Dean of College of Agriculture].
C: Oh, quite well, yes.
S: Did you know him at all well? Did you have much contact with him?


15
C: Well, I knew Professor Rolfs quite well, I think, yes. Director of the
station. I worked in the experiment station building a great deal as a
student. I did everything--preparing charts and running mimeographs,
laboratory work, and everything else in that building, you know, for
different individuals. I remember one incident Cchuckle]. Two incidents,
I remember. The first one, there was a man by the name of [John] Belling
[Editor and Assistant Botanist to the Experiment Station] who was a scien-
tist and who was:working on velvet beans. The old Florida velvet beans
were full of sticky spines, you know, and hard to handle. And Dr. Bel-
ling, who was English, at the time had undertaken to, someway, to work
these spines off of the Florida velvet bean. Part of my activity as a
major student in the university was working with Dr. Belling in the lab-
oratory, picking the beans from the field and then counting the dead
ovules and other things that were factors in the laboratory. And [chuckle]
on one occasion, one of the scientists from the third floor--Dr. Belling's
office was on the second floor--came in with a specimen--I don't remember
what it was--of some kind that had been sent in for identification. And
he came along and asked Professor Belling if he could identify this and
he said, "No, no. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know." Well,
he said, "Well, all right, thank you," and he walked on out and went down
to the director's office which was Rolfs, you see, old Rolfs was a domi-
neering character, a wonderful man, and he came back up and stopped in and
said, "Mr. Belling, would you be interested in knowing what the chief said?"
"Oh, I say, I do, I would. It would be interesting. It would be interes-
ting." "Well, he said it was so and so," and he had two long names, you
know, and Belling said, "Oh yes, yes, yes. So I thought at first too,
but it isn't, it isn't, it isn't [chuckle]." It didn't make any difference
to him what the chief said.
Yes, I knew Mr. Rolfs quite well. He spoke to my wife and I about
going to Brazil at the time that he went down there. But we had other
ideas. I knew the Rolfs' family. There was Mrs. Rolfs and the two daugh-
ters. They grew pineapples down in St. Lucie County, I believe it was;
they used to talk about the pineapple operation down there and all that.
But I did some work for Mr. Rolfs. I remember one thing he said
to me one time. I was working for Mr. B. F. Floyd [Plant Physiologist,
Agricultural Experiment Station] in physiology, the plant physiologist,
on the third floor and he said, "He's got some work he wants you to do.
Suppose you go down and see him? He'd like you to get some work done for
him." And I went down there and he had some drawings he wanted made. And
I said, "Professor Rolfs, I'm honored that you asked me to do this and I
would enjoy doing it, but I don't draw anything. I can't, I just don't do
that at all. I just can't do it. There's no use in my undertaking it, be-
cause it wouldn't be successful." Well, he said, "You can do that." "No,"
I said, "I'm embarrased, but I just can't do it. That's all there is. I
just don't draw anything." And he says, "Oh, take it on out and try it."
And I says, "Sir, it'll be ridiculous." "Well, that's all right, take it
out." Well, I came back with some drawn lines made on a piece of paper


16
and there was this old gentleman and he looked at that stuff and he
looked at me and he says, "Well, Gunn, are you sure you can draw your
breath?" [laughter3
S: Well, he wasn't lacking in a sense of humor anyway.
C: Oh no, he was not lacking in any sense of humor. He was all right. He
was a good friend of mine. I got to know him quite well.
S: Do you remember Dr. [Edward R.3 Flint, the chemistry professor?
C: Oh yes, yes. Yes sir. He was campus physician at the time. That was
when we didn't have any hospital or anything of that kind. The third
floor or--Thomas Hall, was it? The A section of one of the halls--I
think it was Thomas--was what they called the Infirmary. We had a nurse
up there, Miss CMary3 McRobbie, a wonderful English woman. And if a
boy were to get banged up, or we had a siege of Dengue Fever one time
and things like that, you know. If you'd get a cold or something, they'd
send you up there and she'd give you an aspirin or something and send you
home. Once ina while they keep them a night or two to get the fever
out of them, but that was all the medical...and Dr. Flint, who was
campus physician, was the head of the Department of Chemistry.
S: Uh huh. Did you ever have any courses with Dr. Flint?
C: No. Well, wait a minute. Now I believe I did have one freshman course
with him.
S: Was he a hard teacher?
C: No, not particularly. I don't recall him being what I would consider
a hard teacher. In fact, I didn't have it hard [chuckle].
S: That's a good way to go.
C: I think I got by pretty easy, I thought. I was very much impressed by
all of the ones that I had. I remember particularly that the week that
I graduated, my father died out at Jackson County and I was away for the
last examination, and one of them particularly that had been very difficult
for me, a course that I elected and it had taken so much work that I was
quite worried about that and it was one that I missed while I was gone.
When I came back I went over. The prof., his name was [H. S.3 Davis
[Professor of Zoology and Bacteriology]. He gave me the questions and I
went into the other room there. Sat there and mulled them over a little
bit and I just simply couldn't concentrate at all. So I went back by
his desk and told him there was no use in me taking any more time there,
that I wasn't getting anywhere at all. I simply couldn't concentrate
on that stuff. And he said, "Well, just leave it there." And I went
back the second time and the same thing happened. And I went back the
third time and told him that; I said, "I don't know what I'll do about
this, but I just simply can't concentrate on it, that's all." And he


17
said, "Oh, well, don't let that worry you. I sent your grade in
while you were gone anyway" Claughter].
S: I wish I would've met somebody like that. Did you have any occasion to
know Dr. CJ. R.] Benton, the engineering professor?
C: Oh, we knew Ickey. Everbody knew Ickey, you know.
S: Ickey?
C: Icabod Crane. That's the way....
S: That's what they called him?
C: Yeah. He carried himself somewhat like you had read about Icabod Crane,
and he carried his umbrella with him and he went around campus that way.
But he was a very brilliant man. No question about that. I had no work
under him, but I had a few contacts with him. Admired him very much.
S: By any chance, do you know Mr. [Thompson] Van Hyning, who ran the museum?
C: Oh yes. Oh yes, I knew him Cchuckle].
S: Can you tell me any stories about him?
C: No, I don't believe I have anything of particular interest about him.
I remember him quite well, he and his son. Oh, I remember one incident
with him. I bought a place down near Micanopy, an old farm place, and on
the place was what had been a citrus fruit sizer and a small one-man packing
house down there. And to size the fruit, they had holes of different sizes
cut in a board. And just roll the fruit down through there and make a
box of fruit. And the same things now are built and those things are very
modernized today. But that thing lay around there for quite awhile. I
had no earthly use for it and I went down there to Mr. Van Hyning to see
if he'd like to have it in his museum. "Oh indeed," he said, "indeed I
would like to have that." And I said, "Well, it's there in the building.
Anytime you can send and get it." And he said, "Well, I don't have any
provisions to pick it up. Could you send it to me?" And I said, "Hell,
no, I'm not going to send it to you. I'll give it to you but..."
S: But he wouldn't come and get it.
C: I said, "I'm not any more equipped to haul that thing around than you are."
That's about the only instance I remember of any interest with Mr. Van Hyning.
I enjoyed him very much. I used to enjoy visiting with him. I remember
when Dr. U. S. Gordon was the Presbyterian minister here in Gainesville. If
you've been here more than three years you remember hearing about him. But
anyway, he used to tell about Mr. Van Hyning being in the hospital one time and


18
he went to see him. After visiting with him quite awhile, he thought
it was time for him to go, and he said, "Mr. Van Hyning, I enjoyed visiting
with you, it's good to see you're improving. I must go now. Should we
have a prayer before I leave?" Van Hyning says, "Well, if it'd make you
feel any better, go ahead and pray all you want to. But no need to worry
about me, I ain't figuring on dying" [laughter].
S: He lived to quite an advanced age, didn't he? Well, Dr. Gordon did too,
but I mean Mr. Van Hyning?
C: Well, Van Hyning lived to older than Gordon did, I think. I don't remem-
ber how old either of them was.
S: Was there any place in Gainesville for the students to go for entertainment
in those days? Was there a motion picture house or...?
C: Oh yes. Yes, every time we won a football game we had a shirttail parade
downtown. And took in the picture show, you know. Oh yes. They had, I
think, two picture shows. The first one was down near where the old post
office building is. I've forgotten now what they called it. But anyway,
that was the first I remember, and there was one uptown. Then there was
a local theatrical group here that used to put on plays in the old Baird
Theater building. And those were once or twice a year. The local talent.
S: Mr. Gunn, when did you graduate from the university?
C: Oh, it was 1916.
S: 1916. Where did they hold the graduation ceremony? Do you remember?
C: Wait a minute...I'm not sure.
S: But wouldyou tell us just briefly what you did then in your career after
you left the university. Did you make use of your agriculture degree? Is
that what you went into?
C: Well, you know, I've heard it many times since I've finished school that
very few people wind up in what they had as a major. Well, that was true
inmy case, from an economic point of view. The Depression brought it on,
as I presume is true of others. When I came out, as I've already related,
my father died just as I was graduating, and of course what I needed was
an income. I had two other brothers, one was in school at the time that I
graduated and one was still to come, and still a sister, quite a bit younger,
and my mother. So the state had just been invaded by the citrus canker,
which is a disease of citrus that you've heard of, of course. And Wilmon
Newell [Director of Agricultural Experiment Station and Agricultural Ex-
tension Division] was brought over. He had been in Louisiana, had done an
outstanding job over there. The Plant Board was created in the 1915 legis-
lature, and Dr. Newell came over to set that thing up.


19
And I've said facetiously a number of times, though it's pretty close
to the truth, that the Plant Board hired everything that year that had an
agricultural degree and could walk. Well, I met both of those qualifica-
tions. So I went in, with this canker first thing, and then went to Fort
Myers. I had never been further south than Gainesville at the time and I
didn't know anything about citrus. Of course I'd had some courses, but
that was one advantage I had. I remember definitely that I was quite ego-
tistical about it at the time. But they gave us a test and they ran us
through a cram course as we came out of school, you know, enrolled us in
these special classes, and they put us to work, then they ran us through
this test. And of course those of us from Florida, although I had not
majored in citrus, had some of those courses and we had a little advantage
over the boys from Idaho and Nebraska, and New England and all. And we
had two grades, those that made more than seventy-five, I believe it was--
I may be mistaken about the grades--but anyone that made the higher grade,
above a certain grade, got $75.00 a month. And the ones that made between
that and sixty-five, if my figures are correct, you got $65.00 a month.
Well, I got into the higher grade point. And I didn't make an exceptionally
high grade, but I got above this number, whatever it was, so I got $75.00 a
month when I came out of school.
S: Could you tell me a little bit about the nature of that work that you did
with the citrus canker down there in Fort Myers?
C: Well, what we did was to inspect the trees and to find places that were in-
fested, you know. In this, I believe there are still arguing about whether
it was a bacteria or a fungus, but that's beside the point. Wherever we
found this disease up there, why, we destroyed the tree.
S: The whole tree, not just the...?
C: Oh yeah, yeah. Dig it up.
S: Did you burn it too?
C: Oh yeah. Burn it right there. Don't move it around over the property or off
of the property or anywhere else. You see, we'd disinfect. We wore coveralls,
white coveralls over everything, and we dipped them in bichloride solution
before we went into a property and then when we came out of the property, and
then before we went into the next property. Even though the suit had been
dipped when we came out of this property, before we went into the next one we
dipped it again, taking no chances, naturally.
But I went through that then, oh, around Lee County and I went down to
Wauchula one time from there to see some stuff that was quite heavily infested
and to do some work down there. But most of my time was spent at Fort Myers.
There and at Wauchula. I was down in Bonita Springs, and a few other places
along the coast down in there. But what we did was to go out in the morning
and just walk slowly around the trees, you know, and spot these splotches if
you could find them.


20
I remember this one interesting picture; we had very interesting ex-
periences. Across the bay from Fort Myers, which was the mouth of the
Caloosahatchee River, was a little stream coming in there that the locals
called Yellow Fever Creek. Well, we went to catch a boat one morning and
now the information that we got from the tax offices was that there was a
little property up Yellow Fever Creek, see, on the map. Well, we got a
boat and went over there, spotted this little place, and it was a crudely-
built structure, up there on a little mound on the bank of this little
creek. We went there and there was just a couple there and the man, oh,
he was past middle age I would say; he and his wife. And he came down to
meet us when, you know, our boat closed up there to his place. We ex-
plained our mission. "Yes," he said, "well, I've been listening, hearing,
reading about you boys, and I'm glad you came out. I wanted to see what you
were doing anyhow." Well, he had an old lumber pile out there. We went
out there and spread out, you know. We went out and hung our lunches on a
tree out there and each fellow had a little lunch that had been fixed for
him at the hotel in the morning. And so this gentleman said, "Do you mind
if I watch you fellows work?" And they said, "Oh, no, come on, go with us."
And then he said, "Well, I've been hearing about this thing and I just want
to see how you inspect a tree for this stuff." Well, we went out and dis-
infected those suits and got into them and he followed us around. White
sand up there on that mound where he had his trees planted. And along about
ten o'clock that sand began to burn through his shoes. And I complimented
the old gentleman on the amount of shade he had around his place. The only
shade down there was scrawny pines and citrus trees, you know. Palms, of
course. And I said, "You certainly have a lot of nice shade here on the
creek bank." He'd planted some oaks and everything. And he said, "Yeah,
son." He said, "Ain't no man living can use more shade than I can" [chuckle].
Well, we went on out and he stayed out there 'til sometime after ten o'clock
and that sand began to burn through the shoes on his feet, you know. He
says, "Well, the best I can figure out, you boys know pretty much what you're
doing. My shade's going to waste back yonder and I better go back and
take care of that." And he went on back to his shade.
Well, speaking of that story, when we went back for lunch, we got on
this board pile out there, pile of old lumber and stuff. Just got set down
and spread out on that lumber pile. This old gentleman came out with a
sterling silver tray and a large demijohn outfit, and he said, "You know,
I watched you, I sat up yonder and watched you boys open up your lunch and
I imagine they'd be pretty dry and cold about this time. Thought maybe
you'd need a little something to wash it down." And he brought out that
big thing full of grapefruit wine. I had never seen grapefruit wine before
and I don't think the other boys had. They were from Michigan and Minnesota
and they were all over the country and I never will forget the old fellow
and his grapefruit wine. We thoroughly enjoyed that.
And after that he used to come over and bring us fruit and wine and
he had some grapevines and other things out there. He did his trading, of
course, across the bay, came back and forth. He used to come over every once


21
in awhile down at the hotel when he would come to Fort Myers. I asked
him, I said to him one time when I was over there, I said, "Anything back of
you here and the citrus back in here?" "No sir, ain't nothing between me
and Charlotte Harbor." And that was over to Punta Gorda, way across a big
marsh and swamp and everything else. Nothing in there at all, uninhabited
except maybe an Indian now and then and an alligator. I said, "How in the
world did you ever come back in here anyhow? How did you get here?" He
said, "Running from the greasers" [laughter].
S: Uh huh. Well, did you then remain working with the state?
C: No, we went to work for them when I got out of school in June, first of
June, about. And along in the fall I was up in Buckingham on the Orange
River and somebody said that the Western Union in Fort Myers had called.
There was one telephone up in that country and that was in this store, and
called and had a telegram for me. Well, I got on a phone right away and it
offered me a place to go in the Agricultural Extension Service for the county,
in Madison County. Well of course that was more in my line and my area of
the state, being a native of Jackson. And I was in Fort Myers and Bonita
Springs and Estero, and all that country was a different world entirely then
anything I'd ever known. Of course I'd read. The suits were getting damp
and cold at about that time too.
Of course I grabbed the opportunity to work there. I went up to Madison
County for just one year and went to Bradford County for about a year and
a half, and then over to Alachua County. They were running me right ahead of
the boll weevil for the extension service. I used to kid Professor [Arthur
Perceval] Spencer, who was then the director of the extension service. When
I came by Gainesville and went on up to Madison, and the weevil was just
moving the whole time, moving on east, you know. And that was the last stop
he made. He'd just come in there that year, see. So, of course, I went
through the same hard luck story all the year, about what they were going to
face for the next year, which is correct. J & P Coats had the largest Sea
Island cotton gin in the world in Madison at that time. They were growing Sea
Island, which is a long staple cotton, there and there was not enough to do
anything with that gin though, there. Well, then they moved on in, they
moved into Bradford County and carried the sad story down there, see. And
then they pulled me back over here and I said, "Now look here, I'm getting
tired of doing all this graveyard singing. I want to go on to something
else." "Well, we've got a place for you, ready to go--Alachua County."
I stayed in Alachua County three years I think it was, I was here three
years, and I was offered an opportunity to haul fruit for a cooperative pack-
ing house in Polk County, in Haines City. And so I pulled out of the extension
and went down there. That was quite a fling. A man who had nothing in the
world when he came out of college and spent three years on extension salary,
I had to take the equipment to haul fruit for a packing house and handle
300,000 boxes that year. But I got away with it. Came on down and so for
the next three years, oh, I don't know, ten years I guess, I hauled the fruit
to the packing house. My activity was to take the fruit off the ground,


22
that is the shoal boxes, you know, that used in those days they had, but
now they pour it all right in the truck. Then they couldn't get trucks into
the grove, and the trucks were not equipped to go in the groves. So we had
to pull it out to the road with mules and then load it onto the truck. And
my problem was to get it from the tree, where they had it sitting around
the trees, to get it into the packing house, there on a boxed basis, you
know. It was a rather lucrative situation. I came out all right on it.
Got a little indemnity; when the fruit season was over I began to do what
they call caretaking work. In these days it's "property management" [chuckle].
But I was a caretaker for groves, all that kind of thing. I, of course, had
the mules and trucks and equipment to do that kind of work. From that I
worked into ownership of a small amount of acreage that were just coming into
bearing there. Well, the next thing you know, the Mediterranean fruit fly
was discovered. And one morning out of the clear sky, I got a wire wanting
to know if I could help them here in Orlando. That was the headquarters at
that time. So I went up there and I was assigned to Hastings, in head-
quarters. And worked in the area between...well, all of St. Johns and
Flagler counties, just a little corner from Putnam and Duval in the area
that I was supposed to supervise. And that was a very interesting experience.
S: Were you working again with the crews that were out in the groves?
C: No. No, that time I was entirely an administrator. I rarely ever got out
except to keep myself alert to what was going on and be sure that I could
identify Mediterranean fruit flies. A lot of ridiculous things happened
about that, you know. People had never seen or heard of them and I had many
people ask me, "You believe there ever was a fly?" I've had that question
put to me thousands of times, I reckon. Yeah, it was interesting. I
enjoyed that too.
Well, that thing was over and then, you may recall, right at that time
the whole monetary system in this country went to pieces. The whole darn
thing. And I never will forget, I went back to Haines City, where I had
lived and Ileft my caretaking business to somebody else's care while I'd be
away. Well, I got back down there and I got down there and thinking that,
I mean things were looking rough. There wasn't anything. There just wasn't
any money at all, that's all there was to it. And I had an office there that
I had had before, some insurance and a little bit of real estate, rentals and
one thing and another, which gave us a place to work as we had to do in an
office. And I went back to that and sat down there to get things organized
and I finally said to the girl in the office, I said, "See if you can get
Dr. Newell in Orlando. See if I can get on this Med fly." There wasn't a
thing else to do then but call every station in quarantine against it, and
you just couldn't move any darn fruit. That's all there was to it. There
just wasn't any money. And the people that I was taking care of groves for
weren't getting anything out of their fruit so they couldn't pay and every-
body was landlocked. That's all there was to it. Well, she had tried and
tried and we didn't get anything.


23
About that time a man by the name of Palmer, from the Loughman area,
walked along and- spied me, and he said, "Say, I didn't know you were back."
And I said, "Yes, I just came back the day before yesterday." So he said,
"I'm glad I saw you. We're going up to Orlando to see if we can't..."
That's where the state headquarters was for this canker stuff. "...to see
if we can't get some federal money, some money from somewhere to do this
zone two clean-up, as they called it." Palmer was wanting them to go out
and clean up fallen fruit. Well, I could've told him positively he couldn't
get it, because I had been through that. But he didn't ask me, you see,
he just wanted me to go up there. And I said, "Well, what good can I do
you, Ed?" And he said, "Well, you know them up there, don't you?" And I
said, "Oh yeah." Well, he said, "You can help us get in for one thing." They
had them all quarantined. I said, "All right. I'll go with you." He came
along with his Cadillac and chauffer pretty soon and Ed and I loaded in with
him and this fellow, Ed Palmer, he was a citrus grower up in the Loughman
area, and the other fellow was an ice manufacturer. Well of course, if they
couldn't ship any fruit they didn't have any use for ice cars either. He
had a station there for ice fruit cars. So I said, "All right, I'll go up
there with you." He walked on back; he said, "Well, Fred will be along in
a minute." So he walked on out the door and I said to the girl in the office,
"If you ever get Newell on that call, tell him I'm on the way up there."
Well, it worked. We got in to them.
That call never did get through, but we stood there arguing with the man
at the gate. And the man that I knew was with one of the fertilizer compan-
ies. But he said, "You can't establish the fact that you got any business
in here," and he was having a lot of fun kidding me. And about that time J.
C. Goodwin, who was connected with the Plant Board out there, came down the
hall and saw me and walked over and said, "Let that Gunn in here. I want to
talk to him." And he pulled a key, and these fellows followed me on in. So
he said, "Come on down here and see the chief. He wants to talk to you." So
we walked on down and that got us right into Newell's office, you see. And
these fellows started to talking to him about what they wanted and so on.
Well, it didn't take him but just a short time to get them very definitely
convinced that there wasn't any such a corporation as that available, you
know. But they began drifting off into other things. And Newell was answering
two telephones, you know, all the time. There was stuff coming in from all
over the state, everybody upset. Finally I said, "Well, gentlemen, I think
we've consumed enough of Dr. Newell's time. We'd better go and let him get
on with his stuff." And he reached over and tapped me on the shoulder and he
says, "Say, how quickly can you go to work?" And I said, "Well now, Dr. Newell,
I got home the day before yesterday, I found a busted bank, and a ruined busi-
ness, and an infested property, or a quarantined property." It wasn't infested,
but it was in thequarantined area. "And I need a little bit of time to kind
of catch my breath and see if I've got anything left and what I can do." And
he said, "Well, get on down there and get it down and hurry back. We need
people who've had some experience in his type of work." So with that I thanked
him for listening to us and we started out and old Ed Palmer looked at me
[chuckle] and said, "Damn, we rushed you right into a job, didn't we" [chucklel


24
That went on and on and on. I don't know. We wound that up. That was
when they sent me up here to Hastings. And I stayed up there, and that was
another unique experience. I had a good experience all the way through.
There was no place inthe world to live in Hastings. It's a potato-growing
town and everybody owned their home and nobody wanted to rent anything. No-
body ever came in that wanted to rent anything, see, and so there just wasn't
anyplace in the world to live in Hastings. Well, I went up there alone to
see what it was like, to get set up, and I made one or two weekend trips back
to my home in Haines City, and I had two small children. My wife said, "Now
listen, there must be some place in Hastings to live. I just can't fight
these two children by myself." Well, I said, "I'll go up and see what I can
do about it. There's just no place to live, I can tell you that. But I'll
try to work out someway." And I went back to the hotel where I had a room
there. See, the hotel was second floor of the Mercantile Building. Great
big high thing way up yonder. The post office was down in the bottom. Well,
I made a deal with the lady that operated that thing and she let me endorse
my check to her once a month to take care of my family for me.
So Mrs. Gunn came up. Oh, she looked like one of those old tin-canned
tourists we used to have so much fun about, came down with everything they
had tied on the car and she came up with everything we had tied on the car
with these two small children and a teenage girl to help her take care of them.
So we moved into two rooms on the second floor of that building. We had been
around there a few days and I was gone from daylight every morning until late
at night. And everything was all upset everywhere, everybody was upset.
Well, one morning Cchuckle] there were a number of incidents, but this
one particularly. One morning she and Pearl, the young lady that helped move
the children, they had two rooms that joined there to each other. And they
got the children dressed and put them out there in that big hall and told
them to wait till we were dressed and we would come down for breakfast. Well,
we turned them loose in that great big old hall out there. You know that
stairway ran way up yonder there to a long straight stair and there was a
board kind of turtle back-like there on the stair rail. Mrs. Gunn and Pearl,
the lady that was helping us, went down ahead of me and when I got down there,
I guess I came in from the other direction, anyway, when I came in I knew there
was something wrong, something was happening. Children's faces were red and
I said, "Say, tell me what's happened here. What's wrong?" Well, [chuckle]
the oldest child, the little girl, had decided that that smooth board down
there...and she jumped, straddled that board and skidded to the bottom on
that board. And she landed on her feet in good shape. Well, this poor little
boy, he wasn't that tall, so he went over there and made a pass at that thing
and he missed it and rolled to the bottom on that great old long stairs
[laughter]. So my wife said to me, "Now listen, I don't know, this is ter-
ible."
Well, later that day she called me on the phone. I thought she was still
in the hotel. She called and she said, "I'm in St. Augustine. I've been over
here looking for a place to live and I found a place where two ladies have
been living and they're going away for the summer and they want to rent it
for three months for $25.00 a month, linen and silver and everything. Just
move into it and take care of it and then hand it back to them at the end of


25
three months." And I said, "Well, I think you're smart enough to take
that up." "Oh yes," she said, "what I called you about was to know if
you can help me load our junk on the car. I'll come over there and you can
come onover here." And I said, "Well, I'm just leaving to go down to Flagler
County." Herschel Lott was a local man that was office manager for me. I
said, "Herschel can help you. There's always plenty of help around the
railroad station and the potato house over there nearby and he can take
care of that for you in good shape. I'm off to Flagler County. And by
the way, you'd better tell me where this house is so I can find my family
sometime tonight when I get back." Well, when I got back I found my family.
That was going to be the best place in St. Augustine. That worked out all
right. Next fall and some way they got into Hastings. I don't remember how
we got a house.
S: Did you remain with the extension service?
C: Oh no. I left there when I went to Haines City. I haven't been back to
the extension since then.
S: You went to Haines City?
C: When I went down there on that fruit hauling deal that I've been describing.
S: Yeah. So after that then you stayed in business for yourself?
C: No, from that I finished up down there and I went on this Mediterranean fruit
fly study.
S: Fruit fly eradication.
C: I remember most definitely. I think I enjoy telling that story. The whole
thing had gone to pieces, and the banks were all busted, and everything else,
and everybody owed everybody else and nobody knew what to do and I was
walking up the street one day and I met another fellow. Of course, he was in
the same position I was in. We were just standing there talking about the
situation and which way to go. And the old postal telegraph outfit, the
boy walked up and handed me a wire. Well,I tore it open and read it and stuck
it in my pocket. Jed said, knowing that, this was in 1934 I guess, and knowing
that there hadn't been any business for four years, and if there was it wasn't
in August, so he said, "I hope there's no bad news in that wire." Well, I
pulled it out of my pocket and handed it to him. He read it and handed it
back and I stuck it in my pocket and he said, "Well, what about it? What
about it? Let's think about it. What are you going to do about it?" I
said, "What it's offering me is a job that it looks like I can't turn down."
And I said, "Jed, the first job I had when I came out of the university was
under Dr. Newell. And later, I went with the extension to finish up the


26
canker work, and I went to the extension and he became director of extension
while I was employed by them, so I worked with him then for quite awhile,
and I admired him very much, we got to be pretty good friends, but he knows
me better than I thought he did." He said, "What do you mean by that?"
I said, "Did you read that wire?" As I remember, it read like this--"Are
you available to organize and direct a land use study of Florida? If so,
make certain contact. Signed Wilmon Newell." He said, "Well, what do you
mean by that?" Well, I said, "Don't you see what he asked me there? He
asked me if I'm available," and I said, "If there's any qualification in the
world today it's availability." From that I went on into this other stuff
that kept me under federal employment until I retired in 1958 from soil con-
servation, Department of Agriculture. Those things just opened up that way, one
dried up and the other opened up right along for the next several years.
S: Very fortunate.
C: Yes, it was. Boy, I've always been fortunate.
S: Were you living here in Melrose when you retired?
C: Oh no, no. I moved to Melrose in '72. Let me see. When I wound up in
that soil conservation service, we were living in Micanopy. I said many
times,people say to me, "Well, why do you want to move around so much?"
And I said, "Well, you know, there comes a time when you've gotto put up or
shut up, to use a slang expression, so I moved every time instead of shutting
up." But we enjoyed that. We enjoyed being out of town and Mrs. Gunn en-
joyed picking old places and revamping them. And we got to Micanopy and
found an old farm, a house down there that had been, of course, originally
a citrus grove way back before, of course, the '95 freeze. We moved into
that thing and revamped it. I'd have been there yet if the road department
had left me alone. That was an ideal set-up down there. We had everything
just exactly like we wanted it and a place that was paying the cost of own-
ership all the time. We weren't making any money. I've said many times that
nobody could've supported a family on that little place, but it did pay the
cost of owning it. It didn't cost me anything. But they came along and
built 1-75 right by my bedroom. After three or four weeks of that we decided
rchuckle] we had to get away from there. So we went back into Gainesville for
a short time and we got down to Hogtown Creek and then they cut that settlement
basin from the old creosote plant. They cut it into the road ditch and that
ran it into the creek and polluted that, and burned everything and everybody
out of there. It destroyed all the life in the creek. So we found this
place out here.
Many people ask me about it. I tell them, I answered the telephone one
morning when we were still out on the creek and this lady's voice said, "Mr.
Gunn, you told me sometime ago to find you a place somewhere on the water
where your children could fish and swim and boat and ski and fight and have
a big time." And I said, "Well, I don't recall telling you just exactly that,
but that's exactly what I'm looking for." And she said, "I think I have it."
And this is it.


27
But many people asked me why I came to Melrose. I told them I had
to. We lived down there in this place near Micanopy that we called Coon
Hill. I raised a few horses there and I got three Shetland ponies for the
grandchildren to play with. They had the few cows and all that kind of
stuff, and they just thoroughly enjoyed coming and spending the summer.
Their home's in South Carolina. And they'd all come down and spend the
summer and they just had the biggest kind of time because they were real
cowboys, you know. They'd get on those little ponies and round up a few
calves and just have the biggest kind of time. Well, when we got run away
from there, I told them I had to find some place where my children would
come to see me because they wouldn't be interested in coming back to
Gainesville, in town, seeing the town. And I told them, as a matter of
fact, the situation was that they drove in in the afternoon when school
was out in South Carolina, when public school was out, they'd come down
to our place to spend the summer. When I was on Hogtown Creek, they'd
roll out of the back end of that station wagon there late in the after-
noon, you know, five or six of them and the first question at the break-
fast table next morning, "Grandpa, where's the swimming pool?" And I spent
all the summers hunting a swimming pool for three or four summers then.
So I got me one out here now where I don't have to hunt it. They just
roll right out of the bed and out that building there and out into the
water.
S: I'll bet they love it.
C: Oh, they do, of course, yeah. They have a sailboat that their father had
put on the lake, and sail them. He and my daughter, his wife, both enjoy
sailing and they have a boat; it's here on the place now. They leave it
here. They're in Japan right now.
S: Well, Mr. Gunn, I appreciate your talking with me.
C: Well, I'm glad you came out.
S: And it's been a pleasure.
C: I've enjoyed visiting.
[Additional information: After two years of working to make money to
come to the University of Florida, I had made $67.50. I put $7.50
in a railroad ticket from Marianna to Gainesville, $60 in my pocket,
and came to the University of Florida and graduated in four years with
very little help from the outside. I received a bachelor of science
degree in agriculture, membership in Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and
Alpha Zeta Agriculture Honor Fraternity. Some years after graduation,
I received notice of election to Gamma Sigma Delta National Honor
Soceity.3