- The Colorful Colonel Cone
- The Colorful Colonel Cone - Part Two
- Darbyville, a parent community of McClenny
- Getting the Cracker treatment in Keystone
- The Georgia-Florida boundary - Part One
- The Georgia-Florida boundary - Part Two
- The Georgia-Florida boundary - Part Three
- Boundary wrap-up and notes on the Dawkins Lodge
- McClenny Potpourri
- some old and interesting McClenny structures
- some old and interesting McClenny structures - Part Two
- some old and interesting McClenny structures - CONCLUSION
- some old and interesting McClenny structures - Sites without structures or newer buildings
- A recap of the 1st Centennial
- Rain soaks sale; but not the dance
- Well, it's our final weekend to celebrate!
- The Centennial - A wrap-up
- The month of May has arrived...
- Historical potpourri from a desk drawer
- Historical potpourri from a desk drawer - Part Two
- Historical potpourri from a desk drawer - THIRD AND FINAL PART
- A Plea For Presidential Pardon
- A look at commercial McClenny of 1887
- McClenny social notes from the year 1887
- Fred 'Bubba' Bullard; a genuine McClenny product
- It's been eight years.....
- Historical potpourri
- Ms. Liberty and Daisies
- "Summer sort of slow-walks you down"
- More Nostalgic Reminiscenses
- What are is not.....
- Now, what art is.....
- Composition in art
- Creativity in art
- Different types of art
- Autumn brings out poet
- Hoppin' John discourse
- 1921 catalogue goodies
- The Household Guest, 1921
- Historical potpourri
- 'Ain't no boogers tonight
- Crackers & nature's signs - Part One
- Crackers & nature's signs - Part Two
- Boost Christmas downtown
- The'Tarnished Tinsel Trophies'
- Edging into Christmas
- The Yule tree ordeal
- The 'magic' of Christmas
- Thoughts on the new year
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, January 6, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
The Colorful Colonel Cone
Christmas is always a warm
and lively occasion at the home
of the writer's father and step-mother, especially since the
grandchildren are proliferating all
over the place. The conversation
and laughter so increased at one
time that day until the writer's
baby sister (a pixyish young thing
who is due to become a lovely
madonna any minute now) warned that the family might get written up in the next Press issue.
Jean Marie was somewhat prophetic, but it was not to be the immediate family who would be this
week's subject. It is a coincidence that the subject would be
the multiple-great grandfather of
one of the family's Christmas day
callers, Miss Linda Finley (surely
the world's prettiest attorney).
Ms. Finley's maternal grandmother, the late gracious Mrs.
McAlpin, and your writer used to
enjoy swapping stories about
Colonel William Cone over at the
Stephen Foster Memorial where
she spent many volunteer hours.
It cannot be said of Colonel
Cone that after he was made the
pattern was thrown away; he
did not fit any known pattern. Frontiersman, soldier,
statesman, humorist, planter, and
a tweaker of the nose of the devil,
Bill Cone would try anything and
He was born in North Carolina
(Orange County, we believe) in
1777 to William Cone and the
former Keziah Barber (great aunt
of Baker County settlers Moses
Barber and Louvicy Mann). The
elder Cone was considered a
Revolutionary War hero among
the North Carolina Line. His
sister-in-law Frances (nee Barber)
Carter was said to be the
ancestress of many Alabama,
Georgia, and Mississippi Carters,
including one well-known
Georgia peanut farmer with a
toothy grin and a fondness for executive mansions.
The Cones moved down into Effingham County, Georgia, soon
after the Revolutionary War, and
some of the family remained in
that area where they married into
the famous Harvey and Williams
families who later peopled much
of northern Baker County. Robert
Cone of Bullock County who married Florida Damula Williams
(daughter of State Representative
Samuel N. Williams, Sr.) and who
got into serious trouble with
Baker County unreconstructed
Democrats in the 1870's was also
a relative (is everybody related to
everybody? Yes. Is everybody
happy about that? No).
The stories about Bill Cone are
legion, and some of them are
apocryphal. Many are true, and
one wonders how one man could
have lived so long and fully so as
to perform all the feats attributed
In the very early 1800's
(sometime in the vicinity of the
Creek or First Seminole War) Colonel Cone was captured by the Indians somewhere in the area of
the present Folkston. It was said
of the sagacious gentleman that
he could talk anybody or anything
into or out of any item or situation
and that his ability to fluently
speak several Indian languages
and dialects fascinated his captors so much that they delayed
sending him to the happy
(or unhappy) hunting grounds.
Others figured that since Cone
was so despised by the redmen
that they kept him tied all night
just that they could plot a more
fitting, creative, and lingering torture and death for him.
Whichever, Colonel Cone
escaped his bonds during the
night, stole the Indians' rifle balls
from their weapons, replaced the
powder, placed the bullets in his
pocket, and sat back until the
When he noticed the first one
stirring, Cone bolted for the
woods. The Indians made hot pursuit, firing their bulletless rifles at
him. Cone turned and pretended
to catch the balls and put them
into his pocket. He then walked
over to the amazed Indians,
retrieved the rifle balls from his
pocket from where he had placed
them the night before and, to use
an idiom of our day wowed them.
They justifiably fled, leaving
their horses behind. Colonel
Cone returned home still happily
attached to his scalp and soul
and leading the Indians' horses
as a bonus.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, January 13, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
The Colorful Colonel Cone
Colonel William "Bill" Cone
settled in old Camden County,
Georgia, about the beginning of
the nineteenth century (it is
known that he was there in 1804),
and set about forming a volunteer
Cone's outfit saw duty in and
about the Okefenokee Swamp
ostensibly to protect the Camden
County Anglo-American residents, but, actually, he and his
men were attempting to exterminate the Creek Indians in the
area. They did a fairly good job of
it too, but succeeding waves of
Indians from western Georgia,
Alabama, and Florida kept
replenishing the stock.
Sometimes, in fact quite often,
Cone's men made forays into
Spanish Florida where they
retrieved stolen and runaway
slaves, "stray" cattle, and "unattended" horses. They were so
successful in these ventures that
it is traditionally rumored that the
Spanish government offered a
reward of $10,000 for his head.
The reward can be well believed
because the Spaniards knew that
many of the Georgians were not
above turning in one of their own
for a handsome price, but the
amount is a bit incredible (the
Spanish were extremely tight
with a peso).
At the beginning of the War of
1812 (sometimes called the
Second War of American Independence), Colonel Cone performed the southernmost known
feat against the British in that
war. Archibald Clark of St. Marys
was a collector of customs in that
port and was a major lumber
miller near Traders Hill (not a
great distance above Baker County).
When the British occupied St.
Marys (not at all a difficult feat for
them), they demanded Clark to
hand over his funds. He refused,
and he and Abraham Bessent
(ancestor of many Baker Countians, some of whom lent their
surname to the now defunct community of Bessent in the south of
our county) secreted the money
at a hideaway somewhere between Traders Hill and the
Okefenokee. Bessent, by-the-way, was waylaid by some
Spanish thugs and...but that's a
whole other story worthy of its
The British marched up the
crooked St. Marys River to burn
Clark's extensive lumber milling
operation in revenge and for the
purpose of destroying a valuable
American asset. Cone's unit, including some familiar names
among the Bend and Baker County area - Hicks, Garrett, Crews,
Greene, etc. greeted them from
the banks of the stream and
destroyed almost half the British
force (Cone was greatly out-numbered but not outsmarted).
The Cone Militia was later active in the Bend Section and
made a number of belligerent
trips into Florida where they harrassed the Spanish and Indians in
what has become known as the
Florida or Patriots' War (not-so-simply stated as a concurrent
and extension conflict of the War
of 1812 as well as a fight between
anybody and among anybody
who cared to join in).
Colonel Cone married Mrs.
Sarah Peeples in 1826. She was
born Sarah Haddock, a daughter,
of a very old English family from
British Colonial days in East
Florida. It was probably because
of her dowry (a sizable hunk of
Nassau County real estate) that
he moved to the new American
territory of Florida. He gave up
his long-time seat in the Georgia
Legislature for the move but was
soon involved in Florida territorial
Cone, as a Georgia legislator,
had wanted Spanish Florida to
give up several million acres of
northeast Florida when he pushed for the headwaters of the
South Prong below the present
Sanderson to be declared the
beginning of the St. Marys River
(there had been an agreement
between the two governments
that the beginning of the St.
Marys would play a starring role
in just where the boundary lay).
However, he found himself as a
Florida statesman having to oppose and finally successfully
fight his own claim regarding the
He used the Old Settler
Trail/Yarborough Trail through
the Okefenokee-Pinhook complex
and the Jacksonville-Tallahassee
Road that ran through the center
of the present Baker County and
through the Gum Swamps for
much of his business. He evidently saw that Columbia County's
western part and those areas
beyond along the route were
somewhat more fertile and
amenable to settlement than the
swamps and sand of Nassau and
Baker. He moved there during the
Second Seminole War (1835-1842)
A grandson was the late Governor Fred Cone, a friend to Baker
County and one of the most
human and humorous chief executives this state has had.
Another grandson (and brother of
Governor Cone) was Macclenny
attorney William Branch Cone.
Colonel Branch Cone was a
member of the state Democratic
Executive Committee, Chairman
of the Baker County Democratic
Committee, mayor of Macclenny
for several terms and was
secretary to his brother Governor
Cone from 1937 to 1941. He
received his law degree from Stetson University in 1910 after
graduating from the public
schools of Lake City and Jasper.
His home in Macclenny was at
the corner of Fifth Street and
Shuey Avenue, now occupied by
his grandson Kenneth Kirkland.
This is one of the fine old
residences that is a reminder of
the city's rich past.
The widow Mrs. Cone was for
many years church pianist at the
First Methodist Church in Macclenny and was the excellent and
dedicated librarian at the Emily
Taber Public Library.
These are the type of people
who made Macclenny the pleasant, personable, and unique
community it is. Please help it retain that flavor and meet with the
Macclenny Centennial Commission Tuesday evening at 7:30 in
the city hall to plan and man (or
person) the greatest function of
its sort anywhere.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, January 20, 1983
THE WAY IT WAS-Gene Barber
Darbyville, a parent community of McClenny
Darbyville was established as a naval stores community in about 1868 by Colonel John Darby and Mr. Oliver Savage. Colonel Darby was a native of Ireland, had lived in South Carolina, and was a Confederate veteran. His principal interest in Florida had been in the present Bradford and Clay Counties.
By 1872, the little settlement of shacks, turpentine distillery, and Darby's commissary had grown sufficiently to warrant a post office. Before that time, Colonel Darby had served as an unofficial postmaster from his "Big Store"on or near the site of the present post office and from his commissary which stood on the site of the present Chevron Oil yard on East Florida Avenue.
Charles A. Finley moved his newspaper The Star to Darbyville from Sanderson sometime in the late 1860's, and he soon had competition from a C.D. Allen from the North who published for a short while The Florida Standard (later re-vitalized as The Macclenny Standard. J. Mott Howard, who published The Press at Sanderson in the early 1880's, also joined the newspaper war in Darbyville sometime around 1880.
As agriculture eased in to add to Darbyville's economy, a cotton gin was constructed just south of the railroad on the east side of forth Street. The area north of the present US 90 was an extensive cotton field.
In 1871 the Dawkins Lodge F&AM was established in the tiny community, named for prominent Floridian Dewitt C. Dawkins (or so we've been told). Some of the older Mason heads also informed this columnist in years past that the Lodge had first been established in Sanderson, but others tell us this is not so (this is one of those situations in which we can only report what heard).
In 1880, the federal census (the first taken after the founding of Darbyville) indicated the village had few inhabitants. They were Dr. Richard Kennedy of North Carolina, his wife, Mattie C., and their son, Richard W. who was born in Kansas; John D. McClenny, his wife, Georgian, and children, Ulala, John W., Julia, Laura, Emma May, Carr B., Ada and James E., and they were all born in Virginia; Walter Turner of Mississippi, his wife lilla, and their son Ulphian G. (both born in Florida), and Mr. Turner's sister Irene of North Carolina . (Mr. Turner's father, Charly was a moving man who lived through much of North America except the northwest and Canada).
There were also Charles F. Swain (a school teacher) of New Hampshire, his wife, Susan M. of Florida, and children, Charles A. and Susan M., both of Florida, and Mrs. Swain's grandmother Matilda Norton (born in Florida); William Chambers and his mother, Martha of Ireland; John McIver of Georgia, his wife Elizabeth of Georgia, and their children, John L., Emma E., Thomas E., and Carly E., (all born in Florida); and Carr B. McClenny of Virginia, his wife, Ada of South Carolina (a daughter of the aforementioned John Darby), and children, Clara and an unnamed infant son, both of Florida.
Captain McClenny, a wheeler-dealer of note, constructed the Hotel McClenny in 1881 and catered to northern tourists and winter visitors. Since Jacksonville and Saint Augustine were the end of the southern line, all the little outlying communities came in for their share of the Yankee trade, and Darbyville was no exception.
According to some of the McClenny descendants, the Messrs Talbott and Coloney (we've lost their first names through the vandalism to our records a few years ago) got together in about 1880 to plat out a new town near Darbyville. That new community would become Maccienny.
Mr. Talbot, from Indiana, was rumored to have been a relative of Captain McClenny and was a U.S Army veteran during the Civil War. He had been a hardware
Merchant in Cincinnati and Gallipoiis, Ohio. He came to Jacksonville in 1879. because of failing health.
He joined up with Mr. Coloney, a native of Virginia and, for many years, a resident of Gallipolis, Ohio, and a wholesale grocer. He also came to Jacksonville to recuperate from a severe illness. They foutnded Coloney, Talbott and Company early in 1880, but Mr. Coined retired in 1884.
They laid out the town of Edgewood and were the real estate agents for their little enterprise (now the lovely section of Jacksonville known as Avondale).
From their office at 39 West Bay Street, Jacksonville, they controlled 70,000 acres of what was described by Wanton Webb as "desirable lands" in Florida, and much of it was in Baker County, (again, according to some of the older heads and Mr. Wanton).
If anybody has information regarding the map of 1883 bearing the name "McClenny" prepared by Coloney, Talbott, and Company in 1883, we will offer almost our right arm for a copy. There was once a poor copy in the courthouse, but it has since disappeared (please, we're not casting aspersions on the custodians of those venerable records, but we are simply asking the person who "borrowed those invaluable pieces from the courthouse to anonymously return them.
Darbyville continued as a community until the Malaria Epidemic of 1888. When the fever was over in the fall of that year, so was Darbyville.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, January 27, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Getting the Cracker treatment in Keystone
For the past several years, your
columnist has been on the lecture circuit and putting his hot air
on a paying basis. Last week saw
him in the delightful community
of Keystone Heights before the
Woman's Club. A live-wire group
in a well laid out facility, that
bunch of sweet ladies threw the
grandest Cracker buffet this
writer has ever been privileged to
witness and pig out through.
There were generous servings
of sweet tater pone, turnip greens
with corn dodgers, bisquits and
cane syrup, home-put-up pickles,
black eyed peas and sow belly,
corn pones, cheese grits, and a
few variations of old dishes such
as grits souffle'.
For comment, we can echo a
remark often written by the late
editor of The Press, Tate Powell,
Sr., when writing about his sampling a mess of something brought
to him by a Press reader: "Umm,
and were they good!"
The ladies were lovely in their
period costumes, creative in their
antiques display (a brainchild of
Mildred Weisgerber), and gracious in their treatment of this
Baker Countian who dared approach the ladies with the attitude that he could enlighten and
We met the personable authoress Zonira Hunter Tolles and obtained a copy of her second in the
trilogy of the history of the north
Florida lake region between the
St. Johns and Santa Fe Rivers.
The two completed and published works are Shadows On The
Sand and Bonnie Melrose.
We came home, built up the
fire, and settled in for a long and
never dull night of reading. We
don't dare risk displaying our ignorance by reviewing so scholarly and meaty a book, but we can
unequivocally recommend it (and
the first) to any who have even a
casual interest in Florida history.
Some of the surnames mentioned, and some with detail, who
have connections with Baker
County families are Austin,
Baldwin, Barber, Bennett, Bessent, Canova, Carter, Cason,
Chesser, Cone, Darby, Dougherty,
Drawdy, Driggers, Dyess, Finley,
Fowler, Futch, Geiger, Godwin,
Griffith, Griffis, Malphurs, Mann,
McRae, Mizell, Mobley, Osteen,
Prevatt, Raines, Revels, Raulerson, Roberts, Sapp, Stafford,
Sweat, Terrell, Thippin, Thompson, Tillis, Weeks, Wells, Wilkerson, Wynn and Yelvington.
We might have gotten a little
mixed up on some of the
aforementioned names, but we
think we are on the right track
with most, if not all, as being connected to Baker Countians.
During last week we also kept
speaking and luncheon engagements at a number of our
neighboring towns and cities,
and the general theme was,"We
hear you're having a centennial
celebration; tell us about it."
We've been asked to travel down
the state to do more of the same.
We came home quite merry and
hopped up on the enthusiasm exhibited by our neighbors and
sister counties, in fact, so much
so that we accosted the first acquaintance we saw when we arrived back in town that we met,
"Hey, man, ain't you excited
about our upcoming centennial?"
And he answered with a quizzical expression and a "...whut?"
When we see that more interest in the city's centenary has
been generated outside the county than within, and when we don't
see as much preparation and offers of participation as our
boundless enthusiasm makes us
want to see, we begin to wonder if
we haven't jumped into a
fathomless deep by getting all
But we pause and remember
Glen Saint Mary. We believe
some of the spirit begun there is
still alive, and we take heart.
If you want to become part of
the McClenny Centennial
Celebration, drop a line to
Centennial, 118 East Macclenny
Avenue, or call 259-6261 during
working hours or 259-3385 or
259-6430 at night. It's your city's
birthday; help your ol' columnist
plan the party.
The committee chairs for the
Centennial are filling up. For your
interest and convenience, here
they are: Beauty Contest, Tina
Rhoden; Run, Joyce Davis;
Dances, David Jay; Big Creek
Skirmish, Clark Williams;
Souvenir Shirts and Sales, Joyce
Davis; Softball Tournament,
Margaret Nelson; Telephoning,
Patty Wells; Typing, Claudette
Rhoden; Parade, Judy and Mike
Long; Arts and Crafts, Magi
Kline and Alice Williams; Traffic
Control, Joe Barber and Buddy
Dugger; Fireworks, Margaret
Nelson; Bass Tournament, Eddy
Yarbrough; Rodeo, Curly Dekle;
Schools involvement, Janice
Hancock and Naomi Roberson;
Museum, Historical Society;
Photo Contests, Gerald Roberts;
Darbyville Mall, Warren Williams
and Gerald Roberts; Hosting,
Robin Dinkins; and a few others
which are filled but the committee chairs who have been appointed don't know it yet.
Chairs are still needed for the
following committees; Costume
Promenades and Contests, Concessions, City Decorations, and
several contests which will be explained in the Centennial
meetings held every Tuesday
evening (except second Tuesdays) at 7:30 pm in the city hall.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, February 3, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
The Georgia-Florida boundary
Our recent columns about Colonel William Cone prompted
several letters to this writer, and,
incredible as it might seem, they
were all in a positive vein. Many
offered additional information on
the interesting gentleman and his
times. Our property appraiser, the
Honorable Josie L. Davis, Jr.,
kindly sent us a lengthy and
meaty article from the Sunday
Constitution Magazine, Atlanta,
18 February, 1923, in which one of
Cone's pet projects - The determining and defining of the Florida-Georgia boundary - is treated at
"A State Without A Southern
Boundary Georgia Finds Herself
In Just About this Shape".
Several separate and distinct
boundaries have been drawn to
separate Georgia and Florida, but
none of them is a settled boundary whenever a territorial dispute
arises over the sale of lands and
transfer of the titles. Now a Cornell professor, rather than commissioned agents of the state of
Georgia, is trying to clean up this
controversy over where Georgia
ends and Florida begins - a question that has intrigued Georgia
legislators time after time."
Thus began the article by
Ralph T. Jones. We had at first
decided to paraphrase Mr. Jones'
writing, but additional thought
makes us believe that we should
copy it verbatim for its historical
value. Here, then, is the most
scholarly and understandable
work on this most fascinating
subject which touches heavily on
our local Baker County history.
Please bear in mind that this is
"Recently a letter was received
in the office of S. Guyt McLendon, Georgia secretary of state,
from a lumber firm in south
Georgia, asking information
about the location of the Georgia-Florida boundary line. It was explained that the timber-cutting
rights of the firm extended to the
line between the two states, and
that another concern, in Florida,
owned the property up the line.
"Both concerns expect to cut
their timber up to the line at an
early date, but neither desired to
cut on the other's property.
Therefore the question arose,
where does the line run? Simple
question? Far from It.
"It happens that Secretary
McLendon has devoted considerable time during the past
year to a compilation of all
available data concerning this
southern boundary of Georgia,
and he was, therefore, enabled to
furnish the best possible information to the concern in question.
Also, he expects to incorporate a
review of the entire boundary
question in his annual report, to
be printed shortly. From the
manuscript of that report, the
facts in this story are taken.
"It is, however, a remarkable
fact, and one which sheds no
lustre on Georgia's record, that
the present investigation into the
history and location of the line, is
being made by Cornell University
and not by the state itself.
Neither Georgia nor Florida have
seen fit to take any interest in this
important subject. Cornell, however, has appropriated funds for
the prosecution of an exhaustive
search and has sent one of her
most famous investigators, Dr.
A.H. Wrightn into the wooded
regions of the Okefenokee, the
St. Mary's River, and the state
boundary, to uncover the historical and scientific date concerning this subject.
"Up to 1802, when the state of
Georgia sold her western territory
to the United States, the southern
boundary of Georgia was the
southern boundary of the United
States. Up to that time, Georgia,
the southernmost of the original
thirteen colonies, extended west
to the Mississippi River, and included in her domains wide
stretches of territory which are
now included in the states of
Alabama and Mississippi.
Since that time, four distinct
lines have been run by surveyors,
either under the direction of the
federal government, or of the
government of Georgia itself, and
every one of the four is different.
The latest, known as the Orr and
Whitner line, was run in 1859-60,
and is legally the present dividing
line between the two states. But
there are no markers to locate it,
there is no physical evidence of
its existence, and it is necessary
to run a special survey when
exact location becomes necessary on any part of the line.
"The legal history of Georgia
contains cases in which this
question of boundary location
has figured, and, in the case of
Coffee vs. Groover, decided by
the federal courts on October 17,
1887, the tangled situation is
reviewed at length. It can readily
be seen, where reality lies between two or more of these varying state lines, how legal
disputes may arise. Both states
have given title to the same piece
of property, each believing it to
come within its own territory. Be
it said, however, that in every instance it has been Georgia which
has been at fault, inasmuch as
each of the four succeeding lines
surveyed has moved the boundary a trifle further north than the
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, February 10, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
The Georgia-Florida boundary
We continue this week with the
verbatim quoting of an
article printed in the Sunday Constitution Magazine in 1923,
authored by Ralph T. Jones. Near
the end, Jones refers to a picture,
which unfortunately we do not
have available to illustrate this
In the treaty between the
United States and Spain, affirmed
on October 27, 1795, the boundary between Georgia and the
Spanish provinces of Florida, is
defined as follows: "The southern
boundary of the United States,
which divides their territory from
the Spanish colonies of east and
west Florida, shall be designated
by a line beginning on the River
Mississippi, at the northernmost
part of the thirty-first degree of
latitude north of the equator,
which from thence shall be drawn
due east to the middle of the
River Apalachicola, or Catahouche, (sic) thence along the
middle thereof to its junction with
the Flint; thence straight to the
head of the St. Marys River and
thence down the middle thereof
to the Atlantic Ocean." Article II.
Treaty Between U.S. and Spain,
1795. European Treaties, Vol. 8,
A glance at the map will show
how this boundary has since
become the southern boundary of
Mississippi and Alabama, as well
as Georgia, with the exception of
that stretch where the two more
western states both run their territories down to the coast of the
Gulf of Mexico.
The same treaty which is
quoted above also contained a
clause providing for a joint survey
of this line by two surveyors, one
appointed by the United States
and one by Spain. It was provided
that this survey should be made
within six months of the date of
For the running, of this, the
first line of this boundary, Andrew Ellicott was appointed as
commissioner on behalf of the
United States and Stephen Minor
on behalf of Spain.
Following are the instructlons
issued to Mr. Ellicott by Colonel
Pickering, then United States
secretary of state: "So far as the
boundary line is a parallel of
latitude, you will ascertain the
same with all practicable accuracy, and erect permanent
monuments of stone, where attainable, and at other places of
earth. And in the latter case, it
may be eligible to plant in the
ground large posts of cedar, or
other durable wood, two or three
at each monument, in the range
of the line, and to bury them up
with several feet of earth, so that
by being concealed they may not
be liable to rot. The amounts of
earth may be oblong in the range
of the boundary line. Where cedar
or other very durable wood is
found, a large post may be
erected in the center of each
mount, standing above ground,
with the words United States cut
on one side, and Florida, or
Spanish Florida, on the other."
Department of State. Philadelphia, September 14, 1796.
Timothey Pickering, Secretary of
State. Senate Documents, First
Session; 20th Congress (104)
Thus began the first survey of
the southern boundary. But, unfortunately for Georgia of a later
day, while Eilicott and Minor
made a complete survey of the
line from the Mississippi to the
Chattahoochee and Flint, they
were forced to abandon their
work when the latter river was
reached. Governor Gayoso, of the
Spanish Colonies of Florida,
withdrew the military escort he
had provided, at that point, and
harrassments by bands of Indian
warriors, threatening to plunder
the surveying party while they
worked between the Flint River
and the St. Marys River, so endangered them all that the
survey was abandoned at the
Flint River. Which, of course,
means just where the boundary
line of Georgia of today begins.
Wherefore, the future troubles.
Ellicott and Minor, however,
did accomplish one important object essential to a proper locating
of Georgia's line. They found the
head of the St. Marys River.
It is not so easy, even today, to
say just exactly where St. Marys
River begins. There are at least
three important branches to this
river and Mr. Elilcott traveled up
what he believed to be the
longest, or main branch, as far as
he could go. He then tried to find
out if the river had its source in
the Okefenokee swamp and decided that it had not. He then
erected a mound of earth as near
as he could to what was apparently the true source of the
river and this mound, known as
"Ellicott's Mound", remains to
this day as the starting point of
all surveys since made of the
boundary line. The mound is
shown in the accompanying picture. It has almost worn away in
the intervening years and is indicated in the picture by the man
standing on its top with a gun in
That Mr. Ellicott was right in
his decisions about the source of
the river was later confirmed in
the year 1819. In 1817, Captain
William Cone, then a member of
the Georgia legislature, charged
on his own knowledge that
Ellicott had mistaken the true
head or source of St. Marys Rlver;
that another branch was the main
source, and that the head of this
branch was about twenty miles
south of the point where Ellicott
had erected his mound.
The legislature then authorized
the governor of Georgia to appoint three comissioners to
ascertain the truth of the facts
alleged by Captain Cone. The
three Georgians appointed were
Major Generals John Floyd and
Wiley Thompson and Brigadier
General David Blackshear. After a
faithful discharge of their duty,
these generals reported to the
governor and the legislature.
It is very interesting to know
that the text of this report neither
in the original nor any copy
thereof is to be found in the
archives of Georgia. Secretary
McLendon received a copy of this
report from Dr. Wright, of Cornell
University, and it is herewith
printed, so far as known, for the
first time in Georgia."
Next week: the first known
recorded description of a trip
through what is now known as
Baker County, Florida.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, February 17, 1983
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
The Georgia-Florida boundary
We continue our verbatim
quote from an article written in
1923 for The Sunday Constitution
Magazine: "Fairfield, Camden
County, February 20, 1819. Sir:
We, the commissioners appointed by your excellency, in obedience to a resolution of the
general assembly of the state of
Georgia, passed the 12th day of
December, 1818, for the purpose
of ascertaining the true head, or
source, of the St. Marys river,
have the honor to report that,
pursuant to the object contemplated by said resolution and
in obedience to executive orders
to us severally directed, on the
5th instant we set out for the
town of St. Marys intending there
to arrange the outfit of the expedition, which place we reached
on the evening of the same day.
On the succeeding day, having
made the necessary arrangements for supplying ourselves
and the detachment ordered out
as our escort, in conformity to
your instructions, we set out from
the town of St. Marys, on the
evening of the 6th, for Fort Alert,
or Traders Hill (usually called) on
St. Marys river where the detachment of militia drafted to escort
the commissioners were ordered
to rendezvous on the 8th instant;
which place we reached on the
morning of the 8th; and, at the
close of that day, were mustered
thirty-one men, including officers,
under command of Captain T.H.
Miller. Anxious to avail ourselves
of every means of facilitating the
accomplishment of the contemplated object, with that precision
calculated to meet the expectations of government, we employed Mr. T.T. Woods, of Camden
county, as surveyor, to ascertain by actual measurement
the length of the northern and
southern branches of the St.
Marys river, (these being the principal branches, which, by uniting,
make the St. Marys river) and
thereby, obtain unequivocal testimony on which to predicate our
report. While in St. Marys we had
the pleasure of meeting Major
E.P. Gaines, of the army of the
United States, who apprised us of
his intention to explore the St.
Marys river and the neighborhood
of the Okefenokee swamp, by a
detachment of regulars under the
command of Lieutenant Burch,
which detachment was ordered
to leave Fernadian (sic) on the
morning of the 8th instant and
that he had also ordered Lieutenant Burch, in the event of its
being necessary, to co-operate
with us for mutual security
against the attack of an enemy.
On the 9th instant the detachment of militia, under command
of Captain Miller took up the line
of march for the neighborhood of
Okefenokee swamp, or the head
of the northern branch of the St.
Marys river, supposed to be connected with this swamp. But, on
the suggestion of General
Gaines, who had in the interim arrived on a visit at the garrison, we
halted the militia a few miles in
advance; that gentleman politely
suggested the propriety of
awaiting Lieutenant Burch, with
the detachment under his command, inasmuch as the route
Lieutenant Burch intended to pursue was very nearly that which it
was the duty of the commissioners to prosecute, and would
therefore add to the security of
each detachment; and notwithstanding very little danger was
apprehended from the hostility of
the neighboring Indians, yet the
possibillty of danger was a sufficient justification of the sacrifice
of one or two days to the attainment of the contemplated object.
"On the evening of the 9th, according to anticipation, the
detachment under Lieutenant
Burch arrived; and on the 10th,
the commissioners, in company
with Lieutenant Burch and his
command, joined the command
of Captain Miller - when the whole
proceeded on the march for the
neighborhood of the Okefenokee
swamp and encamped near the
head of the north branch of St.
Marys river, on the evening of the
11th instant. From this encampment, in company with Lieutenant Burch and Griffith, and Dr.
Greene, escorted by a few
horsemen, we explored the country immediately between the
swamp and the head branches of
the northern prong of the St.
Marys river, and were unable to
discover any communication between the swamp and the river.
The surface of the country on the
eastern and southeastern borders of this celebrated swamp,
is an inclined plane, tending to the swamp and from this
circumstance, added to the fact
of the very considerable extent of
the swamp, and the numerous
drains pouring their waters from
the surrounding country into the
swamp, we do not hesitate to admit the possibility that, during
long and excessive rains, the
swamp may discharge some of
its redundant waters over the surface of the country intervening
between the swamp and the head
of the northern branch of the
river, is a poor pine barren of ordinary elevation, thickly covered
with saw palmettoe, (sic) and at
present perfectly dry. Having thus
obtained satisfactory evidence
that there is no positive connection between the Okefenokee
swamp and St. Marys River, we
returned to our encampment,
and immediately commenced our
march down the left bank of this
branch of the river, ordering at the
same time and point a commencement of a survey of this
branch, with a view to ascertain
its length to the junction of this
and its southern branches of the
St. Marys river, and immediately
commenced the measurement of
the latter branch up its left bank
(the McClenny side of the Little
Saint Marys River. Ed. note), and
on the evening of the 14th instant,
reached a considerable swamp,
in which this branch terminates.
Thus having scrupously (sic) examined these several branches,
and compared the appearance,
size and length of the northern
and southern branches, (these
being the main-prongs of the St.
Marys river) and finding the
northern branch of greater length
and size and assuming more the
appearance of a river than the
southern branch, we are therefore
of opinion that Mr. Ellicott and
the Spanish deputation were correct in establishing on the
northern branch the point of
demarcation between the state of
Georgia and the province of east
Florida. The object of the expedition being thus accomplished, we
commenced our return march,
and on the 16th instant arrived at
Fort Alert, where the surveyor and
militia were discharged; and on
the 17th instant, we arrived at
"We have the honor to be, very
respectfully, your excellency's
obedient servants, Wiley Thompson, John Floyd, David Blackshear. His Excellency Governor
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, February 24, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Boundary wrap-up and notes on the Dawkins Lodge
This column had intended to
complete the Sunday Constitution Magazine article on the
Florida-Georgia boundary, but
much of the remainder is redundant, and instead, we shall quote
the final wrap-up paragraphs:
"First: In 1796, Ellicott and
Minor set out to make the survey
but were forced, by roving bands
of hostile Indians, to abandon it
when they reached the point
where the present state of
Georgia begins, on the west, but
how they located the spot, near
the head of the St. Marys River,
where the later surveys have all
begun in the east.
"Second: how Dr. Greene ran a
partial line, but which was later
found to be incorrect.
"Third: In 1820, the state of
Georgia caused Colonel Watson
to run another line north of the
Greene line, known as the Watson line.
"Fourth: The federal government, for the territory of Florida,
ran the third, or McNell line, again
moving the boundary even north
of the Watson line.
Fifth: How the final joint
survey, made in 1859-60 by Orr
and Whitner, finally placed the
line still further north than any of
the others had placed it.
"The Orr and Whitner line was
ratified as the official boundary
of the state of Florida in 1861.
Owing to the war between the
states, Georgia ratification was
delayed, but finally, in 1866, the
Georgia legislature, also ratified
the Orr and Whitner line."
Thus ends the Constitution
story of the boundary. Our
typographer and proof reader are
probably very pleased that they
won't be fighting through all
those extra commas those old-time journalists were so fond of.
From Mr. Larry Scott of the
Dawkins Lodge, F&AM, comes
the following historical McClenny
information. It is closer in time to
us, and some of the older heads
will undoubtedly recognize
several of the names listed.
According to the 1873 proceedings of the Grand Lodge,
Dawkins Lodge, Number 60, at
Sanderson had one of the state's
largest memberships. Dawkins
would remain at Sanderson for
several more years, but most of
its members moved with it to Darbyville when that community
began to challenge Sanderson for
its role as county seat. A number
of gentlemen from the Georgia
Bend section also joined
fellowship with the Darbyville
Please note although we refer
to Darbyville as late as 1888 in
some of our writings, it is to
reflect actual historical facts
rather than confuse you; McClenny as a community name began
to ease in as early as 1881, and
Darbyville as a community name
was not given up by diehard conservatives until as late as 1888.
Members in 1873 were J.J.
Williams, Worshipful Master, U.C.
Herndon, John N. Barnett, John
R. Herndon, John W. Howell,
Jasper Altman, John T. Austin,
James S. Barnett, J.W. Barnett,
T.F. Barnett, H.D. Berry, Hugh
Brown, Edmund Burnsed, R.W.
Cain, George P. Canova, William
C. Cobb, James Combs, James S.
Davis, Belonia Dinkins, B.W.
Fenell, John J. Harvey, T.A. Hill,
James H. Lee, John W. Mann,
James B. O'Quinn, B.J. Roberts,
William Richardson, D. D. Robinson, E. Robinson, A.J. Sweat, L.T.
Taylor, W.L. Taylor, John C.
Thompson, Ansel A. Green, and
Fifteen years later, the cash
book kept by secretary C.F.
Barber listed these names: E.
Burnsed, J.W. Canady, John
Brown (this was the ex-Confederate who first lived at the
present site of the present
Olustee Battle Monument), A.J.
W. Cobb, John R. Herndon, John
Jones, James Kyger, George T.
Pearce, C.A. Young, J.I. Harvey,
Brother Malphus, G. Chisom
(Chisholm, Chism), and C.A.
Also entered was a gift of
$50.00 from the Jacksonville
Masonic community. Since it was
marked "releaf" (relief) and
entered in November, 1888, we
are probably safe in presuming it
was for easing the results of the
infamous and disastrous yellow
fever epidemic of the previous
Brother Barber might have
been secretary, but this writer
knows the book was not written
in his hand...we could read it.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, March 3, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
* Reverend S.S. Gasque was
appointed pastor of the McClenny Methodist Church in 1886. He
was a wholesale grocer, and his
impressive house was at the
southwest corner of McClenny
Avenue and 6th Street. From the
Florida Sentinel - a McClenny
newspaper at the time - came this
announcement: "Farewell Sermon. Tomorrow at 11 A.M. Rev
S.S. Gasque will preach his
farewell sermon at the M.E.
Church at this appointment, and
the evening at Bluff Creek."
The Reverend Gasque's name
was pronounced "gas' key."
* Captain Carr B. McClenny's
store stood on the northeast corner of McClenny Avenue and College Street. He and his wife Ada
planted some sycamores in front
of their store and home. They requested the city to insure the
trees' survival, but the installation of the city water and sewer
system in 1950 caused them to be
cut down. At one time, McClenny's trees formed a tunnel over
* One could ride to Darbyville/McClenny from Jacksonville
in 1888 for $1.40.
* McClenny/Darbyville's newspapers have been the Baker
County Star, Charles Finley, proprietor, established 1884; The
Florida Sentinel, established
about 1885; The Press, established in 1880's, Mott Howard, editor;
The Macclenny Sentinel, established in the 1890's by James B.
Matthews; The Baker County
Press, established 1929, Tate
Powell, Sr., owner; and The Standard in the 1930's by Quentin
* In 1880, Darbyville had a
population of about 80. Five years
later Darbyville/McClenny had
grown to about 200.
* One could stay at the Hotel
McClenny for $2.00 to $2.50 per
day in 1885. The grand structure
had gone up in 1881 (this was
also the first time the name McClenny had been applied to the
town...on advertising) on the
block on which sits the present
city hall. The hotel had over 800
feet of covered, broad veranda.
* Shuey Avenue perpetuates
the name of one of the city's
earliest promoters - C.F. Shuey. He
was an attorney-at-law and land
commissioner of the Florida Improvement and Colonization Society. Mr. Shuey built an attractive home just east of a cotton
field on what is now Fourth
Street. It is rumored he died in the
yellow fever epidemic of 1888,
and his survivors sold the house
to T. Willie Williams. After Mr.
Williams moved to Jacksonville
to help rebuild the city after its
major fire, the house was rented
for a while. After Mr. Williams'
death the widow sold it to Uncle
Mr. Carroll was originally from
South Carolina, was a Confederate Veteran, a prominent
public office holder, and pillar of
the Baptist church.
* Mrs. Alma Geiger has maintained the lovely old house since the
death of her husband, Cecil,
several years ago.
* Max Brown was the youngest
member of the Florida Senate in
1915 and maintained his office in
the Hotel McClenny. A native of
Columbia County, he received his
A.B. degree from the old University at Lake City. He completed his
Law course at Washington and
Lee University before he was 21
and was the only Florida man
ever so elected. (1904). He settled
in McClenny about 1906 and was
elected its mayor three times. At
25 years of age, Mr. Brown was
the youngest state-at-large
delegate ever elected to a
Democratic Convention (Denver,
* To call this city in 1908, one
had only to tell the operator, "give
me McClenny, please." There
were very few telephones in the
county at that time, and one of
them was listed under the Barber-Frink Company.
Barber-Frink raised for sale the
following: oranges, satsumas,
pomelos (grapefruit), lemons,
kumquats, peaches, plums,
pears, persimmons, apples, figs,
pomegranates, loquats, mulberries, apricots, quince, huckleberries, grapes, pecans, walnuts,
Japan chestnuts, chinquapins, almonds, roses, camphor, catalpa, cottonwood, cedrus deodara, cherry laurel and magnolias
of all kinds.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, March 10, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Some old and interesting McClenny structures
Florida's climate, so salubrious to both residents and
Northern visitors, is definitely
not conducive to longevity in
wood structures. This state has,
through most of its history,
depended on wood for almost all
of its building. Besides the termite and rot encouraging climate,
fire took its toll of the state's early wood buildings. Therefore, very
old Florida structures are very
McClenny has some structures
at or near the century mark, and
some will be on the Centennial Historical Homes and Sites
Tour. They and a few other homes
which are not so old but are furnished with antiques and other
items representative of the nineteenth century will be open as living history books to the public in
return for a nominal fee from April
second through April seventeenth.
The following is a list of some
of those venerable structures
with a few sentences about each.
Please understand that much of
the information came from the
older residents of those houses
and from other sources, few or
none of which were around when
the buildings went up or did not
mention a specific building date.
If anyone disagrees, please let
this column know the facts. And,
by-the-way, could we do it
without the all-too-often venom in
the voice that comes with the
mistaken idea that this column
intentionally misrepresented the
facts as a personal insult to the
knower-of-the facts? Thank you.
Padgett House. At the northeast corner of McClenny Avenue and 6th Street, this was the
home for many years of the B.J.
Padgett family. Before that, it
was the home of some Northern
folk named Corbett, and before
that, it is reputed to be the second home of John McClenny,
brother of the founder of the city.
The gentlemanly smile of the affable Barney Padgett warmed up
this corner for many years, and
the site is old McClenny at its best.
This structure is supposedly 100
years old this year, and is at 149
East Florida Avenue. It was considered the city's showplace in
1905, according to an article and
photograph in the Macclenny
Sentinel of the time. Victorian
embellishments are gone now,
but the interior charm is being recaptured by its present owners.
Shuey/Carroll House. The
fourth structure on the east side
of Fourth Street, this lovely old
home was built by attorney
Charles F. Shuey to face a cotton
field. The house vies with another
as being the oldest extant house
in town. Please see last week's
column for more information on
Barber House. The builders of
this, often called the oldest
house in McClenny, were Edward
and Jesse Rowe and the owner
C.F. Barber. One of its prettiest
features was once a second story
tiny covered porch. It was called
"Mother Vic's Porch" because of
the owner's mother's habit of using it daily while excluding all
others from enjoying it.
Herndon/Thompson House -
Some of the older heads claim
the builder was a Northern man
named Merritt (there were several
in town by that name in the days
prior to the yellow fever
epidemic). John Herndon, Baker
County Judge, is supposed to
have purchased it in 1888 soon
after he and the county seat moved to McClenny from Sanderson.
Aunt Jane Herndon, his widow,
operated a boarding house there
for many years. The modern day
inhabitants were the family of Mr.
Jim Thompson. Robert Meara is
presently restoring the place, and
its bright yellow, close to its
original color, lends a note of
cheer next to the old brick courthouse/Emily Taber Library.
Sentinel Office. This two story
house at the northeast corner of
College Street and McIver Avenue
has had a succession of owners,
but many of the old-timers referred to it as the Sentinel office. It
was moved several feet from its
original position when College
Street was widened sometime
around the years of the First
Bob Rogers House - One of the
best preserved houses in the city,
this structure at 327 South College Street went up before the
disastrous yellow fever epidemic
of 1888. One of its turn-of-the-century owners was Bob Rogers
who operated a taxi service in
town. Between turns with his
horse and buggy taxi, he worked
with Clarence Milton in Milton's
store downtown. Some folks say
the house never knew an untidy
housekeeper. The columnist
remembers well Aunt Carrie
Rhoden regularly raking the yard
and scrubbing the porch.
To be continued--
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, March 17, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Some old and interesting McClenny structures
We think we should remind our
readers that not all of the structures we are writing about in this
particular series will be included
on the McClenny Historic Homes
and Sites Tour.
Hardware Brown House - At the
northeast corner of Shuey
Avenue and Fifth Street stands
another "fever house", so-called
because it was built before the
yellow fever epidemic of 1888.
The builder was either W.H. or
James L. Herndon, and subsequent owners were M.E. Howell,
Charly and Mattie Hodges, and
Robert Knabb. The pleasant and
handsome Judge W.M. Brown
moved here from Columbia County and purchased the old Wells
Hardware Store, and it was from
Judge Brown that the house
received its best-known name.
Shuey-Sessions House - Just
out of the southern city limits and
north of George Hodge Road
stands a house believed to have
been built by State Representative Samuel N. Williams in the
years soon after the close of the
War Between the States. It was
later purchased by Dr. M.F. Shuey
and used as a hospital during the
yellow fever epidemic, hence the
long-skirted, female ghosts busily and eternally hauling pails of
water to moaning fever victims
throughout every full moon
season; There were a succession
of owners including Jacob E. Sessions and family and the Bert
Garrett-Williams House. Of pre-fever construction, this house on
north Fourth Street was once
owned by George W. Garrett. Mr.
Garrett owned a sizable section
of town including a horse lot
where the Citizens Bank now
stands. The writer's grandparents
Barber were united in marriage on
the front porch. For many years
Tax Collector George P. Williams
lived in the house, and his widow
is the current owner.
Eisenberg House - Mr. Eisenberg lived in McClenny in the
1890's and into the twentieth century, but whether he built the
house on the northwest corner of
Shuey and Fourth is unknown by
this column. Mr. Eisenberg was a
blacksmith, and his shop and lot
were across the street from his
house. The widow Strickland lived there for several years with a
houseful of daughters. When Mr.
Garrett's wife died just south of
Mrs. Strickland's home, she
became the third Mrs. Garrett.
The Eisenberg House was a fine
example of fishscale shingles
Bair-Worley House. There is
some debate on the construction
date of this house at the corner of
McIver and Third (it originally
stood one block west). Many people remember Mrs. Rosa Worley,
a long-time resident of the house
and an accomplished musician
and social leader in McClenny.
When she left the house, a
lengthy line of old-time McClenny
folks there was ended. The David
Briggs' live there now.
Powers-Green House. Now
located on the southeast corner
of I-10 and 121, this is believed to
be a "fever house." Originally
built on the east side and mid-block of Sixth Street between McClenny and Shuey Avenues, it
was moved to its present site in
the mid 1970's. The writer recalls
that it was the home of the
delightful and ever-smiling Eula
Georgia Wolfe House - Built in
or about 1923 on the northeast
corner of College Street and Minnesota by Mrs. Georgia Williams
Wolfe, this well-preserved structure replaced an earlier house
destroyed by fire. It has always
been a house of quiet, under-stated design and decoration, full
of dignity and well reflecting the
cultured ladies who lived there.
There are houses much older, but
very few are such perfect examples of the architecture of the
Dorman House - Built in 1907 by
Jess Rowe for T.M. Dorman and
conforming exactly to plans
drawn by Mrs. Nettie Bynum Dorman, this type house on the corner of College and McIver is called "Queen Anne." It was once a
social hub of the city. In tacit
answer to criticism from friends
and neighbors about the design
of her house, Aunt Love hung a
sign over the front entrance
stating "Suits Us."
Turner-Rhoden House. Built
about 1903 by Edgar "Bud"
Turner, the longest resident there
was Duncan Rhoden and his wife,
Miss Lila. They helped rear a
group of some of the loveliest
girls (their grandchildren) ever to
grace McClenny. Uncle Duncan
was a son of a Confederate
veteran, and one of the most
pleasant afternoons possible was
to while it away listening to his
gentle voice recall the old days.
Judge Preacher Rhoden
House. Believed by some old-timers to be a "fever house", this
structure on the east side of Sixth
Street between McIver and
Michigan was, for many years,
the home of William R. Rhoden
and his family. Elder Rhoden was
one of the county's most
noteworthy and respected Judges
and Primitive Baptist preachers.
The house has a decidedly
"Yankee look" and was probably
erected by one of the early
Northern transplants soon after
the city was organized.
Citizens State Bank Building - There is disagreement regarding
the building date of the building,
but it is known that it went up
prior to the paving of the present
US 90 because there are photographs of it with dirt roads, mud
puddles, and hitching posts in
front and side. A painting of the
original building hangs in the
present Citizens Bank lobby. The
first structure changed very little
until the 1950's.
Baker County Press Building. Built between 1905 and 1910, it
was home to grocery stores and a
newspaper until bought by Tate
Powell, Sr., for The Baker County
Press in 1929. The bricks for the
very thick walls were lifted to the
top by a mule-powered lift.
To be continued...
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, March 24, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Some old and interesting McClenny structures
Old Baker County Courthouse/Emily Taber Library
Building. This venerable and
handsome structure was erected
in 1908 by Jess Rowe, the man
who built old McClenny, and his
cousin Art Rowe. Your writer was
privileged to have seen the plans
of this buliding many years ago,
and he is pleased that there is no
appreciable difference in the exterior appearance.
Old Baker County Jail/Historical Society Headquarters - An article from the old Sentinel informed that the land was
filled in for this building in early
1911. Locally produced brick was
used in some of the structure, but
being of poor quality, it began to
deteriorate soon. The cell block
wing was added many years later.
Some of the area's best names
are represented by inmate graffiti, and the rusty cell block is
spookier than any horror movie.
The old gallows trap door has
been long covered over. There is a
mystery room with no entrance
above the old office area. The
Historical Society will house
some of its museum acquisitions
in this building during the final
weekend of the centennial
Barber House (Rural). Called by
the family as simply "the House",
this is the home that was never
completed. Built by Jess Rowe
and his cousin-in-law Charly
Barber in 1881, 1886, and 1889
(pick your date, the family
disagrees, and this writer will not
argue with them). It incorporated
material from an earlier structure
from the 1840's. Like most of the
older homes in this area, the
lumber came from C.B. McClenny's sawmill where young Charly
Barber was sawyer. This warm
and friendly old house has been
home to scores of non-family
members who had fallen on unfortunate circumstances, host to
many well-known personalities,
and the birthplace of this writer.
Depot - Constructed in the
1920's to replace an older frame
building about a block to its west,
this is the building represented
on the centennial logo. Your
writer recalls when it was a social
center and just a fine place for
sitting on the platform on Sunday
Branch and Ruth Cone House -
Built by a Mr. Powell in 1915, this
recently remodeled home at the
corner of Fifth and Shuey was
residence for the late Mr. and
Mrs. Cone for many years. Mr.
Cone was a local attorney and the
brother of former Governor Fred
Cone, and Mrs. Cone was a pillar
of the Methodist Church and
volunteer county librarian for a
very long time. Much of the success of the library is due Mrs.
Cone's unselfish and dedicated
work and attitude.
Griffin/Fraser House - Located
in rural south McClenny, this
lovely old house was constructed
in about 1905 by Dave Griffin who
had recently moved from Texas (it
was said he was originally from
"up North"). This site was the old
Griffin Interstate Nurseries, the
precursor of the present Southern
States Nurseries (once billed as
the South's largest). The late
Clem Fraser family lived there for
Taylor/Powers House. On US
90 in west McClenny, this house
was built by Paul Taylor and was
the first electrified structure in
the city (1928). McClenny Councilman and Mayor Dink Powers
snd his wife Sadie spent much of
their lives there.
Business Buildings on South
Fifth Street. The oldest (1903)
masonry building in McClenny is
contained within this group of
structures on the east side of the
street just south of the railroad.
They have been home to such
diversified businesses as Thompson's Grocery, Thompson's Millinery Shop, a movie house, Charly and Mattie Hodges General
Merchandise, Jewel's Fish
Market, the Baker County Standard, and Frank Dowling's
General Merchandise. Two of the
old shops will be open for the
centennial tour-Victoria's School
of Dance and the Knabb Offices-
and both will feature displays of
the city's history.
Goethe Building. Some research by a University of Florida
team has been done on this
block, but this writer has had no
access to it. The Goethes were a
sawmill family operating here in
the early years of the twentieth
century. Its architectural interest
is focused on the top of the
Hotel Annie Block. Perhaps
McClenny's most famous site,
patrons flocked here from along
the eastern seaboard for the
sumptuous fried chicken dinners
at almost give-away prices. It is a
successor to the old Hotel McClenny built in 1881. Like many of
the other historic sites in McClenny, it will be open to the public
during the centennial homes tour.
There are other sites, some old,
some interesting, but our limited
space precludes listing all of
them. Why not treat your home as
an historic site and try to outdo
your neighbor in getting it ready
for the centennial? Visitors will
be hitting the area in about a
week. Are you and your great McClenny home ready for them?
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, March 31, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Some old and interesting McClenny structures
Sites without structures or newer buildings
First Methodist Church. The
cornerstone was laid in 1914. This
brick edifice on North 5th Street
replaced an older white frame
structure built sometime in the
1880's. A Methodist Society was
in Darbyville from the earliest
years, but the church was not
established until the mid 1880's.
First Baptist Church - The
original building, dating from
before 1890, was razed in the
1950's for a newer brick meeting
house. This congregation began in 1877 as the Bethel Baptist
Church south of town (across the
road from the present Woodlawn
Cemetery) and later affiliated
with the newer McClenny Baptist
Church (1883). For many years
this united group went under the
Allen Chapel Methodist Church. This group meets in a
newer sanctuary, but the church
dates from 1871. It was founded
as a separate black congregation
Saint James Baptist Church - Now located on West Boulevard
(Church Street), it is believed to
be the successor of a very old
church from south of the city.
Some old-timers recalled that the
blacks worshipped with Bethel
Church but chose to remain near
the old site when the white
members voted to remove to McClenny Baptist.
Saint James Episcopal.
Established in the early 1880's or
earlier by the Reverend Charles
Snowden, this church has suffered vicissitudes engendered by
fever, changing economy, and
shifting population. Its physical
structure is considered by many
to be the loveliest in McClenny.
Calaboose. The foundation is
still visible at the northwest corner of McIver and Sixth. It dates
from the early 1880's or before,
and it remained in operation until
the First World War.
First Cattle Fever Tick Dipping Vat In Florida. Located on Rowe
Barber Road in south rural McClenny, this site marked the end
of the dreaded tick fever that was
rapidly destroying the state's rich
cattle Industry. Senator C.F.
Barber pitched a gigantic barbeque at his ranch in 1913 to
celebrate the event and to run the
first cattle through the arsenic
Saint James Academy Chapel
and Dormitory - Better known as
the Poythress House, this structure came down several years
ago. It was bulit by C.B. McClenny in 1885 to house the school
established by Mr. Snowden in 1881, but the yellow fever
epidemic of 1888 shut its doors
Hotel McClenny - It was in the
hotel's first advertisements in
1881 that little Darbyville's name-change fate was sealed. Captain
McClenny catered to northern
visitors and commercial travelers. The hotel's heyday was over
in the summer of 1888, but even after the fever epidemic of that
year, the new proprietress Elizabeth Ann Barber continued a
thriving business until the grand
structure burned after the turn of
These do not complete the list
of old and interesting places in
and around McClenny, but they
are representative of the city's
rich heritage. Some of them will
be on the Centennial's Historic
Homes and Sites Tour during the
first three weekends of April.
Some of the homes are far from elegant (your writer's, for instant),
and most have been modified to
conform to today's desire for convenience and comfort. All, however, retain the charm of old McClenny.
Purchase your tour tickets at
The Baker County Press office,
McClenny City Hall, and George Rhoden Agency. At $5.00 per ticket, you can visit every one of the
more than a score of sites. It
could very well be the last big
bargain of your life.
BAKER COUNTY PRESS Thursday, April 7, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
A recap of the 1st Centennial week
Macclenny Avenue was lined
with enthusiastic spectators
Sunday afternoon as Easter
paraders passed in review in their
centennial finery. "Put on Your
Easter Bonnet" sung by children
and seniors on gaily decorated
floats and from cooperative tape
decks along the way cheered the
Under a clear sky as only a
north Florida spring can create,
there were vintage automobiles,
horse and mule units, an impressive Easter float - a joint project of the First United Methodist
Church and Southern States
Nurseries - a miniature covered
wagon, a wheelchair, and hundreds of promenading paragons of
period fashion folk.
To our knowledge, it was Baker
County's first, and, judging from
its reception, the 1983 Easter
Parade might be but the first of
The weekend was a study in
contrasts. The day before the
quiet, pleasant Easter parade was
blustery and filled with unexpected
excitement as Gary's Tush Hawgs
descended on beard violators and
dunked them in the dipping vat on
the city hall parking lot.
The hapless breakers of the
beard code were mercilessly, and
justifiably, hauled through the
streets of Macclenny in the bear
cage. We might say that despite
the gorilla size (and appearance)
of the beard posse, they were
sometimes hard-put to
consumate the dunking act when
they tackled certain wirey and
There mysteriously appeared
tacked to sundry sites a rash of
challenges to the authority, and a
questioning of the virility, of the
Tush Hawgs. These came to light
concurrent with Sunday's dawn.
A salient feature of the weekend
festivities was Robin
Higginbotham's Gospel Concert
in west Macclenny. It could well
be billed as the world's only drive-in Gospel Concert; the lot across
the street was filled with a parked
audience. There will be another
Saturday at 10 am.
Ol' Don was a perfect host Friday night for the first function of
the centennial. Hutto's Restaurant was the scene for a great
dance with music by the Eddings
Brothers (those boys are good!).
We trust you will show Mary and
Don your appreciation for being
the very first sponsors of the very
first event of the very first Macclenny Centennial.
There will be another shin-digging this Saturday down in
west Macclenny at 8 pm. For
those of you who complained
that just as you were getting
started, it was all over, may we
suggest that you get started
when the band does? Try parking
those vehicles for a while and put
your feet into four wheel drive.
Come this Sa'day nite.
Saturday will be a busy day
with the Macclenny Merchants
Co-op Sale (the Sale of the Century). See the ad elsewhere for the
merchants taking part and spend
your money at home. These people are making this centennial
While in town, take your kids
around to the depot area for the
pony rides and petting zoo. For a
nominal fee the kids can re-live
the wild frontier days of old
Florida atop a mighty mustang (or
maybe a Shetland pony). For a
quieter thrill, try petting a brand
new goat kid and a baby lamb.
You raquetball enthusiasts will
want to get around to Todd's Gym
for the big tournament beginning
at 9 am.
If you're not into raquetball or
petting goats, don your centennial duds (try to make them
authentic...no TV-inspired stuff),
and join us for a promenade
through Jacksonville's shopping
malls and centers. We're leaving
city hall at 11 am, on the dot.
Come early and let's make pictures.
Pick up your historic homes
and sites tour tickets and maps at
city hall, George Rhoden Agency,
or The Press offce before 4:30
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, April 14, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Rain soaks sale; but not the dance
Although inclement weather
prevented a successful Merchants Co-op Sale Day Saturday,
all ended on a cheerful and
musical note. Margie's Street
Dance was called by some the
best ever held in the city. All the
friendly and accommodating merchants in west Macclenny went
out of their collective way to
make the evening a happy one.
Look for another frolic in the
same area this Saturday night at 7.
West Macclenny will not wait
for evening to light up. David's
Barber and Beauty Designers and
Pat Dugger are going all out with
organ music all day. The famed
Nice House of Music will co-operate with them for the day
Music will still be the theme of
the day with the Gospel Singing
Concert between Sherry's Restaurant and WBKF starting at 10
a.m. There is a rumor that if
things are going right, they might
not even finish up by the scheduled 2 p.m.
There won't be food concessions down at the west end Saturday...there are enough fine restaurants and sandwich shops to
satisfy the most discriminating
tastes and ravishing appetites. If
you can't find it in the west Macclenny shopping area, you don't
need it. Margie's and the Sub
Shop will be open late. Show
them your appreciation.
This week the fine folks out in
south Macclenny Join in (they've
been with us all the while, but
now they're giving us some real
big action). Cedarwood Shopping
Center activities begins at noon
with a Macclenny first, a
weightlifting demonstration and
physique posing, compliments of
Todd's Gym. If you ladies can
stand it after the couple hours of
the city's best beefcake, there
will be the Bear Country Cloggers
immediately following. All will
then turn to old-fashioned
musical entertainment and dancing. The Flatland Bluegrass Band
will be picking and fiddling, and
we hear they are outstanding.
There will be concessions out
at Cedarwood, and the fine merchants will be open to take care
of your hunger and nibbles
No doubt, some are wondering
about the apparent lack of
foresight and complete disregard
of sponsoring folks' feelings by
having two or more functions at
the same time. We refer you to
our first flat-out statement when
we began making plans - "Activities and events will be non-stop and concurrent at various
sites within the city and thus
avoid needless and embarrassing
gaps. No one celebrant will be
able to attend and participate in
all scheduled events and acttivities." Reason? Safety (less
heavy congestion might mean
fewer run-over people), convenience of our visitors and local
celebrants (would you want to
stand a half mile from the only activity going on at the time?), and
lack of space (we are definitely
short on coliseums, available
football stadiums, and huge
Starting off the day will be the
Centennial Bass Tournament at
Ocean Pond. Trophies will be
awarded for the biggest bass, and
perhaps there will be a trophy for
the biggest fish fib. The hours are
7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The old Wagon Wheel (West 90
Auction) will be the scene of an
antique and depression glass
show all day Saturday. Wander in
and view some Baker County
treasures hosted by Jeanette
One of our biggies for the day
is the Arts and Crafts Show in the
citizens Bank Parking Lot (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.). The Arts and Crafts Show
will feature what its name impiles
as well as a very interesting old-timey wood-working demonstration by Nick Nichols of Mandarin.
Entertainment and concessions
will be a pleasant adjunct to the
Friday, April 15, and Saturday,
April 16, are the big rodeo nights.
Come down to the Riding Club
grounds in southwest Macclenny
at 7 p.m. for some of the best roping, riding, and bull-tossing
you've ever seen. There'll be
clowns, excitement, and one
heck of a good time. Tickets are
$3 and $5 and are available at the
Now, what you've all been
waiting for (you have, haven't
you?)...Darbyville lives again! On
the site of the old Hotel Annie you
will find a reasonable facsimile of
old Darbyville. Drop by to photograph, amble, buy, and to enjoy
the ambience of an old frontier
Florida town. You will be
The Homes and Sites Tour continues from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
and from 2 p.m. until 4. Tickets
are available until Friday at 4:30
at The Press Office, City Hall, and
George Rhoden Agency. They
may also be purchased Saturday
morning at City Hall and at the
Rhoden Agency from 10 until 12.
This is the last week for the tour.
There will be no continuation
next weekend; get your tickets
and go now.
Listen for updates on the
schedule on WBKF-FM, the voice
of the Macclenny Centennial
(they're such nice folks down
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, April 21, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
Well, it's our final weekend to celebrate!
In spite of windy, rainy, and
chilly weather, Centennial activities have been moving right
along, smoothly and well. Our
crowd estimators' figures varied,
and we averaged them up to
4,000. More important than
numbers of celebrators were the
numbers of smiles on the faces of
those celebrators. If the purpose
of this fest is to have fun, we're
right on target.
If a person had a little change,
there was no excuse for his going
away hungry. The food and assortment of same was outstanding...everything from superior
biscuits and sausage to real
strawberry shortcake that was
magnanigoshious. There will be
an even wider variety this coming
Saturday. Look for all the refreshment and foods concessions
clustered around the centers of
activity at the City Hall, Citizens
Bank parking lot, and, of course,
Darbyville Mall. There will be no
concessions down in the west
end of town, but the merchants
there will be open for your convenience.
As for activities and entertainment, please check the ads elsewhere. There will be everything
from a shotgun wedding to a tobacco spitting contest. Don't sit
in one place but do keep moving
from the east end near City Hall,
by Darbyville Mall, over to the
bank parking lot, and on down to
the west end.
City Hall - Kelly Norman and
Bob Gerard will be strumming
and singing from 10 a.m. until 11.
Robert Combs and Mark Gainey
take over with some picking until
12:30. We'll take a break for the
parade, and Jeffery Platt will sing
at 2 p.m. Roy Snow will appear at
4. Gather under the lynching tree
for some good old time, home-grown entertainment.
Bank Lot - 10 a.m. until 11 is
open, but there will be noise or
entertainment of some sort.
Todd's Gym will present aerobics
from 11 until 11:30. The Bear
Country Cloggers will return after
a successful session at Cedarwood last week. They entertain
from 11:30 to 12:30. After the
parade, Billy Nash and Hickory
Wind (home-grown recording artists) appear until 5 p.m.
West End - Beginning Thursday
evening at 5, Cheryl Brown will be
conducting the Middle School
Advanced Band in front of
David's, and the Baker County
High Wrestilng Team will be
featured Friday at 5 p.m. A genuine shot-gun wedding is scheduled for 7 p.m. in front of David's.
Judge D.L. Griffis will officiate.
On Saturday, the Nice House of
Music and David's will present an
organ concert all day, and the
Jacksonville Firebirds Cheerleaders will show up at 5.
The big finale' weekend will
bring you two street dances. The
first will be Friday night in the
west end with Floyd Harvey and
Mark Gainey and Flatland Bluegrass and the Eddings Brothers.
Saturday will end up the dancing
in the streets with Tommy Ott's
band at Neil Lee's Convenience
Store at the corner of 23A and
Don't forget the Grand Centennial Ball Saturday in the high
school gymnasium. Tickets are
still available at City Hall and
from members of the Junior Woman's club.
Darbyville's Friday evening activities will be some impromptu
music sessions; the opening of
the commemorative post office
(collectors, get there early) in the
afternoon; the Costume Parade
and judging at 7:30; and your last
chance to get an official souvenir
shirt, cap, and badge.
For the athletic minded, there
are the softball tourneys on
Saturday and Sunday (about 20
teams competing), the 5000 meter
run, and the one mile fun run.
There is still a little time to enter
the runs. Call Marie and Lucky
Bell at 259-2013 or stop in at City
Hall for your entry form.
The county museum in the old
Jail will be open Friday and Saturday, and there will also be an old
fashioned Cracker-type dinner
served there on Saturday. A quilt
show and home remedy museum
are scheduled at Sands Motor
Company all day Saturday.
Gramma's Kettle will be open
in the Dykes Building for those
who might wish to sit and rest in
air conditioning while they eat.
And, next door, one can lose his
dinner by riding the mechanical
The big parade begins at 1 p.m.
and travels along East Boulevard
and US 90, and immediately following is the skirmish at Barber's
Plantation re-enactment on the
east bank of the St. Mary's River.
Beards will be judged Saturday
night in Darbyville, and fireworks
begin at or near 9 p.m. One of the
biggies for the weekend will be
the Marine's Pageant of Flags at
the street dance at 8:30 p.m. We
strongly recommend your viewing
this stirring sight.
There will be so much more,
but space does not allow a complete listing. Stop by the information booths or stop one of the
well-marked hosts or hostesses
and ask about the schedule.
Whatever else you do, come
downtown this weekend and
celebrate the city's first one hundred years.
THE BAKER COUNTY PRESS, Thursday, April 28, 1983 Page Two
THE WAY IT WAS - Gene Barber
The celebration is now history;
(and great history it is). All those
involved claim that it was worth
the few pains and headaches,
and most have now forgotten
about the pains and headaches.
Some (bless their hearts) say
such never existed.
About the worst your writer experienced was a long series of
sleepless nights that came, not
from worry about problems, but
from a conspicuous lack of same.
We don't have to brag on the
job we all did. You, delightful
public, have been doing that for
us. However, we shall edge
toward boasting by giving you a
general idea of how your Centennial committee pulled it off.
We began by sitting down and,
in a creative manner, deciding
just what it was we intended to
do about the project and exactly
what the project was. We came
up with a purpose and concept,
and we stuck to it. Among other
things, it gave seven reasons for
having celebrations: (1) celebrating the first 100 years of the city
bearing the name McClenny (or
Macclenny or MacClenny or MacCleriney, etc..); (2) showcasing our
city's assets, personality, and
talents to both our own residents
and to a wider audience of out-of-towners; (3) presenting the authentic history of the city to our
own residents and to our neghbors and visitors; (4) re-creating
civic pride by recalling the city's
rich heritage and by involving our
citizens in a large-scale cooperative effort, (5) giving reason to resurrect the failing downtown; (6)
giving a positive surge to the
local economy; and (7) providing
an opportunity for festive times.
The purpose and concept further analyzed our city and
planned the type of occasion accordingly. We wished to combine
history with contemporary tastes
and avoid television-inspired
themes and terms, and we carefully tried to not alienate any segment of our society.
We decided to use color,
sound, and movement and to
make events and activities non-stop and at more than one location throughout the big day.
We determined to remain democratic in all stages and aspects
of planning, operation, and participation. If anyone was left out of
anything, it was by his own
choice...the opportunity and invitation were there. We searched
out untapped human resources.
We used someone other than the
same overworked people and the
same perennial committee-fillers.
One did not have to be rich, a
degree-holder, club affiliate,
swinger, or pubilc figure to work
on or, chair a committe.
We planned to keep our entertainment suitable for a family affair. We directed much toward the
kids, and the schools' involvement was at the core of events
One of the smartest things we
did (and it would behoove more of
us in our county to think along
these lines) in our purpose and
concept was to provide guide-lines and a few regulations from
which committee chairs could
not stray or fool around with and
then let them all alone until they
had done their jobs. They did not
have to return to the director or to
the general meeting to seek permission for anything else, and
that saved scads of time and confusion.
The basic rules did insist that
all committee chairs bring in regular reports for the purpose of incorporating all into the over-all
event and to avoid conflicts. The
director did become a bit arbitrary and dictatorial by including
a final sentence in the purpose
and concept that his was the final
say. That final rule was clearly
stated, not harped on, and was
used very infrequently.
We insisted that problems and
conflicts be resolved quickly, not
discussed among workers, and
kept from the public.
All this was put on paper and
placed in the hands of the committee chairs. It worked. Onto and
within that framework went many
hours by many people, and most
of both went unseen and will
probably remain unsung. Adhering to our unwritten rule of not
permitting anyone to misuse the
celebration for vainglorious purposes, we pushed no particular
names. We would like to publish
a list of thank you's, but that can
be dangerous when a few names
are inadvertently omitted.