• Sunrise over the Fort George River in the Timucuan Preserve.

    Timucuan

    Ecological & Historic Preserve Florida

Memoirs of Gertrude Rollins Wilson

Memoirs of Mrs. Millar Wilson, Gertrude Rollins Wilson, 1952

A memoir of Gertrude Rollins Wilson’s life including her childhood on Kingsley Plantation.

Transcribed by Betty Jones on March 19, 2009, at National Park Service, Kingsley Plantation from a copy of typed Memoirs of Mrs. Millar Wilson produced by Dena Snodgrass.

#1
Spring 1952
Gertrude Rollins

MEMOIRS of Mrs. Millar Wilson

Preface

This tale of a long life must begin with my parents and includes a notebook kept by my father during a trip to Florida in 1868.

My father, John Frank Rollins, was born in Dover, New Hampshire in 1835. He was the son of Daniel Rollins and Mary Plummer of Rollinsford. Alonzo Rollins, founder of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, was a cousin of my father.

My father spent his boyhood days in the family home in Rollinsford and went to school in Dover. When a young man he worked in a drug store in Concord, New Hampshire, owned by his brother Edward. He learned a great deal about drugs and dispensing medicine from the head druggist, a man named Cone, of whom he was very fond of relating stories.

He married Hannah Breck Peters, daughter of Judge Onslow Peters of Peoria, Illinois, in 1856.

His health was very precarious and he could not remain in New England. He went west during the Gold Rush and brought home many specimens of ore and Indian relics. He used to tell us of his “Gold Mine” and laugh over its failure. He also told us many exciting stories of Indian and other adventures.

He dispersed drugs for the Army during the Civil War and I still have the chest in which he carried his medicines. Because of his ill health he was disinclined to tell us what he really accomplished in the only way he could serve.

From his notebook and from the memories of his talks with us I believe he was in the South at least once before 1868. During that year his throat trouble again became alarming so he set out once more to find a climate where he could live. He left is wife and two small sons in Concord.

He seemed to have sufficient funds at that time to finance himself and his family comfortably and to purchase the Plantation at Ft. George, for which he paid $10,000.

In the notebook written during his trip to Florida he tells of his enjoyment in meeting the Florida people and the kindness he received. He tells of his many trips to see different plantations and of his family buying, with the help of he new friends, Ft. George Island when it was sold to satify the claims against it.

My father went North and at once began plans for taking over Ft. George Plantation. He returned South and as soon as the house was habitable sent for my mother and the two boys.

He loved to tell us about stepping from the Charleston boat on his first visit as owner; he was met by a delegtion of Pilot Town men armed with long rifles. It must have taken a good deal of courage to meet this reception for he was a small man and not strong, but he walked through the group and they did nothing to stop him. These men afterward became his friends.

When my mother arrived she rode mule-back over the place and spent her first night in a room on the west side of the house. During the night a wild cat jumped onto the roof sending up its mournful cry. My mother moved into the east room the next morning and never again slept in the west rooms.

My mother soon accustomed herself to the life. She set up a well filled medicine chest and with my father’s knowledge of drugs soon was able to take care of the household ills and of the neighbors also. She was called Madame Rollins by all about her and finally just “The Madame”. She spent almost all of her life on Ft. George and died there at the age of sixty-five years.

The Ned Denny mentioned in the notebook, was my mother’s cousin from Boston.

My father repaired the house which at that time still showed marks of cannon balls on its walls, and went to work to rehabilitate the plantation. He set out about 100 acres of orange trees, Planted sugar cane and other crops but found it hard to manage the freed slaves. He imported some Swedes but the venture was not a success as all they wanted was passage to America.

The orange trees grew splendidly and in the time supported the plantation. There was a lemon grove on the extreme northwest of the house that may have been planted in Kingsley’s time. The orange groves were near the house, both east and west, while the fields further south were kept for sweet potatoes, corn and oats. The oats was cut for hay for the stock.

When the hotel was built I believe considerable produce as sold there but I have no remembrance of it, being to young. I do remember a long line of cold frames used to start tender vegetables. My mother had a beautiful rose garden and many other plants about the house.

In 1877 my father formed a company to build a hotel on the Island and sell home sites to Northern visitors. His partners were a Mr. Porter from Upland, Pennsylvania and a Dr. George Hall, a botanist. A number of people came to the hotel and several places were sold. Among those who built houses were my mother’s step-nephew, Frank Weston, William Lownes, John Stewart, Will and Robert Stewart and Admiral Cooper. A Mr. McIntyre built a cottage and George Fletcher, the architect of the hotel, also built a cottage.

The hotel was a success until one of the periodic epidemics occurred, when it was closed and not reopened.

The plantation was not bringing in enough money to support the family so my Uncle Edward Rollins, then Senator from New Hampshire, secured for my father the position as Receiver in the Land office in Gainesville. I believe he was very successful at this and had many friends in Gainesville, one of whom I remember him talking about was a Mr. Dutton.

My father remained in Gainesville, coming home for holidays, until a change of administration caused him to loose the office.

By this time the orange groves had come into full bearing and supported the plantation and the family. My mother had also her inheritance from her father turned over to her.

My father went to the Florida Savings Bank, of which the Mr. Greely, of the notebook, was President. I believe my father was Vice President, but I am not sure what office he held. He put his own money in stock in the bank and also some of my mothers money. Most of his was lost at the time of the failure during another yellow fever epidemic.

My father remained at his post and endeavored to help hold the bank together but caught the fever and was taken to the camp called the “Sandhills” and later sent home to us at Ft. George, in a very precarious state of health. He did not attempt to go into any business or do any other work from then on until his death.

My father was a great student, a lover of books, and I have what was in those days a considerable library which he collected. He was a most earnest Horticulturalist and his friendship with Dr. George Hall enabled him to collect many rare and interesting plants from all over the world. It was from him that I learned to study botany seriously and my mother was equally devoted to horticulture.

My father died in 1905, after a painful illness.

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CHILDHOOD

I was born on the 6th of November 1872. Mom Caroline took me out of my mother’s room and handed me to Tannie, who was then ten years old, saying “Here is your baby.” Tannie took one look at me and burst into tears, sobbing, “I wanted a WHITE baby.” I must have been very red and had black hair. However, she forgave me and was my devoted nurse until I was married, when I was twenty years old.

I can remember asking her one day, “Tannie, how is it that I cannot remember your ever saying a harsh word to me or even reproving me?” Her reply was, “Why, Trudy Dear, I never had to”. Tannie always called me “Trudy Dear” and as I could not say “Hannah” I called her “Tannie”, which became her name.

Tannie taught me manners which remained with me all through my life. One was never to touch a colored person and that I must always be “Little Missie”. On the other hand, all grown-up colored people must be addressed as “Uncle” or “Aunt” and treated with proper respect. On one occasion when I was having a meal at a table set aside for me, Tannie called Aunt Celie in and said “See, Aunt Celie what a little lady Trudy Dear is? “See how clean her glass is? That is because she always wipes her mouth before drinking.” Aunt Celie, was properly impressed and it was a lesson I never forgot.

Tannie married the same year I did, a man named Verdel Reynolds of Fernandina. They had three children, all of whom I believe went North to live after she died.

My earliest memory is of walking along a sidewalk in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania bordered on each side with mock orange shrubs in full blossom. The perfume and the flowers so entranced me that Tannie could not persuade me to go on until she promised to bring me back the same day. There was another nurse and child with us but I have no further memory of that event. It was of a boy named Charlie, who persuaded me to hide from our nurses in some tall corn. Also, he organized some races in which I ran so hard that I fell and was so out of breath that I was forbidden to play with Charlie again.

Another memory of that time is, of a dance pavilion built high from the ground and which bounced as the young people danced. There was deaf and dumb child child, several years older than I, who attempted to thrust me off the dance floor by running and pushing me desperately toward the side. Fortunately, Tannie saw what the girl was attempting to do and rescued me. So, there was another child I was forbidden to play with.

I was allowed to play with my brothers as they always took excellent care of me. My brother Paul made a lot of soldiers out of the ends of boards that we sawed off in the carpenter shop. These he painted to represent union and Confederate soldiers. There was one wonderful soldier called “The Captain” that I was never allowed to play with and this was the one desire of my heart. I unfortunately was always made to be a Confederate and had to be on the losing side.

When my brothers went away to school I was given the great box of soldiers, but alas! When I took them out under the big hickey tree where we always played and where our forts had been all the joy was gone for my brothers were not there. So I put the soldiers away and never played with them again; even the passion of my beloved Captain was no longer a joy for he was just a piece of wood.

When I was still quite small an old Dutchman came to dig muck to fertilize the orange groves. He had with him a tiny fox terrier called “Teena”. I fell desperately in love with teena and she with me. When the Dutchman was ready to leave, having finished his job, he asked my mother to let him give the little dog to me for he could not bear to part us. We were devoted comrades from that time on until she died several years later. Teena bore many puppies. The only ones I remember were Clyde and Laddie. One of our cousins, Sarah Burleigh, came to visit us on her wedding trip. She had with her a beautiful collie called Clyde. He was the father of Teena’s two puppies. These two grew up but formed the habit of self-hunting and on one such hunt Clyde was struck on the head by a rattlesnake. The whole family sat up all night with young Clyde and we forgot all about poor Laddie. Clyde died towards morning and later that day we found Laddie under a cedar tree with his head resting on a low limb, quite dead. He had not been struck by the snake so we could only believe that, being the weaker of the two, he died of grief.

My next dog was a hugh great hound called Max Adler who I loved devotedly but was poisoned while we were away on our annual summer trip North.

On another occasion I was given several pairs of pidgeons. Two cots were built, one over the carriage house on the east side of the house and the other in the top of the chicken house on the south. No doubt the idea was to supply squabs to the hotel but, unfortunately, the pidgeons were given to me and although they multiplied rapidly until there were over one hundred if anyone suggested killing one of my beloved squabs I went into such flood of tears that the idea was abandoned. I doubt if the family ever had one squab to eat, much less sell.

About this time three painters came to visit us. The first was a black and white artist, Harry Fenn. He gave me a lovely sketch I still have of the Duck Pond. The second I remember only as Mr. Seamour. He was a water color artist and gave my mother the beautiful picture of PointIsabelle, which hangs in my room today. The third was a Rollins’ cousin, a painter in oils. He was rooted in my memory because he admired my brown hair and on one occasion my mother found him tossing my long hair up so it would catch the sunlight. He was exclaiming on the effect of the sun on my hair. My mother was horrified. She called to me to come in at once and told Tannie to braid my hair in two pigtails and never let it hang down again. Meanwhile, she gave me a lecture on vanity, which I never forgot.

Cousin Rollins painted a picture of the old stables and asked to have me pose for him. I was delighted and had a vision of a lovely picture. Imagine my chagrin when it turned out to be a little figure in a big palmetto hat perched up on the seat of a dump cart. My vanity was quelled once and for all. Cousin Rollins gave my mother the “Moonlight” scene that now hangs in my dining room.

I believe the end of the first Hotel Company followed a severe epidemic of yellow fever. I know that Mr. Porter and Dr. Hall went away and never returned. My father had the fever and was sent to the sandhills to recover. Major, then Captain Holmes, went to him and nursed him back to health. This was the second time Captain Holmes had rescued my father. The first time I know little about except that on a trip together in ’49 the two men were surrounded by Indians. My father was wounded by an Indian arrow and Captain Holmes carried him on his back to safty. Major Holmes, after he was obliged to give up his job on the jetties, because of congressional ruling that Army Officers could not take government jobs, went to work as superintendent on the old Florida Railroad which position he held for many years. He lived to a great age on his pension and died in Jacksonville when he was ninety-eight years old. He was buried in our family lot in the Evergreen Cemetery. We all remained at Ft. George and were strictly quarantined. We had to live on the products of the place. I cannot remember ever being short of food, only our barrel of flour got weavils in it and we had to rely on corn bread. Also, we had to help out certain refugees who came to us from time to time on the river.

This epidemic was a severe blow to Florida as a resort and it was not until some time later in 1887 that my Uncle, Senator Edward Rollins, undertook to rehabilitate the Hotel. Money was raised in Boston and New York and a company formed. A beautiful hotel was built in front of the old one, and another era of prosperity began for the Island. The hotel was filled with Northern guests; once more fine horses pranced through the avenues; lots were sold and it seemed that all would be well. Unfortunately, the manager went West for the Summer and neglected to renew the insurance. Tom Christopher Tannie’s brother, was left as care-taker. He had a broken down stove in his quarters and it fell down, exploded and the whole hotel burned to the ground. Gradually the stables in the woods to the west of the hotel decayed and vanished.

The beach house had never been reopened and that to was blown down, washed away and wrecked by campers. So nothing was left of all that had been spent on the enterprise.

My mother recovered the money she had invested in the Greely Bank, so we were able to live on at our homes on the Island.

On one occasion I was allowed to go for a visit to Tannie’s father and mother, Uncle Tom and Aunt Katie. They were living at that time on an island near New Berlin. When I left for home, Uncle Tom gave me a young horned owl with a chain about his body. He was just a mite of a little fuzzy creature but I loved him dearly. He grew to an astonishing size – six feet from tip to tip of his wings. Being nocturnal in habit, Goggles spent the daylight hours either on his perch on the cedar tree, or on a rafter in the woodshed. It must have been quite a sight to see this great bird fly down from the sky lighting so gently with his great claws on my little stick of an arm. “Goggles” would let me do anything with him play dead on his back or flying with me holding on to his feet.

One evening Clara White, who had come to cook for us, bringing Eartha, her daughter, sent Eartha to the woodshed for wood. Goggles was just waking from his day-long sleep and without meaning any harm alighted on Eartha’s head. His claws became entangled in her hair and her screams could be heard all over the place. Goggles tried to fly out of the shed, dragging poor Eartha with him. My mother came to her rescue but was obliged to cut Goggle’s great claws out of Eartha’s hair. My mother was nauseated by Goggle’s habit of sitting all day long with the tail of a rat or a snake hanging out of his bill while he slept. Of course, I defended my precious pet with all my might and poor mother just had to put up with it. Goggles was shot one summer when we were north by Mr. John Stewart, who caught him flying about his place.

Dr. George Hall, one of my father’s partners in the first hotel venture, bought the plot of land now belonging to Dr. Manning’s family. While we while were north on our usual summer trip he gave orders to George Fletcher to build him an exact duplicate of our house. When we returned one room was completed with the little castle on top. My mother was naturally upset and my father stopped the work and no more of the house was ever built. The little square room is still there and forms the kitchen part of the Manning house.

I was given my first gun when I was ten years old. It was alight, single barreled shotgun, which I could carry easily. I soon became a rather good shot but I had one extreme difficulty. Even when my mother wanted ducks or river birds for the table I hated so much to kill my beloved birds that I frequently did not shoot when I should have done so.

One day I was hunting through our pecan grove when I saw a huge rattlesnake curled up under a tree waving his head back and forth while a little squirrel came slowly down the truck of the tree; his eyes fixed on the gleaming eyes of the snake. I shot the snake and picked up the squirrel that had reached the ground by this time. He was quite unconscious and allowed me to tuck him away in the front of my dress. Upon reaching home I put in my bed where he lay quite still for many hours. We got a box for him and put nuts and water in it. My mother said he was hypnotized and would probably come out of his stillness. Sure enough, by morning we was well enough to eat some nuts but it was several days before he was a normal squirrel. Had I not been there he would, no doubt, have been swallowed whole by the snake. He was always quite tame and loved to sit on my shoulder to eat his nuts. The next time one of the family went to town, a fine cage with a wheel was bought and spent many hours whirling about in the wheel. He grew to be a fine big squirrel and, as we never shut the door of his cage spent many happy hours running about the trees.

When the new hotel was closed the first summer a couple, named Petette, were left to take care of it. I think they had been clerks, or something of the sort. They had bought a lot just across the road from the hotel and began to put up a two-story house. It never reached beyond the second-story rafters, and never had a roof. We called it “Petette’s” Folly”. Mrs. Petette gave me lessons of some sort—I think it was piano. My chief remembrance was of the glass of weak lemonade she gave me every day made of one-half of a lemon for each of us. I thought this most remarkable, being used to having all the oranges and lemons I wanted. I fancy I never told my mother about this as I am sure my mother, being the most generous soul alive, would have seen that the Petettes needed help. However they went away finally, and we heard nothing more of them. Their house gradually fell down and rotted away.

During the first seven years of my life my cousin by marriage, Frank Weston, lived with us. He bought a tract of land that is now a part of the Sanctuary. He called it Tanglewood. He built a house on it and expected to marry Anna Lowndes, sister-in-law of Harry Parker, and live there. Something broke up the engagement and Frank went North. Neither Frank nor Anna ever married. I have my own idea of what broke up the marriage, but I have no proof. I always thought my uncle Henry Weston wanted Frank back with him.

Uncle Henry was married to my mother’s sister. He had four children by a first wife; Frank, John, Lucy and Dora. Frank returned to Upland, where his father was president of Crozier Theological Seminary. Frank remained a devoted son and assistant to his father as long as Dr. Weston lived.

There must have been a great deal of tuberculosis in Pennsylvania at that time, for not only was Frank Weston threatened with it, but Lucy’s husband and, a Baptist minister, died of it leaving a wife and three children for Uncle Henry to bring up.

By the time Frank was well enough to return home, John his brother who was studying medicine, was threatened with the same malady and came to us for two years. He recovered, finished his medical course and went to Duluth to practice. He married in Philadelphia and had three children. At the close of his life he moved to California. When he was well on in his 90’s he wrote me from Pasadena saying he had seen something about me in a paper or magazine and would like to hear from me. I answered his letter at once and told him all about what had happened to “Little Gertie”, as he called me. I never heard anything more from him.

LETTER

John B. Weston, M.D.
530 East Florida Avenue
Hemet, California
September 9, 1943

Dear Gerty;

Maybe it is a long time since you have been called Gerty but it is the name I used to call you and I am using it again. The Westons and the Rollins have not heard from each other for many years and might not now if I had not read in one of the “Rivers of America”. “The St. Johns River” of you (sic) fine action in doing what you did in the matter of game protection and the opportunity for scientific investigation and study. When I saw that I immediately made up my mind I would write to you and tell you something about the Westons here. In return if you would tell me something of your life, it would be nice.

I shall never forget the good times I had at Fort George that winter nor the gracious hospitality your mother extended to me; nor the afternoons you and I spent riding horseback or rowing in the inlet. Do you recall the Sundays? Your mother was very strict in the observance of the Sabbath and our trips &c. were restricted. I say do you remember how we left the gate open Saturday night so the little takies could come in and give us sport chasing them out? I think Aunt Hannah never caught on it. So many nice things were done for me and all payment refused. I did send down a couple of Jerseys as little appreciation but alas it did not turn out just as I hoped for the man who shipped them sent them by express and the bill was large. I could not pay it in advance and when your father got it he refused to turn it over to me. At the same time he was mad and I could do nothing to improve the situation. However I had the satisfaction of knowing that when Jacksonville was quaranteed (sic) on account of yellow fever, the little heifer supplied butter and cream that could not be had otherwise. The little bull succomned to flies and so the hope I cherished that the two would be the start of a good herd, did not materialize. They were from prize stock, and sold to me by a man who quarreled with the Stock Ass. Or what you call it and who never would register them in the book… (Rest of letter about Weston family)

John B. Weston, M.D.

When Cousin John went home, after spending two years with us, he sent me a wonderful great dane puppy. I shall never forget my mother bringing the puppy in to me when I lay recovering from a bou of malaria. We called him Dane and he grew to be a wonderful dog, but like all our dogs, was poisoned when we went north, by people who wanted to hant over our land.

Sadie Burleigh (Mrs. Charles) of South Berwick, N. H. was another cousin who spent a long time with us. Sadie was the granddaughter of Uncle John Plumber. The Burleighs were a very well-to-do family of South Berwick, and Sadie had some money of her own. They came to us on their wedding trip and had with them Charles Butler, Sadie’s brother. Charles Burleigh had no idea of settling down and soon left his bride with us to go off with Charlie Butler on some sort of a wild trip. Sadie bought the Parker house next to Frank Weston’s place. She had thirty-six acres, a house and stable, and a back lot of ten acres. Poor Sadie waited in vain for her young husband to come back and start their home life in the lovely place she had bought. He never came and she finally went home to her grandfather with whom she lived the rest of her life. She rejoined Charlie Burleigh from time to time. There never seemed to be any talk of divorce; Charlie simply eanted to be free. He finally died in poor Sadie’s arms in the Plumber home with cancer of the throat. His end, as Sadie described it to me, was horrible and she suffered with him for many months.

Sadie came South to see what she could do about her place. The house had burned by his time with all its contents, and after looking into the property, she deeded it to us so that we could preserve it. This is the property, with Frank Weston’s place that is now the Rolling Sanctuary.

The church was a source of great distress to all of us. Mrs. Ward, mother of William and Robert Stewart, took advantage of our being north for the summer, to buy and build the present church, leaving the lovely lot of two acres, which my mother had given, near the hotel vacant. My mother never forgave Bishop Young for allowing this and did not enter the church for many years. When Bishop Weed succeeded to the Bishopric he was distressed at the situation. The Island was divided into two groups; the Stewarts and Coopers and their friends. The hotel people, the McIntyres, Dr. Hall, the Parkers, Frank Weston and the Fletchers sympathized with my mother. John S. Stewart and his family, Will and Bob Stewart and Admiral Cooper and his family ran the church and none of us attended the services. After Bisshop Young’s death Bishop Weed came to visit us and discussed the whole situation with my mother. I had a pretty little school house by this time and a very dear governess, Hattie Long, who became engaged to my brother, Onslow. Bishop Weed dedicated my school house and for many years we held services there for both white and colored; whenever the Bishop could spare the time to visit us. This he loved to do as he needed rest and he liked fishing. Finally, I was taken up to Jacksonville where my family rented a house for the purpose and I was christened and confirmed at St. John’s Church.

My poor dear Tannie was to have been confirmed with me but after we were all settled in our pew she discovered she had come without a hat, which is not allowed in the Episcopal Church. She ran home and was so overcome with shame that she did not return.

Many years later, after Mrs. Ward had passed away and most of the old residents were gone, the hotel burned. The Bishop persuaded my mother to attend services in the church but she never took and active part in the church affairs. During all these years Bishop Weed was my good friend and when my mother died I donated a memorial window to the church in her honor. Unfortunately, the old bitterness still remained for one of the Pilot Town women came to me and told me that there was a plan to put a stove pipe in front of my window to block it out. I took the matter up and offered to remove the window, but Bishop Weed would not allow this, so the window remained as it was placed.

When I was eight years old one of the great events of my life occurred. We were sitting at breakfast in the dining room of what we called “the Kitchen House”, and is now called Anna’s house. I had received no presents that I can remember, when Uncle Isaac came up on the “Tabby” leading the most beautiful mare in the world. She was a glossy bay with long mane and tail of shining black. My father said, “That is your birthday present, Birdie,” his nickname for me. She had no saddle, or you a riding habit, but when you can ride and handle her by yourself you shall have a saddle and habit. I wrapped my arms around Beautie’s neck and fairly sobbed out my joy. Uncle Isaac taught me to ride and on my next birthday I received a beautiful sidesaddle and a riding habit with a long flowing skirt. These gifts were more wonderful to me than I can describe. A jumping bar was put up for me near the barn and one of my delights was to jump Beauty over the bar with Dane jumping and following behind me.

My mare “Beauty” gave me two colts that I named Donner and Blitsen. Donner was mine and when I married I took him with me to Norwich and he lived to be a good old age. I finally sent him home and he died where he was born, a happy old horse.

We did not have much money to spend, nor was money ever talked about before us children. We lived on the products grown on the place. We had milk, cottage cheese, and occasionally, veal. We had chickens and plenty of eggs. Then there were the pigs to be killed in the Fall, and hams to be cured. There was the river full of fish, crabs, oysters, clams, shrimp and ducks and other birds for the shooting……an occasional wild turkey, quail sometimes, also rice birds when the oats were in seed. We raised sweet potatoes, corn and ground our own hominy and meal. We planted three crops of vegetables, radishs, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cauliflower, peas and beans, also cowpeas. We grew our own sugar cane and made our own syrup. In fact we lived well all the year round. We had our own fruit; oranges, lemons, bananas, persimmons, both cultivated and wild. We had quantities of nuts: pecan, hickory and peanuts. We had fine peaches and quinces and grapes.

Old Uncle Jim was one of the remaining Negroes brought from Africa. He could tell with dramatic fervor of the long sea voyage and the delightful experience when they were taken to the well in front of the house and allowed their first drink of fresh water from the dripping bucket brought up from the deep well by the sweep.

There was a sad ending to Uncle Jim’s life. He took to fishing for a living and one cold December day he came crawling up the river bank with both feet frozen. My mother took him in and bound up his poor black feet in salve, fed him and sent him to the quarters to rest and get well. He came every day to have his feet dressed and soon improved. My mother must have been a good doctor for she tended most of the people about her. When Christmas time came along each of us had a gift for Uncle Jim. I was our habit each Christmas for each of us, white and collored, to hang up our stockings about the big fireplace in the sitting room in what we called the “Big House”.

I was always a little prowler; if there was colic in the stable I was always the one who heard the kicking animal or a prowling coon or possum around the chickens. One night I heard a noise out towards the kitchenhouse and called my mother. We went through to the west side of the house and there we saw Uncle Jim and one of his grandsons passing toward the river. They had a broad cypress board on their heads and on it a washtub piled with articles from the kitchen. I only remember one thing: the bright red checked tablecloth from the kitchen table. “Mama”, I cried, “aren’t you going to stop them? They are taking all those things from the kitchen.” I turned to look at my mother and found her with tears streaming down her cheeks. “To thing,” she said, “that Uncle Jim would do that to me!” “No, let him go, we will never see him again.”, which was true. In the morning there was a big fuss in the kitchen when Aunt Celie found what was missing from her treasured kitchen articles

Uncle Jim was very old. One time during his visit he showed me a carefully wrapped paper torn from an old newspaper. On it was written Jim and was brought from Africa was a boy. He is now about 100 years old. The paper was signed Barnwell, Savannah, Georgia.

The negroes, I remember, were first the Polite family, Polite had been what they called a “Driver”; his wife was Charlotte Polite. They had numerous children.

My mother sent Tannie’s younger sister, Annie Christopher, north to the three Rollins sisters of Rollinsford. They tried to make Annie almost a daughter and were most kind to her but Annie could never reconcile herself to her color. She remained north and married a white man but was a very unhappy woman. She died when fairly young.

Aunt Celie was our waitress and my remembrance of her was of her coming into the dining room with a big palmetto hat perched on top of her tuban and when we looked at her she burst into gigles and fled. I was only allowed in the kitchen on particular occasions; one of these was when a possum had been caught and was cooked in a big pot with grits for the negroes. I mortified my mother deeply when on a visit to the Catskills. The curious northern ladies took me aside and questioned me about our life and I said what I loved was “possum and hominy out of a big black pot”. Tannie snatched me away but I can imagine what our northern friends made of that.

My first teacher was a Mr. Kenyon, another tubercular patient from Upland. He was devoted to me and I learned little from him, I fear, except botany for it was good for him to be out of doors. When Mr. Kenyon came to be my teacher I was much distressed to find that he could not shoot or ride, or do any of the things I was accustomed to see men do. When the rice birds were in the oats I insisted that he go with me to shoot them. I gave him my gun and said SHOOT! SHOOT! Mr. Kenyon shut his eyes as tight as possible and fired off the gun. Much to his distress, eight little birds fell at our feet. It was the last time I could persuade him to touch a gun.

I loved botany best of anything so we roamed the fields and woods., made moss gardens, ate wild grapes and had fine times. He stayed two years and it was a sad day when my mother was obliged to tell him that he must go home. Our parting was a sad one for I loved him dearly. He wrote me a most pathetic letter in a faint handwriting telling me how much he love me and how hard it had been for him to go home to die.

My next teacher was Hattie Long, another tubercular case. (It must have been that no one dreamed that the disease was contagious.) Hattie had been warned of my ruling of poor Mr. Kenyon for the first day she said, “Gertie, I believe in justice, I shall just to you in every way but I shall be just to myself also, so we will not have anything like those days that you had with Mr. Kenyon.” She adhered to this rule and I learned what little I ever learned from her.

Hattie became engaged to my brother Onslow, and when Summer came she went home to say good-bye to her family for they were to be married as soon as she returned. She stopped off on her way South to visit some of relatives, caught cold and only came back to us to die. My mother nursed er most faithfully and took a house in Jacksonville in order to have Hattie near a doctor, but she died soon after and my brother never married, or as far as I can remember, ever thought of another girl.

Dr. Maxwell had the thought at this time to look me over and found that my lungs were infected. I was very ill. On one occasion the doctor came in to find my mother on her knees rubbing me all over crying to bring life into my poor little bones. “Mr. Rollins,” the doctor said, “you cannot save her. She is almost gone already, I doubt if she knows what you are doing. Come to your room and rest, your poor little girl will soon be gone.” I hear all this and I turned over furiously angry at the doctor for trying to take my mother from me. I vowed I would not die and began to get better from that moment on. In a short time I was up and sitting out on the porch in the sun. I have never had any further trouble with my lungs.

About this time my brother Paul made his illfated marriage and went North. He had attended the Military Academy at Gainesville and afterward studied law. He passed the bar when he was only twenty-one years old. He fell in love with a Gainesvill girl, Nora Graham. He came home and told my mother about it and promised her he would not marry without her consent, but the next thing we heard, they had run away and married. They were still away on their honeymoon when Paul was stricken with typhod fever and died. Nora came home with her baby and remained with us so long as my mother lived. Paul’s intention was to use his law experience to recover some of my mother’s inheritance from her parents. The estate had never ben settled and no doubt, had Paul lived we would have had much more, but as it was he did recover quite a sum for my mother and her sisters.

The political situation had just at this time taken a turn towards the Democra’s and Uncle Edward’s influence as Senator was no longer enough to allow my father to keep his position at Gainesvill. He came home and my mother used a good part of her inheritance to buy a partner ship in the Greely bank. My father then went with Mr. Greely to work. He enjoyed this connection very much and kept it until one of the many epidemics came along and the Bank failed. Meanwhile, my mother took me north and we stayed at Ridley Park Hotel. It was a convenient place…(here follows talk about their stay of her beaux there. She met Millar Wilson here and he told the other beaux he intended marrying Miss Rollins.) Mother thought her too young to marry. Trip to England to meet his people. She having a grand time. Jim, Millar’s brother, put ring on her finger for Millar. This stopped the flirting.)

We returned to America and Millar me us at the dock. I flew into his arms like a bird to its nest and never had any more little affairs in the long years of our married life.

The matter of my marriage was the cause of considerable debate. If we opened the Home stead at Ft. George, we still did not attend the little church, so I would be obliged to have a home wedding, and how could guests get down there? It ended in our taking a furnished house on Duval Street and arranging for me to be married in St. Johns Church. Millar had a list of our young men friends in Philadelphia and asked Hamilton to be best man. All of the ushers were to come down from Philadelphia.

I had asked Florence Greely to be my maid of honor, when alas, was taken down with malaria fever, and dear old Dr. Maxwell said it was out of the question for me to be married in June. As soon as I could be moved we went to N. H. where my father’s family lived. We rented the Bacon House and I spent the summer getting well and having a fine time with my cousins and their friends. An entirely new set of attendants were selected. Frank Weston was Millar’s best man and a whole string of men cousins were ushers, among them my dear cousin Montgomery. I had five bridesmaids and a lovely wedding in St. Thomas Church with Dr. Beard as clergyman.

My grandmother Rollins was then in her 90’s and unable to attend the wedding, so Millar and I went to her and she made us kneel down in front of her and she blessed us and wished us a long and happy marriage. Her wishes came true for no one could have had fifty long years fo a happier marriage.

I want to say a word here about Florence. She used to visit us when we were children and I admired her immensely. She had long red-gold hair falling about her shoulders. She could skate on roller skates far better than I could for she had all the sidewalks of Jacksonville to ride on, while I could only skate up and down our walk to the kitchen and back.

I had invited Florence to be my maid of honor. When we had to go north for my wedding my mother asked Florence to go with us, but she told us quite frankly, she did not want to be tied up with a “stuffy old engaged girl”, so she went with another friend.

When we docked at Charleston, four young medical students came aboard. One of them, named DeVeaux, as soon as he saw Florence he asked for an introduction to her and they were together a lot. One day we were all sitting in the dining salon; Florence with the group of young men, when young DeVeaux said loudly, “Lets have a mock wedding.” There were several clergymen on board and one of them was just starting up the companionway when young DeVeaux seized Florence’s hand and cried, “Marry us.” My mother and I were sitting near by and saw all that happened. The clergyman, who was quite old and feeble, began the wedding ceremony, when he suddenly cried out, “Stop, stop, if you answere you will be really married.” Young DeVeaux ran quickly up to the Captain’s cabin and announced, “I have just married to Miss Florence Greely of Jacksonville.”

The Captain came down at once and questioned everyone. My mother was most distressed until the Captain said that he would lock Florence up in her cabin and keep her there until he could get in contact with Mr. Greely. This was done and Mr. Greely came and took Florence home. This prevented Florence being in my wedding. She married Dr. DeVeaux a year later. He died not long afterward.

Florence and I often talk over old times and we both wish she had gone north with us. Her life might have been happier for she was extremely pretty and would have made a good marriage, I am sure. DS(Millar and Gert went on to N.Y. on wedding trip. Then starts the account of her life with him. I will quote snatches from the next pages only when they have Florida significance. One house they lived in the Norwich, Conn. Had been home of Benedict Arnold during his boyhood. Millar was employed as chemist etc. with textile Co., $25,000 an.)

Gert was quite a golfer: As time went on I found that there was a lot of jealousy connected with games. When we lived at Ft. George I used to go up to Jacksonvill and enter the games there. It was not many years after that, that I thought it not worth while to compete when the regular players were so annoyed, and after one or two disagreeable episodes I gave up the game.

Millar was very ill and I took him to the Walter Reed Hos. in Boston…(finally it was stated and intestinal operation was needed) The doctor was much astonished when I told him that nothing could persuade me to leave Millar any longer in the hospital. He asked me if I realized that Millar might die if I tried to take him South? I said, “If he becomes more ill we will get off at Baltimore”. The doctor was much incensed but I told him to inquire about what had been going on in the hospital before he said anything more. I took Millar out in a wheelchair put him on the train and finally to the Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville where he was at once operated on and made a fine recovery. The Doctors, Dr. Jelks and Payton, were rather amused at my report, but also pleased at the result of my obstinacy.

I was obliged to take up the care of the old Homestead as none of the family wanted to remain. We bought out the interests of my brother and Jack, and when Millar came South we decided to see how we would enjoy country life. Millar asked me would I be satisfied to settle in America and, of course, that was what I wanted more than anything. I undertook to run the plantation, planting crops, raising colts and calves, and chicken. I adored the life but soon learned that Millar would never make a farmer. He bought a small launch in which he could go to town and this he soon exchanged for a forty-four foot cruiser in which we had many delightful trips. Unfortunately, one cannot run a farm from a boat.

The big freeze of – was it ’95 – had destroyed all our orange trees and for some unexplained reason, my family had never replanted. I set to work to replant and soon had a small flourishing grove. However, I learned I would have to decide between my beloved home and my husband’s happiness. I held out six years and then told him I was willing to sell if he could arrange a sale. This was soon accomplished. The Ft. George Club was formed and we moved out. Nellie Stuart told me at that time that the one desire of her heart was to get our gates open. This was one of my surprises. The only reason we kept the gates closed was to keep the wild cows and horses from roaming the place and our friends would always have been welcome.

(Went to Europe again after selling the place.) When they returned during the war Millar went into Red Cross work..”I have Millar’s only check for that work- it is only a part of a Dollar.”

When Millar was finally released from his war work, at the close of the war, we returned to Florida and bought a house on Riverside Avenue. It was a temporary home for we hardly knew what we wanted to do. We spent sometime at the Ft. George Club, my former home and also at the new Ribault Club on the Island. We were quite unsettled in our plans.

Millar liked the friends he had made in Jacksonville and of course, I liked Florida life. During the time we lived in the Riverside house the Garden Club was formed. I was one of the founders and became quite interested in the work. I formed the first seventeen circles and then had the idea of writing a garden book for Florida. At that time there was no real book for Florida. My friend, Mrs. John Ferguson, joined me in the enterprise; she planted and tried out the plants we wanted to write about and I got together the material. I worked on this book all winter and took it to Nova Scotia to finish. We brought out the book the next winter and it sold quite as well as we could expect.

The New York Times made a criticism which caused us much amusement. It said, “We have received a book called ‘In Florida Garden’ by two Southern women. We thought it would be a book of dainty verses but it turned out to look like a Latin grammar.” I do not have the clipping but this is more or less what was said.

We rented the Riverside Avenue house and went to the Atlantic Beach Hotel, when I began my next effort, a set of botanical charts for the use of garden club members and schools. My dear friend Mrs. Arthur Cummer, interested herself in this work and we published not only the charts, but an accompanying booklet to be used with each chart. This was published by the Mt. Pleasent Press and I am still proud of this work.

I then began to work on a book on camellisa and for the next two years I worked continually on it spending any laborious hours in Horticultural Hall in Boston reading old French books and other authorities on 19th Century camellia work.

Unfortunately, I could not come to terms with the Mt. Pleasant Press. The expense of publishing was too much for them to accept. The war came along just about that time and I stopped all work to go once more into Red Cross work.

Soon after we moved into Montgomery house I realized that Millar needed someone to go about with him. I remembered a boy that Millar had called his little white caddy at Ft. George, Charles Morris, Jr. I wrote to Charles telling him that it would be a hard job and most exacting; that he would have to drive Millar’s car, take him to golf courses, to the bank, to the tailors and all sorts of places. I did not mince matters with him for I wanted the boy to know just what he was getting into. Charles said without hesitation that he wanted to try it. He was Millar’s devoted attendant as long as Millar lived and when Millar passed away, Charles said he wanted to try to do for me all that he had done for Millar. He has been with me now nineteen years. He is married and has a sweet little wife whom I like very much indeed. They have a charming home, quite near me and their boy, named Millar for Mr. Wilson, is a credit to any parents. He is doing well in school and I hope to see him at least enter college before I too pass on.

When we came back to Florida to live we met Dr. Holt of Rollins College and became interested in the College. We formed friendships with the faculty, especially Dr. Hanna and Dr. Kathryn Abby (sic), who afterward married Dr. Hanna. We discovered that our wills were in bad shape and I set out to make a better will, with the help of my good friend, Richard Marks. When I took a copy of what we had worked out, Millar said, “That is just what I want. Ask Mr. Marks to make a duplicate for me.” I had to revise my will a little after Millar’s death, but the terms remained about the same. We had both named the trust department of the Barnett National Bank as excutors. When the estate was settled I met with Richard Marks in the bank. Mr. Marks asked me, “now that all this is settled what are you going to do, Mrs. Wilson?” Mr. Conoly, I think it was, laughed, “Mrs. Wilson had already settled that, she is turning it right back for us to manage for her in a trust.” We all had a good laugh at this and I have never regretted my decision.

In my present will I have left most of my estate to the College, with a group to manage it, including the Bank. I have left one-half of my income to be used as Memorial to my husband in a chair for chemical research and the other half as memorial for myself for myself and my interest in botany; it will be a chair of botanical research. There are other clause to my will which it is not necessary to include here.

Soon after Millar left me I had to decided what to do with certain bonds I owned on Ft. George. I decided to give the land to Rollins to be preserved as a bird and plant sanctuary. As soon as they accepted it I set to work to develop the place.

Charles Morris was my only helper. We first built the garage with the two stalls and two rooms for workmen. We made this building of logs cut on the place and all we bought was roofing. I soon became ambitious and thought of building a Lodge where the students from the college could come up and learn about our sanctuary. Charles’ father wanted a place of his own so we arranged that Mr. Morris and his wife should come to live in our garage and help build our Lodge. I asked the college to make me a plan of what we wanted and Dr. Holt, Mr. Grover and several others and Dr. Vincent. I think, came up and we selected a site for the building. One of the first things we had to consider was fresh water for while we had two bonds, we did not think the water in them drinkable. We set to work to dig a well. It was quite a job but we finally got down far enough to strike good water. We had good water in our well always. We have to clear it out once in a while and renew the pump.

All our logs for the Lodge were cut on the place and we bought little in town except nails, hinges and tools. I spent long hours sitting on a log watching the work go on and enjoying the life. Morris worked for me several days a week and the rest of the time went to his own new place in town so that the two places went up at the same time. By the time the Lodge was nearing completion I went to North Carolina for the summer to the Green Park Hotel at Blowing Rock. I had been there before and consulted some of my friends there and ordered all the furniture I thought we needed for the Lodge- hand made of North Carolina maple. The furniture man seemed to be interested in the work and turned out some very interesting pieces. I found a little handcraft place where they were interested to make several jute rugs, which were moth-proof, and I picked up certain old china and glassware for the Lodge. When we got it placed in the Lodge with certain necessary beds and cots, we found the place quite adequately furnished. We were obliged to use kerosene stoves and lamps for I was disappointed by the Electric Co. very heavy estimate for giving us electric lights.

I kept the place up for the college and Charles took a great deal of interest in it. Dr. Vestel came up several times with groups of students to stay in the Lodge and study our wild life but for the most part the Sanctuary has remained as I intended it, a refuge for our wild creatures, animals and plants. We have some plants here which are particularly worth saving; our Twin Live Oaks and few ferns, etc. We have all sorts of birds; the native ones that stay with us all the time, and immigrants that come in flocks and stay awhile resting for their southward flight. We also have many water birds in the marshes and ponds. The Sanctuary itself consists of the former Burleigh and Weston places the marsh land to the east of this, and the Tabby house, called Muncillia House, and about four acreas around it generously given to the college to add to the gift for preservation by the Ribault Club. The college also has several acres of land on the Island, which I gave them, but did not include in the Sanctuary. We have our animals, coons, possums and squirrels, as well as a few snakes. The only thing we ever kill is an occasional rattlesnake. These creatures seem to have an affinity for our gophers and use their tunnel for homes. As they cannot harm the gophers, who shut themselves up in their shells at the approach of any visitor, snakes and gophers seem to get along together all right.

The Sanctuary has never been burned and what land was cleared for orange groves has now grown up to forest once more, so we hope it will continue to be a refuge to all living things.

(Here follows account of Millar’s death)

One page of the book is:

Note on Ft. George:

During the early days of the Hotel Co., a man named MacIntosh, and is daughter arrived. They claimed to be related to the former Captain McIntosh, and they had with them two marble tablets with the names of two women who they claimed had died on the Island. My father pointed out the site of the former white cemetery to the west of our house and told them that he had asked all descendents of these people to remove their relations and that when none of them came forward to do so, he had leveled the plot and buried the stakes of whatever marked the graves. He had planted his orange grove all about this spot but never actually over the former cemetery. The McIntoshes were not at all satisfied with this. They had heard about two graves lost in the forest and wanted to put their makers on them. My father explained that we thought the graves were those of Oglethorpe’s soldiers, as they were exactly like those on Frederica Island, that were known to be Oglethorpe’s men. However, my father rather mistakenly as it turned out, allowed the McIntoshes to place their tablets on the tombs and put a wire fence around them. The results of this was that a way opened to reach the tombs; visitors flocked to see them and soon they were broken up in search of buried treasures. The unfortunate bones were scattered about and broken into pieces. We formed the habit of gathering them up every once in a while and sealing the tombs up only to have them promptly broken open again. My brothers and I often examined the bones, and little as we knew about the matter were sure they were too big to be those of women. I believe the tombs are still open.

As soon we were old enough to appreciate nature we children were each given a live oak tree which was called by our names. My tree was a beautiful spreading Twin Oak under which I buried all my pets whenever they died. It stood in a part of an acre or more. Paul’s tree was a little further along the avenue called Moss Avenue, and was equally fine. When Paul died my parents had a marble tablet made with the simple words “Paul’s Tree”. This remained in the tree for many years. The Ft. George Club now has the tablet and has agreed to my replacing it in the tree. Onslow’s tree was burned by a coon hunter when he treed a coon in its branches.

Nora & Jack

My brother Paul had left as his only heritage his young wife and new born son. My mother sent for them. Paul was buried in our family lot and Nora remained with the family as long as my mother lived.

Nora was a peculiar person whom I could never understand. She had a little musical talent, but refused absolutely to help me with my piano lessons. She had certain secret dishes, candies, etc., which she kept secret so no one of us could help her with them. She had her rooms on the second story of the house and there she spent her days, not joining the family at all unless my mother insisted on her going for a drive or on some outing we were planning.

Nora was extremely left-handed and insisted upon teaching Jack to be left-handed also. This was very disagreeable to all of us as we were convinced that the poor child was not left-handed. I realize now that this was the cause of all Jack’s troubles and failures in life. Such things were not understood in those past days, and Jack began to stammer in his speech so badly that at times he could not speak at all. When he was old enough my mother sent him to school in Jacksonville, but Nora soon insisted on his coming home.

The mental confusion caused by his left-handedness was (cut off page)

I believe a young man named Brawer became interested in Nora and when she was on a visit to her family in Gainesville he undertook to keep Jack. He took him away to camp with him but when Nora found what he was undertaking she broke all contact with Mr. Brawer and thereby lost what might have been a good second marriage.

After my marriage, Nora became much more of a daughter to my mother, and as I look back upon those times, I believe jealousy of me had a great deal to do with Nora’s attitude. Unfortunately, I never suspected this.

After we had been married, Roosevelt began his campaign against race suicide. It was strange that at that time children among the well-to-do were a rarity. Millar and I wanted children, but after consultations finally obliged the N.Y. doctors to tell us that we could never have any. There were no children in the Wilson family, so the family has died out. It was then that we decided to send for Jack, and if it proved successful, we would adopt him. We met Jack in N.Y. and Millar bought him a complete outfit of clothes. He received these with a sulleness we could not understand as we did everything to win his affection, but we learned afterward that, under his mother’s influence, he already hated us.

Millar offered to send Jack to school and college, but he was violently opposed to the idea, so Millar took him into the Mills to learn the business. From the beginning Jack spent as little time as possible at work and roomed away with Mill boys. This was, no doubt, because he could speak freely with boys he considered his inferiors, but became tongue-tied when he was with people of our class. When Millar became ill we thought it a good opportunity to put Jack on his own and see if that would straighten him out.

We closed the house and found him rooms with a good family in Greenville, the mill village. All we asked of him was to go out to the house once in a while and forward our mail to us. Even this he neglected to do, and we found he was tearing up our letters instead of re-directing them. At least one letter containing a check for quite a sum we found torn in two and stuffed into a desk in his room.

Soon after we left Jack became so useless at the Mill that the foreman, who was running the Mill at the time, dismissed him. Jack wandered about New England, finally getting a job in a spool mill. Here he became entangled with a married woman and her husband shot Jack in the shoulder.

By this time Millar had retired from business and we had built our place in New Hampshire, going to Ft. George each winter. I had inherited the place by this time. We bought out my brother Onslow’s interest. Nora had a small income from her people and I was obliged to tell her that while we would continue to look after Jack, she would have to take care of herself. Nora moved to town and studied nursing; she bought a house on Mallory Street and had some investor property on Duval Street.

We were at Ft. George when Jack was shot, so we sent Nora to him and when he was well enough we had him come to us. The question arose – what was Jack going to do? He thought he would like to run an oyster factory, so Millar gave him $2000 to buy an oyster boat and start a factory. Jack worked quite faithfully at this time until Millar and I went to our summer home in the North. Then Jack stopped all work; spent his time roaming the rivers in his boat and taking our foreman with him. So when we returned we found the place in a sad state: the stock turned out to shift for themselves, and the house was in a dreadful state of dirt and neglect.

Jack soon left us and went to his mother who supported him with her small income and what she could make as a nurse. She was not a very good nurse and had few calls. Later she inherited a little more from her family and went to live in her own house on Mallory St. Jack took to towing jobs with his boat and did this until the boat sank at its dock for lack of repairs. Jack made no effort to save it but began to take jobs with other tow boats.

When the 1st World War broke out and Millar went to Washington, Jack decided he would enlist in the Navy. Unfortunately, the Navy had no use for him except in the Coast Guard. Jack was terribly disappointed, of course, and made no success. At this time he met a girl in Jacksonville and came to me to ask my advice about marrying her. I could only say – it is entirely whether you love her. I met her and was convinced it was entirely a matter of support. I told Jack to explain to Sue that he had no expectations from us as we had never adopted him and that his mother’s money was all he could expect. Nevertheless they married and Sue went to live with Nora on Mallory St. This soon proved unsuccessful and Nora closed the house and took a room downtown and rented the house.

Sue soon had a son whom they named Millar for my husband, and I tried once more to interest myself in the little family. Perhaps I was at fault but Sue resented everything I tried to do for them. Jack came regularly for money but I was determined to find out the relationship. I began to reduce the amounts I gave him from $100 to $50 and finally to $10, whereupon he stopped coming entirely. I realized that he thought $10 was not worth coming for.

After the war was over Jack took up his boat life again and spent little time at home. His wife bitterly resented my refusal to support them. They had three children by this time. She asked me to come to see her and was so abusive that I never went near them again. Nora died and then Jack died. I took care of the funeral arrangements and had Jack suitably buried in our family lot.

After Jack and his wife took no interest in looking after their inheritance the property was put in trust with the Florida National Bank and all that Jack and Nora did was to go to the Bank and ask for money. The house and the rental property was allowed to fall into disrepair and taxes were not paid; the rental property soon became vacant.

As we were depositors in the Florida National Bank we were informed that the bank was about to foreclose on all the property. Millar came forward and bought in the second mortgage, which was the one to be foreclosed – it was for $6,000. Millar also paid up, or at least gave the money to pay the back taxes. This did no good for soon the same situation arose and the bank said the property would have to be sold for taxes. Millar was ill at this time and I had to look after our affairs. (cut off page) our good friend Richard Marks as I could not bear the idea of having my husband lose so much money that he had already given to help my family. I spent a sleepless night over the matter. Richard Marks and the Bank could not see how the property could be saved and I was most upset. Finally I asked Millar if he could trust me to try to do something and he said, “Do whatever you like.” I went the next morning to Mr. Marks and told him I wanted him to send a capable member of their firm to bid against the man I had heard expected to buy it all in. Telfair Stockton Co. was handling that side of the affair. Mr. Marks thoughts the matter over and said that might just save the day. “How much are you prepared to put up?” I said I am not going to place a limit, just instruct your man to get the property. Mr. Marks was rather doubtful of my plan but it turned out very well. The man who was slated to buy in the property on the foreclosure was so sure of getting it that he went out of town and when the sale reached the cost of the mortgage and taxes, his agent rushed out to try to get in touch with him. While he was out, the property was sold to me for the exact amount of the mortgage and taxes. As I already held one of the mortgages it was not a bad bargain. I at once paid up the taxes on the house and turned it over to Jack – tax free. I took the dilapidated rental property for my share.

I went to Mr. {Moore?} of Telfair Stockton Co. and told him I wanted him to go over the property with me to see what we could do with it. He was more than a little astonished as he had been on the other side, but I explained that I understood that he was quite free to take on my interests and I considered him best qualified to do so. He then explained that the rental houses were in bad repute and the business block rented to a saloon, therefore I could not go over any of it. I told him that what I owned I could visit, whatever it was, and finally he consented to go with me. We went all over the property and I asked him how much he thought it would cost to put it in good condition. He named a price from $2,000 to $3,000 and I at once told him to go ahead and get it repaired and rented as soon as possible.

It was not long before the houses were rented to respectable people and the saloon was pledged not to allow any fights or anything of the sort to take place in the bar. The property has been suitably rented ever since although recently we pulled down the two boarding houses and made a parking lot of the land.

Not long after all this Mr. Marks asked me to come to see him. He then told me that Jack and his wife were talking very badly about me and claiming that I should turn over all the property to them in spite of the large amount of money I had invested in the Duval Street property by this time. Mr. Marks told me that I must do something to stop their talk. (cut off page) giving them money. I was at that time still helping Wilson with his schooling and giving Jack money which I thought was to pay for repairs on the house.

I took Mr. Mark’s advice and stopped all help and not long after Jack died on one of his fishing trips. I sent for his body to be returned home. His wife made such absurd plans for the funeral that I was obliged to take it out of her hands. I engaged Mr. Kline to look after everything and we gave him a very good and suitable funeral. Afterward I took the family aside and told them now that Jack was gone I was completely through with the family and never to ask me for anything again. They were naturally very angry with me and Wilson came to my house and was quite abusive saying that I had undertaken to educate him and I must do it. He came once more to me to try and get money but I refused to see him and I know nothing about the family except that I have heard that the second son, Paul, is dead. I do not even know if they have managed to keep the house or what became of it.

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