In the early 1900’s a fire destroyed the Browne’s two-story home Shell Mount. Mr. and Mrs. Browne moved back to Jacksonville while Willie and Saxon stayed on the property. The boys built the one room cabin where they would live the rest of their lives. The foundations of this cabin can be visited along the Willie Browne Trail. (pdf map)
On his sixteenth birthday Willie was given ownership of the property as a gift from his father. Mr. Browne instructed Willie to nurture and care for the property, “keep hunters off it” and to maintain the land in a natural state. The gift of the property to Willie at such a young age instilled the responsibility and value of wildlife conservation.
Willie and Saxon made their living by farming, commercial fishing, running a saw mill, and selling oystershells taken from the extensive mounds that still dominate the property. They also worked a variety of odd jobs such as landscaping, woodcarving, and boat building.
In the 1920’s, both Mr. and Mrs. Browne died and were buried on the property. From their parents, Willie and Saxon inherited an intense appreciation for the land that led to a lifelong desire to protect the natural bounty they both depended upon for their daily existence.
Proceed to Willie's Gift is Shared Today.
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