In this rural maritime setting the Browne boys flourished. Their mother, a trained school teacher, taught the boys to read, write, and do basic mathematics. When not under their mother’s tutelage the boys fished, roamed the vast shell mounds, and explored the ruins of old Confederate gun batteries on St. Johns Bluff. From atop the Bluff, which is ninety feet high, young “Willie” could see the Atlantic Ocean five miles to the east. The boys tended the family’s cattle, chickens, citrus trees, and vegetable garden. One hundred years ago the property was isolated. At that time the city limits of Jacksonville did not reach this far into eastern Duval County. The nearest towns were Mayport (2 miles east), Fulton (1 mile west), and Cosmo (2 miles west). Transportation to and from Jacksonville was available by catching a river ferry, named the Hessie, which made a daily roundtrip from Fulton.
Proceed to Willie Receives the Gift of the Land.
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