April 15, 1904 is shown as the birthdate of Thomas Carroll Callahan on his headstone. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Callahan and was born in McCormick, South Carolina. Idella Thomas became his wife on June 24, 1930, in Hillsborough County, Florida. The same year, he joined the First Baptist Church of Lakeland, Florida. City directories and census records show the couple living in Lakeland, Polk County, Florida where T.C., as he came to be known, worked as a janitor, grocer, and yardman.
The Osceola County Historical Society is pleased with the new additions popping up around the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek. The original authentic structures, including the Cadman Complex, the Lanier home, and the Tyson home are just a few of the buildings preserved from the late 1800s used to educate the public in the ways of living back in the late 1800s.
Christened Martha Jane on the day of her birth in 1819/1820 on the Carter Plantation in Virginia. Little is known of her life until she left Richmond, Virginia in 1839, bound for Florida with a shipload of slaves. She was a servant for the wealthy, nursed the sick, and was sold over and over, finally gaining her freedom.
The Lesesne name was prominent in South Carolina during the days of plantations and slavery. During slave uprisings in Charleston, many white families left for Barbados, taking loyal slaves with them. Descendants of Scipio Lesesne believe this is how he came to be born in Barbados on December 26, 1859.
The December 1, 1911 “Kissimmee Valley Gazette” reported “One of the most frightful wrecks of a passenger train ever known in this section occurred last night just as train No. 85 of the Atlantic Coast Line was entering the city limits, although no one was seriously injured except Mr. L.C. Royal, the baggage master, who was badly crushed from falling trunks.”
While segregation was a major issue in many places, the tensions between blacks and whites in Osceola County were much less. There weren’t as many restrictions in place, making integration much smoother for the county. Blacks and whites lived close to each other, and in some cases, even worked together. One place in particular that did not discriminate with employees was the Disston Sugar Mill.
The Osceola County Historical Society had a very busy year in 2016 and was awarded a grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs to continue the expansion of the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek, and was able to present a new addition: a late 1800s replica Train Depot! The Train Depot made it's grand debut on November 11, 2016 during the 25th Annual Pioneer Day event, which was their largest event to date.
Most hear the phrase "marching band" and automatically associate it with high schools. However, the roots of marching bands are actually in military bands. Even today, high school marching bands bear a strong resemblance to the military bands of the past with their brightly colored uniforms and the plumes in their hats. Another contributing factor to high school bands is local town bands. Towns often had bands with musicians of varying ages. When the popularity of such bands began to dwindle, many of the younger participants could consider joining a school band.
With the addition of a replica train depot to the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek, we reflect back on the important role the rail system played in Osceola County since that first train rolled into Kissimmee one hundred, thirty four years ago.