James Kinchen Hilliard was born in Coffee County, Georgia on December 17, 1852. He lost his father in 1863 during the War Between the States. Perhaps to ease the burden of his mother, who was left to rear some of his eleven siblings, James headed to Texas at the age of fourteen. For nine years he roamed the central west encountering Indians and buffalo and gathering tales of his experiences.
As a boxer in high school, he was always the smallest of the group. The nickname “Kayo”, little brother of cartoon character Moon Mullins, was bestowed upon him. He was born in Brooklyn, Texas; on Christmas Eve in 1916, to A.J. and Florence Murphy and had six brothers and two sisters. The family moved to Kissimmee when Kayo was in second grade. His childhood was spent attending local schools, enjoying summers at the old swimming hole on Mill Slough and climbing up trees to watch movies in an open air theater on the corner of Monument Avenue and the railroad tracks. He later graduated from St. Leo Preparatory College where he excelled in sports and was inducted into the St. Leo College Athletic Hall of Fame.
Forty years ago, on November eighth, people in the Shingle Creek area may have had a real monster on their hands. This story of the Shingle Creek Monster (pictured in this blog) was the headline for the Osceola-Polk section of the Sentinel Star. I followed Frank Carroll's footsteps when writing about this mysterious creature, nicknamed the “Loch Shingle Monster”, which doesn't flow like the Loch Ness Monster. Many people that lived in the area brushed off the beliefs that it could have been something other than a very large catfish. Many made it a personal goal to catch the moster of Shingle Creek, but they all came up empty handed.
Translations of the name Monts De Oca vary as do stories regarding the origin of the family. Ancestry.com tells us it is “ Topographic name from a range of mountains forming the watershed between the rivers Ebro and Duero in northern Spain, named with the plural of monte ‘mountain’ and oca ‘goose’.” The Urban Dictionary defines it as “large hills with an oak forest on top” or “large hills with geese on top”.
The Osceola County Historical Society received an $80,000 Cultural Facility Grant through the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs. The organization will use the state funds from this grant to continue the next phase of the expansion of the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek (2491 Babb Rd., Kissimmee, FL 34746), which will include the construction and furnishing of a late-1800s replica General Store. The replica General Store is scheduled to be completed this fall and open during the 26th Annual Pioneer Day on November 11, 2017.
When World War I broke out, many food items were rationed, so there was a need for economical recipes using ingredients readily available. This one appeared in a cook book sold for $1.00 to benefit the Red Cross and American Fund for French Wounded. It was also referred to as War Cake.
Toho Water Authority plays a huge part in the lives of local students in Osceola County. Over the summer, Toho offered their Toho WaterWorks Summer Camp, which ran from July 17, 2017 to July 21, 2017 to about 20 middle school students. Each day, the campers were able to learn about the importance of water through hands-on experiments, group building activities, and tours of various facilities.
The Silver Spurs Riding Club was formed in 1941. They quickly became popular in the region and across the state of Florida. The Spurs were known for their exceptional skill and riding tricks, especially the Quadrille, a square dance performed on horseback.
I've attended a few of the Art in the Archives Paint Night events held at the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum which are hosted by the Osceola County Historical Society, and each one has been better than the last. It gives us all a chance to pretend we are artists, we can relax and leave all stress at the door. No pressure. Just do your thing and at the end of the night you just might have a masterpiece worthy to hang on the wall. (Not in my case, but, I do enjoy trying!)
The Disston Land Company stopped meeting the notes on the mortgage of the St. Cloud Sugar Mill after July 1895 and the sugar mill laid dormant between 1897, and 1901. In 1900, all the mill machinery was sold to Sabal Bros. of Jacksonville but not actually removed from the area. In January, 1901, it was resold to the Redo Brothers of Mexico for a reputed $75,000. John Garrity, who had been in charge of the machinery, serving mainly as a watchman, resigned from the Disston operations and was hired by the Mexican company to supervise the machinery’s relocation. He crated and marked each piece of machinery, which filled between 50 to 60 railroad cars and weighed between 800-1000 tons. It was transported via railroad to Tampa, loaded aboard a Dutch schooner which set out for the long trip around Cape Horn to Mexico. There had been reports the vessel sunk near Cuba, and later near Cape Horn but an outbreak of smallpox on board had forced the captain to land at a small harbor in Chile where the crew was quarantined, thus delaying the journey.