As dusk fell over Kissimmee’s Historic Rose Hill Cemetery, guests of Osceola County Historical Society’s 9th annual Dine with the Departed sponsored by Gatorland fundraiser began to arrive. Music filled the air as guests perused over 40 silent auction items before taking their seats. Dinner, succulent barbequed chicken and pulled pork accompanied by baked beans and green beans, was catered by Big John’s Rockin’ BBQ. When dinner service came to a close, the live auction began and was facilitated by OCHS board member, Ricky Booth. After the live auction closed, the winners of the silent auctions were announced.
Born in Bedford, Ohio, John Carroll worked for Ohio oil companies until 1936 when he became manager of his father’s 55,000 acre Carrollton Ranch in Deer Park. In 1947, he became Vice President of the First National Bank of Kissimmee, retiring in 1975 as Chairman of the Board. John was one of the sixteen horsemen who rode in the inaugural parade for Governor Spessard Holland in 1941. He was a charter member of the Silver Spurs quadrille, helped organize the Silver Spurs Riding Club and was its first “Big Boss” in 1942. At the age of 81, John was honored by being named “Coca Cola Cowboy” in 1988 by the Club. Bestowed annually since 1982, the honor was given to an Osceola County resident who had worked to promote the rodeo and its way of life. After receiving the honor, he replied “You don’t know what it means to a Yankee to be accepted like I have been.”
Mary Essie Petrie Caldwell was featured at the first Dine with the Departed event hosted by the Osceola County Historical Society in 2010. Of distinguished Hugenot ancestry, Essie, as she was fondly known, was born June 3, 1838 in Cheraw, South Carolina to Reverend George H.W. Petrie and his wife Mary Jane. Rev. Petrie was an eminent clergyman of the Southern Presbyterian Church and Essie’s grandfather was an officer in the American Revolution.
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.
Every once in a while an event rolls around that you just don't want to miss...this year, that event is the Osceola County Historical Society's 26th Annual Pioneer Day Event!
Here are the Top 26 Reasons to Attend the 26th Annual Pioneer Day Event on Saturday, November 11, 2017 from 10AM to 4PM!
1. Learn the History! Osceola County is full of rich history. Pioneer Day allows residents and visitors to better understand the Pioneer families and what life in the 1800s would have been like without air conditioning and cell phones.
2. Help us celebrate our anniversary. This year we will celebrate the 26th Annual Pioneer Day.
3. Save on admission with this great FREE event! That’s right, we are offering free admission to the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek. Saturday, November 11th from 10AM to 4PM. FREE ADMISSION AND FREE PARKING!!
Company B 2nd Florida Infantry unit has been featured in previous blogs, but have you wondered what happened to these men? News articles discovered in the Osceola County Historical Society archives tell of a reunion held by the “Border Boys”, an appropriate name for the U.S. Army horsemen who crossed the Rio Grande from Texas in 1916 to fight the Mexican bandit, Pancho Villa. In the fall of 1969 invitations were sent to twenty of the surviving members, thirteen still resided in Kissimmee and two in St. Cloud, while others lived in California. Fifteen or sixteen reunions had previously been held on the ranch of Jennings Overstreet, whose father Mack was one of the “Border Boys”.
Many school children learned that Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in Washington, DC on May 21, 1881. She heard of the Swiss global Red Cross network while visiting Europe following the Civil War.
With the beginning of World War I, the organization experienced phenomenal growth. There were 107 chapters in 1904; by 1918, 3,864 chapters had been organized.
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.
When entering a church, most eyes are drawn to the front of the building where there usually stands a pulpit. The pulpit is the focal point and perhaps one of the most important pieces of furniture. The Osceola County Historical Society (OCHS) has recently had the privilege of building a replica church for the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek. This church would not be complete without its furnishings. One of the most important items to be included in these furnishings is, of course, the pulpit. Luckily, OCHS didn't have to go very far to find the perfect pulpit to be placed in the church.
The Shakers, a short name taken by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, trace their beliefs to the early traditions of the church and more particularly to a 17th century group of French Protestants known as Camisards or Prophets. They were driven from France to England and disappeared from view but did pass on their beliefs to a group of Quakers who were attracted by the similar faith.