The Holmes County edition of The Pensacola Journal, dated 17 May 1914, is not only a significant part of the newspaper for that edition but a wealth of information on Holmes County in 1914. Holmes County takes up two sections of the newspaper and runs for 20 pages. Photos of homes and businesses, names of residents, and information on current activities in the county are in abundance in these two sections. This is the second (the first is here) in what will be a series of posts highlighting different panhandle counties from The Pensacola Journal of the early 20th century. Reading these pages allows you to step back in time and see the county as the people in 1914 saw it, and meet many of the residents, and maybe some of your ancestors. Let’s get started.
These sections were obviously meant to entice folks looking for a place to settle. There is a lot of marketing with enthusiastic rhetoric. But beyond that is a lot of useful and interesting information for the genealogist and local historian. Page one of Section Three starts out extolling the virtues of the land of Holmes County for agriculture, including a soil report from the State. Ponce de Leon is also highlighted, as is the good hunting and fishing in the county. There is a list of the Post Offices for the county and a list of the County Officials for 1914 (see clipping to left). There are several pictures of downtown Bonifay and Ponce de Leon and photos of the homes of S. L. JETER, W. C. ALFORD, and Mrs. E. J. THOMPSON. At the bottom are two boxes listing the “opportunities” and the “advantages” of Holmes County.
Page Two of Section Three has long articles on the projected railroad and the good roads being built. A picture of both the Bonifay Livery and the Black Gin Company are included. Page Three is a one-page ad headlined with the title of this blog. Page Four covers the lumber and naval stores of the county and includes a picture of B. H. LINDSEY’s home and a photo of the home of W. A. REEVES. Page Five highlights a number of businesses in Bonifay and an article presenting the good business environment in Westville.
Page Six comes back to agriculture. It was the way many during this time period made their living and also fed the family. I found this page the most interesting because most of my ancestors in Holmes County were farmers or connected to farming. The article on the local farmers working with the County Agent was particularly helpful. C. A. FULFORD was a 3rd great-uncle of mine and the article listed the farmers in various areas of the county working with him in demonstration projects. I found one great-grandfather and one great2-grandfather listed. There are also a number of great photos of local farms. Page Seven is another full-page ad inviting folks to come and settle.
Page Eight highlights a number of the businesses in the county and has a photo of the Hotel Eureka in Bonifay. Page Nine comes back to farming presenting J. McLAUCHLIN as the best farmer in the county and provides more information on the demonstration projects being done by the farmers and the county agent. There is also an article on some new businesses and churches being built. The last page in the Third Section provides a number of photos of buildings in the county and the home of Alex SESSOMS and an article on prospective tea growing in West Florida. I’m guessing that didn’t work out as hoped. And an article entitled “Physicians of Town of Bonifay are Live Wires”.
The Fourth Section of this edition of the newspaper also covers Holmes County but this section covers a number of the smaller communities in the county. On Page One of the section, there are seven photos of buildings in and around Ponce de Leon and four in Noma. There are articles on Bonifay, Ponce de Leon, Noma, Esto, and Eleanor. Names of various residents are included in both the photos and the articles. Page Two continues the articles from the first page and has a couple of photos of turpentine camps in the county. A number of ads on the page include names of owners. Page Three is a full page ad about Ponce de Leon.
Page Four again covers agriculture in the county and has an interesting piece about Mose TINDALL, named as the oldest resident of Noma. Lots of names included in the articles. Education and the Holmes Co. school system has an article on Page Five. The article includes locations of schools, principals, and the number of students. Three photos of businesses in Noma grace the middle of the page and the homes of J. C. WILLIAMS, D. H. MORRIS Jr., and Dr. WARREN are shown on the right. Further down the center of the page are photos of the homes of B. H. LINDSEY and Crescent Farm House. The latter may have the owner named in some of the agriculture articles I’ve not read in detail yet. Several businesses in the county have articles about the business and the owner.
The lumber industry in the county is covered on Page Six and there is a short article on one of the local blacksmiths, F. M. BLOUNT. The lumber articles include more photos. Three large ads fill Page Seven. Page Eight wraps up the section with a number of articles on the naval stores produced in the county and an article on the telephone company. There are a number of ads and more photos. Page Nine of the section is a wrap-up from earlier sections of the newspaper but Page Ten comes back to Holmes County to wrap-up the articles on Page Eight and includes a few general articles on the county.
I am still reading some of these articles. There is a lot here to look at and read. I found names of a number of ancestors scattered around these pages and stoked my passion for old photos and ads. For anyone with ancestors in Holmes County during this time period, this edition of The Pensacola Journal is well worth the time to download and read. You never know where you will find a tidbit of history on your kin that explains or elaborates on their experiences.
Until Next Time
- The Pensacola journal. (Pensacola, Fla.), 17 May 1914, images 21-40. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
- My other posts on Holmes County – here and here.
5 thoughts on ““Welcome Awaits You in Holmes County, Florida: The Garden Spot of West Florida” – 17 May 1914”
I enjoyed this article. My grandparents lived there for a while–1915–1925 before going to Ft. Myers area.
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Thank you. One of my great-grandfathers was born there and then moved to the Ft. Myers area after he and his wife divorced. I suspect the work in the orange groves were a real pull during this period.
Wow very interesting. Looks like you’ve found quite the history trove!
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