We are back to visiting the past through sections of The Pensacola Journal. This post will look at Santa Rosa County just before a large section of the eastern part of the county went to form Okaloosa County. I will admit, upfront, that I have a soft spot for Santa Rosa County so I will confess that I truly enjoyed reading and exploring these pages.
The first page of Section Two of the 27 April 1913 edition of The Pensacola Journal starts the section extolling the wonderful agricultural opportunities in Santa Rosa. One small article concerned Richard MILLER, a young man from Baker who was declared the Champion Boy Corn Grower for 1912. Apparently, he grew 129 1/2 bushels of corn on one acre. There are a couple of pictures of farms, one of C. H. Simpson’s Arcadia Farm and one of the Smithwick and Stephens Farm in Jay. A good map of the county in 1913 and a list of all of the Post Offices in the county.
The second page has an article on the excellent sheep-raising opportunities in Santa Rosa. The article mentions Silas HOLLAND, the postmaster at Coldwater and the Vice President of the Redland Improvement Company at Coldwater. The article provides some details about the Smithwick and Stephens Farm just two miles north of “the newly incorporated town of Jay.” There is a short article about “Bagdad, a Thriving Little Milling Village of 1,500 souls” (with a lumber scene on the Blackwater River that I wish was a bit clearer) and a piece on F. E. DEY who owned a jewelry store in Milton. There is a nice photo of the old courthouse and a large ad for the Milton Drug Company owned by J. H. STEWART and a short article on W. C. SALTER. Page 3 is a full-page ad inviting folks to come to Santa Rosa County, the “banner county of the state in the output of lumber, turpentine, and wool”.
Schools, Lumber, and a Ghost
Page 4 has an article on the schools of Santa Rosa County with a picture of a rural school and students that is too dark for any identification. Another article about the virtues of the agricultural resources of the county and an article about the firm of Fisher and Hamilton. A large ad at the bottom of the page invites “homeseekers and manufacturers” to come to Holt. “Special Inducements Offered for Any Kind of Manufacturing Plant”. The merchants of Holt are listed as Wm HOLT, M. HOLT and Geo. H. WEBB. Page 5 continues with an article about the lumber mill in Holt, E. V. SMITH, president; W. T. SMITH, Jr, treasurer and F. H. SMITH, secretary. I found the article entitled, “Santa Rosa County Has a Sturdy Lot of People: They Believe in Themselves, and are a public spirited, fearless class, loyal to the land and to their own” to be worth the short read. There is also an interesting piece on Santa Rosa Island and the “spirit of a Spanish maid of noble lineage” that walks the island. The bottom half of the page is a large ad for W. T. Smith’s Sons Timber Co., with pictures.
Page 6 has an article on Baker and Mary Esther. The article about Baker has a lot of names in it, too many to list. The remainder of the page is an ad for J. S. Pendleton, dealer in staple and fancy groceries in Milton and an ad for Bates’ Big Dry Goods Store in Milton. Red Cross shoes for ladies were just $3.50-4.00 a pair. Page seven was a full page ad for Baker, “the young city…, which a short while ago was a plowed furrow…”. The following merchants are listed: J. W. McCART, Moore & Lee, Lester & McKinney, A. B. MORRIS, J. A. HART, Baker Mercantile Co., C. C. EILAND, JR., Francis HILTON, J. N. CHRISTIAN, M.D., Baker Drug Co., J. H. SHORT, H. L. EILAND, Hicks Hardware Company and D. G. O. SPEARS.
Chumuckla and Milton
Page 8 starts out with an article entitled “The Crab Girl of the Bayou” by J. W. GASKINS of Garniers, a fun read. He was a distant cousin of mine, a few times removed. A photo of the BROOKS place at Camp Walton is pretty clear. There are articles on J. Frank SMITH, H. S. BATES, and W. J. WILLIAMS. A nice pen and ink drawing of Chumuckla Inn at the “famous” Chumuckla Mineral Springs. A large ad penned by A. M. McMILLAN indicating that he believes in Santa Rosa County and that it is the place of his birth. Bottom left is a poem by Mary Belle POOLE-MASON. Page 9 returns to farming with an article by C. H. SIMPSON. Another article highlights H. Louis COHEN of Milton and the Millerville School, just north of Milligan, is presented by Miss Dotia MILLER. Another short piece highlights J. S. PENDLETON. There is a good picture of Charles H. SIMPSON’s house of Arcadia Farms. The bottom half of the page is an ad for the Chumuckla Mineral Springs and Hotel Co. Page 10 is a full-page ad for 15,000 acres being made available by the Redland Improvement Company.
Back to Agriculture
Page eleven returns to agriculture and the diversity of crops grown in the county. There is a large, and well-preserved photo of the bathhouse owned by Peter TOMASELLO on the Blackwater Basin. Half the page is an ad by Fisher and Hamilton. Page twelve is a mix of an article on John A. HANNAH and one on the village of Mary Esther and one indicating there were four newspapers in Milton in 1913, though they were counting a locally produced Methodist church newspaper. The rest of the page is ads for H. L. COHEN’s Dry Goods Store, the Hammond Tailoring Company and W. C. SALTER.
Milton and the County Goverment
Section Three, page one is mostly about Milton and the county government. There is a photo of the Mayor at the time, W. W. CLARK; one of the State Senator/Attorney for the County and the City of Milton, R. A. McGEACHY; one of Wiley J. WILLIAMS, Jr, City Clerk and one of Peter ROSASCO. The last is accompanied by an article on Bay Point Milling Company. There is also a picture of Rosasco’s home and a street scene from Milton that is difficult to see. Page two of this third section of the paper provides some statistics on the county and the health conditions (all good). There is an article on William J. KEYSER who is named as one of the first men to ship timber from Santa Rosa to Europe. There is a photo of the Peter TOMASELLO home.
The next page continues presenting every aspect about Milton and has a street scene that looks like it would be a great photo if lightened up a bit. A short article lists the following “largest towns” of Santa Rosa: Milton, Bagdad, Milligan, Holt, Baker, Jay, Pace, Penton and Mulat. At the bottom of the page is another short article on education in the county. The fourth page of section three is another full-page ad extolling Milton. The fifth page of the section has a large article on sugar cane and one that is a reminiscence about barbecue by Judge Charles H. LANEY. The sixth page has an article about the town of Jay and a poem. An additional article on Jay lists the Mayor, Clerk, Marshall, and City Council. There is a good picture of J. H. STEWART, owner of the Milton Drug Company. Two large ads are at the bottom of the page that advertises businesses in Jay. The next page is a full-page ad for Bay Point Mill Company at Pinewood.
Floridatown, Blackman, Mulat, and Galliver
You can skip the next page. It is about the Panama-Pacific Exposition, not Santa Rosa County. The following page is back to Santa Rosa and has an article on Floridatown and a somewhat humorous ad (from the viewpoint of today) about Blackman and Galliver. Two more photos, one of the sawmill at Mulet and the other of the home of B. W. STRATTON at Camp Walton. A half-page ad for the Smith Furniture Company takes the bottom of the page. The next page has a photo of Hub ALLEN, the editor of the Milton Gazette, an article about Florida and several ads for companies in Milton and Pensacola. The next to last page of this section has some early recollections by Wiley J. WILLIAMS, Sr, a short article about Pace and an article about Wiley J. WILLIAMS, Sr. An interesting article entitled, “Santa Rosa the Beautiful” by L. Ross BASS of Holley. Another article about Chumuckla Springs and one on the four churches of Milton. The final page has several articles about Mulat.
Now, I will admit this was a lot of pages and I can only dress up the narrative just so much but I think if you take the time to follow the link below and read some of these articles that sound like they might be of interest, you just might learn something about this “most excellent county in the Florida panhandle”.
Until Next Time.
- The Pensacola Journal. (Pensacola, Fla.), 27 April 1913. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
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