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In Memory: Officer Thomas M. Coulter of the Daytona Beach Police Department

Thomas Coulter headstone Courtesy Findagrave

Thomas M. Coulter

Thomas M. Coulter Courtesy Findagrave
Thomas M. Coulter
Courtesy Findagrave

Having only graduated from the police academy at Daytona State College in 2017, Thomas M. Coulter was beginning to live out his dream of being a police officer when hired by the Daytona Beach Police Department in 2018.

Thomas M. Coulter was born January 29, 1993 in New Jersey to parents Ann and Michael Coulter. He later earned his high school diploma and A.A. degree in 2011, finishing early with the assistance of dual enrollment credits. He was to later attend the University of Central Florida.

Coulter began his recruit training on May 14, 2018 after passing a preemployment physical with the Daytona Beach Police Department. On the morning of Friday, May 18, Coulter, along with twenty-three other recruits and three trainers, were participating in what police chief Craig Capri said was a team building exercise. This was was jogging and walking exercise that included stops for pushups and stretching. The group was moving at the speed of the slowest participant.

Around 8:00 a.m. Coulter collapsed during training. He was taken to Halifax Health Medical Center where doctors initially believed he would recover. His condition began to decline on Saturday the 19th and he passed away at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, May 21. Autopsy reports would later show the Coulter died of a heart attack.

Fellow recruits were allowed that Monday off training but were required to return on Tuesday morning. DBPD provided counseling for those in need.

According to Chief Capri, Coulter had made no complaint of discomfort or feeling ill before collapsing and as noted prior, had passed the required physical. Capri stated that Coulter was in “average shape” for a 25 year old.

Chief Capri was quoted in the local newspaper, “This young man, all he wanted to do was be a police officer. Talking with the family he wanted to be a police officer. That was his life’s dream, since he was a little kid. That was his goal and he did meet his goal.”

His memorial service was held at the News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach. The service was attended by law enforcement officers from numerous agencies and then Florida governor Rick Scott. Capri stated, “I’m just very proud of the community, the support of the community. And we had police officers from all over.”

Thomas Coulter left behind a wife of only six months, Jazmin, his parents, a brother, Mikey, and sisters Sandy and Bridgette, along with extended family members.

Thomas Coulter headstoneCourtesy Findagrave
Thomas M. Coulter headstone
Courtesy Findagrave

Officer Coulter is buried at Daytona Memorial Pak in the Hero’s Garden of Glory section. His marker includes the words, Have a Great Day Officer Coulter. 

Officer Coulter is memorialized on the Law Enforcement Memorial Volusia and Flagler Counties located adjacent to the Historic Courthouse in DeLand, FL.

An online memorial for Officer Coulter may be found HERE.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


All Gave Some Law Enforcement Mens T-Shirt

from: Flagshirt

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Book Review: Shiloh National Military Park (Images of America)

Shiloh National Military Park book cover

McCutchen, Brian K., and Timothy B. Smith. Shiloh National Military Park (Images of America). Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2012. ISBN 9780738591353. B/W photos. 127 pages. $21.99.

When armies under the commands of Ulysses S. Grant and Albert Sidney Johnston faced off on April 6 and 7, 1862, they could not have realized the carnage that would be left on the Tennessee battlefield. The Battle of Shiloh left almost 24,000 soldiers dead, wounded, missing, or captured, a staggering sum that included Confederate General Johnston.

In 1866, Pittsburg National Cemetery was established by the War Department; a name later changed to Shiloh National Cemetery in 1889.

Established on December 27, 1894, Shiloh National Military Park now serves as a reminder of those terrible two days of fighting that helped set in motion the events of the next three years. The park first operated under the guidance of the War Department but was moved to the National Park Service in 1933.

This 1894 legislation allowed for participating states to place monuments and memorials on the park grounds. The park as we know it today was beginning to take shape.

The Images of America series of books does an excellent job of providing access to usually older photos that the general public may not otherwise have the opportunity to view. In Shiloh National Military Park, authors Brian K. McCutchen and Timothy B. Smith achieve this standard, using images from the park collection.

McCutchen is a former park ranger at Shiloh and has served at other national parks. Timothy B. Smith is a professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Martin. He is a leading scholar on the Battle of Shiloh and has authored what many consider the definitive volume on the battle, Shiloh: Conquer or Perish.

In this Images of America title, the authors showcase just over 200 images, broken into seven chapters. As might be expected in a collection spanning longer than 150 years, some images have reproduced much better than others. Occasionally there are images that seem a bit fuzzy and hazy. This is not a major distraction however. Each image contains a caption with most being around fifty words. The captions are easy to read and bring additional life to the images. 

I particularly enjoyed the chapter titled, “Memories in Stone and Bronze: Monuments of Shiloh.” This chapter highlights just a few of the more than 150 monuments that are located throughout the 4,000+ acres of the park. As McCutchen and Smith state, “To the veterans of America’s first monster battle…the statuary was much more. It embodied full representations of the brave solders of North and South and thus told the stories that they wished to convey to future generations.: (p.57)

A little-known aspect of the battlefield that the authors cover is the cyclone of October 14, 1909. This storm, that appears to have been building throughout the day, killed seven and injured thirty-three. Damage to the park and cemetery were considerable with Congress ultimately allocating $8,000 for the national cemetery and almost $20,000 for repairs and reconstruction at the park. In just over a dozen photos, the damage to the park is shown, with trees uprooted, buildings destroyed, and monuments smashed.

The beauty of a book such as this is its simplicity. A reader can know nothing of the battle and still enjoy the rich history on the pages, the book serving as a potential gateway to further study. For those knowledgeable on the battle and the terrain of the battlefield there is still plenty to learn here. Chances are good that many of the images will be new, even to seasoned students of the battle.

This is not a new release, and the reality is, an expert such as Smith could probably release several similar volumes. Recommended for anybody studying the battle or planning to visit the Shiloh National Military Park.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


Civil War Monitor

from: College Subscription Services LLC

Civil War Monitor is one of the leading magazines covering the war from all perspectives. With some of the best practicing historians regularly contributing articles, this is a must read for any student of the war. Click the link above of the photo to the left for exclusive subscription pricing!

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“Blind Willie” McTell and the 12-String Strut in Thomson Georgia

12-String Strut art exhibit in Thomson, GA.

Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell Image courtesy Library of Congress
Blind Willie McTell
Image courtesy Library of Congress

William Samuel McTier (McTear) was born in Thomson, Georgia on May 5, 1898, though some researchers contend that he was born in 1903, and his headstone gives the year of 1901. I have yet to find a source on how he became known as McTell. It is also unclear if young Willie was born blind or lost his sight during childhood. The New Georgia Encyclopedia indicates McTell attended schools for the blind in Georgia, New York, and Michigan.

While in his teens, McTell and his mother moved to Statesboro, GA, and it was here where Willie learned to play the six-string guitar.

By the 1920s, McTell had left the family home, taking to the road as a traveling musician, playing carnivals, bars, parties, churches, and street corners to earn a living.

Young and talented, McTell became popular in Atlanta, regularly playing at house parties and similar events. By this time, he had upped his game to the twelve-string guitar, an instrument that helped him project his music better in the crowded areas he often played.

By 1927, recording companies had noticed McTell and other blues musicians and he cut his first tracks for Victor Records, following that with a 1928 session for Columbia. The New Georgia Encyclopedia lists multiple studios that McTell recorded for, often under different names. Musicians of the era would often record under similar, but different, names in order to avoid contract conflicts. 

McTell was wed to Ruth Kate Williams in 1934. They were to later record several tracks together.

John A. Lomax recorded McTell as a part of the Archive of American Folk Song in 1940. These recordings, held by the Library of Congress, have been released under the title The Complete Library of Congress Recordings.

Commercially, McTells sales were declining during the 40s, and he found himself playing more on the streets. He did record for Atlantic Records in 1949 and Regal Records the same year. His final known recordings were made in 1956 by Atlanta record store owner Edward Rhodes.

Starting in 1957, McTell served as the preacher at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Atlanta and devoted himself to religious music. Blind Willie was to only live a short time longer and passed away on August 19, 1959, due to a cerebral hemorrhage. McTell is buried in Jones Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Thomson, Georgia.

McTell’s 12-String Strut

Located in the downtown Thomson, GA area is a public art exhibit titled McTell’s 12-String Strut, honoring the locally born Blind Willie McTell. There are twelve, seven-foot-tall Stella guitars in the installation, each painted by a different artist. The guitar models were created by Icon Poly Studio and are made of polyurethane.

The installation was presented to the public in 2016 after a Georgia Department of Economic Development report suggested a public art component and providing additional exposure for one of McDuffie Counties most recognized citizens as part of the county’s tourism marketing efforts. 

Below, find images of 6 of the 12 guitars that are located throughout Thomson. 11 of these are very easy to find. The 12th however took a bit more digging. It is located outside the McDuffie County Government complex.

12-String Strut
12-String Strut

 

12-String Strut
12-String Strut
12-String Strut
12-String Strut

Posthumous Recognition

The Blues Hall of Fame inducted Blind Willie in 1981 and in 1990, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame bestowed the same honor.

Blind Willie McTell Georgia Historic Marker in Thomson, Georgia
Georgia Historic Marker in honor of Blind Willie McTell, located in Thomson, GA

In 1993, a Georgia Historic Marker was unveiled in Thomson, GA,, near the old railroad station, honoring McTell and his legacy. The text (including a few small grammatical errors) reads as follows

Willie Samuel McTear (1901-1959) was born between Big and Little Briar Creeks in the Happy Valley Community. In 1911, he and his mother moved to Statesboro, where he began his life of traveling and performing. Although blind from infancy, Willie developed a lifelong independence based on his acute sense of hearing., remarkable memory and versatile musical genius.

Willie performed and recorded under many names but favored “Blind Willie” McTell. Best remembered for his blues, McTell, had a remarkable repertoire of blues, spirituals, gospels, rags, fold ballads and popular music. McTell played from “Maine to Mobile Bay”, and at theaters, taverns, road houses, churches, medicine shows, train stations, barbecue joints, house parties, and on the streets.

His blues feature his trademark twelve-string guitar played in rapid and intricate patterns of jagged, shifting rhythms accompanying his clear tenor voice. He started recording in 1927 for RCA Victor Atlantic and the Library of Congress. He last recorded in 1956 and returned to McDuffie County shortly before his death and is buried in the Jones Grove Cemetery. Blind Willie was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1990.

McTell has also played a considerable influence on musicians after him. Performers as diverse as Taj Mahal, the Allman Brothers Band, Ry Cooder, Jack White, and Bob Dylan have covered his songs or singled out the blind guitar player for his influence on their careers.

 

Do you want to learn to play 12-string guitar? Or maybe you are looking to upgrade your equipment. The unmistakable sound of a well-made 12-string guitar is perfect for solo gigs and band performances, especially when it was designed by the founder of influential U.S. punk band Rancid. Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat is based on the old Fender acoustic that was his go-to guitar for songwriting, and quickly became one of the best-selling Fender acoustic artist models ever. With the Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12, that same classic vibe is offered in a 12-string version that simply rocks. Whether it’s alt-folk tunes at the college coffeehouse or slamming punk with a band, the Hellcat-12 combines great acoustic tone with versatile onboard electronics and a satin body and neck finish for smooth playability, all at a surprisingly low cost.

Blind Willie McTell Music Festival

Blind Willie McTell mural located in downtown Thomson.
Blind Willie McTell mural located in downtown Thomson, GA

The legacy of McTell is celebrated each year at the Blind Willie McTell Music Festival held in Thomson, GA. Ticket prices for the event seem quite reasonable. The lineup for 2022 included Jimmie Vaughn, the Texas Gentlemen, Joachim Cooder (son of the legendary Ry Cooder), and more. For more information on the festival check their website.

Sources:

Burditt, Erin. “Guitars are Back.” The McDuffie Progress. April 13, 2021.

Jacobs, Hal. ““Blind Willie” McTell.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Jun 1, 2020.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

The Rough Guide to Blind Willie McTell is an excellent introduction to the genius that poured from his fingers. It contains 25 key tracks including some of his best known such as Statesboro Blues. Little of the life of McTell is really known and there is no full length biography. To learn more about southern blues I recommend a copy of Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Drawing on archives and interviews with musicians, Red River Blues remains an acclaimed work of blues scholarship. Bruce Bastin traces the origins of the music to the turn of the twentieth century, when African Americans rejected slave songs, work songs, and minstrel music in favor of a potent new vehicle for secular musical expression. Bastin looks at the blues’ early emerging popularity and its spread via the Great Migration, delves into a wealth of field recordings, and looks at the careers of Brownie McGhee, Blind Boy Fuller, Curly Weaver, Sonny Terry, and many other foundational artists.

 

 

 

 

 


The Blues Fake Book

from: The Music Stand

The most comprehensive single-volume blues publication ever, with songs spanning the entire history of the genre. Every major blues artist is well-represented, including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, Alberta Hunter, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bessie Smith, Sonny Boy Williamson, and scores of others.

 

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Ormond Indian Burial Mound Historic Marker

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Indian Burial Mound

In May 1982, when Dixon H. Reeves, and his wife Harriett, paid contractors to break ground on a house site at the corner of south Beach Street and Mound Avenue in Ormond Beach, they did not fully comprehend the damage they were going to do to an irreplaceable cultural artifact. In fact, once the city manager issued a stop work order, the Reeves sued the city for damages. The property ownership reverted to Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Barron, who the Reeves purchased the property from, and the Reeves eventually received a $4,000 settlement from the city.

Ormond Indian Burial Mound
Ormond Indian Burial Mound

Where the Reeves wish to build their home was the site of a Timucuan Burial Mound. In Timucuan society, bodies were not buried but instead they were placed on top of the ground and dirt piled on top. In some instances, the flesh was allowed to decay, and the bones were bundled and placed at the mound site. At times, items owned by the deceased were broken and included in the interment.

Despite the mound having received considerable damage through the years, including digging by “pot hunters” and construction of adjacent roadways, archaeologists believe as many as 125 Timucuans had been buried on the site. For anybody caught digging on this, or similar sites, you will more likely than not be charged with a third-degree felony. See this link for additional information.

With a lack of consensus among city leaders a fund was started to help purchase and preserve this sacred site. The Barron’s agreed to sell the property to the city for $55,000. Despite confirmation on the importance of the site from professional anthropologists and archaeologists, it took an anonymous donation of $30,000, along with the fundraising drive, to help secure the sale as shortsighted elected city officials balked at the price and potential ongoing costs.

Today, the site is owned by the City of Ormond Beach and is a park in a residential area. Visitors can see the mound from all sides, surrounded by roads and houses. Parking is available across the street at Ames Park so please do not park on park lands or in the yards or drives of nearby property owners. Please do not climb on the mound as it is a fragile archaeological site.

 


Native American Mythology – $16.95

from: Dover Publications

If you are interested in Native American History and mythology, this fascinating book is one you should have in your libary. This fascinating and informative compendium of Native American lore was assembled by one of twentieth-century America’s premier ethnographer/anthropologists. Hartley Burr Alexander recounts the continent’s myths chronologically and region-by-region, offering a remarkably wide range of nomadic sagas, animist myths, cosmogonies and creation myths, end-time prophecies, and other traditional tales. Click the photo to order directly from the publisher and to see their other Native American selections. 

Sign Text

 

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach
Historic Marker placed by the City of Ormond Beach and the Ormond Beach Historical Trust

The Ormond Mound was constructed by the prehistoric people of this area sometime after A.D. 800. The skeletal remains of more than 125 early native (sic) Americans are buried in this sand burial mound. Interring bodies in earthen mounds was a common burial practice in the late pre-historic period. The bones of most of the deceased were “bundled” and buried during special ceremonies. As more bodies were buried and covered with layers of sand, the mound grew over time. The Mound is preserved as one of the finest and most intact burial mounds in Florida through the efforts of the community that worked to save this site in 1982.

City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Historical Trust

 

 

This marker is placed by the City of Ormond Beach and is not a part of the Florida Department of State marker program.

 

 

If you wish to learn more about Timucuan culture there is an excellent book I can recommend.

Perhaps the definitive book on the subject is written by Dr. Jerald Milanich, The Timucua.  

This is the story of the Timucua, an American Indian people who thrived for centuries in the southeast portion of what is now the United States of America.

Timucua groups lived in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia, a region occupied by native people for thirteen millennia. They were among the first of the American Indians to come in contact with Europeans, when the Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast in 1513. Thousands of archaeological sites, village middens and sand and shell mounds still dot the landscape, offering mute testimony to the former presence of the Timucua and their ancestors.

Two hundred and fifty years after Ponce de Leon’s voyage the Timucua had disappeared, extinguished by the ravages of colonialism. Who were the Timucua? Where did they come from? How did they live? What caused their extinction? These are questions this book attempts to answer, using information gathered from archaeological excavations and from the interpretation of historical documents left behind by the European powers, mainly Spain and France, who sought to colonize Florida and to place the Timucua under their sway.

I also recommend taking a look at this page from the National Park Service. 

Great magazines at low prices for students & educators. Click to save up to 90% off the cover price.

Timucua Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions Courtesy Florida Memory
Bry, Theodor de, 1528-1598. XXIV. Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions. 1591. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/294790>, accessed 22 October 2022.

The State Library and Archives of Florida (Florida Memory), has an excellent page of Theodor de Bry’s Engravings of the Timucua. These incredible works of art date from before the year 1600. The 42 pieces are all available for viewing and low resolution copies are available for download. A sample de Bry image is seen at the left.

 Sources:

Daytona Beach News Journal

Florida Master Site File VO00240

Ormond Beach Historical Trust, Inc. “The Story of the Timucua Indian Burial Mound in Ormond Beach, Florida.” Pamphlet published April 2000.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

 

Coloring Books to Relax

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In Memory: Wagoner Lawrence S. Peacock World War I Casualty

Lawrence Peacock headstone

Lawrence S. Peacock came from a humble background. Born on July 5, 1891 in Spring Garden to parents Samuel D. and Martha (Daugharty) Peacock. Samuel was a farmer and the family lived in Precinct Four according to the 1900 United States Census. Lawrence was the fourth of five children; John, Thomas, Margaret, and Violet. The 1910 United States Census placed the Peacock family at 46 E. New York Avenue.

Young Lawrence appears to have been an industrious young man, not afraid of hard work. He was the owner of a vulcanizing company located in the downtown DeLand area. He regularly advertised in the local newspaper, “Tires and Tubes, All Work Guaranteed”.

Vulcanization is the process of using heat to help harden rubber, thus increasing its lifespan and strength. For more information on vulcanization check the Wikipedia page.

To learn more about the race to unlock the power and secrets of vulcanized rubber, read Noble Obsession: Charles Goodyear, Thomas Hancock, and the Race to Unlock the Greatest Industrial Secret of the 19th Century.

Noble Obsession follows the life of Charles Goodyear, a single-minded genius who risked his own life and that of his family in a quest to unlock the secrets of rubber. In rich, historical detail, it chronicles the personal price Goodyear paid in pursuit of his dream and his bitter rivalry with Thomas Hancock, the scholarly English inventor who ultimately robbed Goodyear of fame and fortune. From the jungles of Brazil to the laboratories of Europe to the courtrooms of America, Noble Obsession tells one of the strangest and most affecting sagas in the history of human discovery.

 

A prime bachelor, Lawrence attracted the attentions of young Edith Baguley, “a talented musician and a popular young woman…” The two eligible DeLandites eloped on July 5, 1917. The service was performed by Reverend H. S. Rightmire at the Baptist church in Daytona Beach with only the reverend’s wife and Mrs. M. N. Baguley, Edith’s mother, in attendance.

The newly wed couple briefly honeymooned in St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Pablo Beach, before returning to DeLand.

World events were closing in on young men around the world and Lawrence S. Peacock was no exception. In mid-1918 Peacock received notice that he had been drafted and would be called to active duty.

In preparation for leaving DeLand for an unknown period, Lawrence sold his business to Mr. A. C. Clark, a young man from Miami.

Lawrence was transported to Camp Greenleaf at Fort Oglethorpe, GA for two months of training. His skills and abilities earned him a promotion from Private to Wagoner in Evacuation Ambulance Company No. 19 during his training.

USS George Washington
USS George Washington (ID#3018) underway at sea, 10 May 1918. Photographed from USS Whipple (Destroyer # 15), which was then operating off western France.
US Navy photo # NH 53885 from the collections of the US Navy Historical Center.

On September 22, 1918, he was sent to Camp Upton on Long Island, NY before being transferred to the Transport S.S. George Washington in preparation for transport to France.

It was during this transport that Peacock contracted pneumonia and passed away onboard. His death on October 9, 1918 was one of only thousands caused as a result of the 1918 influenza outbreak. It is believed the pneumonia was the largest cause of death during the pandemic. 

 

 

 

 

The 1918 influenza outbreak is estimated to have contributed to the deaths of nearly 100 million people. Historian John M. Barry has written what may be the definitive look at this pandemic. The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History is accessible and readable for those of us without a scientific background.

 

 

 

The remains of Wagoner Lawrence S. Peacock were buried temporarily in Brest, France, a port city in Brittany, before being returned to DeLand in 1920.

After conclusion of hostilities, the Army returned the remains of Peacock, through New York City, where they were placed aboard a southbound train, with a single soldier accompanying.

Members of the DeLand American Legion Post met the train and carried the remains to an awaiting hearse that secured the body to Allen’s Undertaking Parlors in preparation for the funeral on July 15, 1920.

The funeral was a somber affair. At 2:00 p.m. the parade left Allen’s on their way to Oakdale Cemetery. A squad of uniformed men, followed by the pall bearers, a group of Legionnaires, the family, and finally friends of the deceased made their way through the streets of DeLand.

Once the procession arrived at the cemetery, the flag draped coffin was carried to the burial site with uniformed men at parade rest. Dr. C. L. Collins talked about the war and its impact and provided a biographical sketch of the young soldier. Reverend C. E. Wyatt offered prayer. The service ended with a three-round volley over the grave and the blowing of taps by bugler Feasel.

Lawrence Peacock headstone
The headstone for Wagoner Lawrence Peacock as seen in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand, FL

In the years following the burial of her husband, Edith was to remarry. On February 11, 1922, she married Pharris M. Stribling, a newspaper printer who worked for the local paper. The 1930 United States Census shows her to already have divorced Stribling and working as a stenographer in North Carolina where she lived with her mother.

A brief search shows that Edith does not appear to have married again. When she passed away on March 4, 1982, Edith was living in San Bernadino, CA.

Edith Irene Baguley Stribling was buried in Henry Cemetery, in Henry, Illinois, the same cemetery as her parents.

 

 

 

 

 

Wagoner Lawrence S. Peacock is memorialized today at the DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum. This project was trumpeted in the local newspaper by DeLand Mayor S. A. Wood on February 19, 1919 and opened in 1920. DeLand Memorial Hospital would serve as the primary medical facility in DeLand until the opening of Fish Memorial Hospital in 1952. Today the building is home to City of DeLand offices and museum exhibits.

DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum
A full exterior view of the circa 1920 DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum building
World War I plaque at DeLand Memorial Hospital and Veterans Museum
A dedication plaque to West Volusia County soldiers who perished during World War I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original plaque on exterior of Hospital building
An originally placed plaque dedicating the hospital as a Memorial to our boys for service rendered and sacrifice supreme

 

To view other posts related to Oakdale Cemetery, many of them military related, please click here.

Sources:

Multiple issues of the DeLand News were used to compile this article.

www.floridamemory.com

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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Society of American Travel Writers Monument at the Casements in Ormond Beach, FL

Society of American Travel Writers monument

Society of American Travel Writers Monument

Leroy Collins
Leroy Collins shown in his days as a Senator. Photo courtesy State Archives of Florida

On November 14, 1956, Florida Governor Leroy Collins welcomed the National Association of Travel Organizations at the Ellinor Village Country Club. It was there that morning on which the National Association of Travel Writers was organized. The NATW adopted bylaws, a constitution, and elected officers. Peter Celhers was elected as the first president.

The groups met with sessions such as “A Guided Tour of Florida,” “How to Sell Travel,” and more.

Now known as the Society of American Travel Writers, the national group has over 1,000 total members. SATW members are classified into one of four geographic areas and also assigned one of three councils based upon profession.

SATW operates upon a published set of core values including ethical standards, diversity, respect for individuals, respect for culture, and sustainability.

In June 1999 the Central States chapter of SATW met in Daytona Beach, welcomed by a $55,000 incentive package from the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. An additional $30,000 worth of promotional goods and services were donated by local businesses.

The DBACVB considered funding the visit of sixty travel writers a wise investment based upon the potential publicity in magazines, newspapers, and books. (Remember, the internet and social media had not blown up in the manner they have today.) Susan McClain, the communications director for the bureau stated, “The main message we’re presenting is that we are rejuvenating Daytona Beach and we want to attract more families.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The visitors were treated to tours of facilities such as Museum of Arts and Sciences, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Ocean Walk (at the time under construction), LPGA golf courses, and other tourist friendly sites.

One visit of interest was a return to the Ellinor Village site where the organization had been formed forty-three years prior. To commemorate both the formation of the organization and the recent visit, SATW was able to install a small bronze on coquina plaque on the grounds of The Casements in Ormond Beach. The plaque reads

Society of American Travel Writers monument in Ormond Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Society of American Travel Writers

In 1956, the Society of American Travel               

Writers was formed at Ellinor Village,                                                           

two miles south of the Casements. This oak tree

was planted on June 3, 1999, in conjunction

with the Central States Chapter meeting of

SATW in Daytona Beach to recognize the

founding of North America’s largest

organization of professional travel journalists

 

Want to be a travel writer? Take a look at How to be a Travel Writer by Don George.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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In Memory: Officer Elmer Michael of the DeLand, FL Police Department

Elmer Michael monument detail

Elmer Lunger Michael

Born in West Virginia in 1889, young Elmer Lunger Michael knew the difficulties life could bring. Growing up in Morgan County, he was the eldest of five children born to Albert (might be Tolbert) and Mary Michael. Elmer was to only complete the eighth grade before quitting school, most likely to help his family. By the age of twenty he had left his parents home, was married, and employed as a farmer. Elmer’s World War I draft registration shows him as being of medium height and build with brown hair and blue eyes.

Elmer, and his wife Ida Maud, moved to Volusia County, Florida sometime around 1925/1926. Elmer left the uncertainty of his last job of being a truck driver for what they hoped would be a brighter future in Florida. Elmer and Ida Maud were the parents of two children, Ralph, and Virginia.

In 1926, Elmer had been hired as a police officer with the DeLand police department. This would no doubt have been a welcome job during lean years for a man with no formal education and limited marketable skills.

For those who would harken back to an earlier time when streets were safe, there was little violence, and people had a respect for the law; the story of Elmer Michael is a harsh reminder of the realities in the world.

The Crime

On October 25, officer Michael was working the overnight shift, a shift that might have been considered safe considering DeLand was a small town of around 5,000 residents.

It was during this shift that John Wallace and John McGuire, known criminals from Indiana, were caught in downtown DeLand in a car reported stolen in Daytona Beach. While attempting to apprehend the criminals near the corner of Woodland and Wisconsin Avenues, Michael was shot and wounded. He was also pushed to the ground and received a serious wound to the head.

The following day Florida East Coast Railway workers M. A. Snyder and Walter Minton were both wounded during an encounter with the fugitives in New Smyrna Beach. Snyder received five bullet wounds; and Walter Minton, a special agent out of Palatka where he worked for the Florida East Coast Railway, was shot twice in the arm. Snyder was hospitalized for his wounds while Minton was released from medical care.

John Wallace was arrested later in the day on October 26 after the confrontation with Snyder and Minton. Local reports stated that McGuire was still wanted but Volusia County Sheriff S. E. Stone was confident he would be apprehended shortly.

On November 4, the DeLand Sun News ran an editorial thanking officer Michael and congratulating him on his release from DeLand Memorial Hospital.

Dear Elmer:

That was great news to hear that you are out again after the attempt made on your life recently by auto bandits. Elmer, it is such men as you that keep up the honor of a police force and in whom we have confidence that the law will be enforced. We congratulate you on your fearlessness and the whole of DeLand is happy that you escaped with your life. The next time Elmer any of that type of criminal sticks a gun at you, shoot him first. The country is well rid of such offscourings. (1)

While Sheriff Stone was confident that John Luke McGuire would quickly be apprehended, these thoughts were premature. During the first week in November Stone was working with Fort Wayne, Indiana authorities in order to put together a wanted campaign including photos. McGuire was described as twenty-three years old, five fee six inches tall, gray eyes, blond hair, with a medium build and complexion. The reward for the capture of McGuire was placed at $50. Five hundred copies of the wanted poster were distributed. In addition to the wounding of officer Michael and the FEC workers, McGuire and Wallace were accused in the robbery of a Daytona Beach pharmacy. (2)

The Trials

With McGuire still wanted, prosecutors began their case against John Wallace in December. Judge Marion O. Rowe was expected to announce a trial date when he convened court on December 2. The following day, Wallace, a young man of only twenty, was to plead guilty to three charges: the theft of two automobiles and participating in the robbery of Bogart’s Pharmacy. He received a six-year prison sentence at state prison in Raiford. Wallace was not arraigned that day on charges of assault with intent to kill in the attack on the three wounded men.

Good news reached DeLand in January 1930 where word was received that McGuire had been arrested in Ft. Wayne, IN on a weapons charge. The good news was short lived as Indiana authorities refused to immediately extradite the fugitive to Florida to face charges. McGuire and his attorneys used multiple legal maneuvers, including “witnesses” stating he was in Memphis, TN at the time of the shootings, to prevent his being returned to Florida.

Harry Leslie Indiana Governor
Indiana Governor Harry Leslie courtesy Indiana Historical Bureau

In a scene that is right out of a movie however, on February 26, 1931, Indiana Governor Harry Leslie signed extradition papers. Volusia County Sheriff Stone was there to immediately take possession of the prisoner and begin transporting him to Florida where he would stand trial.

Samuel D. Jackson, the attorney for McGuire was able to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from Marion Circuit Court Judge Harry O. Chamberlain, which would have kept the prisoner from being extradited. Jackson made his petition claiming that McGuire had not been identified by his accusers and the use of questionable witnesses placing the accused in Tennessee on the date of the crime.

With a several hour head start, Sheriff Stone easily outpaced Jackson who was chasing the Florida lawman attempting to serve the writ and keep McGuire in Indiana. Stone drove unimpeded to Florida where McGuire was greeted with six charges in Volusia County, including three assaults with intent to murder.

Judge Bert Fish
Judge Bert Fish courtesy State Archives of Florida

 

The trial of John McGuire began in August 1931 in the courtroom of Judge Bert Fish, a highly respected legal mind who would go on to serve as a foreign ambassador in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration.

When the jury returned its verdict on August 17, 1931, McGuire was found guilty. When Judge Fish attempted to talk with McGuire before announcing the sentence the young man had no reply. Fish’s sentence was reported in the paper as follows

I cannot recall anytime in Volusia County in recent years when any man displayed the reckless regard for life and property that you have been convicted of showing. You said nothing in your own defense, and your case does not seem to offer anything that would amend the sentence. As a punishment to you and as an example to others it is the judgement of the law and the sentence of the court that you be confined to the state prison for fifteen years at hard labor. (3)

As defense attorneys are paid to do, McGuire’s attorneys requested a new trial, a request denied by Judge Fish. They were however provided ninety days to present a list of exceptions for the court to consider.

When appeals of the verdict reached the Florida Supreme Court in November 1932, they were denied. A request for a rehearing was also denied, sending McGuire back to the prison at Raiford to continue his sentence.


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Death of Elmer Michael

Elmer Michael returned to the DeLand police force after his recuperation though it was reported at the time that Michael never returned to his old self. In February 1942, Michael was admitted to the hospital for what was considered at the time to be a non-life-threatening situation. The local newspaper theorized that over-exertion while making an arrest for public drunkenness may have led to the hospital stay. (4)

On the morning of February 17 Michael unexpectedly passed away having served dutifully for sixteen years on the force. “Mike” as he was known to many local residents and merchants left behind his wife, son, and daughter, along with a community to honor his memory.

Funeral services for the local officer were held on February 19 at First Christian Church with the Reverend Clyde Smith officiating. The local newspaper reported hundreds in attendance at the ceremony and city hall was closed during the service. Fellow police officers served as pallbearers and the local Masonic Lodge handled the burial ceremony at Oakdale Cemetery.

One week after officer Elmer Michael was laid to rest, his son, Ralph Michael was hired by the DeLand Police Department and reported for duty on March 1, 1942.

The March 2, 1942 DeLand Sun News ran a thank you notice from the Michael family for the outpouring of love and support they had received.

Card of Thanks.

We wish to thank our many friends for the beautiful flora offerings and kid expressions of sympathy expressed at the death of our husband and father.

Mrs. E.L. Michael                                                                                                                                                Mrs. Cecil Barnes* (Virginia)
Ralph Michael

Elmer Michael Headstone
Elmer Michael Headstone located in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand
Elmer Michael Headstone Detail
Detail of Elmer Michael’s headstone including Masonic symbol

The Monument

Some of you may be wondering how I came upon the story of Officer Elmer Michael. Well, as it is for many historians, it was by accident. Often during my lunch break at work, I take a walk, partly for exercise from my desk job, and partly to see what I can find. One day recently was one of those type days.

Elmer Michael Memorial
Elmer Michael Memorial
Elmer Michael Memorial
Elmer Michael Memorial shown facing Woodland Boulevard

I was on my way back to my office, walking along Wisconsin Avenue near Bank of America and the Courtyard by Marriott when I noticed something on the other side of the street, kind of an after thought but what looked to be a piece of concrete that was out of place. I kept walking but it gnawed at me. After a hundred feet or so I just had to go back and see what this was that was located near the hotel.

 

 

 

When I got there, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There, on the sidewalk was a memorial to Officer Elmer “Mike” Michael. The memorial itself is pretty plain and the plaque didn’t give much description but it was more than enough to spark my interest and contained enough information to send me on a newspaper chase that allowed me to write the article above.

Elmer Michael monument detail
The top plaque of the Elmer Michael monument located near the corner of Woodland Blvd. and Wisconsin Avenue

In Memory of

Elmer “Mike” Michael

Outstanding Service in the

Line of Duty for the City of DeLand

DeLand Patrolman

1926-1942

 

Detail of the Law Enforcement Memorial at Historic Courthouse showing Elmer Michael's name
Detail of the Law Enforcement Memorial at the Historic Volusia County Courthouse

 

Officer Michael’s name is also included on the Law Enforcement Memorial Volusia and Flagler Counties that is located at the Indiana Avenue entrance to the Volusia County Historic Courthouse in DeLand.

Ida Maude, the widow of Elmer, lived her remaining years in DeLand. She passed away in February 1986 at the age of 97. Survivors included daughter Virginia, son Ralph, a sister Grace Lintz, and many grand, great grand, and great, great grandchildren. (5)

*As I was researching this article and printing newspaper articles, the name Cecil Barnes struck me but I couldn’t place it immediately. I knew I had seen it before. A quick search of the multiple projects I am working on turned up his name. Not only did the Michael family lose their patriarch, Elmer, in February 1942; daughter Virginia, lost her husband, Staff Sergeant Cecil Barnes, on May 29, 1944 in fighting at Biak Island in present day Indonesia. Staff Sergeant Barnes is buried in Oakdale Cemetery, DeLand. (6)

Cecil Barnes headstone detail
Detail of the headstone for Cecil Barnes
Cecil Barnes headstone
Headstone for Cecil Barnes who was killed in action during World War II

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

1)DeLand Sun News. November 4, 1929.

2) DeLand Sun News. November 7, 1929.

3)DeLand Sun News. August 17, 1931.

4)DeLand Sun News. February 17, 1942.

5)DeLand Sun News. February 8, 1986.

6)DeLand Sun News. June 8, 1944.

I have not included citations to every piece of information gathered from local newspaper articles. Almost all information was gathered from the DeLand Sun News. There are multiple other articles on the crime, trial, and death outlined above.

If you are interested in law enforcement in Volusia County, you may wish to read my blog post on a mural created for retired officer Francis McBride that is located in downtown DeLand, not far from the memorial to officer Michael.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

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Law Enforcement Memorial Volusia & Flagler Counties located in DeLand, Florida

Volusia and Flagler Law Enforcement Memorial

Courthouses often serve as the home to monuments and memorials of local importance. The Historic Volusia County Courthouse, with entrances on both New York and Indiana Avenues, is no exception. Near the Indiana Avenue, entrance is the Law Enforcement Memorial Volusia and Flagler Counties.

This 3,500-pound marble monument, crafted by Gene Letter, features the names of law enforcement officers from all stripes who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The monument currently contains thirty names.

Dedicated on June 2, 1995, a day designated by Volusia County Council as Law Enforcement Memorial Day, and attended by then state Attorney General Bob Butterworth, the monument serves as reminded of the dangers that law enforcement of all types face every time them go to work.

As then Ponce Inlet Police Chief Todd Hendrickson stated, “I don’t care if your force has 3,000 members or eight like we do, it’s devastating (to lose a fellow officer).”

Over time, I will be researching the story of these officers service and will post a blog entry for them. I will then link the post through their names below. If you have memories of any of these officers, I invite you to leave a respectful comment to this post or use the “contact” function. I would be glad to include your memories in my post. 

Volusia and Flagler Law Enforcement Memorial
Volusia and Flalger Counties Law Enforcement Memorial located outside the Historic Volusia County Courthouse in DeLand

 

Sheriff Jefferson D. Kurtz                          April 25, 1895                      Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Sheriff William K. Kremer          December 10, 1898         Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Sheriff Charles M. Kurtz               September 3, 1907           Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Chief Deputy William P. Edwards            November 5, 1907             Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Sheriff Frank A. Smith                   March 18, 1927                 Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Perry Hall                                            August 21, 1927                 Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Deputy Sheriff George Durrance              August 25, 1927                 Flagler County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Lewis Tanner                                      October 26, 1930              Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Officer Benny P. Stricklin                               January 23, 1931             Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Officer L.B. Hall                                               August 28, 1932                   Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Officer Willie R. Denson                                  April 30, 1937                       Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Officer Elmer L. Michael                              February 17, 1942              DeLand Police Department

Detective Harry F. Raines                             January 13, 1943                Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Trooper Edwin Gasque                                October 26, 1961               Florida Highway Patrol

Deputy Sheriff Alva Hayman                         May 8, 1974                     Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Sergeant George Tinsley                              May 7, 1979                      DeLand Police Department

Deputy Sheriff Donald Shackelford                 June 9, 1979                      Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Sam Etheridge                                 December 25, 1980             Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Deputy Sheriff Frank Genovese                     June 3, 1982                       Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Officer Greg J. Sorenson                              July 20, 1982                       Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Deputy Sheriff Stephen Saboda                   November 6, 1982                Volusia County Sheriff’s Office

Officer Timonty T. Pollard                           September 22, 1987              Ponce Inlet Police Dept.

Officer Kevin J. Fischer                                September 4, 1998               Daytona Beach Police Dept.

Deputy Sheriff Charles T. Sease                    July 5, 2003                        Flager County Sheriff’s Office

Trooper Darryl L. Haywood, Sr.                    October 2, 2004                   Florida Highway Patrol

Officer Robert F. Grim, Sr.                           November 13, 2004               Ormond Beach Police Dept.

Officer Roy L. Nelson, Jr.                             August 13, 2005                    New Smyrna Beach Police Dept.

Officer Donna Fitzgerald                             June 25, 2008                      Florida Dept. of Corrections

Captain John L. McDonough                        February 16, 2011                  Volusia County Beach Patrol

Officer Thomas Michael Coulter                  May 21, 2018                         Daytona Beach Police Dept.

 


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Chisholm High School Family Tree Monument in New Smyrna Beach

Chisholm Family Tree Wall

In the days of segregation, the city of New Smyrna Beach was no different than
communities across the country. African American students were routed to schools
that were clearly separate but not equal. While not having the financial resources
that were allocated to white schools, that did not mean that students, faculty and
staff, did not have pride in their community school.

Are you interested in learning about the businesses of the Historic West Side, in New Smyrna Beach? You need a copy of History of New Smyrna Black Businesses with Present Area Businesses written by Fannie Minson Hudson. Click the link or the image to the left to order your copy today!

 

 

 

While there is no doubt that the end of legal segregation in education has been a positive for students of all races, it was a difficult shift and has not been without issue. Many believe that the end of segregation often brought the end of community schools and contributed to a breakdown of local community.

Florida State University professor of economics and past director of African-American
Studies,  and current associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Patrick L. Mason  stated that teaching was considered to be one of the highest professions that educated African-Americans could achieve. “They were blocked from most other professions, so you get all these exceptional people who become teachers.”

Dr. Michael Butler of Flagler College has written an incredible book on the struggles of integration in Escambia County, FL. Beyond Integration is highly recommended. 

 

 

 

 

Mason points out that one of the tragedies of integration was the loss of certain
black institutions, of which schools were most prominent. Black schools such as
Chisholm High School were shuttered and students were forced to white schools.
“We went from our schools, which were a thing of great pride, to their schools,
where we were tolerated.” Principals, teachers, and other staff, were often demoted
or put into roles well below their skill level.

Chisholm Wildcat
Chisholm Wildcat located at Babe James Center in New Smyrna Beach

As Chisholm student Michael Williams relates, “It was a neighborhood school, principals and teachers went to the same church, and these people were our role models.”

Roy Brooks, a 1968 Chisholm graduate stated, “At Chisholm, we had personal contact, not only between the teachers with the students, but also the teachers with the parents.” This interaction is something that is missing in the world of education today.

Chisholm High School can trace its roots to the turn of the 20th century. It was then that Leroy Chisholm, a local barber, turned two adjoining houses into classrooms for black children. Chisholm would later fund the Chisholm Academy, a school for middle school aged children. When grades 10 through 12 were added to the Academy, the name was changed to Chisholm High School.

Chisholm High School was closed after the 1969 academic year but its legacy is
not forgotten. The Chisholm Alumni Association is rightfully proud of their
school. On July 14, 2012, the association dedicated a monument on the site of the
Babe James Center in the heart of the Historic West Side of New Smyrna Beach.

The text of the marker reads:

Chisholm Family Tree
Chisholm Family Tree plaque dedicated in 2012

The Chisholm Family Tree

As a mainstay of shaping and cultivating
Our academic growth and maturity, we
Reflect on our proud high school heritage.
We hereby salute the students who
Attended Chisholm High twelve days,
Twelve months, twelve years; teachers
Who inspired and encouraged us;
Administrators and staff who nurtured us.
You were there for us! Let this monument
Be a reminder of our educational, cultural,
Athletic, and social experiences as we
Prepared for a whole new world. We heard
Your words, “Depart from here and use

 

Chisholm Family Tree Wall
Center panel of the Chisholm Family Tree Wall

Your mind toward making a resounding
Positive impact on the lives of others and
This world.” The Chisholm Family Tree Wall
Is dedicated to you and all the Chisholm
Family members world-wide. Thank you
For the memories and we are forever
Grateful. Come back again for a visit.

 

 

Chisholm Family Tree Wall Full View
Chisholm Family Tree Wall Full View

“Oh Chisholm High Forever Our Dear Alma mater Dear”

Dedicated on this date July 14, 2012 and sponsored by
Chisholm High Alumni Association

 

 

 

 

If you have information on Chisholm High School you would like to share, please
reach out to me or leave a comment to this post.

To learn more about Chisholm High School I recommend contacting the Mary S.
Harrell Black Heritage Museum.

In addition, you should reach out to the New Smyrna Museum of History.

The Chisholm High Alumni Organization has a Facebook page. If you attended
Chisholm High School, you are encouraged to get in touch with them.

Sources:

Daytona Beach News Journal July 14, 2018

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 


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