Wild and wooly recollections from the Florida frontier
Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives brings together the reminiscences of two pioneers who came of age in antebellum Florida's Columbia County and the nearby Suwannee River Valley. Though they held markedly different positions in society, they shared the adventure, thrill, hardship, and tragedy that characterized Florida's pioneer era. With sensitivity, poignancy, and humor, George Gillett Keen and Sarah Pamela Williams record anecdotes and memories that touch upon important themes of frontier life and reveal the remarkable diversity of Florida's settlers.
Keen's story typifies that of many "Cracker" families. Born in Georgia, he moved with his parents to the Florida Territory in 1830 in search of a better life. He grew up in a dangerous yet exciting setting, and as an old man at the turn of the twentieth century recorded his colorful memories with a verve and vernacular reminiscent of the Georgia humorist, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet. Keen writes about subsistence farming, cattle grazing, the Seminole wars, marriage customs, medical practices, politics, the abundance of wildlife, and the paucity of educational opportunities.
Admittedly not a Cracker, Sarah Pamela Williams was the daughter of a nationally recognized man of letters. In 1847 she moved to Columbia County's seat of Alligator (Lake City) and later married into one of northeast Florida's prominent planter families. She recorder her recollections of a life brightened by social functions, travel, and cultural endeavors. Offering a rare glimpse into Florida's Civil War homefront, Williams tells of making clothes of homespun, tithing crops to the Confederacy, fearing hostilities just thirteen miles from her home, and surviving as a widow in the lean postwar era.
Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives features biographical sketches of more than 280 persons mentioned by Keen and Williams in their writings, many of whom subsequently pioneered settlement in the Florida peninsula.
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- ISBN-13: 9781570035128
- ISBN-10: 1570035121
- Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
- Publish Date: March 2003
- Dimensions: 9.28 x 6.21 x 0.55 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.78 pounds
- Page Count: 248