It is always a treat to hear from the great-grandson of developer Granville, Chetwynd Stapylton, Alan Chetwynd Gillette of Cape Town, South Africa. He shared pictures of Granville and his children, Brian, then 8, and Ella 6.

This picture of Holy Trinity Church was also included. It appears to have been taken from a slightly different angle.

Then, recently, out of the blue, came a copy of a watercolor picture of the Stapylton home at the compound on Zephyr Lake from another great-grandson, Nicholas Wilks.

How charming! And how special it is to relive that time in local history once again.

Thank you Alan and Nicholas!

Commissioners to hear plan for two restaurants and five-story hotel

Meta Minton

January 15, 2020


Lady Lake commissioners next week will hear a plan for two restaurants and a five-story hotel to be built at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 27/441 and Lake Ella Road.

The commission will be presented with the plan in a special meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Lady Lake Town Hall.

The site known as the Bailey Property is 50.4 acres and located north of Lake Ella Road and west of U.S. Hwy. 27/441.

A layout of the proposed site will be discussed before the Lady Lake Commission. “The property is in the process of transferring hands; therefore the new potential owner would like to present a development concept to the town commission to get some feedback,” Lady Lake’s Growth Management Director Thad Carroll wrote in memo to commissioners in advance of the meeting.

The plan calls for a five-story 200-room hotel site, two 6,000-square-foot restaurants as well as seven condominium buildings with 483 units.

Another New Enterprise

A company styled the Florida Hard wood Timber and Manufacturing-Company, limited, has been formed in London, England, with a capital of $1,000,000 to purchase, work and develop 15,000 acre® of hardwood timber land situated near Brooksville, Hernando Cos., Fla. It is intended to erect an extensive mill plant with a capacity of 30,000 feet lumber, 20,000 coiled hoops, 20,000 staves and 50,000 spokes, handles, etc., per day. The Board of Directors comprise five in England and three in Florida, the names of the latter being Mr. G. Chetwynd-Stapylton, President of the Leesburg and County State Bank ,D. Stringer, Brooksville and Mr. G. E. Pybus of Fruitland Park, the latter gentleman being the managing director. The Hon. W. S. Jennings, of Brooksville, is the solicitor to the company
and the London offices are at 16 Great Winchester St., E. C.

The timber on the land is very fine and consists of white and red oak, hickory, ash, elm, red bay, magnolia and gum. The land, (hammock) is very rich and good crops of tobacco, cane, corn, etc., are being raised on it, and will be open for sale as it is cleared up, it offers exceptional advantages as the whole will be in direct railway communication with the
railroad, the town council having granted the company a right of way for a street railway from their property to the depot. There are already several clearings of five to eighty acres, with orange groves and other improvements which are now open for settlement, and as the mill will give employment to a large number of hands, settlers on the lands belonging to the company will naturally have a preference.

The Florida Agriculturalist (DeLand), July 21, 1897

10 February, 2018 11:50

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — In the hours after Hurricane Irma raked up Florida’s spine, warm sunshine revealed thousands upon thousands of pieces of citrus fruit bobbing in muddied, stagnant water.

Millions of dollars worth of oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines were ripped from their branches by fierce winds, never to reach their intended destination of breakfast plates and juice glasses.

It was the nightmare many sleepless farmers prayed they wouldn’t see.

“I remember … heading out to the fields as soon as it was safe to get out on the roads and being taken back at how much fruit was blown on the ground … and how many trees had just been blown over,” said one citrus farmer, William Roe III, 35, known as Gee.

“We were literally blown away by the severity of the damage,” said Roe’s uncle, Quentin Roe, 59, the chief executive of Wm. G. Roe & Sons, a longtime grower and distributor.

Irma knocked 50 to 90 percent of Florida’s citrus fruit to the ground in places, according to the state commissioner of agriculture, Adam Putnam, causing $760 million in damage in the worst year for Florida oranges since 1945.

But more was damaged than just a year’s crop. Citrus accounts for approximately 45,000 full- and part-time jobs in the state. Hurricane Irma is credited with wiping out nearly 56,000 jobs directly and indirectly tied to Florida’s agricultural sector and dealing a $2.39 billion blow

to labor income.

The storm also signaled the end of a way of life for many farmers who lost their harvest. Those who had no one to pick what remained have since given up and sold their land.

Many were already reeling before the winds and rain hit, thanks to a crippling disease known as citrus greening, which has ravaged crops here for years. Greening was responsible for a 31 percent decline in employment in the industry from 2012 to 2015.

Last year was eagerly anticipated to be a comeback year for an industry that produces 60 percent of the citrus fruits consumed in the United States. Instead of a revival, they got Hurricane Irma.

For consumers, that is likely to mean paying higher prices for juice. For Florida’s farmers, and the industry that became synonymous with the state, the future is far less certain.


Virus-free. www.avast.com

Guard Cat

When assembling and modifying pictures for The Chetwynd Chronicles one of the toughest to make suitable for printing was a photocopy of Augustus Bosanquet in some sort of silly costume. Designer Sallie Kautz had a heck of time but it turned out quite well:

But I longed for a more “decent” photo of the young man who built the mansion on Zephyr Lake back in the early 1880s.

That desire came true yesterday afternoon while rummaging through old pictures left by Bud Bosanquet’s sister, Blanche. And I’m the one who uncovered it!

This portrait was taken in Lisbon, Portugal, where he was the secretary of the British Club from the early 1890s until his death in 1930, Note the mustache. Dapper wasn’t he?

A Humongous Thank You!

A couple of days ago I received a brief Annual Report from Word Press that provided me with some statistics about this blog, The Chetwynd Chronicles.

Frankly, I am blown away that the blog was viewed 1000 times with the busiest day being December 13. Viewers represented 61 countries—the most of course, from the United States. Taking second place (here’s a real shocker!) were viewers from Brazil! Maybe I have a secret admirer? Close behind, England, home of my newest email pal, Susan Longridge.

Including this brief, I’ve compiled 43 posts, the most popular being, Name Dropping.

I am so grateful and honored that you have the interest in this piece of local history and took the time to visit in 2014. And to those who purchased my book, many, many thanks also; I’m still receiving royalties!

January 7 I’m attending the inaugural meeting of the Fruitland Park Historical Society and intend to be active in helping to preserve the history of the area. I’m also determined to find out the exact location of the Chetwynd Arms Hotel in 2015. Perhaps it was built by the Florida Southern Railway? And of course, I’ll keep on Googling! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

The article by Paul W. Wehr, cited below, provides a couple of interesting statistics pertinent to Holy Trinity’s first years of existence.

+ Grace Chapel in Fruitland Park had a membership of 40 prior to the founding of Holy Trinity in 1886. Wehr says that because Holy Trinity was built between the two colonies of Chetwynd and Fruitland Park, Grace Chapel was no longer necessary.

+ When the congregation moved into its new church in 1889, it numbered four families, 64 baptized members, and 55 communicants. Membership remained stable until 1896 or just following the two devastating freezes of 1894 and 1895. Archdeacon John H. Weddell wrote, We feeling the result of last winter’s disaster. The population has become more than ever migratory. The losses of the people in material resources have told upon the work in most all the missions in small towns and villages having a country constituency. The effect is seen not only in the reduced financial strength, but in the reduced number of the membership that has survived. . .

+ In 1897 Holy Trinity’ congregation numbered 30; the following year, 20. Yet it survived through the efforts of the faithful few, and it still worships in the same church today.

As I am wont to do from time-to-time my morning began with coffee and a Google search in hopes of finding some new and interesting bit of relevant information to post. Thank you, Google! Paydirt! Up popped a short article, John Bulls in the Orange Groves, by Paul W. Wehr, from the summer/fall 1979, Journal of the USF/Library Associates.

Wehr relates the events leading up to the push for British settlement in the 1880’s—the greatest number, he claims, “located in a broad north-south corridor extending from Ormond Beach on the east to Hillsborough County on the west. Brief accounts of the two English colonies located north of Leesburg and the two southeast of Orlando [Narcoossee and Conway] are representative enough to illustrate the English experience.”

One colony, Wehr writes, was Chetwynd located from Zephyr Lake north to Lake Ella, the product of a scheme promoted by Stapylton and Company whose prime mover was Granville Chetwynd Stapylton. . . Zephyr Hall he describes as the living quarters for the bachelors and the social center of the community. Now here’s where it gets interesting:

Colony #2, Wehr says, was located south of Zephyr Lake. Fruitland Park was founded by a Major Rooks of Georgia who also offered to train young men in the citrus industry. It is said that the agent for that enterprise toured England persuading families to send their younger sons to that agricultural school. The families were expected to pay a sum of money to cover the cost of tuition and of transportation, reportedly in the cramped quarters of a freighter. Upon arrival those apprentices found not dormitories and farms but rough shacks and a virgin wilderness. Conditions became so difficult for some that they were seen ploughing [sic] in the dress suits they had so carefully carried with them so they could be properly attired on social occasions. Mercy!

After reading the entire article I was left wondering about John Bull—the John Bull included in Wehr’s title. Here’s John Bull, the English equivalent of our Uncle Sam:

John Bull represents the drinking, hard-headed, down-to-earth, fond of dogs, horse, ale and country sports kind of man—characteristics typical of the men of Chetwynd. But, as now known, not physically although I must admit that when I first began my research of Holy Trinity’s history I was convinced the founders were curmudgeons with pork chop sideburns—just like John Bull!

Program for the D. A. R.

What a delightful time spent with new friends of the Puc Puggy Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at their Christmas luncheon! My most capable cohort, Sallie Kautz, arranged for me to give a PowerPoint presentation. In fact she created it. Although my part was before lunch they were a great audience and afterwards asked a lot of questions like, “Did the colonists pay taxes?” They at least paid property taxes. And they voted too—even though none were US citizens. Just like Chicago!