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Archive for December, 2014

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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