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Chokoloskee & Killing Mr. Watson

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Three miles south of Everglades City is the island community of Chokoloskee. They were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Wilma last year.



One hundred years ago in 1906, Ted Smallwood established the Smallwood store on the island. This was long before there were any roads to get there. A lot of people lived on the islands down here in southwest Florida, what is now mostly the 10,000 Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

This store also became well known as a trading post, to the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians in the area.



Ted Smallwood ran the store for many years, until his children continued, and today it is a museum. Check out the webpage for the Smallwood Store: http://www.florida-everglades.com/chokol/smallw.htm
It is a few bucks for admission, but worth checking out this relic of old Florida.

Well back to the early history. The most famous incidents at the store happened in 1911. An old Florida incident of mob justice.

One of the settlers here was a guy named Edgar Watson. Seems a lot of people who had disagreements with him kept ending up murdered. He owned a plantation on a nearby island, and when it came to pay the workers, they disappeared.

The local folks had enough, so they got together and decided to do something about Watson. One day there was a posse waiting at the dock at the Smallwood store. When Watson arrived, the crowd let loose a hail of gunfire that quickly ended all that. (Store owner Ted Smallwood did not participate in the shooting.)

It has long be a controversy weather Watson had killed all those people or not. But after he died, the killings stopped.

The incident has been made into a book and play that is often reenacted at the store: http://faculty.mccfl.edu/Jonesj/lit2090/Matthiessen.html

Last Saturday I went to Chokoloskee because they are filming a short movie trailer for the incident of Killing Mr. Watson. I poled around a dugout canoe for a bit. More like being caught by the tide and spun in circles. I was dressed in early 20th Century Seminole.

After leaving Chokoloskee and stopping at the first store for a drink (Glades Haven across from Everglades National Park), I walking in wearing my full outfit still, but soaked in sweat. A nice looking blond girl walked in and said, "Aren't you hot?"

To which I replied, "Thank you!"
Current Location:
the Hammock
Current Mood:
naughty naughty
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On August 28th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC), connor_campbell commented:
Alligator fest dates
Chris!
nice post, i like the hurricane image!

i have the dates for Alligator fest, in fact, i should have all the details on my website, especially after i get done updating things tonight.

Alligator feest
Oct 13-15, 2006
Lake City Community College Commons, Lake City, FL
Friday and Saturday 9am until 9pm, sunday 9am until 4pm
admission is free

this is Vic Vasco's event, and Jimmy Sawgrass and our family are planning on being there. (i have not asked Jimmy directly, but Steve Knight said Jimmy would be head warrior for the skirmish, and this weekend Jimmy's father he was planning on attending. If Jimmy's dad goes, there is a good chance he will too.

Chobee is still with us, and word is that he came back from the edge better than he was, but no where near out of the woods.

Pyro John was at Jimmy's party this weekend, and seems to be doing well after the passing of his mother not long before De Leon. His wife is expecting, with the due date within weeks. (days really, doesn't seem right to say weeks when it just makes two or less) i did not hear the exact date.
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[User Picture]
On August 28th, 2006 03:04 am (UTC), connor_campbell commented:
okay, so i had some problems with the web page editor and my wireless mouse, thus resulting in much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. (and the need to replace my wireless mouse and keyboard)

the result? i only got september and october updates on my site. if you can keep me up on the dates, i'll keep my site updated. i am going to re structure it with the goal of getting some of my pictures into an online photo album, thus reducing the memory used by the site presently, and allowing me to show more pics of recent events. until that time, i will post reports and pictures of each event i go to on my live journal album: connor_campbell
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On September 8th, 2006 12:05 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Seminoles at Chokoloskee
Nice postcard, Chris. - Rick O.
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