One of my favorite events is at Paynes Creek State Park. We had our district volunteer appreciation lunch here in the beginning of March, so I helped out with the reenactment of the burning of the Kennedy-Darling store which happened here in 1849. So I can now say that I shot Kennedy.
I did not make it to the regular even later in March due to moving my Dad into assisted living and the estate sale at his house that he was living in since 1967. (I will miss my old room and hiding place.)
Anyway, what I love about Paynes Creek is that it is a little known park that is out of the way; sort of a hidden gem in an area of Florida that not very many people know about. And when we have the annual Fort Chokonikla festival and store burning, some of the folks who show up are from families who have lived in this area for 100 or 150 years. So I end up learning more from them then they do from my living history.
This is our group shot. My turban band is tilted—the aggravation! The guy in the green shirt sitting down on the stairs in the bottom right is our Florida Parks Director Don Forgione. We were surprised to learn that this was the first park where he had worked, and started his career from here. Don is the first park director who came up through the ranks and is very well liked by everyone in the park system. I have even seen him a few times during my trips to Tallahassee, and he plays the guitar for the park service employee band.
The reenactment we do of the store burning is an actual event that happened here in 1849. We follow a script of what happened at that incident. It does not involve a lot of people like Dade Battle, but the nice thing is that it does involve the women and children, so they get to act out more than some of the other reenactments that we do.
Of some of the other things in the area is a lot of opportunities to canoe or kayak the Peace River. The creek in the park flows into the river, and you can walk across a suspension bridge to the other bank and see where the original store location was, and a monument or grave site for Kennedy. (Or some type of monument--it has actually been about two years since I have been able to cross over there.)
A few miles north is Fort Meade, where there is a monument hidden in a small park in the middle of the residential area to the battle of Tillis farm, which was the largest battle of the Third Seminole War in June 1856. A few miles outside of town is New Hope Cemetery with Mr. Tillis' grave. He had the misfortune of being in the first battle of the Second Seminole War (Black Point/Dec. 18, 1835) and had his farm attacked in the largest battle of the 3rd war. I guess the Seminoles didn't like him!
There is a lot of history in this area, and I my great-great-grandfather had a house and died in Ft. Meade in 1911, so I have family history there as well.
I am on the other corner of the state down near Naples and Everglades City. I do have a job possibility up around Palatka, and if that works out, then I would definately be interested. But this new job possibility would also require more time and responsibility out of me as well. But I love St. Augustine. Also look up Craig the Shell Carver at Fountain of Youth.