About Rick Smith

Rick Smith has been a member since March 6th 2011, and has created 3 posts from scratch.

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This Author's Website is http://www.TeachALandRemembered.com

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A Land Remembered Lives At Duette Elementary School

A Land Remem­bered Inspires Cracker Day at Duette Ele­men­tary School

Once a year for the last two years we ran a “Get Caught Read­ing A Land Remem­bered” con­test. We’ve had some great entries. Donna King, the Teach­ing Prin­ci­pal at Duette Ele­men­tary School in Duette, Florida went one step far­ther. She writes, “For many years we have read A Land Remem­bered at Duette School. In addi­tion to learn­ing Florida his­tory it instills a love and enthu­si­asm for read­ing.” Her stu­dents not only read A Land Remem­bered, they go out and get expe­ri­ence like a pio­neer at their own “Cracker Day.”  Here are some pho­tos she sent, along with this link to their Cracker Day 2010. Take some time to check out their pho­tos. They are wonderful.


Reading A Land Remembered Under A Chickee


Students Reading A Land Remembered

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Cattle and Cowboys in Florida

Hun­dreds of years ago, long before tourists or even cities, there was another Florida. When the Spaniard Ponce de León dis­cov­ered it in 1513, Florida was mostly wide, green spaces. In 1521 when he returned, he brought horses and seven Andalu­sian cat­tle, the ances­tors of the Texas Long­horns. He knew he’d found pas­ture­land. Span­ish explor­ers turned Florida into America’s old­est cattle-raising state.

The early cattle-raising days were rough for Span­ish set­tlers. The St. Augus­tine mis­sion­ar­ies who raised beef also fought Indian raids and mos­qui­toes. Despite the cat­tle fever ticks, storms, swamps and snakes, before 1700 there were already dozens of ranches along the Florida Pan­han­dle and the St. Johns River.

By the 1800s, the Semi­nole nation pos­sessed exten­sive herds of cat­tle. Most Florida set­tlers raised beef for food. As Indian and white set­tlers moved south, so did the cat­tle. They moved through Alachua county into the Kissim­mee val­ley and on to Lake Okee­chobee. The search for new pas­tures was the rea­son for the migra­tion south.

Rail­roads reached into Florida. Because trains could ship cat­tle, the beef indus­try grew. New towns sprang up around the ranches, and more peo­ple arrived from other states. There was work for black­smiths, shop­keep­ers, and cow­boys in these set­tle­ments. Dur­ing the Civil War, Florida became a chief sup­plier of cat­tle to the Con­fed­er­acy, both for meat and leather.

The herds ranged in size from 5,000 to 50,000 head. Rustling was preva­lent through­out the state. This was because Florida was an open range. There was not a fenced pas­ture any­where in the state and cat­tle roamed freely. The early cow­boys would round cows up over miles and miles of open plains, in the ham­mocks, and by the rivers and streams. Then they would drive them to market.

Florida’s old-time cow­boys had a unique way of herd­ing cat­tle. They used 10– to 12-foot-long whips made of braided leather. Snap­ping these whips in the air made a loud “crack.” That sound brought stray cat­tle back into line fast and earned cow­boys the nick­name of “crack­ers.” Many rode rugged, rather small horses known as “cracker ponies.

Cracker cow­boys also counted on herd dogs to move cat­tle along the trail. Their tough dogs could help get a cow out of a marsh or work a hun­dred steers into a tidy group. For those rough rid­ers of Florida’s first ranges, a good dog, a horse, and whip were all the tools a true cracker needed.

By the 1890s, cow camps were located in most sec­tions of the state. One such camp was located near Lake Kissim­mee. It was known as “Cow Town.” The area’s cat­tle were referred to as scrub cows, ridicu­lous in appear­ance. They were once described as “no big­ger than don­keys, lack­ing qual­ity as beef or milk pro­duc­ers.” They were valu­able because the ani­mals could sur­vive in wilder­ness areas. By the 1920s, how­ever, the qual­ity of Florida cat­tle had improved greatly.

Rais­ing cat­tle is still one of the biggest busi­nesses in the state. Florida’s ranch­ers raise the third largest num­ber of cat­tle of any state east of the Mis­sis­sippi. Their herds rep­re­sent many cen­turies of dreams. They link the sweat and suc­cess of ancient Spaniards and hardy pio­neers with today’s mod­ern cat­tle ranchers.

from Explor­ing Florida http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/lessons/cowboys/cowboys.htm

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How much does it cost to winter in Florida in 1924?

(From an arti­cle writ­ten in 1924 by Karl H. Grismer)

Percy Gotrocks, who graces Palm Beach with his pres­ence dur­ing the win­ter months, con­sid­ers him­self for­tu­nate if he can get through a sea­son with­out part­ing from about sixty thou­sand dol­lars. His “shack” on Ocean Boule­vard has a ret­inue of ser­vants that could man a hotel, and their wages are only a small part of Percy’s expenses. The way his par­ties waste away his bankroll is almost a crime.??

Of course, Percy could econ­o­mize if he cared to, but what would his friends think! He has to put on the dog or peo­ple will get the idea that the Gilt­edge Invest­ment Com­pany, of which he is pres­i­dent, is going to the bow-wows. As for Mrs. Percy, she wouldn’t think of com­ing to Florida with­out buy­ing at least a dozen new gowns, fif­teen or twenty pairs of shoes, and a cou­ple of thou­sand dol­lars worth of other stuff. Why, she wouldn’t feel half dressed! So she splurges hand­somely, and Mr. Percy pays the bills.??

Not every­one who win­ters in Florida can afford to dis­re­gard expenses like Mr. and Mrs. Percy. Most peo­ple have to watch closely every item of expense, and if the total threat­ens to mount too high, they stay up North, regard­less of the dis­com­forts of north­ern bliz­zards. The sun­shine and the flow­ers of Florida call them, but they turn a deaf ear.??

There is no mys­tery regard­ing the cost of win­ter­ing in Florida. Despite all ideas to the con­trary, a per­son can esti­mate before leav­ing home how much his expenses will be. And he can come within a few dol­lars of being right. There need be no guess­work about it.

?The first item to con­sider is the cost of trans­porta­tion. That is the sim­plest of all. By inquir­ing at the rail­road ticket office the prospec­tive tourist can learn exactly how much the fare will be. For per­sons liv­ing north of the Mason-Dixon line and east of the Mis­sis­sippi the fare would prob­a­bly aver­age $60 each way, includ­ing Pull­man, or $120 for the round trip.??

Fol­low­ing trans­porta­tion, the next major item of expense is that of rent. Although many tourists live in hotels, the major­ity leases houses or apart­ments for the sea­son. And the prices, of course, vary greatly. They range from a medium of about $250 for the sea­son to $3,000 or even more.??

Small houses, in the sub­urbs, can some­times be obtained for the same price as the cheaper apart­ments. As a gen­eral thing, how­ever, the min­i­mum sea­sonal rent for a place with mod­ern con­ve­niences and ade­quate fur­nish­ings is about $400. A five-room house, close in, can be obtained for from $700 to $1,000.??

Many per­sons may think the above rents are exces­sive. It must be remem­bered that the houses and apart­ments in the resort city remain empty dur­ing the sum­mer months or else are rented for very small amounts. In order to break even the resort city land­lord must charge as much for the win­ter sea­son as the north­ern land­lord does for the whole year.??

The wide range of exist­ing rents makes it dif­fi­cult to esti­mate exactly just what the tourist will have to spend for liv­ing quar­ters. But for the pur­pose of esti­mat­ing the aver­age cost of win­ter­ing in Florida, let’s use the $400 figure.??

The next major item of expense, fol­low­ing trans­porta­tion and rent, is that for food. To give exact fig­ures for this expense, of course, is impos­si­ble. One tourist cook­ing his own meals, may live well on $5 a week or less. Another, eat­ing the most expen­sive foods at an expen­sive restau­rant, may pay $5 or more each day. The tourist may spend as much as or just as lit­tle as he chooses. It all depends upon his appetite and his purse.??

The tourist who eats reg­u­larly in cafe­te­rias and restau­rants can fig­ure that he can get by eas­ily for $2 a day, and have every­thing he wants to eat. The chances are he will have enough left over from the weekly food allowance of $14 to send a box of cit­rus fruit to his north­ern friends occasionally.??

To get back again to the prob­lem of esti­mat­ing the aver­age cost of win­ter­ing in Florida, for a 6-month sea­son the total cost for food and house­hold expenses would be about $300.??

Trans­porta­tion, rent and food are the major items of expense. Aside from those there is noth­ing that will mount into money. The mat­ter of clothes can be dis­missed almost entirely. The tourist need only bring his sum­mer clothes and a few win­ter gar­ments along with him and he will be all set.??

Amuse­ments will not cost the tourist half as much as it does up North. In the pub­lic parks he can play all man­ner of games; he can go fish­ing; he can attend the pub­lic band con­certs and lis­ten to the music of the best bands in the coun­try; he can attend the enter­tain­ments of the tourist soci­eties. All this costs him next to nothing.??

In sum­ma­riz­ing, let us fig­ure how much it costs a man and wife to enjoy a Florida win­ter. The trans­porta­tion cost for the cou­ple would be about $240. The rent total would be about $400. The cost of meals and house­hold expenses, for a six-month sea­son, would be about $300, con­sid­er­ing that the cou­ple ate at home. Allow $100 for inci­den­tals. That brings the com­plete total up to $1,040 for the six month sea­son, cer­tainly not a pro­hib­i­tive amount for per­sons in even very mod­er­ate circumstances.??

Is a win­ter in Florida worth that amount? Is it worth it to leave the snow, and rains, and gloom, and sick­ness of a north­ern win­ter, to go to the land where all the time is sum­mer; where the mocking-birds sing their songs of glad­ness; where the palm trees are gen­tly waved by warm breezes from gulf and ocean? We’ll say it is!??

And when you come to Florida and try one of the sum­mer­win­ters for your­self, you’ll say so, too.

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A Land Remembered Concert

Did you know that there is a con­cert based on A Land Remem­bered? It was com­posed by Larry Clark of Lake­land, Florida in 2009. I dis­cov­ered this con­cert by acci­dent when a Google Alert I have set for the term “A Land Remem­bered” turned it up. I con­tacted Larry Clark and got his per­mis­sion to post the record­ing on this site, as well as a link to the .pdf file of the music. It was pub­lished by Carl Fisher music. You find links on this page; scroll down to “L” for Land Remembered.

Accord­ing to Clark, “I was com­mis­sioned to write the con­cert band piece “A Land Remem­bered” by the Horace Mann Mid­dle School Band in Bran­don, Florida. Their band direc­tor Kevin Fuller wanted to com­mis­sion a musi­cal work and have the stu­dents work with a liv­ing com­poser, but he also wanted to involve the whole school in the project.  So, “A Land Remem­bered” was selected as the book that many stu­dents in the school would read and I would write a piece that would musi­cally depict some of the things from the story.  At the pre­miere per­for­mance of the piece on May 11, 2009 I con­ducted the Mann Mid­dle School Band.  Before the con­cert they had open exhibits to writ­ings and art projects and even some food by the stu­dents that were based on the book. It was a very nice event and very educational.”

Clark says that it is not meant to tell specif­i­cally any spe­cific events from the novel, but just to depict musi­cally some of the thoughts and scenes that come to mind as a per­son reads the novel. The piece is set in three con­tin­u­ous move­ments, each depict­ing ele­ments of the story, from the open fan­fare, “A New Life in a New Land” to the beau­ti­ful “On the Prairie” and the stri­dent final move­ment, “Hard­ships on the Rugged Frontier.”

Being a fourth gen­er­a­tion Florid­ian myself,” Clark says, “the book res­onated with me as it con­tains sim­i­lar sto­ries that I had heard in my child­hood about old Florida.  My Great-Grand Father was an early set­tler to the New Port Richey area.  He was also a cat­tle rancher from South Car­olina that brought his cat­tle down in the win­ter eat grass before mov­ing here permanently.”

You can lis­ten to a record­ing of the con­cert here, and here is a link to the music.


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