William B. and Lucinda
B. Mimbs was born about 1845 in Laurens County, GA. He was the son of
Jesse and Rebecca Mims.
William is listed in Jesse Mims‟ household in
1850.1 For more information on Jesse and Rebecca, see the
Rebecca Mims History. The name "Mimms" or "Mims" is of English origin.
The name comes
from the Latin root word "mimus," meaning "an
imitator."2 William‟s grandfather, Thomas, appears to
have added a
“b” to the spelling of the last name.3 While Jesse
use the spelling with the “b,”
his children did.
While William has not been found in either the 1860 or 1870 census
records, he appears on the
Orange County, FL Voter Registration List,
1867-1868.4 He was voter number 239 in Precinct 3.
He registered to
vote on April 23, 1868. He stated he had lived in the State of Florida
for 12 years.
It is interesting to note that in 1868 amnesty was
granted to everyone involved in the Civil War and
the Southern States
were readmitted into the United States.5 It has not been determined
whether or not
William served in the Civil War.
Assuming the Voter Registration List is correct, William was about 11
years old when his family moved to
Florida around 1856. These were
difficult times in America. A new depression began in 1857.6 William‟s
migration to Florida could possibly have included living in Sumter
County, Orange County, and eventually
settling in Polk County just
before 1880. Some of William‟s siblings were living in Sumter County,
FL in 1860.
Neither William nor any of his family have been found in
Sumter County land, tax, or probate records.7
William‟s descendants tell different versions of the following colorful
story as to how he came to live in Florida:
cattle for the Confederate Army in 1865 when the war ended. He would
have been a
young man about 15 or 16 years of age. William's family was
from Americus, Sumter County, GA. William's
father owned a large
plantation and many slaves in Sumter County. Sometime during the war
died and his mother remarried. While on a cattle drive
near the end of the war, William came to Polk County
to buy cattle. He
had already met Lucinda Roberts in Bartow, FL, and had taken a liking
to her. As he was
heading back to Georgia, William got as far as
Marianna, FL, when he heard the war had ended. In light of
death and his mother's remarriage to a man named „Mason,‟
with the fact that the slaves
had been freed, William turned around and
returned to Polk County. He figured there would be nothing left
at the plantation. William and Lucinda were later married and
eventually settled in Polk County.” 8
Elements of this story do ring of the truth. The Sumter County
mentioned is probably Sumter County,
Florida, not Georgia. William‟s
family has not been found in Sumter County, GA. Some of his siblings,
though, have been found in Sumter County, FL. William‟s father, Jesse,
remarried after the death
of his first wife. Jesse was significantly
older than his second wife, Rebecca, William‟s mother.
It has been
speculated that Rebecca may have remarried following Jesse‟s death.
This has not been proven.
It should be noted that Rebecca J. Mims
married J. H. Sanders on December 20, 1868, in
Pulaski County, GA.9
This may be William‟s mother. Rebecca has not been found in census
after 1850. This could be due to the fact that she remarried.
The name “Mason” was the surname
of one of William‟s
William was married to
Lucinda Roberts (daughter of Jackson Roberts and
Frances Brown/Green) about 1868 in Florida. Lucinda was born around 1843 in
County, GA. She is found with her parents in the 1850 Lee County, GA census.10
Lucinda were most likely married in Orange County, FL. Orange County
were destroyed in 1869 due to a fire at the County Courthouse.11
of Lucinda Roberts Mimbs <
William is in the 1880 Polk County, FL census.12 He is listed
as a "laborer."
Lucinda was a housewife. Both William and Lucinda were born
William‟s parents were born in North Carolina, while
were born in Georgia.
On October 14, 1882, William purchased 40 acres of land in Polk County
southwest of Bartow
from the Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund for one dollar per
It is interesting to note that William and Lucinda sold the same piece
of land to M. W. Fuller
for $100.00 on October 5, 1882.14 The land was sold before they had a
clear title to the land.
It should also be noted that William‟s middle initial is known from
these land transactions.
In the early 1880's in Polk County, bacon sold for 11 cents a pound;
lard, 15 cents; flour,
6¼ cents; sugar, 12½ cents; coffee, 20 cents.
Except for these staples, few articles of food were
sold in the local stores. Transportation was by horseback or wagon. A
person could travel from
Orlando to Bartow by the mail buggy for $7. The fare from Tampa to
Bartow by “private subscription”
was $10. The cost was only $2 by wagon if the passenger furnished his own
rations. Lots in Bartow sold for
$30 to $50, while land three miles from town brought from $1.25 to $5
The early 1880's brought considerable growth to Bartow. Mrs. M. L.
Snoddy opened a ladies‟
store in 1882. Dr. J. P. Brookins, a dentist, opened the Bartow Drug
House. T. M. Lybass opened
a “Liquor Saloon.” W. H. Pearce, near Bartow, had
what was considered one of the most vigorous
and symmetrical orange groves in the State. By 1882, 500 letters were
mailed from the Bartow community,
and probably as many received. On May 3, 1882, the town of Bartow was
Although there had been a jail in Bartow at one time, it did not exist
in the early 1880's.
It had fallen into disuse and decay. However, it was said that one was
needed. In 1881,
Hiram D. Ballard closed and sold the building and lot where the barroom
The cost of a liquor license had been raised so high that business
Drinking did not cease, though. Some citizens complained of
“much firing of pistols at night
on the streets, and other disorders.”16
William and Lucinda are found in the 1885 Polk County, FL, Census.
They obviously avoided the “big city life” by
living on 160 acres in the Polk County wilderness.
“The whirr of a covey of quail or the howl of a bobcat, in
the shadows deer and panther, wild turkeys
and wild boars or maybe just the soft sound of wind through the pines
and oaks – that was it.”17
William had improved four acres of land. 156 acres were still
considered woodlands. His farm was
valued at $400.00. His farming tools were valued at $10.00, and his
livestock was valued at $75.00.
In 1884, the farm produced $100.00 worth of produce. William owned one
horse, one milk cow, and
eight chickens, which produced 52 dozen eggs the previous year. In
1884, two acres of land produced
300 bushels of sweet potatoes. William also grew five bushels of
cowpeas, 20 pounds of tobacco,
and had planted one acre of land in orange trees.18 These were again
difficult times in America.
The US entered a depression in 1884, the same year Grover Cleveland was
Farm prices collapsed in 1887.19
William was baptized on September 14, 1887 in Peace Creek Baptist
Church, Polk Co., FL
(east of Bartow) by Rev. J. M. Hayman.20 William
was one of 6 people baptized at revival
meetings led by Rev. Hayman. The
following article entitled “Religious Revival”
in the Bartow Advance Courier21 on September 21, 1887:
“Editor Advance Courier –
I have just closed a very interesting series of services
held at the Peace Creek Baptist Church
8 miles northeast of Bartow. The meetings were continued for
nearly a week
– two services each day –
during which time eleven persons united with the church,
six by experience and baptism, and five by letter, and the
interest manifested by the
congregation was not abated up to the last service, on Sunday last, at
11:00 AM. Several persons who did
not unite with the church, seemed to be very much concerned about their
souls‟ interest, and I hope will soon
be converted and unite with the church. J. M. Hayman” It
would appear Peace Creek Baptist Church
was the Mimbs Family church as other family members were baptized there
on later occasions.
William died December 25, ca. 1887 in Polk County, FL.22 According to
Ida Blount, William‟s granddaughter,
William died from cancer of the mouth. It is not known where in Polk
County William was buried.
The two most logical places would seem to be either the Whidden
Cemetery (near the Mimbs Homestead)
or Gandy Cemetery (where Lucinda is buried). In either case, his grave
has no marker today.
Lucinda was granted a homestead land patent on December 1, 1890, on
159.54 acres in Polk County, FL.
It is assumed this is the same land mentioned in the 1885 census. On
the land grant, Lucinda is listed as
William‟s widow.23 The Mimbs homestead was located outside of present
day Lake Wales. At the time,
Lake Wales did not exist. While in other parts of the country Americans
were enjoying the newest
luxuries, such as electric trolleys, which were introduced in 1891, the
Mimbs family was working hard to
homestead in the undeveloped wild of Polk County. Lucinda is found in
the 1895 Polk County Census.24
She was a widow and a farmer.
The Mimbs family is found again in the 1900 Polk County Census.25
According to this census,
Lucinda was the mother of 8 children. Since only 6 of these are known
to have lived into adulthood,
it is assumed that two children died at birth or in early childhood.
Their names are unknown.
Lucinda was still farming in 1900. The children were helping on the
Lucinda began breaking up the homestead in 1902. She sold 20 acres to
Charlie‟s wife, Alice,
on September 1, 1902 for $1.00.26 Alice and Charles sold their portion
of the homestead to
W. E. Clark on October 5, 1903 for $50.00.27 Lucinda also sold 20 acres
to her son, Jasper,
on September 1, 1902 for $1.00.28 Jasper sold his portion of the
homestead to his aunt,
Malinda Smith, on April 30, 1904 for $75.00.29 As a historical note,
the Ford Motor Company
was formed between 1901-1903. The first World Series was played in
One wonders what affect these events had on the family.
On February 23, 1904, Lucinda sold land 36 acres to her son, George W.
for $1.00; 26 acres to her son,
Zebedee Calvin for $1.00; and 20 acres to her daughter, Lillian for
$1.00.30 On August 8, 1904,
Lucinda sold 60 acres from the homestead to Andrew W. Taylor for
$174.00.31 On the same day she
repurchased for $1.00 twenty of the 36 acres she sold to her son,
George.32 On August 26, 1904,
Lucinda bought “Lots 5 & 6 of Block A in the Johnson
Addition to Lakeland” from T. J.
and Mary H. Johnson for $44.00.33 These lots were sold to Henry W.
Combee for $65.00
on February 13, 1905.34 Lucinda‟s last land transactions involved 20
acres she purchased for
$50.00 from her son, Zebedee, on November 20, 1906.35 This land was
later sold to
Henry W. Combee on January 21, 1907.36
Lucinda has not been located in the 1910 census. She died on October 6,
1917, in Lake Wales,
Polk County, FL.37 Her obituary was published on October 11, 1917,
in the Lake Wales Highlander38 "Mrs. Lucinda Mims, seventy-eight years
died Saturday at the home of her son, George Mims, at Peace Valley.
Interment took place Sunday.
" Lucinda was buried on October 7, 1917, in Gandy Cemetery,
Connersville, Polk County, FL.
Her grave is unmarked today.39