Friday night the editor spent at the hospitable home and hostelry of Mr. W. F. Hughey, of Morriston.
Mr. H. is one of the pioneer merchants of the place and enjoys a large and profitable trade, while his home is headquarters for the traveling public, who are always glad to tarry with him.
One of the institutions that gives labor to the Morriston population is the extensive sawmill of the Messrs. Wade & McNair, who employ 150 men and whose daily output is 30,000 feet of lumber. The thoroughgoing manager is D. B. Morrison. Their tram road extends west eight miles into the pine timber, over which their logs are brought to the mill.
While there we called upon our old time friend, J. W. Fant, familiarly known that section over as “Billy,” a conservative but thoroughgoing merchant, who enjoys the confidence of the people and a large share of their trade. He honors all orders from the big sawmill, as well as the road supply camp and mill of Messrs. W. E. Be.. & Co., located three quarters of a mile from depot and employ seventy-five men. Mr. W. A. Register is the manager of the wood mill and is kept busy supplying the A. C. L. with the necessary fuel.
Besides these, Mr. Fant supplies the farming and stock raising community for miles around. His stock is extensive, varied and prices reasonable. The mill men also have their office in Mr. Fant’s store, the bookkeeper of which is Mr. W. L. Akins, son of L. L. Akins, of Heidtvillle. He is a bright young man, who stands high in the estimation of his employers and a splendid future is in store for him.
The other merchants of the town, J. A. Parramore, W. J. Groves, who also runs the Sunnyside House, A. N. Williams, a former school teacher in Marion and now the acceptable postmaster of the place and J. L. Chance, up to a year ago a prosperous farmer In Marion.
In our perambulations we ran across Mr. R. W. Hays, who besides conducting a general store, is the watch repairer of the town and section. Mr. Hays thirty years ago piled his trade, that of watchmaker and jeweler, in Ocala and was located over the store which occupied part of the ground now covered by the H. B. Masters’ department store, then run by Mr. Crowson, in those days the leading merchant in Ocala. Mr. Hays has such recollections of Ocala and its old residents that he subscribed for the Star to refresh his memory.
Morriston has a permanent population of 250 persons, two churches, Methodist and Baptist, and a good school. While it has no municipal government, the citizens are law abiding and if there is any unruly element and violators of the law, Judge Hill, a very affable and pleasant gentleman, holds the scale of justice so firmly yet equitable that law and order are respected and peace and quiet reign in that section.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Volney Fant, father of Billy Fant, the merchant, who is one of the pioneer settlers of western Marion and one of the successful and prominent farmers of that section, a gentleman whom at all times is a pleasure to meet.
Source: Ocala Evening Star: 1-29-1903
Transcribed by Linda Flowers