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A Lost Schooner Found

A special from Mobile say’s that a long distance message received here this afternoon from Pensacola, Fla., states that the missing schooner Dependent, from Mobile, February 7, for Port Inglis, Fla., with a cargo of coal that had been given up for lost was beached near Cedar Key, Fla., out that the crew were safe and there was some hope of getting the vessel off. Source: Ocala Banner: 3-5-1909


United States Deputy Marshall R. R. Richard, of Cedar Key, has been making some raids on illicit distillers over in Levy County, near here, last week. It is to be hoped that the good citizens will cooperate with the officers and break up such nefarious business. Source: Ocala Banner: 8-10-1906


Last week the stern wheel steamer Helen Denham, passed down the river under her own steam. The Helen Denham came from Leesburg and was going to Cedar Keys. Capt. Ceusey, who is in command, will take her to Jacksonville, thence around Cape Sable and up the Gulf of Mexico and up to Cedar Keys, at which place she will be used as a tow boat for the Tillman Mills. Source: Ocala Banner: 8-10-1906


Worley & Co., big tie contractors of Savannah, have purchased thousands of acres of timber land near Lennon, in Levy Co. and will engage 500 men to do the cutting. Two hundred negroes passed through Gainesville Sunday to begin work. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 3-18-1902

Long Pond

L. J. Clyatt, one of the efficient members of the clerical force in the United States Land Office, has returned from Long Pond, where he has been on a brief visit to relatives. The Clyatt brothers own a fine stock farm at Long Pond, which is destined to pay them handsomely someday. It is said to be one of the finest places in Levy County. Source: Gainesville Daily Sun: 1-4-1905

A gentleman came to Bronson last week with the intention of buying a home, but after taking a look at our courthouse he went away disgusted. He did not think much of the wealth of the county or the progressiveness of its citizens that you would be content with a barn for its temple of justice. Now Levy is one of the very best farming, fruit growing and stock raising counties in the state and its phosphate beds are the richest and most extensive. Besides this, the fish and oyster industry on the coast and the vast pine and cedar forests, are incomparable sources of wealth. Bronson, the capital, is the center of this wealthy region. Here we have three nice churches, one great inducement to intending settlers, but the court house and public school building are very great drawbacks to our progress and intelligence. So long as we are content with these relics of the past, just as long will we find ourselves left behind by more progressive sister counties. We must advance. Source: Levy Times: 8-13-1891

Leasing Prisoners

It is not only in South Africa that prisoners are leased out as laborers, 430 men, women and children being similarly disposed of recently at Albion, Fla., by which the state has been enriched by $20,000. They were virtually sold for a year to the four contractors who made the highest bid for them. There is no penitentiary in Florida and this is the system of dealing with prisoners. These prisoners may be subleased by their owners and they are mostly employed in the phosphate mines and turpentine camps in the state as well as roadmaking. It is hardly to be wondered at that a committee of the senators of the state legislature last spring who visited the camp where these persons were employed found that in the majority of cases they had poor and insufficient food and that they were made to live in poor accommodations and were generally badly treated. Source: Wichita Daily Eagle: 4-10-1898

Florida Snake Story

Rattler nearly fourteen feet long with 36 rattlers killed in Levy County

Probably the largest rattlesnake that has been killed in the south, is reported in Levy Co., Fla. The snake was killed a day or two ago by John Davis, a white man, while riding in the woods near Gulf Hammock. It measured 13 feet, 7 1/2 inches in length and had 36 rattlers and a button. The rattles were sent to the Valdosta Times. The rattles alone measured 81/4 inches. The skin of the snake has also been stuffed and will also be shipped there.

A number of years ago a rattlesnake was killed on Anastasia Island, near St. Augustine, which measured nine feet in length and had 27 rattles. That reptile was kept in an old museum in the Ancient City and was heralded as the largest rattler ever seen in Florida. But it looked like a babe’s plaything by the side of the Levy County monster. Jacksonville Metropolis – Source: Pensacola Journal: 7-2-1905

The sheriff of Levy County recently sold a large tract of phosphate land lying in the eastern portion of the county. The land was sold to satisfy a claim of Alex P. Price for $23,505 against Stephen, Graham & Co. H. L. Anderson of Ocala bid in the property for $5,000. The tract embraces about 4,000 acres and is some of the finest phosphate land in the country. Source: Gainesville Daily Sun: 6-5-1896

Mr. Raulerson, of Judson, has sent us the forefoot of a tiger killed in that neighborhood. We did not learn the dimensions of the beast, but from the size of the foot we judge it could not weigh less than 200 pounds. Source: Times-Democrat: 6-4-1891

Otter Creek Mill Destroyed by Fire...One of Finest Sawmills in State Laid in Ashes…The Origin is Not Known

This enterprise was  commercial backbone of the town of Otter Creek and Citizens will sustain serious loss. Mill may be rebuilt at once.

   The big plant of the Otter Creek Lumber Company, Otter Creek, Levy County, with the exception of the planning and shingle mill departments, was destroyed by fire late Thursday night, which means a loss of about $40,000. The origin is not known.
   The Otter Creek Lumber Company, which has without doubt the finest and most modern mill in this section of the country, was owned by Michigan parties and employed a large number of men. It was the commercial backbone of the town of  Otter Creek, the principal products of which is lumber and the loss will prove a hard blow to the people of that section.
   Otter Creek is a prosperous town of about 800, with several good stores. It is the heart of a cypress and pine forest and the milling interests are responsible for the birth of the town.
   While nothing definite has yet to be learned it is believed that the mill will be rebuilt at once, as the company owns and controls immense tracts of timber in that vicinity. Source: Gainesville Sun: 5-14-1905



The manager of the Union Phosphate Co. has sent to New York for fifty Italians to work in the mines. Mr. Jones, foreman of the pit, has gone to Luraville for a band of Italians that are located there. The colored workmen here are so unreliable that this company is compelled to employ foreign  labor to carry on business. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 9-24-1900

 The appointment of Messrs. James S. Bodiford and James O. Andrews of Cedar Key, to be members of the board of health for Levy County, has been confirmed. Source: Levy Times: 6-11-1891

Dr. Jackson says a police force will have to be appointed to keep the alligators out of town. The ponds north of town have all gone dry and in order to reach the lake to the south of town, the alligators pass through the streets at night on foot. A number of them have been killed in this way. Source: Levy Times: 6-11-1891

Bronson…J. W. Horton, white, charged with the murder of his wife, was given a hearing Thursday and held without bail to await the action of grand jury. The testimony introduced was purely of a circumstantial nature, but the county judge thought it best to hold him for the grand jury. The citizens out there seem to think that Horton did the killing, but they think so because they can’t get any clue as to anyone else doing it. Several of Horton’s neighbors were here in his behalf and they testified that he and his wife got on as well as any couple they had ever seen; that they never knew of them having any trouble. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 11-21-1906

Geo. W. Hyde, Jos. Williams, Quitman Hay and others from here attended the hearing at Gainesville last Saturday of John Brown, R. T. King, John and Will McCain and Leonard Watson who were charged with conspiring to injure C. C. Johnson of Gulf Hammock. Johnson was killed some time in November and as he had previously given information relative to trespass on government lands by Brown and King, the government officers after investigation had these parties arrested. John Brown was placed on $10,000 bond, the others on bonds of $2,500 each. John Brown and R. T. King gave bond, the others not being able to secure bonds are confined in the Alachua jail. Source: Tampa Tribune:4-19-1910

With the aid of a pair of scissors, an ax and a piece of piping, W. B. Williams, under sentence of death for infanticide; Robert Wilson, indicted for murder in the first degree, and Walter Dixon, charged with being an accessory to the attempt at murder, escaped from the Levy county, Florida jail. Source: Americus Times: 6-21-1899

In Line With Marion

Levy County Will Have A Handsome New Courthouse

Levy county will have a handsome new courthouse.

It gives us very great pleasure to be able to make this announcement and we are sure our readers will be equally glad to hear it. 
This was the decision of the board of county commissioners, which met Monday with all the members present.

F. M. Dobson of Montgomery, Ala., who built the handsome Bradford county courthouse, came before the board with plans, as did also Mr. Taley, of Lakeland.

Upon motion of Mr. Lutterloh, supported by Mr. Stephens and Mr. Markham, Mr. Dobson’s offer to duplicate the Starke courthouse for the sum of $15,000 was accepted and the board will meet with Mr. Dobson on next Thursday to sign up the contract. The work is to be completed within six months.

The county commissioners are to be congratulated upon their actions and friends of the county everywhere will rejoice that we are at last to have a good courthouse.---Levy County Times Source: Ocala Evening Star: 2-10-1906

Bronson Was Lively

School Building Was Afire, One Negro Shot, and Death By Scalding

The town of Bronson, which is usually a quiet burg, was stirred by considerable excitement Tuesday, there being one death by scalding from escaping steam from a locomotive, mention of which is made elsewhere, a fire and a shooting scrape, in which a negro section foreman came within a scratch of losing his life.  

During the day Tuesday the school house at Bronson was discovered to be on fire, which caused a great deal of excitement. A bucket brigade was soon started however and the fire was extinguished with but slight damage. The origin was said to have been a defective flue.

Two negroes, Lemon Adams and another man whose name could not be learned, were working as section hands. They became engaged in a difficulty when Adams put a load of small birdshot into the back of the other man who appeared to be making haste to get away. In this instance he was handed a “Lemon” right. Source: The Daily Sun: 111-19-1907

A Sunday Tragedy At Double Sink

Joe McCow Shot and Killed Another Negro, After A Quarrel

McCow Made Good His Escape

No Particulars Further Than Fact of Tragedy Could Be Secured, But Understood That Killing Was Result Of Mere Trivial Matter.

   Information has been received in Gainesville of another tragedy, which occurred Sunday at Double Sink, Levy county, in which Joe McCow, a negro employed in the turpentine camps, shot and killed a companion.
   It would appear, from the reports from that direction, that everybody felt in the mood to fight on the Last Lord’s Day, as three tragedies are reported within a radius of forty miles, in each of which death resulted.
   The particulars of this tragedy at Double Sink are meager, as only the information of the same could be received. It is known however that the two men, the name of the victim not being ascertained, became involved in a row, when McCow opened fire, killing the victim instantly.
   After the shooting McCow made his escape and at last accounts had not been captured. Source: Gainesville Sun: 11-20-1907




An Old Coin

Was Found Imbedded In A Tree By A Sawmill Man

F. E. Crawford of Montbrook, Levy county, is the owner of a Roman coin printed in the year 48 B. C. The strange part of the story, says The Bronson Times- Democrat, is the finding of the coin.

Some weeks ago Mr. McDonnell, the sawyer in the sawmill of Wade & McArthur at Montbrook, while sawing a log noticed that the saw teeth had come into contact with some metallic substance and investigation discovered this aged coin, which had been imbedded in about four inches in a Levy county pine. Mr. Crawford procured the coin, which bears no date and sent it to the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, who established its identification and age. It is a little larger than a dime and except of the mutilation by the saw is in perfect preservation and looks almost new.

The question is: How and when did the coin get in that tree? A steel arrowhead was recently cut out of a pine tree in the same vicinity. Source: Ocala Banner: 2-9-1906

Levy County Phosphate Company

Letters patent have been granted, incorporating the Levy County Phosphate Company. The incorporators are Gus A. Morton, J. N. C. Stockton, and Joseph E. Bryan. Capital, $50,000; headquarters at Jacksonville.

Mr. Morton is one of Marion’s boys and the Star wishes the company success. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 1-9-1900


It Is Alleged He Was Seen to Shoot the Woman

Jacksonville, Fla., Nov. 1…J. W. Horton, of near Fannin, Levy county, whose wife was shot and killed while sitting on her porch Saturday, has been arrested on suspicion.

It is alleged he was seen to shoot his wife, mount a stump to see if there were any eye witnesses, then enter the house and raise a cry for help. It is also said that her life was insured. Source: Tampa Tribune: 11-2-1906

C. C. Johnson, a white man who has been living in a quarter section of Gulf Hammock land, preparatory to proving homestead entry to the same, took his gun and dog last week and started hunting. After an absence of several days his dogs returned alone, and a searching party was formed, but to no avail. The supposition is that he may have been bitten by a snake or fell into one of the many sinks, which are numerous in that section, or that he may have been foully dealt with. The latter idea, however, has but little ground inasmuch as he was not known to have any enemies. The people in that section are using all means in their power to solve the mystery. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 11-2-09

Old Court House Burned

Saturday afternoon about 2 o’clock an alarm of fire was given and the old court house was discovered to be on fire. C. A. Lindsey, deputy clerk, while at work in his office, discovered smoke issuing from the old tax collector’s office, and he gave the alarm, but the rooms were full of old papers and rubbish and the flames spread too rapidly to be extinguished and soon this old landmark around which so many memories cluster was a heap of smoking ashes. When the new court house was erected in 1907 the old building was moved to a lot next to the county jail. This house was built in the late 60’s when the county seat was removed from Levyville, and most of the lumber in it was a sound as the day it was built. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 6-1-1912

Cedar Key…Mr. W. R. Hodges came near being shot by some unknown person on last Monday night. While returning from Mr. George King’s he was fired upon from ambush the bullet missing his head about one half inch. Source: Gulf Coaster: 1-26-1893

Shot Deputy Sheriff

Mr. T. W. Shands, the Otter Creek naval stores man, came to his Gainesville home yesterday morning and reported that Deputy Sheriff H. R. Osteen, of Levy county, was shot by a negro named Charles Ross and in return shot the negro at Otter Creek yesterday morning.

It seems that Mr. Osteen went aboard the passenger train as it was about to leave Otter Creek for this city, to arrest the negro for carrying concealed weapons. The negro drew a pistol and shot the officer, who then shot him. The ball entered the officer’s right breast, but it is not considered a serious wound. The negro was placed in the Levy county jail and it is thought he will die from the effects of the wound. Source: Gainesville Sun: 3-22-1904

$30,000 Fire In A Williston Sawmill

Williston, March 13…About 2:30 o’clock this morning the folks in this town were awakened by the fire call. The plant of the Long Paslay Lumber Company was afire and a considerable part of it was burned. The loss is about $30,000, about half covered by insurance. The origin of the fire is not known. Source: Tampa Tribune: 3-14-1918

Bronson…J. W. Horton, white, who is in jail, charged with the murder of his wife over in the western part of Levy, has retained the law firm of Cubberly & Willis to represent him in the preliminary hearing. He has been in jail a week awaiting a hearing, but the state has not been able to get ready for the hearing. All of the evidence against him is purely circumstantial, and not very much of that. He will be given a hearing Wednesday. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 11-7-1906

A Fatal Affray

Two Negroes Engage In Row Near Otter Creek-One Was Killed

Information has reached this city of an altercation between two negroes employed on a turpentine farm near Otter Creek, Levy county, Thursday night, which resulted in the death of one of the principals.

It is said that the row started over the same old thing—a woman—and after a few words guns were  drawn, when one of the men was shot, dying almost instantly.

That story in the Williston Courier about the sheriff of Levy county being implicated in a lynching, like most of the stories in that sheet, proves to be a fake. It seems that two negroes living near Raleigh were arrested on a charge of cow stealing and taken to Williston. These negroes say that certain Williston men took them out and threatened to lynch them if they did not confess. They were bound and blindfolded and ropes put around their necks, and, they say, they were hauled off the ground with the ropes and choked two or three times each in an attempt to make them implicate themselves or somebody else. The sheriff says that he took the negroes, by their own consent, out in the woods, with a photographer, and bound them in order to obtain pictures, which he intends to use as evidence against the men who gave them the third degree. He produces affidavits of the men concerned to prove that he tells the truth. The affidavits also confirm that the negroes were treated with extreme cruelty by the Williston men. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 9-3-1915

Moonshine Caused Murder

Bronson, March 14…Floyd Folk, of a prominent Levy county family, is in jail here on a coroner’s jury charge of murder growing out of the killing Friday of L. J. Studstill, also prominently connected. Folk himself received a flesh wound in the affair, which occurred on the road leading from Otter Creek to Chiefland, about six miles past the latter’s place.

Details of the shooting are lacking beyond the allegation that it occurred during a liquor party. Doyle Folk was the only witness. Studstill died about twenty minutes after arriving in the office of a Chiefland physician, where he was rushed following the shooting.

It is understood Folk will be given a preliminary hearing this week. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 3-14-1922

Wenger Killed at Williston

Prominent Citizen of Levy County a Victim of Burglars

Jacksonville, Oct. 5…A special to the Times-Union from Williston says: D. E. Wenger, city tax collector and former marshal, was found lying dead on the back door steps yesterday morning with two bullet holes in his forehead. Evidence showed clues that burglars had visited the house, prying a window with an axe, which was left in position. Mr. Wenger was a highly respected citizen and leaves a wife and daughter, who were in another part of the house and were not disturbed by the shots. Source: Ocala Evening  Star: 10-5-1915

Rosewood…Some excitement and bloodshed here Saturday night among the colored troops. A difficulty occurred between Manuel Hall, a despicable negro, and Willie Brice, an industrious boy working with Mr. George on the railroad. Hall appears to have been the aggressive party, and Brice acted only in self defense. Brice was walking a little in advance of Hall and another man, when he heard Hall remark to his companion: “I’ll show you how to kill a nigger directly.” Brice turned around and said something in reply, whereupon Hall rushed upon him with drawn knife and began to cut him. Brice drew a pistol and fired, hitting Hall in the bowels, a little below the navel. Hall died last night, Brice, though badly cut, is not supposed to be in a dangerous condition. Source: Levy County Democrat: 3-26-1891

Prison Inspector Newton A. Blitch was in the city Monday and reported a shooting scrape at Williston recently between Mr. Dunlap Finney and a Mr. Lohman. It seems that Lohman married Finney’s daughter and afterwards they separated and Lohman meeting Finney spoke to him. Finney resented it saying he had forbidden him to ever speak to him again whereupon Lohman pulled out his revolver and opened fire on Finney, firing five times without effect. Finney then said, “It is now my time,” and the first shot inflicted a serious and perhaps mortal wound on his opponent. Source: Ocala Banner: 8-31-1906

Mad Dog Bites Owner; Bronson Is Excited

Bronson…Due to a dog owned by A. G. Fletcher going mad and having bit its owner and being at large on the streets, caused excitement to run high her yesterday morning until the life of the dog was ended with a load of shot from the gun of Deputy Sheriff J. G. Winningham.


Mr. Fletcher immediately had the wound dressed by Dr. W. C. Young, after leaving for Jacksonville, where he will have it treated at the Pasteur institute. Mr. Fletcher is one of the most popular business men of the county and his many friends hope for his speedy recovery and for his early return home.

Source: Tampa Tribune: 9-3-1911

Cedar Key…Mr. W. R. Hodges came near being shot by some unknown person on last Monday night. While returning from Mr. George King’s he was fired upon from ambush the bullet missing his head about one half inch. Source: Gulf Coaster: 1-26-1893

Bronson…Cashier J. C. McEachin left early Tuesday morning for a cross country trip in his automobile to visit his old home in Helena, Ga. During his absence Jesse Harvey, of Williston, is holding down the position of cashier at the bank. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 12-16-1912

Col. O. T. Green has returned from Port Inglis, where he has been for several days, representing the Port Inglis Terminal Company in their libel suit against the Spanish steamship, which sunk in the loading pool about a month ago, while loading phosphate. The Port Inglis Terminal Company have filed a libel suit against the ship in the U. S. district court, for salving certain property from the ship. Col. Stripling of Jacksonville is representing the underwriters. There is a powerful wrecking, steamer, with a crew of divers alongside of the ship, and her plates are to be repaired, the water pumped out, and the phosphate, 3200 tons, jettisoned. It is thought the vessel can be floated and taken to a dry dock. There are four ships now in the port loading phosphate for the Dunnellon Company. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 6-8-1905

Marshal Chance Killed at Morriston

We were informed early Wednesday morning by Dr. S. H. Blitch of the tragedy which occurred at Morriston Tuesday night. Marshall I. M. Chance was stabbed to death by Gabe Priest. Before he breathed his last the Marshal fired twice at Priest, wounding him, but not seriously. We are unable to obtain any further particulars of the killing. Source: Ocala Banner: 6-15-1906

 Hon. B. P. Calhoun, State attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit, passed through the city Sunday en route to Bronson, where he went to attend the preliminary hearing of Gabe Priest, charged with the killing of Marshal I. N. Chance on election night. Attorney S. L. Carter also went to represent the defense. The case promises to be one of the most important heard in Levy county in several years. Source: Gainesville Daily Sun: 6-19-1906

Killing at Morriston

Tuesday witnessed a terrible tragedy at Morriston at the primary election. There was a good deal of drinking and much rowdiness. One death resulted. Marshall I. N. Chance was stabbed in the heart and almost immediately killed by a Mr. Priest, a brother of Lawton Priest. The marshall before death ensued, shot his slayer twice in the leg and side, both being only flesh wounds. The tragedy occurred about eight o’clock in the evening…Ocala Sun. Source: Ocala Banner: 6-15-1906

The body of Mr. I. E. Chance, the murdered marshal of Morriston, was buried yesterday afternoon at that place, under the auspices of the Masons. The murderer, Gabe Priest, was taken to Bronson yesterday and confined in jail there. Source: Ocala Evening Star: 6-14-1906

Acquitted of Murder

Mr. Gabriel Priest, who was indicted for the murder of I. N. Chance and tried in Levy county circuit court, was Saturday night pronounced not guilty by the jury, after being out only fifteen minutes. The shooting occurred at Williston, but Mr. Priest and Mr. Chance were both living in the western part of this county. Mr. Priest was defended by Hon. Frank Clark and Hon. S. L. Carter, of Gainesville. Source: Ocala Banner: 1-11-1907

Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers

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