Celebrating our 125th annual Pioneer Picnic on Saturday, May 1, 2021!
Celebrating our 125th annual Pioneer Picnic on Saturday, May 1, 2021!
James Norris Parker came to the shores of Lake Worth in 1886 from Ohio, where he was born in 1850. He homesteaded a tract of land running one-half mile west of Parker Avenue (named for him) and one-quarter mile east. His property was bounded on the north by Bunker Road and on the south by Palmetto. Parker was a successful farmer, raising potatoes, beans and other vegetables. He also planted seven acres of pineapples. He took his produce to market every Friday in the first horse and wagon on the west side of the lake. With no roads, it was not an easy task to get through the deep sand. On Market Day, the farmers gathered on First Street (Banyan Street) not only to sell their produce but to learn world and county news and to socialize with each other.
Annie E. Lafferty, from Cleveland, Ohio, had come to the lakeshore in 1894 with the Charles W. Bingham family. She returned every winter and, in 1900, married James Norris Parker. They had one son, Philip Curry Parker.
James died 30 April 1920 and is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach. Annie lived on in their old home on Parker Avenue, with her son, until her death on 24 May 1938. She is buried beside James.
Thomas Peppers came to the area around the 1880's as one of the first black settlers. Priscilla and her aunt came about 1 year after incorporation.
Thomas worked for Cap Dimick and Thomas also collected rents for landlords from black tenants in the Styx. He also ran pedicabs at the Palm Beach Hotel. Their 5 daughters, 3 of which were born in the Styx. Priscilla worked at the Cocoanut Grove Hotel, the Palm Beach Hotel, and for private residents in the off-season.
The Peppers left the Styx and moved to Pleasant City after 1910. There are several property and repair records for Priscilla until 1949 as it appears she owned numerous properties.
Descendant Willie A Miller, Jr submitted them for posthumous membership. They were approved unanimously on May 1, 2021.
John Wesley Perry came to the shores of Lake Worth in 1892 from Vermont. From E.N. Dimick, he bought 15 acres of land, which extended from the lakeshore west to Dixie Highway and bordered the Fred C. Voss property on the north. In June 1894, he married Clara Drake, of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1895 they came to live in Hypoluxo during the winters, spending summers in Vermont.
Perry, who was not too interested in farming, only cleared the west half of his property and raised a few vegetables. His house, though near the lakeshore, was so surrounded by jungle growth, it couldn’t be seen from the water.
The Perrys had no children, and Mr. Perry was considered a loner. Mrs. Perry, however, was friendly, likable and interesting, and the local children liked to visit her. She had taught Latin in a high school in Minneapolis. Margaret Garnett Harris wrote of her:
“When my twin cousins and I could not think of anything else to do, one of us would say, ‘Let’s go see Mrs. Perry.’ She alone of the women in the neighborhood had lots of time and was glad to spend it with children.”
The Perrys sold their Hypoluxo property in 1928 and moved to Lake Worth. That year, John Wesley Perry was one of the 26 remaining of the original 84 pioneers listed on the monument on the grounds of the Norton Gallery of Art. They attended the Congregational Church in Lake Worth and pioneer picnics. Clara became active in the garden club and also wrote one of the earliest descriptions of the mail service of the time.
John died 8 March 1938, at age eighty-five. Clara died the following November. They are both buried in Pinecrest Cemetery, Lake Worth.
Hannibal Dillingham Pierce was born 16 November 1834 at Readville, Maine. The oldest of three sons, Hannibal ran away to sea at age sixteen. Seven years and many adventures later, he was shipwrecked on Lake Michigan. A kindhearted citizen of Waukegan, Illinois, took him home to dinner. There he met Margretta Louise Moore. She had been born 11 November 1840 at the U.S. Army post at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and was living in Waukegan when she met Hannibal. They were married 2 May 1857.
Margretta and Hannibal had three daughters, all of whom died young. Their son, Charles William Pierce, born 16 July 1864, was the only child living when Hannibal returned from serving the Civil War. He moved his little family to Chicago. There another daughter was born and also died young. Margretta's brother, William H. Moore, had been to Florida in 1870 and returned, telling of the wonderful climate. Hannibal, Margretta and Will made plans to take young Charles and move to Florida. They bought a 28-foot sloop, "Fairy Belle," and began outfitting her for the trip. The terrible Chicago fire of October 1871 hastened their depature time.
They made their way down the Mississippi, along the panhandle of Florida and on down to Cedar Keys, where they sold their boat and crossed the state by train to Jacksonville. They spent a year in Jupiter where Hannibal worked as assistant lighthouse keeper. They kept hearing growing reports of a large, freshwater lake farther south. Will bought a small sailboat and set off for the lake. Hannibal sloop-rigged a lifeboat from a shipwrecked steamer, and he, Margretta and young Charles started south too. It was an adventurous trip, for they sailed right into a hurricane which they, huddled together under their upturned boat on a small strip of land, survived. In October 1873, they sailed onto beautiful Lake Worth and discovered a large island at the south end. Hannibal homesteaded the south half of the island, and Will Moore took the north half.
This small family from Chicago were true pioneers in an untamed wilderness. Fish and game, wild fruit and fresh water were plentiful, but the nearest store was at Titusville, 160 miles north. Margretta learned to cook outside over an open fire. They built a house, mostly from lumber picked up on the beach, using palmetto fronds for the roof.
By the fall of 1874, there were ten or twelve people living on the shores of Lake Worth, so a man was dispatched from Miami to establish a voting precinct and name an election board. The Pierce home was the polling place selected. Charlie Moore, W.M. Butler, Will Moore and H.D. Pierce were named inspectors of election. When election day arrived, only one voter, old Doc Talbot who had been living with the Butlers, showed up. Ballots were cut from a sheet of paper. The ballot box was Pierce's palmetto hat. The inspectors voted, and five ballots were put into a used envelope, to be carried to Miami by Will Moore.
On 12 December 1874, Margretta had another son, who died the following summer and was buried on the island.
In 1876, the U.S. Government built five houses of refuge along the South Florida coast to give aid to ship-wrecked sailors. Hannibal accepted the position as keeper of the Orange Grove (Delray Beach) House of Refuge and moved his family there in May 1876. In August, Margretta had her seventh and last child, Lillie Elder Pierce, the first white girl born south of Jupiter. Happily, this baby lived. Margretta educated her son and daughter at home. That she did a good job is evidenced by the prolific writers both children became. Charles' book, Pioneer Life in Southeast Florida, published posthumously in 1970, is considered an authoritative work.
The Pierces found the Seminole Indians to be friendly and peaceful and established a good rapport with them. Soon after the Pierces moved into their houses, a party of Indians camped nearby. Margretta asked one of the squaws the Indian name of the lake. She answered, "Hypoluxo," meaning "water all around, no get out." The spelling was phonetical rendition of what the Indian woman had said. W.M. Butler suggested the Pierces call their island Hypoluxo which they did. Later research among the Indians has indicated the name did refer to the island, not the lake. The Creek spelling was "O-Po-Lus-Kee."
One day, Hannibal was building a large wooden "safe" or screened cupboard to keep food cool and free from insects. Some Indians happened by and stopped to watch. Finally, one asked, "What you make?" Pierce replied, "Cage to keep squaw and pickininny in." After a while, one Indian remarked, "Pierce, you lie."
Hannibal resigned his job as keep of the House of Refuge after thirteen months and moved his family back to their home on Hypoluxo Island. Even though cash was sorely needed, the $400 annual salary wasn't worth living in the isolation of the station.
Hannibal and his brother-in-law, Will Moore, made a trip to Key Largo in 1879 and brought back pineapple slips, which they planted for a cash crop. That fall, Hannibal, making his own shingles, built an addition onto the house. This house is thought to be still in existence in Manalapan.
H.D. Pierce was appointed keeper of Biscayne Bay House of Refuge in 1882 and moved the family once again to an even more isolated location. They stayed until early 1885 and then returned once again to their island home.
In the summer of 1887, Hannibal bought the "Illinois" from U.D. Hendrickson and began hauling tomatoes to Titusville. This evolved into a regular service, carrying freight and passengers as well. About that time, Hannibal also became postmaster of Hypoluxo, the starting place for the barefoot mailmen, and retained this post until his death in 1898. He was burned in Pioneer Park, now the property of the Norton Gallery of Art. Margretta lived with her daughter, Lillie, who married Frederick Christian Voss, until her death in 1912. She is buried beside Hannibal, the man for whom she had willingly traded the security of northern city life for the wilds of primitive Florida.
Nathan Wesley Pitts and his wife, Caroline F. (Carrie), from Ormond, Florida, arrived on the shores of Lake Worth about 1887. At that time, they bought 5 acres of land on the west shore for $2.00 from Ellen V. Pinkerton. Two years later, they homesteaded Pelican Island, located in the north end of the lake, for which they paid the U.S. Government $19.47.
Pelican Island, called Nuctsachoo by the Indians, became Pitts’ Island. Long and narrow, running north and south, the island contained about 15 acres of land. The soil was rich and fertile from centuries of pelican droppings. When the Pitts arrived, they found a lush, tropical jungle. Being horticultural enthusiasts, they preserved and encouraged all the native growth and made winding, shaded paths throughout the island. They built their house on the south end, with a wide verandah and many rooms to accommodate the boarding guests who soon began to arrive to enjoy the island’s tropical beauty.
Many articles were written in praise of Pitts’ Island. One was “Our Own Riviera” by Julian Ralph, Harper’s Magazine, March 1893. In one paragraph of his long tribute, he wrote:
“It is on Pitts’ Island, at the head of the lake, that one may see the possibilities of that climate, not only because Mrs. Pitts came to Florida expecting to die, and yet remains a comely and vigorous factor in the world, but because she and her husband cultivate almost every semi-tropical fruit that will grow there.”
The Pitts sold their 5 acres on the west shore in 1891 to William Leighton, Jr., for $3,500. Late in 1892, they bought 80 acres on the east shore (present day Riviera Beach) from E.N. Dimick for $180. They sold Pitts’ Island to James W. Munyon in 1901, and thereafter it was known as Munyon’s Island.
Nathan Wesley Pitts was a charter member of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association. He served as chairman of the board of Dade County commissioners when the county seat was at Juno. He died in 1902, and Carrie returned to Ormond where she died in 1914.
James William Porter was one of three young men who came to Florida in 1884 from Cadiz, Trigg County, Kentucky. The other two were Andrew W. Garnett and James Edward Hamilton. They became known as “The Kentucky Boys.” They went first to Bartow and then to Ft. Myers. The cold winter made them seek a warmer spot. They traveled by train to Titusville on the Indian River and then made their way south to the shores of Lake Worth, arriving in June 1885. They paid Minnie Brelsford $400 for about 15 acres of land extending from the lakeshore west to what would become Dixie Highway in Hypoluxo, and divided it into three equal, narrow strips. They built a cabin and the three bachelors began farming their land. After Ed Hamilton’s tragic death (See the Barefoot Mail Route), Gamett and Porter each bought half of his land from his heirs.
Jim Porter was a Dade County commissioner when Dade County stretched from the St. Lucie River to Biscayne Bay, where the county seat was located. By the fall of 1888, the northern voters outnumbered the ones in the south and voted to change the county seat to Juno. Knowing there would be opposition to bringing the county records north from the Biscayne area, Commissioner Porter and five other men armed themselves and headed down the beach to Biscayne Bay. Porter, declaring he could shoot as well with his left hand as with his right, carried two guns. As expected, the Miami men refused to relinquish the county books (See the Patrick Lennon story), so after dark, the lake men loaded the books into a borrowed canoe and made their way through the Everglades to the Lauderdale House of Refuge. One stayed with the records; the other five walked back to Lake Worth and sent a boat back. The records were brought safely to Juno, which was the county seat for the next ten years.
In 1899, Jim Porter married Ellen Ferguson, also a native of Kentucky, and homesteaded 160 acres on the west side of Dixie Highway. Jim built a large, two-story house, facing east, and he and Ellen had four children: William F., George Tilman, Henry Hood, and Isabel. Ellen died when the children were young, and Jim raised them alone. Isabel married George T. Knight and lived in Balsam, North Carolina. William and George also moved away from the lake area, but Henry remained in the family home most of his life.
Jim sold his original strip of farmland to Willis Reinhardt, who built a beautiful home on the lakeshore, which later became The Lakeshore Club, an exclusive gambling club in the 1950s, and still later, James Melton’s Autorama. When Melton left, the building was torn down because of termite damage.
During the Florida “boom,” Jim sold some of his land to buy property in Balsam, North Carolina, from Mr. and Mrs. Tom Rickards. He had only paid half when the boom busted, and he couldn’t pay the rest. The Rickards graciously allowed him to choose half of their property as his own.
Jim Porter, a farmer all his life, died at home in Hypoluxo on 17 October 1937, at age seventy-eight, and is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, West Palm Beach.
Henry Hood Porter married Florence Mae Hardman of Massachusetts. They lived in the house his father built and had two children, James H. Porter and Florence P. Gower. After their children were grown, Henry and Florence moved to Lantana and, in September 1971, gave permission for the Porter homestead in Hypoluxo to be burned down in a teaching demonstration by the fire department.
Owen Sylvester Porter was on the shores of Lake Worth as early as 1885, when he bought 20 acres of land on the east shore from Charles Moore for $2,200. A year later, he bought an additional 5 acres from Charlie for $650.
He bought and sold many pieces of land in the next eight years. Around 1890, he went into the real estate business with George W. Potter.
Porter homesteaded 168.92 acres of land in 1891 and, two years later, sold it to Dorinda H. Brelsford for $7,000. He built his home on the west side of the lake and later turned it into a hotel. In 1893, he sold a 50 acre tract of land to Henry M. Flagler for $35,000, this land became part of the original town site of West Palm Beach.
A charter member of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association, he was often referred to in early writings as Captain O.S. Porter. In 1893, Owen and his wife, Sarah, moved to Daytona, Florida. Porter was elected mayor of
Daytona in 1896 (population 986). He died 15 February 1897 there. His services were held at St. Mary’s Church, Daytona, and burial was in Johnstown, New York.
Sarah McFarland Porter was born 1840 and died in 1918. She and Owen had a son, Archibald, born 1869, before they came to the lake area. He moved to Daytona with them and became very active in local politics. He served several terms as city commissioner, tax collector,and city clerk. He and his wife, Louise, had two children, Richard and Kathleen. Archibald died 14 June 1953 and Louise died 20 July 1956.
Robert Wilford Porter arrived on the shores of Lake Worth in 1888, three years after his brother, James W. Porter, who sold him 42 acres of land in Lantana for $80.
Robert, born about 1871 at Cadiz, Kentucky, farmed his land west of Parker Avenue and had an orange grove. He also propagated several new varieties of mangoes and pears. In later years, he took over Beach’s Nursery which became known as Porter’s Nursery.
Robert married Marion and they had three children: Warren Porter, Sadie Porter, and Anna Mae Porter who married James Sturrock, president of Boynton Landscape Company and Knollwood Groves.
Robert Wilford Porter was killed in an automobile accident 5 September 1937 in Greenwood, South Carolina, and his body was brought back home for services and burial in Hillcrest Cemetery, West Palm Beach. Marion died 27 March 1937 and is buried beside Robert.
Most of the pioneers came to the shores of the lake called Lake Worth from the North, especially from Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.
The Potter family was among the earliest to settle on the shores of Lake Worth. They did not all come at once. First was George Wells Potter and his older brother, Dr. Richard B. Potter (See his story). They were the sons of Luther Fitch and Lydia Ames Potter of Groton, Massachusetts, where George was born 12 November 1851.
When George was very young, his father moved the family to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he had a hardware store. Because of his poor health, George attended private or special schools. His artistic talent was evident at an early age. He was hired as a cartoonist by the Cincinnati Enguirer at age eighteen. We are greatly indebted to him for the sketches he made in what became Palm Beach County, while working as the first official surveyor. His great grandson, David A.Willson, inherited this artistic ability and is generous about sharing the sketches.
By 1874, George was in such poor health due to asthma that he and his brother, Richard, traveled to the warmer climate of Biscayne Bay, Florida. They filed a homestead claim on the bay-front, built a house and put in a garden. Dr. Potter, however, had a hard time making a living as there were few settlers, all apparently in good health. When he and George heard of the beautiful country around Lake Worth, with more inhabitants, they decided to move north. They claimed 160 acres (a short distance south of today’s Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach) running from lake to ocean, with one mile of ocean frontage. They were the first to build a house facing the ocean, and they named it “Figulus,” meaning “place of the potter.”
When the brothers were joined by their mother and their sister, Ellen, they all bought adjoining properties on the west side of the lake, running from Lake Worth to Clear Lake, between Fern and Hibiscus in what became West Palm Beach.
On 10 August 1893, George married Ella May Dimick, daughter of pioneers Frank and Anna (Geer) Dimick. They built a large home at 606 South Olive where they were to live the rest of their married lives. They had one daughter, Marjorie, born 1898, who married Jack Sloan Willson, a childhood friend. Although Jack’s parents were not pioneers of the lake area, they were long-time residents who came from Kissimmee. Marjorie and Jack had three children: Elizabeth May Willson Minnis, Jack S. Willson, Jr., father of artist David A. Willson, and George Potter Willson. Jack Sloan Willson died in 1952, and in 1954, Marjorie married Ben Cromwell Stewart of Macon, Georgia. She died in 1990.
Besides being an artist and surveyor, George formed a real estate partnership with Owen Sylvester Porter about 1883. They put out a delightful booklet, Under the Cocoanuts, describing the land around the lake, the climate, the fishing, the flora and fauna. Illustrations were drawn by George W. Potter. Potter also served one term as mayor of West Palm Beach and was a director of several banks, including The Pioneer Bank, of which he was president. With George W. Lainhart, he established Lainhart and Potter Lumber Company, which is still in business in 1994 in Palm Beach County, though Potter sold his share in 1921.
George Wells Potter died at Ashville, North Carolina, in July 1924 after a long, useful life. He left an historical treasure, his paintings, drawings, maps and surveys.
Richard Buckley Potter was one of the four children of Luther Fitch and Lydia Ames Potter. He was born 15 January 1845 in Groton, Massachusetts, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he graduated from medical school in 1867.
A younger brother, George Wells Potter (See his story) suffered from asthma, and Richard decided the climate of South Florida would be good for his health. The two travelled south via the Mississippi River, New Orleans and Key West and reached Biscayne Bay in 1874.
They chose a homestead on the bay and built a house. George, an artist, painted a picture of the house which is on the cover of Biscayne Country by Thelma Peters (1981 Banyan Books). Dr. Potter was the first and only doctor there, but business was slow due to the scarcity of people and the healthful climate. To supplement their income, the brothers went into making starch from the coontie root.
Dr. Potter heard there was the need for a doctor up on the shores of a lake named Lake Worth, so, in 1881, he and George moved north. They claimed a homestead in what was to become Palm Beach, 160 acres running from lake to ocean. They were the first pioneers to build their house facing the ocean, rather than the lake.
Dr. Potter’s mother and his sister, Ellen, joined Richard and George about 1885. They all bought land on the west shore of the lake, and in 1893, Dr. Potter built a home and office at the foot of present day Gardenia Street in West Palm Beach.
Dr. Potter, a gentle, caring man, was an immediate asset to the lake community. He travelled around the lake by naptha motor launch, visiting patients, and was assisted by a black mid-wife, Millie Gildersleeve, who was ready to go anytime he tooted the whistle at her dock. Dr. Potter was also trusted by the Indians, who would travel for miles to be treated by him.
In 1896 and again in 1900, Dr. Potter was elected to the state legislature. The only Republican among all the Democrats, he was elected for his fine character, not for the party. In 1895, he was a United States Customs Collector. He also was the official surgeon for the Florida East Coast Railway. He served as a director of the first bank, The Dade County State Bank, and was, at one time, Clerk of the Circuit Court. He never married.
Dr. Potter’s mother, Lydia Ames Potter, who had come to Florida for her health, lived to be ninety-three, and died 18 January 1907. His sister, Ellen, who also never married, sold 5 acres of her land for $5,000 for a school building site. Later, she decided that wasn’t big enough and donated an additional 5 acres. Twin Lakes! Palm Beach High School was built on her property.
Dr. Potter had another brother, Bernal (Ben) Miller Potter.
Early in 1909, Dr. Potter became ill himself and went to Jacksonville for an operation. He died there on 12 July 1909 of cancer. His body was returned for burial at Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach.
Frederick Robert was on the shores of Lake Worth as early as 1891, when he bought 160 acres of land from George H.K. Charters for $800.
Born at New York City in 1839, Robert was the son of Christopher Rhinelander Robert, a merchant and philanthropist who founded Robert College at Istanbul, Turkey, in 1863.
Frederick Robert married Marsena Nelson, born 1844, and they had one son, Albert W., born 1864. The Roberts spent their winters at their Palm Beach estate, “Fleur d’Eau,” and summers at Saratoga Springs, New York. Marsena, asked her first impression of Palm Beach, said:
“I was strongly reminded of Venice when I first visited Palm Beach.. .by the absence of horses, carriages, wagons and the noise of wheels of any kind. All was quiet and peaceful.. .The music on the water in the evening is also a reminder of Venice. . . tuneful ballads float through the air to the accompaniment of guitar, mandolin and banjo. .
Frederick and Marsena became active members of Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, built in 1889. Marsena was a charter member of Woman’s Guild, served on several committees and was choir director from 1901 to 1911.
Frederick Robert died at Saratoga Springs on 13 March 1912 after a long illness. Marsena sold their Palm Beach property, which became Poinciana Park, and lived in Saratoga Springs until her death in 1922.
Albert W. Robert, a graduate of Yale University, was Henry M. Flagler’s advance agent in 1892. He was ordered to buy up properties Flagler selected on both sides of Lake Worth, no matter what the price. He spent most winters with his parents at “Fleur d’Eau.” In 1910-1911, Albert Robert served as American consul to Algiers, where he became ill and had to return home. He never recovered and died at age forty-nine at Troy, New York, 18 February 1913.
Enoch Root came to the shores of Lake Worth, Florida, in 1892. Born at Canaan, Litchfield County, Connecticut, on 16 February 1839, Root moved to Moline, Illinois, at age fourteen. Five years later, he traveled to Europe to spend two years in art galleries. While there, he took a walking tour of Savoy and Switzerland. Upon returning to America, he spent two years as a gold miner in Colorado.
Tn 1862, Root enlisted in the Third Colorado Infantry and was promoted to Captain of Company H, 68th Regiment, U.S. Infantry. He stayed active in the service until the end of the Civil War, and was stationed in every state of the southwest, except Texas.
In 1867, Root enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Design, became a pupil of Conrad Dehi, for a year then went back to Europe for more study and travel. He remained in Europe throughout the Franco-Prussian War. He returned to America in 1873 and that August, married Victoria Adelaide Ward in Providence, Rhode Island. They settled in Chicago. With another man, Root started an art school in the Art Institute building. They closed this school when the Academy of Design reopened, and Root became affiliated with the academy, He served in several capacities, including secretary and president.
He and Victoria moved to Palm Beach, Florida, in 1892, and bought land extending from the lake to the ocean. This became their permanent home, and they resided there except for short summer visits to Chicago and Connecticut. They both became active in the pioneer community.
After a two year illness, Victoria died 27 July 1914 and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach. Enoch was heartbroken without her and, not long after, suffered a stroke. His sister-in-law, Mrs. Mary E.L. Root, took him to Winsted, Connecticut, to care for him. He, visited by his many relatives and friends, perked up for a while, but on 27 June 1915, just eleven months to the day after Victoria had died, Enoch died of another stroke. Funeral services were held at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Winsted. Burial had to wait until his sister-in- law was strong enough to accompany his body back to Florida. Finally, on 14 November 1915, Enoch was laid to rest beside his beloved Victoria.
Enoch Root was a Justice of the Peace. His friends described him as a congenial, modest person with a sunny disposition, whose artistic nature was evident in everything he did. A glowing tribute to him was offered by the Palm Beach Property Owners Association, of which he had long been an active member. Root Trail in Palm Beach is named for him. Besides being a charter member of Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association, he was a Mason and a member of G.A.R.
George Shufelt Rowley was the son of Alexander S. and Julia (Shufelt) Rowley. He was born 20 October 1850 at Hudson, Columbia County, New York. At age twenty-one, he took an examination to join the U.S. Signal Service. This was in August 1871, and he was to serve for five years. He took charge of a weather station in Galveston, Texas. In 1872, he was stationed at Punta Rassa (near Fort Myers, Florida, an important shipping point for cattle and supplies going to Cuba).
George married Anna Chapman Moore, 6 November 1872. She was also from Hudson, New York. Their first son, Julian Moore, was born in 1873 at Hudson. George’s next station was Dennison, Texas, where he moved his family. He helped install 1,200 miles of telegraph lines to connect all the army posts in Texas.
George and Anna had nine children in all, two of whom died young. After Julian came Francis Augustus (Frank), born 1876, Alexander Stewart, born 1882, Elizabeth A., born 1884, and Mary J., born 1885. The last two children, born in Florida, were Elinor, born 1887, and Sarah Gertrude, born 1890.
George quit the service and moved his family to Florida, arriving on 19 April 1886. That fall, he made a claim for a homestead in Northwood Hills, located north of present-day 45th Street in West Palm Beach. Before settling on the west side of the lake, they lived in Lake Worth Village, which was the name of the settlement at the north end of the lake.
In Hudson, New York, George had been a cub reporter for the Hudson Daily Star. He was a reporter and editor for several other papers even though he studied to be a civil engineer. In Florida, George became editor-in-chief of Th Tropical Sun, South Florida’s only newspaper at one time. In 1910-1911, he was editor of Palm Beach County, the newspaper which later became the Palm Beach Post. He kept this position for the rest of his life.
George Shufelt Rowley was one of the founders of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association and served as secretary and as treasurer for over twenty-five years. He was seventy-six years of age when he died in November 1925, and his eyesight was so excellent that he didn’t need glasses. Anna had died in February of 1925, and this devoted couple are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, West Palm Beach.
Julian Moore Rowley married Stella A. Merchant, and they had two children, Julian and Muriel, both teachers. When son Julian was attending Palm Beach Junior College, he drove a school bus for Palm Beach Public Schools. His father and grandfather had operated the school boat to take the children to the first school, located one mile north of the present-day Flagler Bridge.
Francis Augustus Rowley (Frank) married Rose Sanders, and they had one son, George Sanders Rowley, born and raised in West Palm Beach, who later moved to Port Orange, Florida.
Mary J. Rowley married W.T. Vass; Elinor Rowley married W.E. Albertson; Sarah Gertrude Rowley married L.W. Miller. The three sisters and their families were lifelong active members of the Lake Worth Pioneers’ Association.
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Proudly celebrating our 125th annual Pioneer Picnic on 5-1-2021 at The Norton Museum for member families.