Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tallahassee, Capital of Florida.

More from A Guide to Florida's Historic Markers, published by the Department of State, c. 1975-1980.  A copy of this booklet was found in the Goodwood collection.
DeSoto wintered here (1539-40).  In 1633, the Spainiards established a chain of forts and missions to convert Apalache Indians.  These were destroyed by the British in 1704 and the area reverted to wilderness.  This site was selected as the capital of the Territory of Florida in 1824, and Congress granted Lafayette a town ship for his service during the Revolution.  Tallahassee became the antebellum center of the Florida cotton belt and was the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi not taken in the War.  It is the home of Florida State University (1857) and Florida A. & M. University (1887).  
This marker is on S.R. 263, Municipal Airport Tallahassee.
Hernando DeSoto (1596-1452)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hardy Croom, Planter and Naturalist

This excellent article by Gibby Conrad for Tallahassee Magazine touches on several aspects of the lives of Hardy and Frances Croom.
The Life and Death of Hardy Croom:  His Body Was Lost But His Legacy Lives on in Goodwood and The Law  
The steam packet Home buzzed with activity as the passengers and crew readied for departure from New York City bound for Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 7, 1837. It was only the Home’s fourth such voyage. There were concerns the vessel wasn’t designed for ocean passages, but as a result of her reputation for speedy trips, excellent accommodations and the high character of her commander, Captain White, she carried a full complement of almost 90 passengers in addition to her crew of 43. Among her passengers were some of the East Coast’s most prominent families, including Hardy Bryan Croom, his wife Frances and their three children.  For the rest of the story...

The marker mentioned on the previous post about Hardy Croom is pictured on the Historical Marker Database.  The marker is in the Torreya State Park in front of the Gregory House.

Selection of Florida's Capital

From A Guide to Florida's Historic Markers, published by the Department of State, c. 1975-1980.  A copy of this booklet was found in the Goodwood collection.

Under Spanish rule Pensacola was the capital of West Florida, while East Florid's capital was St. Augustine.  In 1821 the U.S. took possession and in 1822 William P. Duval succeeded Andrew Jackson as territorial governor.  Dr. William H. Simmons, St. Augustine, and John Lee Williams, Pensacola, were appointed to select a central location for a capital. They explored the aera around St. Marks and chose the old Indian village, Tallahassee. Shortly thereafter, the land was surveyed and the town incorporated.
William P. Duval, first non-military governor of the Florida Territory

Hardy Croom, Botanist

Torreya taxifolia

From A Guide to Florida's Historic Markers, published by the Department of State, c. 1975-1980.  A copy of this booklet was found in the Goodwood collection.

In this vicinity on the Apalachicola River, Hardy Bryan Croom, pioneer Florida planter and botanist, discovered one of the rarest of coniferous trees, Torreya taxifolia circa 1835, and named it for Dr. John Torrey, prominent American botanist.  Only four other species exist, but they are in the widely separeted areas of China, Japan and California.  Croom's promising botanical career ended in 1837 when he perished in the wreck of the steamship "Home" off Cape Hatteras.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lafayette Land Grant

photo from

The property of Goodwood, as you know, was originally part of the Lafayette Land Grant.  Hardy Croom purchased several sections of this grant in the 1830s from the heirs of General Lafayette.  Other parts of Tallahassee lay claim to Lafayette fame, including Lafayette Neighborhood Association.  They include a very nice history of their neighborhood on their website.

More about the grant:
  • Full name and dates for Lafayette:  Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1754-1834)
  • From France, he served as a Major General in the Continental Army during the American Revolution
  • Congress awarded Lafayette $200,000 and a township of 36 square miles of land in 1824
  • Lafayette chose property near his friend, Richard Keith Call (who owned The Grove plantation)
  • Florida had just become a territory (1821) and there was potential for the property to increase in value
  • The warrant for the land grant was signed by President John Quincy Adams on July 4, 1825
  • The property was then known as "Lafayette Plantation"
  • Lafayette never visited Florida
  • In 1831, he sent men to Tallahassee to grow limes, olives, and mulberry trees without the use of slaves
  • This free community failed and most of the people moved back to France but those that stayed lived in the area of town that is still called Frenchtown
  • By 1855 all 23,000 acres of the Lafayette township had been sold

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Goodwood Library--Hodges' Books

As we are cataloguing the Goodwood Library, we have come across many books that are marked as belonging to Senator Hodges' personal library.  Here are a few of the books we have come across today:

John Ruskin (1819-1900)

Ethics of Dust by John Ruskin (interesting article on this book).  Read it online here:  Project Gutenberg.  He owned another book by John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies.  You may read it online here.  Yale University Press calls it a "classic nineteenth-century statement on the natures and duties of men and women."  Others have called it chauvinistic.  Interestingly, it was given to Hodges by a woman, Miss Florence Higgins, in 1897.

El Lector Americano-Libro Primero by Jose Abelardo Nunez.  This is a Spanish language story book that was possibly purchased to help Hodges' learn the language.  The 2nd volume is available online here.  Who knows, we may come across that volume later.

Poems by William Cullen Bryant.  The Poetry Foundation has this to say about this American poet.

The Works of Samuel Coleridge in seven volumes.  The Poetry Foundation has more about Coleridge and a sampling of his poetry.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Jane Hulsey Her Book 1685

From the Goodwood Library:

This is a 1672 edition of Works of Abraham Cowley with the inscription, "Jane Hulsey her book 1685,"  and, rather charmingly, "now Henri Scholes" written underneath.  Senator Hodges was very proud to have this volume in his collection and spoke of it often.  His library of over 5,000 volumes was once thought of as the finest private library in the South.  A slighly later edition may be viewed online.  The volume online was also signed by a woman, Mary Woodemane, 1681.

For more about Abraham Cowley, check out