Some Family History
William Greene Mitchell (1911-1989)
(The Blogger’s Paternal Grandfather)
“Tobacco Growing, Gadsden County, near Quincy, Fla.”
Gadsden County Shade Tobacco – Quincy, Florida
“Sumatra Leaf Tobacco Plantation, Quincy, Fla.”
Florida Artistic Series Postcard (Note the State Seal in the Upper Right Corner)
At the turn of the nineteenth century the blogger’s father’s family settled on about 2,000 acres of land–land that now lies in both Florida (in Gadsden County, near Quincy) and Georgia–and prospered. They grew cotton as well as “shade” tobacco (used for cigar wrappers) and “sun” or “bright” tobacco (used for cigarettes), had their own cotton gin, tobacco barn, sawmill, school, post office, cemetery (still active) and railroad car, and donated the land for a Methodist church. They were cultured people, as attested by the books, the Adam Stodart rectangular grand piano, the Victrola with good records, and the excellent pieces of furniture and art that have been passed from one generation to another. Although a few factors contributed to the eventual decline of the family’s farming business–the Depression, World War II (in which conflict the blogger’s paternal great-uncle Patrick was killed), and the blighting of shade tobacco by blue mold–the family continues to hold most of its original acreage.
The blogger’s parents live in the third family house built on the property (circa 1880s), the first two having been destroyed, respectively, by a fire and a hurricane. The tobacco barn stood until the 1980s, when it was sold for the value of its wood. The only sign of the family’s farming history on the property is “the dinner bell” which summoned them from their farming activities. The bell was used in times of emergency to summon distant neighbors as well.
Long before the blogger’s father’s family settled the land, it was lived on by Native Americans. Some fragments of secular pottery by the Weedon Island people have been found near the largest spring on the property; also, in the fields, a great number of arrowheads and tools.
Photograph and Postcards from the Collection of the Blogger