HOLMES COUNTY, FLORIDA

HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- The First Settlers of Holmes County --- A Tribute to Will Curry

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 By Anna Paget Wells (used with permission of publisher Sue Cronkite) from the book "Heart and History of Holmes County". This book is chock full of pictures and what has been used within this web site is only a small amount of the book.  It can still be ordered from Sue Cronkite or from the Holmes County Advertiser, 112 E Virginia Avenue, Bonifay FL 32425; phone 850-547-2270; fax 850-547-9200

By Iris Clark Ellenburg

The Isagora community was settled in the early 1800s by Whitmill Curry, Will Curry’s grandfather, and was named after his uncle, Isagora Marse Curry. His father was Fletcher Curry.

George William Curry (known as Uncle Willie) was born June 24, 1888. He died in his 90th year of life. He was married to Miss Nancy Elizabeth Scott on Sept 27, 1914. Seven children were born to Will and Lizzie Curry. They were Aubra, Irene, Marie, Wilmer, Ray, Sue, and Merle, who died at the age of three and a half years.

Around 1920 Uncle Willie opened a ferry, a way of transportation from the west side of the Choctawhatchee River to the east side, known as Curry’s Landing. This was a contribution to a better way of life. A person could load their horse and wagon, ox and cart or car, anyway they were traveling, onto the ferry and Uncle Willie could pull them to the other side. The ferry was stabilized with a cable and "tackle".

One of the first post offices was founded there. There was also a school house where many children went to school. It was later converted into a church building.

This created many memories for families in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Many families went from New Hope to Isagora to church and many from the Isagora and East Pittman communities went to Mt Ida to Church.

Some of the families that have cherished memories of Uncle Willie Curry’s Landing and Curry’s Store are from New Hope: The Rev John Thomas family, the Rev Bedsole family, the Dancys, the Scotts, the Motleys, the Trammells, and the Bakers. From Isagora and East Pittman, the Rev Lee Mixon family, the Majors, the Keiths, the Retherfords, the Darleys, the Sowells, the Clemmonses, the Sanders, the Clarks, the Currys, and many more.

This was a period of time, especially on Sunday afternoon, that Curry’s landing was a nice social gathering place; one could swim, go to the store, to "spark". "Spark" was the term given to courting. This was where very much of the "sparking" took place. If there was someone special one cared for, come Sunday afternoon they could bet that person would probably see them around the ferry, the store, or the church. Many memories were spun there.

Mr Curry also had an old cable hanging from a tree where one could swing out over the driver, drop in and go for a swim. Families had picnics and fish fry's. The could also fish, camp, spend the night, and fight mosquitoes.

Uncle Willie’s store dates back to 1920s, before the flood in 1929. There is where people did their trading. People would could from miles around. Jim Evans of Bonifay made his run through this territory on a covered wagon pulled by an ox. He and Uncle Willie were good friends and big fishing buddies. All this was during the time of ice men, rolling stores, coffee grinders, wash pots, and no electricity.

Things one could purchase from Uncle Willie’s store where coffee and sugar that had to be weighed. Potatoes came in 100-pound bags, hoop cheese came in 15- to 20-pound rounds. Cooking oil was 55 cents a gallon. The feed that was purchased was in cloth bags and the material was used so the girls had beautiful feed sack dresses. Cold drinks were five cents. He carried a soft drink that was very good, called a punch drink. Domino cigarettes were 10 cents pack. Gas was 15 cents a gallon, and this was during the time gas rationing stamps were used, also.

The Retherford Reunion began at Curry’s Landing in 1929, and in the ‘50s was moved to East Pittman Church so the Retherfords could sing Sacred Harp songs, which they are noted for and which is a dying art.

In his early years Mr Curry worked a logging crew and a railroad crew. From 1943 – 50 he was a school board member. Clyde Brown stated that he was a very good board member, worked hard, and made the people happy.

He was also on the Selective Service Board for several years. His son, Ray Curry, says he knows he drafted three young men to serve their country, because he was one of them.

In 1957 – 58, the Holmes County Hospital was erected, and Mr Curry was elected chairman of the board, along with J T Evans, secretary, E P Spears, John W Clark, and L H Winkler, administrator. H B Douglas was State Senator, Harvey J Belser, Representative, and Clyde R Brown, Attorney. Mr Curry came off the board in 1968.

 

 


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This page was lasted updated on 17 June, 2002 08:42 PM