HOLMES COUNTY, FLORIDA

HISTORY OF HOLMES COUNTY -- The First Settlers of Holmes County --- Register Families -- Came to Florida from Carolinas

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))  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

Noah Allen Register and his family, early settlers of Holmes County, left the upper part of North Carolina before the Civil War and came to Florida by wagon train.

All the family possessions were loaded on wagons and the women and young children rode while the men and older children walked and drove the livestock.

After traveling for a few days, Noah informed his family that he would top at the next suitable location, pitch camp and let the animals graze for a few days. Soon they came upon a log house with a large barn located on a clear stream of water and surround by good grazing land. A man was standing by the fence in front of the house and Noah Allen approached him and said, "Register is my name". Taking the extended hand, the stranger replied, "And Register is my name."

Noah Allen asked for permission to camp on the steam and to let his stock graze for a while. Young Register, whose home was in South Carolina, made him welcome.

The families never could find a trace a kinship but they became very good friends. In fact, Young told Noah Allen that if he would stay until he could ready the wagons, he would join him on the trek south.

Noah Allen did stay long enough to grow a crop of peas to eat on the trail. By that time, Young had his wagons ready, so the two Register families hit the trail together.

Noah Allen settled in Holmes County near Graceville, and Young settled in Washington County near Vernon. The Vernon Park is today on a part of the acreage once owned by Young Register.

Soon after the families settled in Florida, the Civil War broke out. Young Register was too old to be drafted but at that time a draftee could hire someone to take his place. A Mr Brock agreed to pay Young $1,000 and 100 head of cattle for taking his place in the war.

While he was a soldier, Young Register contracted mumps and died from exposure to cold weather. He was buried in Charleston, South Carolina, but his widow, who died later, was buried in the Vernon Cemetery.

After Registerís death, Mr Brock had to replace him in the war effort and he, too, failed to return.

Noah Allenís son, William J (Bill) Register, also joined the army during the Civil War. He had some exciting experiences, but lived to come home and tell about them.

Once when Bill was marching with his outfit through Georgia, he noticed a mulberry tree beside the road loaded with berries. He wanted some of them, but knew he couldnít break rank. After his company pitched camp a little further down the road, however, Bill slipped back to the tree to get some of the luscious berries. He climbed up the tree and was help himself when he heard a loud boom and a cannonball zoomed through the air and cut off the limb on which he was seated. It was said that Bill never again cared for mulberries.

After the Civil War, Bill walked from Graceville to Vernon to get Young Registerís daughter, Missouri, to be his wife.

Bill and Missouri walked from Vernon to Cerro Gordo, which was the county seat of Holmes County at that time, and got married. Afterward, they loaded all their possessions on a cart pulled by a yearling and headed for Newton, Ala, where Bill had a job working on the railroad.

Bill only made $4 a week working for the railroad, but that wasnít bad. For $1 they could buy enough coffee to last a month and housing cost but little. In fact, Bill and Missouri made a temporary dwelling from slabs cut away to square the rail crossties, and whenever the job moved, the house moved with it.

After working on the railroad for seven months, Bill and Missouri returned to Holmes County and homesteaded a 160-acre tract of land. There they raised a family of seven sons and a daughter: Anthony, Ashley, Tom, Mallie, Pryor, Allen, Lon and Lura.

Mallie Register has a beautiful daughter named Ila, who became the wife of Joshua Wells. They had a daughter, Kathleen, but Ila died while Kathleen was still a baby. In 1936, Kathleen, who is Bill and Missouri's great-granddaughter, became my step-daughter when I married her father.

Claude Register of Vernon, when he was nearing 80, told me this story one day. He is a grandson of Bill and Missouri Register and spoke of his grandfather with pride. He said that his grandfather never signed a note on the 160 acres of land that he homesteaded and only had to buy one "studybaker" wagonload of corn and two sides of bacon during his lifetime.

Bill and Missouri Register were buried in the Collins Mill Cemetery near Graceville. They have many descendants around, but I canít name them all. One of them was Marlin Register, Holmes County Supervisor of Registration (sic), who was a great-grandson.

 

 


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