Monday, February 13, 2012

Marathon, Florida - 02/13/12

We started off our day at 8:00 a.m. with a hearty breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Homestead, Florida. I had the "Old Timers" breakfast. Sharon thought that was appropriate for my age!

After breakfast we traveled to Marathon, Florida to do some research on Sharon’s paternal grandparents who spent the winter months there in the 1960’s. Sharon’s grandfather had died in Marathon during one of their winter to Marathon in the 1960’s. Upon our arrival in Marathon, our first stop was at the Clerk of the Circuit Court. We met a kindred spirit in genealogy; Nancy, who is a clerk of the court. We spent about 20 minutes there providing her with as much information as Sharon had available. She was so accommodating in accessing their microfilm files for us, however their files only went back to 1970 and we needed access to files in the 1960’s. Nancy then contacted their archives department in Key West, Florida who provided her with the information they would require to do a records search for the death certificate of Sharon’s grandfather. Nancy agreed to call Sharon when they had a copy of the death certificate available.

Our next stop was to the Marathon public library, which is conveniently located next to the Circuit Court. A very friendly librarian provided us with two reference books on a pictorial history of Marathon. The first book covered the period from 1906 through 1960. The second book covered the period 1960 through 2004. Both books are authored by Dan Gallagher, Ph.D., Chairman, City of Marathon Commission. The books provided a very interesting pictorial history of Marathon.

Here is some interesting historical background on Sharon’s family history. Her great-great grandfather, David Allan Smith, was an attorney in Jacksonville, Illinois and a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln in the 1840’s. The two men on occasion did some legal work together. A book was written about David Smith in the early 2000’s by a historian, Doris Hopper, Dean of Women at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois. The home of David A. Smith is located in Jacksonville, Illinois and has been designated a historical residence on the Lincoln trail in Illinois and is a part of the Illinois College campus. The Illinois College campus resides on land that David Allan Smith once owned. The entire Smith family, including Sharon, were invited and attended the dedication ceremony in the early 2000’s. At that time pictures were taken of the Smith family in front of the home and we were all allowed to tour the inside of the home.

Here is an interesting Smith male tradition that is believed to have started with Sharon’s great-great-grandfather: Each first-born male generation of the Smith family have the first and middle name of their grandfather. The sequence follows:

David Allan Smith,  great-great-grandfather to Sharon

John Allan Smith, great-grandfather to Sharon

David Allan Smith, grandfather to Sharon

John Allan Smith, father to Sharon

David Allan Smith, brother to Sharon

John Allan Smith, nephew to Sharon

Sharon's nephew’s wife would not allow their son to be named David Allan, so the streak has been broken.

This evening we made reservations for three nights at Boyd’s Campground in Key West, Florida. We plan to arrive there on Thursday.

Tomorrow, another new adventure begins!

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