WCHS Annual Dinner 2022

posted Sep 23, 2022, 5:17 PM by Gayla Kittendorf   [ updated Sep 23, 2022, 5:19 PM ]


Wakulla County Historical Society logo

Dear WCHS Members and Friends,

On behalf of the Wakulla County Historical Society, I would like to invite you to attend our Annual Dinner Meeting on Thursday, October 13 at the Shrine Club, 4141 Crawfordville Hwy., Crawfordville, FL.  Our program will be a presentation on the Hartsfield Survey.  Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6:30.

The meal catered by The Kast Net will include roast beef with gravy, baked chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, mixed vegetables, rolls, tea and cupcakes.  The cost is $22 and we are requesting prepayment.  Checks should be made payable to WCHS.  Payments can be mailed to the Historical Society at P.O. Box 151, Crawfordville, FL 32326, or come by the Museum at 24 High Drive in Crawfordville.  Please RSVP to Arlene Vause by Saturday, October 8.

Included on our agenda will be the election of officers and Board of Directors for the 2022-2023 year.  Following are the nominees:  Officers:  President – Brent Thurmond, Vice President – Jennifer Raker, Treasurer – Debbie Jay, Secretary – Arlene Vause.  Board of Directors:  Cathy Frank, Cal Jamison, Gayla Kittendorf, Mary Ann Laird, Ryan Laird, Tanya Lynn, Rita Sparkman.  Associate Directors:  Diane Curlee, Randy Lewis, Mark Perrin, Karen Taylor, Susan Payne Turner.

I want to say a special thank you to all of our members, contributors and volunteers.  Through your support and efforts, we are making great progress in preserving Wakulla County’s rich heritage. 


With warmest regards,

Brent Thurmond


September 2022 Program - Terry Lewis - "The Revolution within the Revolution"

posted Sep 4, 2022, 10:59 AM by Gayla Kittendorf   [ updated Sep 4, 2022, 11:03 AM ]


Cover of book INCOGNITO, by Terry Lewis
On Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at 4:30 p.m., Wakulla County Historical Society will host the Honorable Judge Terry Lewis as guest speaker for our monthly meeting at the County Public Library, located at 4330 Crawfordville Highway, Crawfordville, FL. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. His talk will be “The Revolution within the Revolution.” It is the story of how a small band of radicals in Philadelphia used propaganda, political sleight of hand and coercion to overthrow the recently elected government of Pennsylvania and replace it with one more favorable to independence.

Terry Lewis was a Florida trial judge for 30 years. He is now in private practice with the firm of Messer Caparello, focusing on arbitrations and mediations. His professional awards include Judge of the Year, Florida Law Related Education Association – 1993 and 2013, Judge Harvey Ford Leadership Award - 1996, and Trial Judge of the Year Award, American Board of Trial Advocates, Tallahassee Chapter - 2000.

Shortly after Terry became a judge, he began work on a novel. Seven years later, his first novel, Conflict of Interest, was published in 1997.  He followed that with two more novels, all legal thrillers, set in or near Tallahassee. His first historical thriller Incognito, was released in 2021. It is set in 1776 Philadelphia, and revolves around a plot to assassinate key leaders of the Continental Congress. It received book awards from the Florida Authors and Publishers Association in three categories: Bronze in Historical Fiction; Gold in General Fiction and Gold in Mystery /Suspense. His most recent legal thriller, Fast Break, was just released in May of this year. In Fast Break, Kate Marston has landed a high-profile case that could make her career -- or break it. Her client is a controversial judge charged with murder.

Terry is a past board member of Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter and served on the advisory board for the Florida Book Awards. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Fran, and their Border Collie Mix, Pepper. Outside of writing he enjoys a good game of tennis or basketball.

For more information about this program, call the Historical society at 850-926-1110.




Hardy Boys Books for Sale at Museum Gift Shop!!

posted Jul 17, 2022, 1:45 PM by Gayla Kittendorf

Hardy Boys book
We have 24 Hardy Boys books for sale at the museum gift shop for $3.00 each. All in used but good condition. Come shop for these and other items, including items made by local artisans! Museum gift shop is located at the Old Jail, 24 High Drive, Crawfordville. Hours: Thursdays and Fridays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Phone: (850) 926-1110.

Estate Sale - Saturday, June 25

posted Jun 22, 2022, 11:37 AM by Gayla Kittendorf

Dear WCHS Members and Friends,

Indoor estate sale, Saturday, June 25, 7:30-1:00 at 214 Bay Pine Drive, Crawfordville.

Furniture, TV, refrigerator, dishes, kitchen and household items, linens, tools and more.

All proceeds go to the Wakulla County Historical Society.

We are very grateful to one of our members who has had to move and is donating all of her belongings to WCHS to sell.  Please share with your friends and come by and see us there on Saturday.  The Museum will be closed this Saturday as we will all be helping with the sale.

 Arlene Vause, Secretary

Wakulla County Historical Society

Old City Cemetery Tour - Saturday, May 14

posted May 8, 2022, 2:32 PM by Gayla Kittendorf

“Join the Division of Historical Resources and the Florida Public Archaeology Network on Saturday, May 14, for two walking tours of Old City Cemetery in Tallahassee, Florida.
Offered at 10:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m., the guided walking tours will focus on the cemetery’s history, offer tips for researching cemetery records, and include live demonstrations on how to properly clean historic headstones and how archaeologists use photogrammetry to create 3D models of cemetery resources. Before and after the program, stop by our outreach table the Downtown Market between 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to learn more about statewide efforts to document the location of Florida’s history cemeteries.
This program is free and open to the public. Both tours will start at the cemetery’s main gate, located on N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. near Park Ave. Street parking is available nearby. Guests should wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk and stand for the duration of the tour. This program is held in conjunction with the Division of Historical Resources’ 2022 Historic Preservation Month theme “Caring for Florida’s Historic Cemeteries.””
May be an image of tree, monument, outdoors and text that says 'Caring for Florida's Historic Cemeteries Florida Department of State celebrates FLORIDA DEPARTMENT Historic Preservation Month ofSTATE'

May 2022 Meeting - Eddie Page presentation on George Nesmith

posted Apr 28, 2022, 5:11 PM by Gayla Kittendorf

Photo of George Nesmith
Please join us for our historical program on Tuesday, May 10, 4:30 PM at the Wakulla County Public Library.  The featured speaker will be Eddie Page with a presentation on George Nesmith and the Fight to Save Wakulla County. 

During the 1943 Florida Legislative session, Wakulla County’s economic survival was in jeopardy.  Deprived of its annual share of racetrack funds as a result of the closing of Florida’s racetracks by federal mandate, Wakulla County faced insolvency and possible annexation to Leon County.  This presentation by Eddie Page describes how George Nesmith, Wakulla’s legislator in the Florida House of Representatives, fought to save the county from economic catastrophe.

Eddie’s family has resided in Wakulla County through 7 generations.  He has lived in Wakulla Station since 1983.  Eddie received a Master’s in History from Florida State University in 1994.  He has worked at FSU since 1988, currently serving as the Director of Student Services for the College of Fine Arts.  Arcadia Publishing printed Wakulla County in its Images of America series which he put together in 2001.  Another of Eddie’s projects is documenting the history of the mullet seine fishery in Wakulla County.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

Arlene Vause, Secretary

George Nesmith, 1943

April 2022 Program - Diane Swearingen

posted Mar 30, 2022, 10:29 AM by Gayla Kittendorf   [ updated Mar 31, 2022, 9:39 AM ]

Book cover: shows trees, swamp, images of Thomas Swearingen and others
The Wakulla County Historical Society invites you to attend our monthly historical program on Tuesday, April 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the Wakulla County Public Library, 4330 Crawfordville Hwy.  The featured speaker will be author Diane Swearingen.  Her book is based on the diary of Thomas Swearingen.  

The Smallest Tadpole’s War in the Land of Mysterious Waters is based on a true story, a family story.  It follows the life of Thomas Franklin Swearingen and is part of the Florida Special Collection at the State Library of Florida, the University of Florida, Florida State University and Gulf Coast State College. 

Thomas came to Wakulla County in 1852.  Florida was a pioneer state in the 1800’s.  The majority of the white population was relatively poor and rural.  Thomas purchased land just north of Crawfordville, he followed his family profession as a farmer and operated a cotton gin.  He married a widow and adopted her children as his own.  For the next ten years, Thomas and his family farmed the land and fished the Gulf waters and the many rivers that crisscross the county.  The heat, insects and storms from the Gulf made life difficult; family, friends and neighbors made it a good life. 

Everything would change dramatically with the talk of war.  There is a quote that reflects the changes, it takes place after a wedding. 

“I searched the night sky and I made a wish.  I wished we could always be as happy as we were that day, but I didn’t get my wish.  Maybe I jinxed us, wanting it so badly, or maybe so many forces were already in motion that even the brightest stars couldn’t change our destiny.” 

Lieutenant Thomas Swearingen joined the Wakulla Guards in Newport on May 17, 1861.  They become part of the 3rd Florida Infantry.  Thomas was wounded in May of 1962 and return to Crawfordville to recover.  He later reported to duty as a member of the Capitol Guard, the 5th Florida Cavalry.  We are able to follow the war from the letters home and the news that trickled down to rural Florida, following battle after battle, including Gettysburg. 

While the book follows Thomas’s life and the war news, the lives of those left behind are compelling.  The women and children left without a man in a dangerous environment.   Blockade runners that tracked the Union vessels taking advantage of the many rivers, bays and inlets to transport salt, and other products needed for an army on the move.  And finally, the local battles to protect Florida’s Capitol. 

Thomas’ time as a Capitol guard gave him an introduction to Florida politics.  After the war, he would serve Wakulla County as a Representative and as a Senator.  He was a framer of the 1885 Florida Constitution and retired as President Pro tem of the Florida Senate, elected unanimously. 

The descriptions of 1800’s Florida come mostly from Wakulla and Jefferson County, with the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge offering the most untouched, rich accounts.  Each is worth the read! 

The public is invited to attend and there is no cost.  For more information, call the Historical Society at 850-926-1110.  


posted Mar 8, 2022, 11:36 AM by Gayla Kittendorf   [ updated Mar 31, 2022, 9:29 AM ]

Dear WCHS Members and Friends, 

The Museum will be open for the Wakulla Wonderful Festival on Saturday, March 12 from 3:00 until 8:00 p.m.  Come by and see us and enjoy the festival.  We will have a drawing for a gift basket valued at $65.  There will also be tours of the Old Courthouse and the current Courthouse.  There will be vendors, food, music and county history to enjoy at the festival.

Remember our Show and Tell Program is March 8, 4:30 p.m. at the Wakulla County Public Library.  See you there.

Arlene Vause, Secretary

Wakulla County Historical Society

WCHS Annual Show and Tell March 2022

posted Feb 24, 2022, 12:57 PM by Gayla Kittendorf

Wakulla County Historical Society

5th Annual Show & Tell

Tuesday, March 8, 2022


Wakulla County Public Library


Back by popular demand! Our annual Show & Tell program! This is a great opportunity for those of you lucky enough to have a long family history in this part of Florida to bring in and show off those items handed down from earlier generations—and for the rest of us to see and learn about and admire them! Collectors will also be there to identify and discuss historical artifacts. Members and guests are invited to display and talk about their items related to North Florida or Wakulla County history.   Display tables will be set up for attendees to view your artifacts.


Bring those antique books, buttons, tokens, bottle or any object of historical value you’ve been storing in the closet, share your stories about them and enjoy viewing the artifacts of other collectors!


Call the Museum to reserve table space.


New Book Club at Wakulla County Public Library

posted Feb 16, 2022, 12:06 PM by Gayla Kittendorf

Flyer for new WCPL Book Club

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