Old Soldier's Colony
Osceola County, FL

transcribed by Anza Bast

Transcribers note: Prior to the beginning of the publication "St. Cloud Tribune", "The Kissimmee Valley Gazette" ran news articles containing the happenings in the new town of St. Cloud. It was an exciting time, but as with all new towns, there were problems. It is hoped that these articles will give some insight into the town's early beginnings. There are many names of early settlers mentioned in the articles and hopefully, you may find one of your ancestors.

Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, July 16, 1909, front pg.


Their Names, Former Residences and Shares of Stock Each Holds.

        Mr. N. R. White, of Kansas, who came here some time ago to cast his lot with the St. Cloud Colonists, and who was the second man to actually take up his residence on the colony lands, furnishes the Valley Gazette with the following list of settlers who are now at St. Cloud awaiting the result of the allotment of lands to begin operations, and also the date of the arrival and number of shares held by each:

        Albert Hantsch, Chicago, May 10th, 2 shares.
        N. R. White, Kansas, June 1st, 1 share.
        Mrs. L. M. Thomas, Arlington, Kas., June 1st, 1 share.
        A. M. Cram, Iowa, June 1st, 4 shares.
        J. N. Dixon, Louisiana, June 1st, 2 shares.
        A. M. Wilkinson, North Dakota, June 8th, 4 shares.
        B. F. Chase, Idaho, June 10th, no shares.
        Henry Loss, Michigan, June 15th, 1 share.
        Jacob Haffer, Kansas, July 5th, 1 share.
        J. W. Mathews, Kansas, July 5th, 1 share.
        L. A. Hippolite, Georgia, July 8th, 1 share.
        Phillip Blazer, West Virginia, July 8, 1 share.
        H. B. Blazer and family, West Virginia, July 8th, no shares.
        Levi Clinger, Ohio, July 8th, no shares.
        B. F. Knapp, Fitzgerald, Ga. July 8th [shares not given].

Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, July 23, 1909, pg. 2

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        We are located here near the old St. Cloud sugar mill. We call our house "The Soldier's Home," as there are several soldiers living with and near us waiting to build on their land as soon as they get their deeds. We have received official information from Washington that the allotments have been made, and that we would get our deeds just as soon as they could get to them.

        We were at the survey camp yesterday, and Mr. King, the chief surveyor, confirmed the company's letter, and said he was ready to locate all of us just as soon as we get the number of our land.

        Mr. King has a crowd of about eighty men surveying and clearing up the town site, and there are good indications of a booming town in the near future, and we are anxious to hear the sound of the saw and hammer, that means so much to us.

        We have had some experience in the development of new countries, and to us there looms up in the future great possibilities for our colony and surrounding country.

        We were very much pleased with the kind reception we received on our arrival at Kissimmee, and up to date it seems to be genuine, as we have never met a friendlier people in all our travels.

        Mr. W. B. Makinson has hired a sawyer to bring his mill here on the colony lands to furnish us with rough lumber.

        Mr. Frank Bass of Kissimmee has started a lumber yard on the town site, and while it doesn't loom up very big at present, we understand he is prepared to furnish any amount of lumber on short notice and at reasonable prices.

        We understand several contracts have been let to build houses as soon as the parties get their deeds.

        The latest arrivals here are McDonald May and family of Arkansas and Drury Howard of Maine.

        Sunday services were conducted on the plantation by Rev. B. F. Chase, and about twenty-five attending, and the most of them seemed pleased to hear the gospel's sound again, as some of us had heard no preaching since leaving the north.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, July 30, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        Work on the town site is progressing nicely. Ditches are being dug to drain the surplus water into the lake, which has been immense lately, but the good feature of this locality is that after the rain stops you can go right along, as there is practically no mud. We have been here nearly two months, and haven't seen a day we could not have worked out in the sun if we had the work to do. I do not think the mercury has stood at 100 during that time, and most of the time we have had a nice breeze.

        Mr. B. F. Chase came in Monday driving a new horse, the first one bought by the colonists. Mr. Chase is about 80 years old, but is active in mind and body, and says he expects to live several years yet. When I meet such a man I feel like patting him on the back and saying "Good for you, old boy." I like to see a live old man or woman, instead of being like some - sitting around wearing the seat of their pants out and grumbling about the country and people. Let us be alive while we are here.

        Mr. A. E. Cram, another old veteran of 78 years, is active in mind and body, takes his regular walks over the colony lands, and I believe knows more about all the good land around here than any other man, and says he isn't waiting for the undertaker, but expects to make some good money out of Florida.

        There is strong talk among some of the colonists of a co-operative store, electric light and ice plant. Why not? Co-operation has made our colony possible. It is practical if manage rightly.

        At present we have one store at the colony, and we need a hotel there on the ground.

        We have been strongly impressed with the beautiful lakes in the Kissimmee valley, and one old veteran who has traveled several hundred miles along the Pacific coast says the beach of the lake near the colony town site far surpasses the Pacific Ocean beach in beauty. Nearly every night we hear the little gasolene [sic] launches chug-chug all night, and when the fishermen draw in their nests they often unload barrels of the finest fresh water fish that bring, I am told, as high as one hundred dollars a night, which runs up into the thousands during the year. The fish industry has far surpassed the farming interests here, and has undoubtedly been of great benefit to the county and the people, but the time is now at hand when agriculture and fruit growing will take a boom, and in a few years it will be hard to find a country that can beat us.

        Mr. Powell of Minnesota has settled in our midst.

        Messrs. A. Nacker and S. Janowski of Detroit, Mich., took dinner with us Sunday. One will locate and possibly both, as they seemed pleased with the country.

        Mr. R. Patterson of Boiden, Iowa, was here Monday. He has one share in the colony. Also Mr. J. A. Nelson of Lawrence, Kan., who has four shares. I toop [sic] them up to the top of the old sugar mill and let them view the Land of Canaan (and we wont have to fight to get possession as in the Canaan of bible times), and we saw by the eye of faith the beautiful homes with all of the comforts of life around them, where we were free from the blizzards and cyclones of the north, and the fear of want was in the dark past.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, August 6, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        The Valley Gazette has been fortunate in securing a live, energetic correspondent at St. Cloud who will keep its readers informed from week to week on the growth and progress of the new Colony. We have a large number of subscribers scattered throughout the United States who are deeply interested in the success of this Colony, and for their benefit, we propose to establish, a little later, a regular Valley Gazette bureau at St. Cloud and devote an entire page or more exclusively to Colony news.

        The colony work is still progressing nicely. The saw mill has been at work several days. Mr. Earl Patterson has begun work with the surveyors. Miss Laura Patterson and her parents are stopping at the Runnymede hotel.

        Mrs. Baxter, the former landlady of the hotel has turned that famous hostelry over to Mr. Reed of Boston, Mass., and we understand Mr. and Mrs. Baxter have left for the north.

        We, in company with Mr. B. F. Chase, were very kindly received at the hotel and were shown every courtesy, Mrs. Reed giving us all the information she had at her disposal, with the promise of more later on. Mrs. Reed seems to be a woman of ability, and we believe will give satisfaction to her guests and make her home a pleasant place to stop at. We were surprised to see how comfortable and homelike the hotel was, it being our first visit there.

        Messrs. W. A. Richards of Madison, Wis., M. C. Scott of Fitzgerald, Ga., and S. C. Jaques of Cincinnati, Ohio, some of our colony people, have been stopping at the hotel, but have just left for home. We were told they left well pleased with the treatment they received in Florida, also with the country, and are hopeful for its future. They will undoubtedly make their home with us in the near future and assist in making our colony a success.

        Mr. Harry Braze, our most persevering fisherman at the Soldier House, made himself a shade on Monday to protect him part of the time while watching his lines. If he displays the same perseverance as a business man that he does as a fisherman, we predict a successful career for him in the colony.

        After returning home Monday from a trip over the colony lands, out of curiosity we went up to the top of the old sugar mill and measured the height of the mill from the ground to the top of the cupalo [sic] floor, and found it to be 54 feet. Anyone wishing to see all of Florida in this locality from an elevated position should go up to the top of the old sugar mill to do so, and be sure and bring a telescope along.

        Messrs. Philip Blazer and L. A. Hippolite paid a visit to the Shaker colony near St. Cloud. Those people have been experimenting with different kinds of fruit, and are evidently making a success, and it would be a good lesson to all our colonists if they would pay them a visit. While they may not endorse the Shakers' religious views, those who go will fully appreciate the kind, brotherly treatment they receive, and come home saying "they are pretty good folks after all." We have eaten some of their bananas and pineapples, and pronounce them fine flavored. The Shakers have 7,000 acres of land, but none to sell.

        Quite a few colonists have received the numbers of their tracts and lots, and so far most of them are well pleased.

        The depot and sidetracks have been located, and will be built in the near future.

        Some one surely must be very much interested in Kissimmee and St. Cloud, as we saw a balloon come from somewhere over Kissimmee way and when last seen it was over our new town. While we do not object to being looked at from above at night, we think they could give a better report of us to the public if they took their observations by daylight, as we believe our colony will bear close inspection.

        We were out Monday morning- in fact spent the whole day - with the surveyors locating our five-acre farms, and while some were looking through smoked glasses, we were more favorably impressed with the colony land than ever, and most of those located were very well pleased with their allotment.

        One man who had three tracts got a small orange grove about eight miles from St. Cloud, and farm buildings and eight or ten acres all cleared and in condition for cultivation. Later we learned that this farm is the capital prize, and Bob Cowen of Fort Wayne, Ind., is the lucky man.

        We of St. Cloud Colony were invited by the Kissimmee Board of Trade to go on a boat excursion to Southport on Tuesday, which a number of us accepted, and were royally entertained by Mr. John M. Lee, representing the Lee-Parsons Cattle Co., with a barbecue dinner in a beautiful oak grove one-half mile from the landing. We all highly enjoyed the day, and give to Mr. Lee and the Kissimmee Board of Trade a vote of thanks for the genial hospitality and courtesy extended the colonists, and we hope to be able in a few months to show our appreciation to the people of Kissimmee in a more substantial manner, and trust the friendly relations now existing between us and Kissimmee may become stronger and that we may be a benefit to each other, and thus make Osceola the most desirable county in Florida in which to live.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, August 13, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        Our section foreman has a crowd of men working on the new sidetrack, and we understand part of the lumber is on the ground for the new depot, and work will be started soon on the building.

        Mr. L. W. Malsby, our street clearing man, has a gang of men at work clearing streets and lots and ditching where necessary, and is prepared to take extra work at any time.

        Several houses are being constructed, and our lumber man and carpenter contractor, Mr. Frank Bass, is just getting wound up for business, and pretty soon you may look for the sparks to fly; but don't get scared, he isn't dangerous, so just come up and have him figure for you, and then keep the ball rolling.

        Mr. A. E. Cram and your correspondent were over to town Monday getting his lots staked and ordering the lumber for our houses. While there we made the acquaintance of Mr. Ira Skinner of Kentaud, Ind., and Mr. D. L. Sessions and wife of Avon Park, Fla. All were newcomers and seem well pleased. It is expected they will make their home with us.

        Mr. J. H. Newcomb of Dayton, Ohio, is boarding at the Soldiers' Home, and expects to locate here.

        Messrs. M. R. Cowen and E. H. Rogers of Fort Wayne, Ind., have left for their homes, and from the looks of their countenances and what they told us, they went on their way whistling and singing. They have seven five-acre tracts, and all are as fine as we have seen anywhere.

        We are still getting a great deal of rain, which seems to please the people hereabouts, especially the natives.

        We forgot to mention in our last letter that we met a representative of the Hughes Artesian Well Drilling Co. at St. Cloud. He told us he was there for business, and expected to close a contract to drill a well on our public square. He comes well recommended, his company having worked extensively in Florida, and says he is prepared to drill wells from 3 to 24 inches in diameter and from 60 to 3,000 feet deep. That to our mind, looks like business. While at times we have all the rain necessary, at other times water is needed very badly, and to get the best results we must have irrigation, and the sooner we begin the better our crops and the greater our success as a colony.

        Some think we are visionary in regard to this colony, and are enthusiastic in the extreme, but while attending the barbecue at Southport on Tuesday of last week we learned that all the successful men in the crowd were enthusiasts, and we caught the spirit of the day, and went up the ladder about twelve rungs after we went to see Lee brothers orange grove, and up to date we haven't lost our grip.

        Mr. A. Y. Neff and son, Charles, of Everton, Ind., came in Monday and were shown their land and town lot in less than an hour. Their five-acre tract lies within a mile of town. The elder gentleman said he thought he would buy more, while the son, who is a lawyer, said he expected to locate in our midst. We will extend him a hearty welcome, as we believe him to be a man of ability, and we need a good many of that kind of men.

        Monday was one of our smoke days, but that is a part of our program out here. Where there is so much smoke there s [sic] sure to be some fire, so just watch our smoke, and some day we will show you as fine a town as there is in Florida.

        Mr. W. B. Makinson was in St. Cloud Monday, and he was as full of business as ever. If you want to deal with him get your little spiel all made up as soon as he comes in sight, because time is money with him. I know by experience, as I tried to catch his auto and failed, and didn't see him again for about two weeks.

        Mr. Philip Blazer and son, Harry, have moved down on their five-acre farm and will clear it up and make their home there for the present.

        We would like to tell you about our picnic in this letter, but will have to wait until next week. While we are all very busy, we still have time to be sociable, for you know that next winter we so much dread wont come down here in Florida, and how we wish the thousands of our friends up north could say as much. Many of them could if they only knew of the thousands of acres of cheap lands that are still to be had here. It looks almost like finding money in the road compared to prices in other states, but we look for the same high prices to prevail here as soon as the people up north fully realize what we have down here in Florida.

        We still have preaching at the Soldiers' Home as usual - 3 p.m. - by Rev. B. F. Chase. All are welcome, as we try to be liberal in our views.


Interesting St. Cloud Items.

The Kissimmee Valley Gazette:

        Mr. Editor - Come over and take a stroll with me down New York street and note the improvements that are going on in our young city.

        First that strikes our attention is the mammoth hotel building being erected by Contractor Frank Bass, who spares no time nor money in pushing his business to the front. He has in his employment about twenty men and he is termed the "lumber king," as he controls all the lumber business in the city.

        Next we come to Mr. Cull's, who has a fine store of general merchandise and a big stock of groceries, and can compete with any in the country, with his estimable wife as stenographer and bookkeeper. He is doing a lively business and is getting his share of the trade.

        Next we find Mr. Handston, who has charge of the construction work on the Sugar Belt, putting in the grade for the switch at the station.

        Now we arrive at the experimental farm, which is in fine shape for the coming crop, in charge of S. V. Godden, of Boston, Mass., and then we interview Mr. W. G. King, who is a notary public and can swear you to be good.

        Next we visit Mr. Buckels' sawmill, just east of the city, where about fifteen men are employed turning out lumber to be used in building up the colony.

        Mr. Earnest Penn, of Alabama, has the honor of completing the first residence in the new town, in which he is now living.

        Mr. C. H. Newell, of Huntington, Ind., has his house nearly completed and will soon be ready to move in.

        Mr. Z. Barager also has his house up and will soon be ready to entertain his friends, and in the course of another week quite a number of other houses will have been started.

        Mr. L. W. Malsby has about seventy-five men under him working for the company cleaning off the streets and lots. This seems to be the busiest place in the county. When the trains pulled out last Saturday evening it was loaded to the guards.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, August 20, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        Having sent in our weekly report, we were unable to mention the picnic at St. Cloud on Thursday last. While we were unable to get there early, we were pleased to see the kindly spirit manifested toward our colony people by the people of Kissimmee and surrounding country, and trust we may get better acquainted. I understood quite a number were inquiring for Yankey Ned, but failed to locate him. I am more than gratified to know that my writings are of interest to outside people, and will be pleased to make the acquaintance of any of the Valley Gazette's readers. I have neither the time or inclination to write anything for the public that I can not endorse personally or that is not reliable.

        I think there were at least three hundred people at the picnic, and all seemed to enjoy the splendid dinner prepared, also the ice water and lemonade, which was freely provided.

        Mr. A. M. Wilkinson has left our midst and moved into his new house in St. Cloud.

        Dr. D. W. Penn, a descendant of the noted William Penn of Pennsylvania, is building himself a house and will remain with us. His estimable wife and son are also with him.

        Mr. Barager of Idaho bought a wagon and horse and is hauling his own lumber from the railroad to build his house.

        Mr. Jacob Hoffer and wife, who live up near the lake, seem to be taking solid comfort, as they ride about the country in their new rig. They don't appear to be the least selfish, for I see their neighbors enjoying a ride occasionally.

        It's a fine thing, Florida's foundation isn't close to the surface, for if it had been we certainly would have gone down stream Monday night, but Tuesday the roads were in splendid shape.

        Mr. O. B. King and wife of Oakdale, Cal., are here to locate, as are also Mr. E. H. Austin and wife of Edenborough, Pa., who have lived in Kissimmee since June 1st.

        Messrs. M. S. Conger of Ross Hill, Ill., and M. Hilti of Seymour, Texas, are here locating their land with the intention of making this their permanent home in the near future; also Messrs. W. H. Staley and C. H. Buck of DeWitt, Neb.

        Mr. Callahan, who has lived up at the Rose cottage for several months, has bought a place in Orlando, on which was a good building and an orchard. The price paid was $150 per acre.

        Mr. Joe Bass, who got crippled up some time ago, is able to be out a part of the time. We wonder sometimes what kind of material he is made of that he isn't dead.

        We saw a mule team hitched to a mowing machine run away at the St. Cloud farm Tuesday morning, a man being on the machine at the time, but mule-like, they stopped before hurting themselves. The machine was put out of commission, but aside from a good shakeup the man wasn't hurt.

        Mr. and Mrs. Hilti will occupy a tent until they can clean up their lot and build.

        Mr. Newell, our town painter, is able to be around again. His fall did not hurt him as bad as was first thought. He has had a well driven on his town lot, as have Messrs. Wilkinson, Barager and White. One of the best features connected with this place is that you don't have to go deep to get plenty of water.

        Mr. J. H. Newcomb has concluded he did not want to batch out on his place, and has struck his tent and moved back into the house with Mr. B. F. Chase, located near the old sugar mill.

        From the looks of things at present it will be necessary to induce a few women to immigrate here, else we will soon have a town of bachelors and widowers. That's all I have to say on this subject. A hint to the wise is sufficient.

        We are laboring under strenuous conditions at present, as we walk six miles a day and work on our house, and dark overtakes us on the road at night.

        We understand Mrs. D. W. Penn is on the sick list, and that Messrs. A. E. Cram and A. M. Wilkinson have been off their feed a few days, but both are able to be about.

        We would appreciate electric cars, but will wait with patience, for we believe they will come in the near future.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, August 27, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        The new hotel has now got its growth and its roof is of tin, as has the St. Cloud Tribune building, both of which will be doing business in a short time.

        Mr. Ed Knapp has his headquarters in Kissimmee, and is always to be found at the depot to meet all incoming trains to give the colony people a warm welcome and any information regarding St. Cloud and the colony lands. He never fails to invite them to his office in the Graystone Annex, where they find a nice, shady place to spend an hour with Mr. Knapp and his estimable wife.

        We find that Contractor Frank Bass practices what he preaches in regard to well drilling, as he put down a well at the lumber yard 158 feet and 5 inches, while we were satisfied at a depth of 64 feet, and Mr. Newell said 25 feet got him good water. Mr. Bass expects to keep his machine in town a few days longer in order to put down all wells necessary for present use.

        People are not coming in very fast at present, and we think it is for the best, as the excessive rains have prevented the carpenters finishing the houses according to contract, but when the rainy season is over we will grow fast.

        Albert Hantch, our first settler, will soon be in his new house, it being nearly completed.

        Mr. Sampson and his black dog, Jack, have moved into their new house built on his business lot. He came from Kissimmee by boat - up the canal by the old St. Cloud sugar mill and then into the lake north of town. Mr. Sampson is certainly a lucky man, as he has a lot in the best part of town that we predict will be worth a thousand dollars inside of six months.

        The latest arrivals that I have met are J. A. Lu[unreadable], Downs, Kan.; Chas. Goodridge, [unreadable]rsville, Mo;, G. B. Draper, Monett, Mo.; William Johns, Fairmont, W. Va.; Henry Armstrong, Bradentown, Fla., These people having just come in, they are unable to express opinions regarding Florida, but that fact doesn't affect Florida in the least. While living in the North we used to think of this state as the land of alligators, snakes and ague, and such it was in some parts, but conditions have changed even in this immediate vicinity and for the better even in the memory of old settlers, and now, I think, this part of Florida is not excelled by any place on earth.

        Messrs. Powell and White have built a small house to batch in, and have moved over from the sugar mill property. At present those gentleman are working on Mr. Thomas' house at St. Cloud.

        Messrs. L. A. Hippolite and J. H. Newcomb were up to Orlando last week looking at property with a view to buying, as conditions here do not suit them.

        Mr. S. C. Jaques and wife of Cincinnati, Ohio, have recently moved into the old St. Cloud store building near the lake.

        Mr. J. F. Callahan will move to his new home in Orlando in a few days. While we very much regret his leaving our midst, we wish him every success in his new home.

        Mr. Jones, who has been working for some time for the Colony Company, has moved over to St. Cloud Junction.

        Mr. J. M. Dixon, one of our first settlers, has left for his former home in Louisiana to attend to business for his daughter, whose husband died a short time ago. Mr. Dixon is in love with Florida, and expects to return and make this place his permanent home.

        Church services at 3 p. m. Sunday, August 30th, at the St. Cloud printing office, Rev. Mitchell of Kissimmee officiating. All are cordially invited.

        Mrs. E. L. Lesley of Kissimmee spent two days here recently with her friend, Mrs. Cull, our merchant's wife.

        Mr. Cull seems to be doing a thriving business, and he sells goods right. We hope the firm may be successful in our new town.

        The frame of Mr. Penn's new house is up. It is to be a two-story house with seven rooms, and will be a credit to our town.

        Mr. B. H. Weiser of Weiser, Idaho, is here looking over our colony, and will invest if conditions suit him.

        Your correspondent had the pleasure of meeting Mr. C. R. King of San Francisco, Cal., a colony man, and Mr. Wm. Thomas of Noble, Okla., who wishes to buy something good in the shape of a bearing grove.

        We also met Mr. Solomon Bender, a colony man who has four shares. He expects to begin building at once and improving his property.

        It is learned that one of our colony men is corresponding with six maiden ladies up in Maine who want to come down here and start an old maids co-operative farm. We think here is the chance, and this may start some more to thinking. Why should not a company of women start a poultry farm and fruit and truck garden? A woman can garden as well as a man if she likes the work and wishes to do so. There is money in it, and the out-door work will help to bring back lost health and roses to the cheeks.

        Mr. L. A. Hippolite has sold his interest here to Mr. Drury Howard of Maine.

        Mr. Howard has left the sugar mill camp and taken up his abode with Messrs. White and Powell. He will do carpenter work for a short time.

        The surveyors are busy finishing up the job of laying out the town and locating new colonists, and from what we hear it wont be long till we will all have the deeds to our lots and tracts of land.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, September 3, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        Mr. George Saunders of Kissimmee, Fla., and Mr. George Fisher of Denver, Col., boat builders, have located in our midst with the intention of starting a shipyard near the lake. Now, people smile if you like, but my advice is to despise not the day of small things. While our lake wont float an ocean liner, we think there is an opportunity of building up quite a business in the small boat line, and these men are clever fellows and we believe will treat you right. We are glad to welcome them in our midst. Mr. Fisher's wife is a professional nurse, and expects to be able to care for the sick here when called upon.

        Work is progressing on all buildings now in course of construction.

        Messrs. Wilkinson and King have their lots fenced, and work has begun on Mr. King's house.

        Mr. George Kyler has part of his lumber hauled for a new house, but is undecided as yet about his building, as he has only one 25-foot lot and the company wants $50 for the adjoining lot. He has had a well sunk on his property something over one hundred and twenty-five feet. Mr. Bass says deep wells are necessary to insure a permanent water supply.

        Quite a number of new colonists arrived the past week, among whom are: J. A. Sims, Meeker, Col.; W. C. Warner, Wellington, Kan.; H. W. Olcott, Keitsburg, Ill.; H. D. Hughes, Gurnee, Ill.; J. F. Farris, Muskogee, Okla., and E. G. Farrer, Conway Springs, Kan.

        James Corcoran, Providence, R. I., and L. White and E. F. Culp of Orange county, this state, are here as investigators, and will buy if prices and conditions suit them.

        We heard very little dissatisfaction expressed the past week, and this is the worst time of the year to see Florida.

        Mr. L. A. Hippolite has moved to Orlando and bought a nice ten-acre tract of land, on which was a good house and a bearing grove.

        Our lumber man appears to have considerable difficulty in getting lumber to fill his orders. We hope this condition will improve, but if it doesn't the people in the north had better be a little slow in coming here, unless they wish to sit around and pay hotel bills a few weeks until they can get their houses builded [sic]. Another lumber yard and contractor might help solve the problem.

        We are glad to welcome Mr. L. Clute of Fitzgerald, Ga., to our town. He expects to make St. Cloud his home in future. Mr. Clute has been a member in good standing in the I. O. O. F. for fifty-one years. Mr. J. R. Powell of this place has also been a member of the same order for forty-four years, and would be pleased to meet all members as they arrive and render them such assistance as lies in his power.

        Mr. J. H. Sublette, at the survey camp, has a fine $60 graphophone [sic]and a large assortment of records, and will be pleased to entertain the fainthearted and encourage the hopeful ones as they arrive from time to time when he has the opportunity and the leisure.

        We are glad we came to St. Cloud at its worst, for, while we do not complain, we are better able to see our needs and opportunities, and one of the greatest needs of our town at present is a good sewerage system, as the heavy rains lately have compelled some to go barefoot to get around with any degree of comfort.

        We are expecting a good many colonists in to locate from now on, but would advise them to not be in a hurry, as we are not in shape to care for a very large crowd at present.

        Our cement block man is here to begin business, but is unable to do so on account of other parties occupying his ground. He will wait until he can get a suitable location before beginning business.

        Our new colony doctor has arrived and will soon be ready for business. While we do not wish the doctor any harm, we can not truthfully wish him any great success, especially in the number of patients. We understand we have about passed the worse part of the season, but if this is a successful place for doctors we will certainly change our location.

        The Rev. Mitchell of Kissimmee came over Sunday afternoon in an auto with Mr. and Mrs. E. L. Lesley and preached to an appreciative audience of about forty people, and he left out denominationalism so completely that one party was forced to ask him after the service what church he represented. That is as it should be - preach Christ and keep out churchism as much as possible if you want to win the world to God.

        We met the landlady of the Runnymede Hotel this week at St. Cloud. Her twenty-six guests do not seem to worry her much from a physical standpoint, as she seems to be looking better than when she took charge of the hotel, and, as usual, meets all with a pleasant smile.

        We understand the Runnymede Hotel will continue to take care of guest after the hotel at St. Cloud opens for business.

        We see the need of a depot here, and hope the railroad company can see its way clear to provide us with one in the near future. A good barber is also one of the crying necessities with us at present.

        Mr. and Mrs. Coover and six children of Jacksonville, Ohio, arrived at the Runnymede Hotel Thursday afternoon and came over to the Colony on Friday, located their lot and pitched their tent. These children, together with the ones now living here, entitle us to a school, and we hope the matter will be taken up by the proper authorities without delay.

        Mrs. Frank Bass and three nephews spent Thursday in St. Cloud.

        Several parties of Kissimmeeites visited our town last week, some driving out and some coming on the evening train and returning on same.

        Mr. Ed Donegan, wife and two sisters drove out from Kissimmee Saturday afternoon and returned by moonlight, accompanied by Mr. Pat Johnston.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, September 10, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        We are a very busy people here at St. Cloud, and a large crowd of colonists are expected to arrive this week.

        Mr. Wood built a new house last week and is now occupying it.

        Sunday morning we started across lots through the woods to Mr. Barager's in search of news, with the following result: Mr. Barager had his house finished, and while he and his wife were absent Saturday on business Mr. W. Hinds and wife of Blaine, Ky., took possession of the house and left Mr. B. and wife to still camp in the barn. If that isn't gall, then I am not in it. That beats any of the Yankeys [sic] I have heard of yet. We hope Mr. Barager will be able to persuade these people to vacate without having to call on our town officials.

        While at Mr. Barager's, Mrs. Hyer and Mrs. Penn came in for a social call. It seems they started out to make social calls and to do any good that came to hand. We are glad to have some that are willing to act the part of the good samaritan [sic]. This was our first meeting with Mrs. Hyer, and we believe she is a woman of the right stamp. We hope many more of the same stamp will locate among us. Her father and mother and daughter will be here soon from Granada, Mo., and are likely to make this their permanent home.

        Contractor Dale and wife and Mr. Fred Dale took dinner recently with Dr. Hyer.

        Our people over at the old sugar mill were very much surprised last week. Mr. McDonald May, an old veteran who spends most of his time fishing in the canal, went out one morning to look after a set line and found it gone, pole and all. After looking around awhile he saw his pole bob up, and following it up a side ditch he discovered an alligator had it. Hurrying back to the house he got his shotgun and turned loose on it, without having the least effect, and was forced to use a Winchester to end its career. With the assistance of Mrs. L. M. Thomas, Mr. and Mrs. Updegraph and two daughters and Mrs. King it was dragged to the house and measured and found to be seven feet four inches long. Messrs. Hoffer and May brought it over to town and had it photographed, and will put the pictures on sale as one of the first souvenirs of St. Cloud Colony - price twenty-five cents, to Jacob Hoffer, agent.

        Mr. Cull was taken very sick Saturday night - cause unknown, unless it was poison from eating canned sardines. He is much improved at this writing.

        We met Mr. Wm. Hinds of Blaine, Ky., on Monday, and our sudden appearance frightened him almost into paroxysms. We were at loss to understand the cause, but when we reached home and viewed through the looking glass a week's growth of whiskers, everything was made plain.

        Since my last letter I understand a move has been made to have a school here in the near future.

        On Sunday last Mr. J. R. Powell counted twenty houses completed or in course of construction.

        Mr. Newell, our town painter, has the hotel and printing office painted and is following up the carpenters on his own house. He seems to be onto his job all right.

        Our lumber famine has eased up to some extent - Mr. Bass received three car loads last week and expects two more this week.

        Mr. Hantch, our old German comrade, moved into his new house. He has a new well over one hundred feet feet [sic], and his two town lots cleared, which he will plant in truck.

        Mr. Penn will be able to move into his new house soon.

        Dr. Hyer and wife are what is called the Chiro practice doctors. They give no medicine, and so far have proven very satisfactory to our people. We don't recommend anyone getting sick just to try them, but if a physician is needed, they might possibly fill the bill.

        Mr. Jacob Hoffer is putting in a good portion of his time lately fishing in the canal. His latest catch was a big channel cat that measured 31 inches in length and 26½ inches in circumference.

        Since coming to Florida we have had considerable correspondence with people we never saw asking all manner of questions, and have cheerfully answered all letters and part of the time furnished our own stationary and stamps. Some time ago we received a letter addressed to "Yankey Ned," from a veteran over eighty years of age living in Marietta, Ohio, who bought four shares in our colony and with them received four town lots in the square north of the depot, in our estimation worth at the present time two thousand dollars. He appreciated the information to such an extent that he enclosed a dollar bill to purchase cigars to smoke while I answered his next letter. As that is the first and only practical "thank you" I have received from a correspondent since coming here, I can't sleep good, and as a consequence I am finishing with this letter at 3 a. m. This old man's good fortune explodes that old saying that opportunity knocks at your door only once in a lifetime. That idea, I believe, is the cause of many a person's failure in life - they have had one good opportunity but did not improve it and now have abandoned all hope and practically gone to sleep. Whoever heard of a man doing much good for himself or anyone else when he was asleep? I believe opportunity follows a person from the cradle to the grave, and if you will only keep your ears and eyes open so you can hear and see, many opportunities will present themselves that will lift you from the ashes of adversity to comfort and prosperity.

        The latest good opportunity I see is Prosper Colony, a description of which I read in last week's Valley Gazette. It gives even a common laboring man a chance to own a home, and the Prosper Colony people don't send out any ten-year-old pictures of some other land to induce people to come and buy their land, either. The town lots in that colony are large enough to build on. I can appreciate their monthly payment plan, as I have tried it successfully in Texas and Mexico.

        Our cement block man has his machinery here, and will begin business near the lumber yard.

        Mrs. L. M. Thomas moved into her new house on September 6th, and Mr. Cram succeeded in getting into his the same day.

        Messrs. Bass and Duncan have movod [sic] to Kissimmee from the old sugar plantation, where they have been living the past three months.

        Our Presbyterian brother from Kissimmee preached to a small but appreciative congregation at 3 p. m. Sunday.

        Mr. McDonald May has bought twenty acres of land near the old sugar plantation, and will prepare to live there instead of on his St. Cloud place, which looked to him like too big a proposition to clear up.

        The rains are gradually getting farther apart, and we can now work with a greater degree of satisfaction.

        Rev. J. T. Mitchell, pastor of the Kissimmee Methodist church, will preach at this place next Sunday at 3 p. m. All are cordially invited to attend.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, September 17, 1909, front pg. & pg. 4

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        Mr. W. C. Johnson of Kansas paid our correspondent a visit on Saturday, and paid his respects to Mrs. L.M. Thomas, to who Mr. Johnson's wife has been writing for some time in regard to Florida and its possibilities. Mr. Johnson will return to Kansas, charter a car and fill it with mules and household goods and come back to us ere the winter sets in. His wife will also bring her flock of four hundred brown leghorn chickens along. Mr. Johnon [sic] is a veteran of the Civil War, but he isn't dead on his feet yet nor is he waiting for the undertaker, and we believe he will prove a valuable additions to our colony, especially where push and energy are needed. He, at least, will supply the wind work, and we think there is something besides rattle about him.

        Mr. Reagan of Tennessee was here last week and located his land. His town lots join ours on the south. We welcome him as a neighbor, as we are the only ones on the block that are building. He will return home and prepare to move here in the near future.

        Mr. W. A. Stewart and wife of Springdale, Ark., are to locate and are boarding with Mrs. L. M. Thomas, as their lot is near and they wish to build at once.

        Mr. G. W. Wise of Moline, Ill., got the first deed received here, and has bought Mr. Loss's tent and will commence to improve his property in a few days.

        Messrs. Loss and Sampson of St. Cloud will move to Mr. Loss' property, where they will keep batch, spending a portion of their time fishing in Alligator lake.

        We understand ten gasolene [sic] launches have been contracted for to be used on our lake, and we wouldn't be surprised to see fifty or more on East Lake in six months' time. We believe a good pleasure boat on the lake would pay well this coming winter.

        Mr. A. J. Spalding and family of Columbus, Ohio, are here and have a large tent pitched near the survey camp. We believe that is a good way for future colonists to do - get a good tent and put a floor in it and be independent from the start; bring it along with you, then you can build to suit yourself and when you get good and ready.

        Mr. G. W. Penn has his house far enough advanced to move into, and as Mrs. Penn is on the sick list, she was taken up-stairs, they thinking it would be more conducive to her health than sleeping on the ground floor. We learn from Mr. Penn that he has been a successful fruit canner in the north, and we believe his knowledge will be of practical value to the St. Cloud colonists, as that will be the most sensible way of disposing of our surplus fruits and vegetables.

        Mr. Frank Bass is so pressed with work he was compelled to put in some time Sunday on the hotel in order to get it finished according to contract.

        Mr. Hinds concluded the best place for him was on his own lots, so he left Mr. Barager's home last week and put up a tent, and now they are at home to their friends. When Mr. Hinds needs exercise to give him an appetite he tackles a few palmetto roots, and will soon have a good garden patch cleared.

        Mr. J. F. Farris of Oklahoma has his house finished, and slept in it Saturday night for the first time.

        Mr. E. G. Farris left for Kansas to wind up his business. He will return in a short time.

        Mr. H. W. Dale, the new carpenter contractor, will build himself a house in the near future. He has all of his finish lumber, windows and doors stored in the printing office, even to nails, all of which was shipped from Chicago, and being first class, is bound to shine when put in their proper places.

        Mr. O. King has the roof and siding on his house, and will move in this week.

        Our town painter, Mr. Newell, sold his four lots and 3-room house last week for $800. That doesn't look much like property here is valueless.

        Messrs. King and White at the survey camp seem to be kept pretty busy, and Mr. Godden doesn't seem to have much idle time, while the surveyors are pushing business as fast as possible and are locating all who call for their allotments.

        I must make a regard to the cement block man. He has changed his plans, and will looate [sic] in Kissimmee. We are glad he does not own all the cement machines, and trust some enterprising man will take advantage of this opportunity and locate here, as we believe a great deal of that character of material will be needed, for most of us would use cement blocks for foundation pillars, and no doubt many would put up cement block buildings.

        Mr. Marsh of Missouri is having built a storehouse and expects to use the second story as a residence.

        A carload of household goods came in this week.

        Mr. G. W. Wise was out to see his five-acre tract on Monday, and found it located one-half mile south of Alligator lake and covered with weeds ten feet high. He is disappointed in not having some pine timber to saw up into lumber to build with and no palmetto to grub out to give him an appetite to eat and harden his muscles. As he is from Arkansas, we are not surprised that he takes the view he does. He will be forced to hire a man and mowing machine at least half a day and then let the weeds dry for a few days before he can put in a crop of any kind.

        James A. Larkins of Downs, Kan.; H. W. Dale of Chicago, Ill.; Geo. Wolfe of Tulosa, Cal.; A. S. Rose and wife of Rose City, Mich.; Thomas King of Beatty, Kan., and A. Woodard, wife and seven children of Dospalos, Cal., came in Monday. They will live for the present at the sugar mill property.

        Rev. J. T. Mitchell preached a very practical sermon on Sunday last to an interested audience of about forty-five people, the services being held at the St. Cloud Hotel. Two Kissimmee doctors and Mr. E. L. Lesley with their families were in attendance, coming over in their autos. After services Mrs. Cull had her little daughter baptized by sprinkling. A number of people were present that I did not know, and I ask that they be not offended if their names are not included in this letter.

        The new hotel opened for business this week.

        We are expecting to have a Sunday school after this week, as a meeting is called for next Sunday for the purpose of organizing one.

        Since I began writing the Colony news for the Valley Gazette I find I have offended some people and some have even insinuated that I was paid for talking and writing as I have; but that is a mistake, as I receive no salary or compensation of any character, and did not take up the work intending to follow it only until such time as Mr. Harris could do better, but while I do write I intend to tell the truth as I see it.

        I got home all right with a slight wetting. I stopped at Mr. Libby's on the way home and found his sister, Miss Libby, in poor health. She had a serious fall lately and feels very sore over it, and she thinks she cracked her breast bone. Mr. Libby and sister were pleased to see Mr. Howard and myself and invited us to take dinner, which we of course did. While there, there came a fine rain and we stayed until late and looked over his home orange grove. He has two groves and expects to harvest six hundred boxes of oranges this year. He says they will make them their living, and this winter he intends to build a new home. Mr. Libby undoubtedly has one of the finest building spots in this part of Florida, and as he is an old settler and a practical man, also a truthful one, I believe it will pay our people to make his acquaintance and get a few pointers. Miss Libby is a very pleasant lady and will prove a help and profit to our lady friends.

        Rev. S. S. Snyder will conduct the church services next Sunday. If possible the meeting will again be at the printing office. Come and help make the service a success.


Source: Kissimmee Valley Gazette, Friday, September 24, 1909, front pg.

The Old Soldiers' Colony

Items of Interest Gathered by Our Representative in the New Town of St. Cloud.

        As this is my first effort as correspondent for St. Cloud, it may not be out of place for me to say a few words as to the principles which shall guide me. Your correspondent is one of those who have come from the chilly north to find relief in this favored region, and he is so pleased with Florida that he has no intention of returning north unless it should become necessary. He has, therefore, become interested in this section, and is a firm believer in its future possibilities. Hence he is a booster, not a knocker, and every good citizen, present or prospective, should join hands and boost until the object is obtained. While particularly interested in St. Cloud, yet he regards it as a most unwise policy to knock other places in this vicinity. There is room in Osceola county for hundreds of thousands of people to live and prosper, and while we would like our full share to come to St. Cloud, yet we believe that the rivalry between various localities should be friendly, and that falsehood and deception should not be employed to divert settlement from one section to another. Strangers do not know one town from another, and a slighting remark made about one town may keep some desirable person from migrating here and settling somewhere in the parish of this paper. The disadvantages of this section, which of course it has, are so far outweighed by its advantages that it behooves us to leave them for the knockers to make use of, and they are so few and so easily overcome that we need not worry about them.

        Beginning on Monday of this week a daily service of two trains each way has been put in operation, which is a great convenience. Trains will run through to Narcoossee and return Monday mornings, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, as in the past, while the trains Monday evenings, Wednesdays and Fridays run only to St. Cloud and return. It is understood that freight will be brought out Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, as heretofore.

        The newly appointed postmaster, Mr. H. E. King, has received his commission and taken up his duties. It is expected that regular pouches will be provided for the mail service the latter part of this week. The amount of mail matter recently has been sufficient to guarantee the establishment of a money order office as soon as the postal regulations will permit. At present mail is being handled at Hotel St. Cloud.

        The completion of Hotel St. Cloud has released several workmen, whose services are much needed on other work. With an adequate supply of building material and plenty of men, the number of buildings should show a rapid increase in the near future.

        Mr. Updegraff, who is an experienced canner of vegetables and fruits, has built a house on his lots and moved his family down from the sugar mill. It is his intention to commence operations on his ten-acres plot at once.

        Mr. W. B. Makinson has a large corrugated iron store and warehouse well under way, adjoining the railroad switch. It will be completed in a few days and will be stocked with a full line of hardware, agricultural implements, etc.

        Mr. Wm. Mellburn of Milwaukee, Wis., has pitched a tent near Mr. Peterton's where he will live until his house is completed.

        Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Widrig expect to move into the house erected by Mr. C. H. Newell, some time this week.

        Rev. Snyder, pastor of the Kissimmee Presbyterian church, preached to a good sized congregation in the printing office Sunday morning at 10:30. At this meeting arrangements were perfected for the organization of the first Sunday school, to meet next Sunday at 8:30 a. m. Mrs. Dr. Hyre was chosen superintendent.

        Rev. Snyder of Kissimmee has been tenting near Dr. Hyre's the past week and improved his time making acquaintances among the colonists.

        Wednesday evening of this week a large excursion is due from Cincinnati and Washington. The special train will come direct to St. Cloud, arriving at eight. Preparations are being made to care for all who may come and make their stay in St. Cloud a pleasant one.

        Mr. G. Fry has put up a six-room house on Indiana avenue, which he will soon occupy.

        Work on the new county road through St. Cloud is being pushed, and it will soon be in good condition for travel.

        Table boarders are becoming numerous at the Hotel St. Cloud, and the accommodations of the house are taxed to the limit under the management of Mrs. M. E. Reed.

        Numerous investors have arrived the past week and have been shown their lots and tracts, and are generally well satisfied with their purchases.

        Mr. Henry W. Dale, the contractor, is preparing to build a handsome bungalow, and has part of the material now on the ground. He and Mr. Bass have contracts for quite a number of houses to be built as soon as possible.

        Mrs. M. E. Reed, proprietor of the Hotel St. Cloud, has arranged for the erection of a large tent in the oak grove across from the hotel, and will establish a quick lunch room in it, which she intends to continue indefinitely, serving lunches, cold drinks, ice cream, etc. This should prove a great convenience to the many who do not care for a regular meal.

B. E. W.
Copyright  2007: Anza Bast
Donated to the Genealogy Club of Osceola County for posting on their website