Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Snippets from Past Can Give Us a Perspective on History

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Snippets from Past Can Give Us a Perspective on History

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Jo McTammany

The view to the past can be full or patchy, whole or fragmented. The key is to enjoy it and learn from it any way it comes, as in the following brief glimpses.

- In September 1883, Anna and Robert MacChesney of Orange Park welcomed daughter Florida Pier into their family. Florida was home-schooled by her educated parents until she was 10 and they moved to Pennsylvania.

At 16, Florida became an actress, but six years later she transformed into a successful writer of short stories. At age 23 she married John Scott-Maxwell, Laird of Ballieston, became mistress of his estates in Scotland and mother to their three sons and a daughter.

Active in the suffragette movement, Florida continued writing popular books and plays and after the couple divorced in 1929 she studied under renowned therapist Carl Jung and practiced analytical psychology in Scotland and England.

Her last work, The Measure of My Days, was widely acclaimed and continues to influence studies of aging. In its pages, she recounts a tale of going hunting near Orange Park for turkey and quail with her grandfather. As the wagon stopped along the shore of the river she jumped down to sit on what she took to be a log half buried in the sand. The log turned out to be an alligator dozing in the sun.

Luckily, Florida was an agile child as well as precocious and her remarkable life story stretched until her death at age 79 in 1962.

- In the mid-1900s, St. Regis Paper Company owned vast acres of pine woods on Fleming Island. In the section west of U.S. 17 and north of County Road 220, they maintained a hunting camp. There was a trailer where a company forester, Don Wells, lived and oversaw the property and a large inland lake stocked with bass.

St. Regis employees and their families enjoyed use of the place, as did responsible locals who introduced themselves. …

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