“Your Word Was Your Bond”
An Anthology of Tall Tales
The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a
Richard explains that his surname comes from his great-grandfather, remembered in his family as “Captain Seamans.” Richard's father, Lewis, was also a seafaring man. Living in southeastern Pennsylvania, Lewis Seaman sailed along the intracoastal waterways and off-shore waters of the eastern seaboard.1 Following one of his excursions as a charter captain in the Chesapeake Bay, Lewis left his home community of Chester, Pennsylvania, and sailed into Florida.
Lewis Seaman arrived in Kissimmee in the late 1890s. He first found work with Kissimmee's founder, Hamilton Disston, the Pennsylvania entrepreneur who purchased four million acres from the State of Florida in 1881 and cut a canal system into Florida's central region of swamps, scrubland, and prairie. Disston and other founders drained the wetlands and developed the land to support farms and fruit groves, thereby opening up areas in central and southern Florida for further settlement. By the turn of the century, Richard's father was hired by William McCool to work as a caretaker of “McCool's Grove,” an orange grove located in the new subdivision of Kissimmee Park on the eastern side of Lake Tohopekaliga. Lewis married Lula Irene Sharpe in 1902, and they ran a small farm while he tended the orange grove and supplemented his income by working as a market hunter and sailboat captain on central Florida's lakes and