Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Indian River Country

Yes, I did mean Country not County! This is actually the title of three volumes compiled by library volunteers Jim and Bonnie Garmon. Jim and Bonnie joined us at the library several years ago and began indexing obituaries published in our microfilm of the Cocoa Tribune newspaper. While reading through the papers in search of the dearly departed they began to notice fascinating news articles that gave first hand accounts of historical events and provided previously unknown information of some of our area's early pioneers. As a result they decided to transcribe these stories, index them and publish them so that others could enjoy them as well.  The first volume covers 1880-1889, the second 1890-1892 and the third 1893-1894. The books are available for sale at http://stores.lulu.com/jimandbonnie and the Garmon's are generously donating their profits from the series to the library. THANKS GUYS!

If you have an interest in the history of the area during that time period or have ancestors that were here then, these books are a gold mine. Where else will you find out that in 1844 there lived, just south of the lighthouse at Cape Canaveral, a Dr. Holbrook, a learned physician of great skill and prominence from Charleston, S.C. who lived in a one room palmetto cabin where he dwelt like a recluse, amid hundred of volumes of valuable books. He was the only physician on the Indian River and he never failed to respond to any call for his professional services. His only solace in life seemed to be his books and his flute, an eight-keyed instrument "in the use of which he was an artist."

Or how about Mr. Manahan, an Irishman and tailor by trade, but a "poet by nature and pen" who every day wrote poetry to his much older Jewish wife and who had a favorite and well trained pet, a huge racoon, which he called Aristophanes. The coon accompanied him at all times but hated Mr. Manahan's apprentice lad, James Kelly, and took every opportunity to bite and scratch his face and legs.  As a result of this treatment "a fearful feud" existed between them and although the boy made many attempts to destroy the coon, he always escaped unharmed.

These stories and more were taken from the microfilm collection of the Central Brevard Library where many other interesting stories are waiting to be discovered!