February 15, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

In 2004, I was selected as the Parade Marshal for the Olustee Festival. Here is what I wrote at that time for the Blue-Grey Army's official publication to express my appreciation.

What a great honor it is for me to be named 2004 Parade Marshal for the 26th annual Blue-Grey Olustee Festival. My sincere thanks go to those who selected me.

I am especially honored to follow a great citizen like Judge Charles Vocelle, 2003 Parade Marshal. He is one of the most respected men in our community and he was a major force in creating this event and moving it forward to become the huge success it is today.

Why was I selected for this honor? I'm not sure but I hope it was because I may represent many of the ordinary, every day citizens who make up our community. We are probably the same kinds of people who fought on both sides in the Battle of Olustee. People who answered the call of their patriotic duty. People like my grandfather, a farmer and family man, who left hearth and home to join the southern forces on distant battlefields.

About myself, I was born here, schooled here, and raised my family here. My ancestors are all from this area. My father was a workingman and educator, and my mother was a housewife. My three brothers all fought in World War II. My life's work has been in public education, and I sometimes write about the people and events of my county.

I am a Columbia County guy. As the old saying goes, "I am Columbia born and Columbia bred and when I die I'll be Columbia dead."

Enjoy yourselves at the Olustee Festival. Visit the vendors at their fascinating booths. Sample the delicious food. Fellowship with old friends and meet new people. Get to know the re-enactors. Take a quiet moment to remember the sacrifices of the soldiers.

And, most importantly, as we think back to the heroism and horrors of the Civil War, let us remember that we are all Americans. Wherever we live - North, South, East, or West--that place is our own little slice of the incredible miracle called the United States of America. Let us all re-dedicate ourselves this day to preserving, protecting, defending, and improving it.

Welcome to the Olustee Festival!


Helen Hill's book, "Searching for Holy Ground", ($12.95 plus tax) is now available at the Lake City Christian Supply store, 216 SW Marion Blvd. (386-754-5775).

This is a 149 page religious-themed book that focuses on the historical churches of Watertown, Florida, but also includes lots of information and pictures on the Watertown community and people

In fact, I was looking at the book with friend Lamar Church who grew up in Watertown. He pointed at one of the pictures showing a group of people and he asked if I could find him in the group. I couldn't because he was wearing a "disguise" a Santa Clause outfit!

On a side note, I had always heard that Watertown was named after Watertown, New York. However, Helen told me the town was named after Watertown, Wisconsin. This made a lot more sense to me since the A. G. Paul family had come from Wisconsin to found the huge East Cost Lumber Co. which was reportedly the largest lumber company in Florida in 1915.


In 1955, the Lake City Lions Club undertook a project to build the first local public swimming pool. Lions John Giebeig, Bud Giebeig, and Jimmy Tyson provided the leadership and just one year later "The Lions Club Pool", located just south of Memorial Stadium, was finished.


A father goes into a toy store to get his young daughter a Barbie Doll for her birthday. He notices that there are many different kinds of Barbies. Disco Barbie, Ballerina Barbie, Workout Barbie, Beach Barbie, Skater Barbie, etc. and they all cost $19.95. But there is also a Divorce Barbie that costs $265.95 and he wonders why it costs so much. The clerk explained, "Divorce Barbie comes with Ken's house, boat, furniture, and computer - and that all adds up to $265.95!" square

H. Morris Williams is a local historian and long-time Columbia County resident.