July 26, 2009 - The Lake City Reporter

By H. Morris Williams

"The real power and strength of America lies not in its overwhelming military power but in the everyday small and kind deeds of its people. They represent the best of what is right about this great country of ours."

Do these words sound to you like they could be the words of a fifth generation American making a patriotic speech on the Fourth of July?

Actually, they are the words of a first generation Chinese man, Zehao Zhou, whose family happened to get stranded in White Springs during the great snow and ice storm of 1989 and was befriended by White Springs citizens Stephen and Kathryn Williams.

The purity of the kindness of the White Springs Williams family - taking the Chinese family into their home for the duration of the storm - prompted that profound observation by the Zehao Zhou family in a letter they later sent the Williams family.

So, there we have the simple truth. Our great country's main strength and power is in the everyday acts of kindness by ordinary people like us.


Mary Williams Barber will be 101 years old tomorrow. Mary was a well-known citizen of both Ft. White and Lake City in her youth, then she moved to High Springs and married Talmadge Barber, the police chief. Later they opened Barber's Restaurant in High Springs and built it into one of the best-known restaurants in North Florida.

Mary now lives with her sister, Betty Jane Williams Kinchen, in Gainesville. She is still mentally sharp and enjoyed a family-only birthday party yesterday.

If you would like to wish Mary a Happy Birthday, send a card to Mary W. Barber, c/o Betty Kinchen, 114 NE 11th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32605.


*1971-1994: LCCC softball coach Jean Williams led the Lady Timberwolves to 17 consecutive conference championships, eight state championships, and seven national championships, and an overall record of 874-274.

*1920: The CHS football team lost 27-0 to the Cuban Athletic Club in a game in Havana and became the first American team to play a game outside the United States.

*1995: LCCC disbanded its men's basketball program, one of the most successful in the state. Coach Joe Fields led the Timberwolves for 22 seasons, compiled a 512-190 record, won a state title in 1970, and placed third in the nation that same year.

*1967: CHS won the state Class A football championship by defeating host Auburndale 27-7 in the championship game.

*1994: Tiger Stadium opened at CHS and the Tigers defeated Suwannee 24-14 in the stadium's first game.

*1990: The Florida Sports Hall of Fame opened in Lake City on December 1.

*1947: CHS won their only state basketball championship with a 37-26 win over Pompano Beach High.

USA'S 200th

In 1976, our town celebrated our country's 200th birthday with a full-scale community production of the musical "1776", directed by Babs Lackey and Lily Demas.

Only local cast members, musicians, and stagehands were used. Frank Hubert, Tommy Witt, Gordon Summers, Martin Page, Richard Anders, Noah Lindsay, Cindy Bowling, Richard Hale, and Mike Moses headed up the large cast.

There was one non-human member of the 'cast'—the St. James Episcopal Church's 76-year-old church bell was used to replicate the actual Liberty Bell.


In 1947 the Columbia School of Forestry (informally 'the Forest Ranger School') opened but had a problem attracting students to the school.

One college story came out later that Forestry School superintendent Clarke "Click" Mathewson talked a well-known cartoonist into visiting the school to help recruit students.

The man was so impressed with the school that he created a cartoon character for his comic strip and named him 'Ranger Clickie.' Some said that publicity did help get more students to the school. I never heard who that cartoonist was. If you know, give me a call (386-755-8183).


I will be taking a break from writing this column during the month of August. So, the next column will be on Sunday, September 6.


Clothes washer and drier for sale cheap. Just joined a nudist colony. square

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